‘Our children live here freely and always outside’

In July 2021, Kelly and her husband Bob (36) moved with their children Sepp (8) and Jaxx (5) from Haarlem to Curaçao. Actually for three years, but now they have decided to stay for five years. The reason? The lovely life there, the beautiful weather and the relaxed atmosphere. They often realize how grateful they are at sunset when the boys catch crabs and then float them in their pool. “Then we look at the stars and realize: this is just our life. Really bizarre!”

Bob works for the Royal Navy and manages the swimming pool at the barracks. There he gives military training lessons, such as how to swim with a weapon. The local Curaçao militia also receives regular swimming lessons from him. The family lives in Willemstad, in a closed park with about 45 houses. Apart from a few local residents, there are mainly Dutch families who have emigrated. Some for a long time, others for a short time. For example, going to sleep. In the park, the boys can play outside with the many children who live there and with friends from school.

If we get the chance, we go!

It is not the first time that Bob and Kelly have chosen Curaçao. At the beginning of their relationship, they were already living there together (then 21 and 18 years old). Kelly was an intern at a hotel and Bob was in the Royal Navy. In the end, they liked it so much that they stayed for two years. Kelly: “Life on Curaçao is wonderful. We talked about that often in the years that followed. We said to each other: If we get another chance, we’ll go again. But we never thought it would happen.”

When Bob was asked to return to the Royal Netherlands Navy and living in Curaçao proved to be an option, the choice was quickly made. Kelly: “We’ve had some sleepless nights, you know. We’re doing good for the kids, especially. But on the other hand, they were young and flexible, so we gave it a shot.” They certainly have no regrets. “Sepp and Jaxx feel like fish in water here and have become real ‘island boys’; free and always outside.”

Slip on and go!

When the children are at school, Kelly volunteers at the school library and dog daycare. And she enjoys the island life, which is mostly outdoors. “Every day in Holland I check what the weather will be like the next day. Will it be cool or do I have to wear a raincoat? It’s not necessary here because it’s almost always hot. jump; shorts, flip flops and go! It gives such a free feeling. We have a nice house with a swimming pool where Jaxx gets swimming lessons on the weekend. Besides the beautiful weather, it’s relaxed and laid back here. When you have time off, you immediately get that holiday feeling.”

Curaçao’s mentality is also a plus. “Here they judge less. Even if you are fat, thin, tall, dark, white. Nobody talks about it and you can just be who you want to be.”

Haarlemmers on Curaçao
Photo: Island life takes place outside

Everything in a car

This summer the family was on holiday in Haarlem. “The first thing we did was visit family, because of course we miss them in Curaçao. We also miss the everyday things, such as a walk to the playground or a park in Haarlem. Here we do everything by car. Walking or cycling is difficult because of the distances and the bad roads.”

Dutch pot in the Caribbean sun

Although it is almost always hot, Bob and Kelly continue to eat Dutch food. “I don’t have to eat salad every day because it’s summer,” she says with a laugh. “So we eat quite a lot of Dutch stew, such as an oven dish with red cabbage or a tasty endive stew with meatballs. A plate of sauerkraut in the Caribbean sun tastes just as good as at home.”

Haarlemmers on Curaçao
Photo: Bob with the boys

To be more relaxed in life

“Life here is relaxed. What doesn’t come today, comes tomorrow. Appointments can be made spontaneously the same day. In the Netherlands, I really live with the agenda in hand, and I often make appointments for two or three months. When we live in Holland, I hope we take some of this mentality with us. To be more relaxed in life and plan less.” Until then, they are enjoying Curaçao. “I am more and more aware of how special it is that we get to experience this. Wow, we just live here on this beautiful island!”

Haarlemmers on Curaçao

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  • Haarlem Tamara travels with her family through America: ‘Life without a watch is wonderful’

  • Anna moves with her family to Indonesia: ‘The construction of our resort has already begun’

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