Two Thai women now living in Europe believe that online dating is the most effective way to find love and to find a new love in a European country.
It is now estimated that there are nearly 300,000 Thai women living in Europe married to or in relationships with European men. Europe includes some of the richest countries in the
world. The developed economies of Europe offer both challenges and opportunities to Thai women making new life. Most Thai women believe the key to success is to take the time to find a
'The right thing is to find the best character' says Pim Schweitzer from her home in the Swiss town of Oftringen in northern Switzerland. She is offering her advice to Thai women who are
serious about finding love online and particularly for those thinking of making lives abroad. 'Living in a foreign country as well as a European country that is cold is not so easy at first and that
Online Dating helps Thai women find Love in Europe
Online dating sites offer Thai women the best means of finding a European husband or love partner for the following reasons:
- Dating sites are likely to be more secure than social networking sites: A woman's network in Phayao province in Thailand recently warned Thai women of all ages to be careful when
using the social networking site Facebook. It reported an incident where a Thai woman was approached by a Nigerian man posing using a false identity and lost money after advancing him
money as a loan. This is quite common. All international dating carries such risks. The solution is for Thai women to become aware of the issue, report abuses and never to give out
personal details on a dating profile. Dedicated international Thai dating sites such as ThaiLoveLines are safer since they have a security service and systems designed to combat this threat.
This is easier as activities on such sites are specialised towards dating and finding love.
- Thai women can learn more about a variety of male dating partners over a period of time: All Thai women who have developed successful relationships online say that the key to success
is to make as many contacts as possible. Such Thai women carefully and patiently get to know the dating partners and men online. May Dirks is a Thai women from Rayong province in
Thailand met her dream Dutch husband online. It was at a time when she was heavily in debt and readying herself to go to work in Taiwan. While online, she at first thought her husband was
an internet scammer before being advised by a friend to have patience. 'One of the important things for Thai women to remember is that while they should be aware of internet dating
security, once they are aware of the issue they should not this put them off their mission of finding suitable partner,' says Carla Boonkong, a magazine and internet writer in Bangkok. 'It is
precisely because internet dating works and is so successful that has become a target for these scammers.'
- They are free and open: While some Thai women and foreign men opt for marriage services, they can be expensive and offer a limited exposure. 'I think online internet dating, once a
Thai woman approaches it in a controlled and systematic way, is more democratic and it is actually more probable than not that a suitable life partner can be found,' says M/s Boonkong.
Thai women - success in Europe
Last year the Thai Ambassador to Sweden chaired the annual meeting of the Thai European Women's Network. The event which is now held every year was attended by 100
representatives from countries all over Europe where Thai women have organised themselves. Since 1999 when the organisations formed it has gone from strength. Some experts estimate
to be as many as 300,000 Thai women living in Europe, the majority of whom are Thai wives with European husbands or love partners.
Nuptang is from Paris in France. 'I discovered this organisation when I felt I needed to meet Thai friends and find a social outlet after I had been settled in Paris with my French husband.
Nutpang's husband is a management accountant and she lives in fashionable apartment off the Rue de la Paix in the cosmopolitan city.
'There has been a big change in the nature and scope of Thai women finding partners and lives in foreign countries. Many are now settling in Europe. They are very successful in
developing successful lives and communities. This is changing the whole dynamic. Forty years ago a European man opted for a Thai wife or the quintessential 'Thai Bride' as a means of
finding a wife, girlfriend or life partner if he couldn't find love with a French, German, British or any European women, now many European men are making a conscious choice to find love in
Thailand,' says James Morris a Bangkok based commentator on the subject who writes for international publications.
Denmark now Number 1 for Thai wives
It has emerged from research in Bangkok during 2013 that Danish men are now Number 1 for Thai wives. The claim is based on the number of Thai women registered to as wives to
men from Denmark and taken as a percentage of population.
Early this year in Denmark, a widowed Thai wife returned to Copenhagen on a flight from Bangkok with her 4- year old daughter after a special law was passed to change visa and
immigration requirements to allow that young Thai widow to live in the country.
The Thai woman, Suthida Nielson and her 8 year old little girl were welcomed back to Copenhagen Airport by enthusiastic supporters and driven off in a limousine. Mother and daughter
were forced to leave Denmark after immigration services withdrew her permission to live in Denmark following the death of her husband. Suthida's husband had died from cancer in 2012.
The Danish government, following public reaction to the plight of the Thai widow, changed the law retrospectively. 'I think this case is remarkable given the overall anti immigrant feeling in
western countries, it shows I think, the respect which Thai women have earned in Denmark and throughout Europe,' says James Morris in Bangkok. 'The famous TV documentary featuring
Thai wives living in Denmark produced by Danish television shows that Denmark is one country that is attuned to the real story of Thai women marrying European men.'
Thai women in Europe - new respect
'Thai women have earned a lot of respect in European countries. It has been the case that younger Thai women have been lured into prostitution rackets and at one stage the huge
increase in Thai women migrating to Europe was looked at in this light. Now even some feminist groups are now beginning to come round. Survey after survey in countries such as Finland,
Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom are showing that relationships between Thai women and European men are predominantly positive and healthy ones,' says James Morris. So
what makes Thai women capable of bucking this trend? 'Simply, they are bringing good human qualities and morals to the table,' says James Morris.
Thai women finding love with European men
Here is a quick list of reasons why Thai women have been so successful in Europe:
- Networking: Throughout Europe including countries such as the Netherland, Sweden, Finland and France, Thai women have formed informal networks. 'Many of the Thai women moving to live in countries in Europe originate from Isaan in Thailand. Many find it easy to make friends from their region,' says James Morris. A recent report into Thai women living and
working in the Netherlands founds that within these networks Thai women often lend money to each other, a facet of Thai culture which they have imported from Thailand to the
Netherlands. 'Many have financial obligations to their families in Thailand but at the same time are anxious to keep faith with their Dutch husbands. These women take jobs but also have
informal lending arrangements between friends often charging interest. There is an incentive for the Thai woman to repay such loans as the loss of face and credit rating among the network
would be certain,' Morris points out. He is referring to a ground breaking into a large number of Thai women living in the Netherlands who are Thai wives to Dutch men.
- Hard working: Many Thai Women who have decided to move from a very strong culture of the native land have already demonstrated a certain degree in courage. In Thailand the role of
women is often that of a 'manager' meaning the woman takes care of the family including very often, the financial resources. Both these characteristics have tended to forge a cadre of Thai
women in Europe who are equipped to make a success of their new life.
- Motivation: 'For many Thai women living in Europe is like a fairytale, a dream, no matter how the difficult or rocky the road. This feeling and the large diversity in salary levels between
Thailand and Europe spurs these Thai women on through the challenge,' says Carla Boonkong, a magazine writer in Bangkok.
- Strong relationship: In all surveys or investigations into Thai Women in Europe it has emerged that Thai women are happy with their personal relationships. 'Many Thai women in
relations with European men are committed to making a success of the venture. One survey in the United Kingdom suggested that Thai women, who agreed that their relationships with their
English husbands or partner faced challenges such as isolation or acceptance in the community, found that this was a motivating factor.
Thai woman in the Netherlands lives in old mansion
'I am a happy woman today,' says May Dirks who met her Dutch husband six years on a Thai Dating Site. 'I was a young woman with two children one a nine year old boy and I had no
lover,' says May.
Not only that but May was up to her neck in debt with money owed to two money lenders in her home in Thailand's Rayong province. 'I had talked with my Khun ma and it was decided
that I must go to work abroad. I have a sister who works in Taiwan.'
May (34) is has a degree from a University in Thailand with additional qualifications in tourism. At one point, she had a job in a hotel in Bangkok but had retired to take care of her children
after her mother had a mild stroke. 'I found working in the city hard and I missed my two little boys at home.'
May's Thai husband had left her for another woman when her children were young and never helped to support her two children. 'He was not a very serious man but I think I loved him so
much. It was a long time when I learned that he was not going to work and try to take care his children.'
May had taken steps to get a job in Taiwan with the help of her younger sister and was just about to embark for Bangkok to apply for her visa when her best friend had an idea: 'She said
that I should find a farang husband. This was never my idea. I did not think of that. But I can speak English well and I knew about farang. I decided to try it. In my house I had already internet
so I joined the internet dating online. At first it was not easy to understand. There were some man no good but then other was not nice at all.'
The Dutch man from Zwolle
May was on the internet site for two weeks when she found that she was speaking for a third day in row with a Dutch man from Zwolle in the Netherlands. He sounded rich and very
confident. 'I tell my friend and she said to me that this could be a scammer man because he sounded so sure and nice, it could not be.' she says.
Johannes (54) was a Dutch man from an aristocratic background who lived in very large house in the Dutch countryside with a large demesne attached to his house. 'He showed me
photos on the website of his big home and his dogs, it was not real. I feel sure that he must be a dangerous man,' she laughs. 'It is now a joke for us.'
Mature Dutch man wanted a different relationship
Johannes was a middle aged man who had traveled around the world and had never managed to settle down. Working for an international shipping company, Johannes had been too
busy and had never really wanted to find a family. 'I found myself well off and I must say I was a lonely man, I love dogs and horses and I have many friends. I always did think that I was going
to be the happy bachelor boy. That's why I decided to find a Thai woman. I was dating some women here and it wasn't comfortable for me. They wanted to get so fast and I thought many of
them were a bit weird and I guess they felt the same about me. My friend Kurt is going to play golf in Thailand and I was booked so I saw the advertisement for the Thai internet dating and I
began to talk to women here online. This is when I met May and she told me her story.'
From Chiang Rai hotel to a Swiss coffee shop
In one of the busiest street corners of the Swiss town of Oftringen there is a very attractive coffee shop where you can buy beautiful homemade cakes and it does a very good trade. The
outside of the shop has a well known Swiss name but the real driving force behind the enterprise is a Thai women from Chiang Rai province in remote Northern Thailand. Pim Schweitzer is
the wife of Gerhard and they have been married since 2002.
Pim (42) is a Thai woman originally from Chiang Rai province in Thailand. Her search for a new love and a new live did not begin online however. 'I found my man first at my work but this
was before big Thai dating sites,' she says. Pim worked as a receptionist in a hotel in Chiang Mai where she met her Swiss husband.
'I met Gerhard working in a hotel in Chiang Mai. I never thought about living in Europe but after we had gotten to know each other after he went back to Switzerland, he said that I should
come and try the life in Sweden,' she says. 'At first I thought that this was not possible but then I got the idea into my heart.'
Pim says the hardest part of her life in Switzerland was the first two years. 'I came first for four months and I wanted to go home after four weeks. It is only because of my husband that I
stayed,' she says. Pim found the main problem with Switzerland was the cold weather and the isolation that this caused. 'I did not like spending so much time living indoors and I found it very
difficult to learn the language.'
Switzerland is multi cultural country with many languages but in the areas where Pim and Gerhard lived the main language is German. 'I went out to school to learn this language and
this is how I got to know all about how to make a good life in Switzerland.'
Another difficulty for Pim during her life in Switzerland was a personality clash between her and Gerhard's elderly mother. 'When I came to Switzerland I tried to be a good friend to
Gerhard's mother. In Thai culture this is a duty for the women to the husband's mother but she did not accept me.'
Gerhard: 'This all happened in the first two years and it was very difficult. I think my mother did not accept Pim as my future wife, it was painful.' Gerhard's mother unfortunately suffered a
heart attack and died suddenly in the dawn of the New Year in 2004. 'My father had died when I was a young man and this left me very lonely after my mama died. It sounds very bad to say but
it brought me and my wife closer together.'
Pim and Gerhard opened up their coffee shop later that year. 'At first it was just Pim. She was working in a local hotel and had developed plans for this business, but the next year I also
went to work in the business.'
Swiss tourist hotel owned by Thai woman
Just a few doors down is a clean but comfortable hostel where a basic rooms costs more than a four star hotel in Bangkok. In 2007 the couple bought and developed a trendy hostel for
tourist on a budget and that business has also thrived. Such is their success that Pim also owns a coffee shop in Chiang Mai which is managed by her younger sister. 'We go to Thailand
once a year for a month; sometimes Pim will stay a bit longer. We have a very good life between the two countries.'
Pim's advice to Thai women thinking of find a foreign husband particularly a European man:
- 'Use online dating sites but always be honest and tell the men online your story, if he is a good man he should tell you his story too. I know many friends who have found very good
husbands and love partners online.'
- Be tough and prepared for very hard work. 'People in Europe work harder than people in Thailand. This place is harder; you must learn to toughen up just like getting used to the
weather. 'Do not come to live in Europe if you cannot be useful.'
- Get out and meet people. 'Yes, even Thai people you can find. But also make friends so you need to learn the language, that's it. Some people do not like Asian people even Thais but
most people I know in Swiss really like Thai people.'
Pim's advice is to get out there and learn the language as a key priority and in the process make friends. She advises her friends and relatives in Thailand who are thinking of finding love
in Europe to use internet dating sites. She urges them not only to take time to get to know Europeans men online but also to use as it as a way to learn European languages and culture.
The numbers of Thai women living in Europe will continue to grow. The upwards of 300,000 Thai women living and working in Europe have opened the doors to Thai women in the
future and have raised the profile and image of Thai women and also Thailand in general for the better.