- Dutch version of the interview -
All text and photo taken from the site: www.ad.nl

- English version of the interview -
All text and photo taken from the site: www.ad.nl

Natalia is an artist and that is reflected in every room of the house, but especially her workshop. © Frank de Roo
Natalia is finally in her place after moving three times: 'It felt destined'
Natalia Olhova (28) has not yet been in Rotterdam for a year, but as an artist she is amazed every day in the city. She and her boyfriend have been living in the Van Beuningenstraat for a few months now. ,,We came across this by accident and three days later we already had a contract, which suddenly went very quickly."

Jamie van Velzen 04-06-22, 10:10
Before she emigrated to our country, the Ukrainian of origin came here many times before. "My boyfriend used to come here to study and occasionally I would visit." When he finally got a job, she wanted to join him. Corona threw a spanner in the works because of closed borders, but she has been living here since last year.

,,When the opportunity arose, I left immediately and left my family, friends and career behind. I didn't even take anything."

Quite a big step, especially if English and certainly Dutch is still difficult. Since 2014, when the Crimean peninsula where she comes from was annexed by Russia, she already felt out of place in her homeland.

Things that I sometimes complain about here are completely insignificant compared to what those people experience now in Ukraine
Natalia Olhova
"I always thought that one day a war would break out, but I still can't believe it. When I open my news app in the morning and see what's happening, it hurts. Things that I sometimes complain about here are completely insignificant compared to what those people experience. They no longer have a normal life."

Works by Natalia hang on the walls throughout the house, most of them abstract. © Frank de Roo
Mood board

Despite the fact that a war is raging in her homeland, Olhova is very happy with her place in Rotterdam. In addition to having a pleasant home, it provides her with inspiration. "The women here are so beautiful, they all look so different from what I'm used to, everyone is themselves here."

She comes from an artist family and has also become an artist herself. That is why she has a special place in the house, her workshop, where she paints large canvases with abstract art or mixed with realism. She has hung all kinds of sketches, color tests or photos on the wall as a mood board for her paintings.

The Buddha image is arguably Natalia's pride in the house. © Frank de Roo
That was one of the most important requirements for a house: she had to have a place to paint and her boyfriend had to have a separate office, which they found in the Van Beuningenstraat. ,,When we came in here, it immediately felt predestined for us. Lots of natural light comes in, which is ideal. The location just outside the center is great and we have a balcony. We really wanted that," she laughs.

They were extra happy, because after moving three times it finally happened. The first time she had to move, because her boyfriend lived somewhere where you could only be registered with one person. ,,At the Lee Towers afterwards, it turned out not to be quite our place. The house afterwards in Rozenburg was temporary so that we could get out of the Towers more quickly." And now it has become Blijdorp.

As long as Natalia has not yet received a tablecloth from her mother,
the dining table will remain 'bare'. © Frank de Roo
Traditional dress

It has become a colorful house, partly because on almost all the walls hang one of her own works and smaller paintings with which she tries things out. She also painted all the candles in the house. The pride is perhaps the large Buddha image in the living room. "I really like yoga, I always do that here."

I don't want those plastic tablecloths, but those traditional ones my mother makes. Until I have that nothing else will come up
-Natalia Olhova
Even though the house looks finished, for Olhova there are still some things missing, such as a tablecloth. ,,I don't want those plastic things, but those traditional rugs that my mother makes. Until I have that, there is really nothing else that comes to mind," she laughs. So for the time being the table remains empty, but the moment she can go back to Ukraine, she will collect those and other things such as a family cupboard there. Then it is done for her.