Jessica & John

University Professor from America

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I joined the University of Amsterdam (UvA) in December 2011 as an Assistant Professor of Communication Science. I had spent the previous decade pursuing my PhD and postdoctoral studies in Communication Science with a focus on youth and the media studies, and was eager to share my knowledge and experience with my department as well as collaborate with some of the top youth and media scholars in the world. While my husband and I were anxious about packing up our home and moving to the Netherlands to start over again, our visits to the country convinced us that this was the right home for us.  We were admittedly concerned that we would not be contributing to an American pension plan and that the costs of finding a small apartment as an expat may exceed our budget, but were assured that – via the 30% ruling – we would be fiscally secure. And indeed, we have been. We were able to contribute to an American pension plan, find a small (43m2) apartment that fits our needs and budget, pay our bills, and visit family twice per year in the US. Not an exorbitant life, but a happy one.


Fast forward to 2018.  I am now a tenured Associate Professor (UHD1) at the UvA where I direct the Center for research on Children, Adolescents, and the Media. I have co-authored my first book, I have taught hundreds of students, serve as the coordinator of our Entertainment Communication program, and have had the privilege to serve as (co-)promoter for several PhD students. In short, I have found a way to share my skills and knowledge – and to develop and excel as a scholar – in a place that I am so happy to call home. My work brings me joy and fulfillment. But it’s not just my work. My life in Amsterdam is equally fulfilling. I run its beautiful streets, enjoy leisurely strolls through its parks, have established deep friendships, a love for the city, and a deep respect for the honor and character of its citizens. Imagine my surprise when, in April 2018, I learned that I would be suddenly faced with the very real reality that the 30% tax policy – the policy that allows me to invest in my American pension   and thereby protect my future – would suddenly be stopped. This decision is counter to the ethos of the Netherlands. In a home where ‘your word is your bond’, I am both disheartened at this prospect of leaving and shocked that this proposal is even being considered. As I have heard numerous times, afspraak is afspraak. I placed my trust in the government. I am not ready to leave. I am not done yet.  I have more knowledge to share. I have more students to teach. More grants to write. I have more to do. And yet, if this proposal goes through as designed now, I will be forced to leave in order to protect my fiscal future. Is this truly what the goal of this proposal is? To encourage people such as myself to leave? I surely hope not.