Video: I have tinnitus and I want to die

Video: I have tinnitus and I want to die

Gaby Olthuis suffered from constant noise in her head, ‘like a train screeching or someone scratching their nails on a blackboard’.To end her suffering, she was given a lethal potion to drink by a doctor from a clinic set up to help people who want to die.This documentary with English subtitles was made by television programme De Monitor and was filmed a few weeks before her death.More on this story  More >

New rules for returning Nazi loot unfair

New rules for returning art stolen by Nazis are not always fair Dozens of works of art in Dutch museums may have been 'acquired' by the Nazis during WWII when their owners were coerced into selling. And if museums can claim a looted work of art is central to their collection, the heirs of those pre war collectors may be left empty-handed, warns lawyer Gert-Jan van den Bergh.'Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard must have known that what they were buying was stolen by the Nazis,’ former journalist Cees van Hoore said about the purchase of a Flemish master by the royal couple in 1948. In an article headlined ‘Juliana bought, perhaps unwittingly, art stolen from Jewish families’, journalist Michiel Kruit gives them the benefit of the doubt.In 2014, a Meissen dinner servic bought by the then queen, now on show at Palace Het Loo, was branded Nazi loot. The palace said it would return the set if the official Restitution Committee were to advise in favour. Museums as well as the royals are not opposed to art restitution. The question is whether...  More >

The cool self-employed don't demonstrate

The cool self-employed don’t demonstrate More people than ever are self-employed, a logical result of the crisis and the tax breaks accorded to them. But more needs to be done for those who barely subsist on their earnings, writes professor Erik Stam.One in six working people in the Netherlands is self-employed, usually as a zzper (literally: an independent worker without personnel, DN). According to the Netherlands institute for social research SCP, 15% of this group lives below the poverty line. It’s a problem that needs to be tackled urgently but whether zzpers will actually make the trek to the Malieveld to support their cause remains to be seen.Appreciation for the self-employed varies greatly. Former small and medium-sized firms' association MKB chairman Hans de Boer once called them Zwakzinnigen Zonder Pensioen (madmen without a pension). Research institute Panteia, however, regards them as a driving force for innovation, and Hans de Boer, this time in his role as chairman of employers’ association VNO-NCW,...  More >

Washington DC has nothing on Amsterdam

Washington DC has nothing on AmsterdamThe Dutch embassy in Washington has published this handy infographic, outlining all the ways Amsterdam and Washington are different. It's a response to DC's mayor's assertion that decriminalising marijuana will not turn the city into, shock horror, something like the Dutch capital.The embassy even published a special website page highlighting the differences in drugs policy.The page concludes by pointing out that Americans are more likely to smoke weed than the Dutch. 'The lifetime rate of marijuana consumption for ages 15-64 in the Netherlands is 25.7% compared to 41.5% in the US,' the website states.  More >

If only he'd drunk the plonk instead

In the country where senior civil servants ride bikes, not being 'normal' and drinking expensive wine was the downfall of MP Mark Verheijen, writes editor Robin Pascoe.The loss of VVD parliamentarian Mark Verheijen came at a somewhat inopportune time for the party – just days ahead of the launch of the provincial election campaign.But, after weeks of media pressure, the MP has done the decent thing and stood down. As long as there are doubts about his integrity, he said, he cannot do his job.You would think by the newspaper coverage given to Verheijen that he had fiddled his expenses to the tune of tens of thousands of euros rather than organise a free party for the VVD, wrongly declare a dinner with expensive wine and pay for a train trip with the wrong company card.But such are the heinous crimes that can bring down a politician in the Netherlands. Prime minister Mark Rutte has gone so far that he does not declare any expenses at all so there is no discussion...  More >

Six Dutch words and one gesture

Learning Dutch but bogged down in the grammar? Or are you a complete failure at the difference between de and het? Never fear, help is at hand. Here are six essential but untranslatable words and one gesture to help you sound like a native.Gezellig A gezel was an apprentice in medieval times and we still use the word levensgezel for someone who accompanies you on the journey of life, in other words your better half.Conviviality, the Dickensian kind, comes close with its emphasis on having a jolly time in the company of friends. No one would say how convivial, however, the way the Dutch say Hè gezellig. It also denotes a degree of intimacy, so a gathering at home or around a restaurant table would be labelled gezellig in a way a gathering at a discotheque or a football match would not.Hè hè Depending on how you say it expresses relief at a job well done or the end to something strenuous, like an afternoon’s shopping. You sit down, take your shoes off and utter a heartfelt...  More >

Expenses must be checked

Expenses claims must be checked before they cause unnecessary fall-out Where people work hard, mistakes will be made, writes Annemarie van Gaal.Some three or four years ago MP Mark Verheijen, then a member of the provincial government of Limburg, made a mistake in his expenses claim. He entered five or perhaps six chauffeur-driven trips from Limburg to the Randstad for functions unrelated to his job. That was stupid, granted, but during that same time he probably worked hundreds or perhaps thousands of unpaid hours as well.A flawed expenses claim is never a good thing but mistakes do occur, especially when people are working very hard and the rules aren’t very clear, or not to hand. Verheijen admitted his mistake, said he’d been stupid and would pay the money back straight away. Case closed you’d think.But no, not in politics. There’s going to be an integrity commission after the event which will pronounce on ‘the facts, the seriousness and Verheijen’s culpability’. With the elections not too far off, some politicians are practising...  More >

'I asked to pin in an American restaurant'

‘I asked if I could pin when paying the bill in an American restaurant’American Chris Osman, 31, has been in the Netherlands for four years and is surprised by how different all the 12 Dutch provinces are, given the size of the country.How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was finishing a teaching gig in Hong Kong and visited a friend in Maastricht on my way home. I focused on finding a job first in Europe before returning home and received a promising lead that ended up not working out. However, I found an opening with Webster leading graduate enrollment in Webster’s graduate programmes and got the job!How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc - and why? I’m definitely an international. I caught the travel bug when I did a study abroad programme for one year in Germany during my Bachelor’s degree. One internship and a Master’s degree later, I travelled through Asia and am now living in the Netherlands. As the Netherlands is a very international country, we are the perfect fit.How long do you...  More >

10 traditional Dutch recipes

10 traditional Dutch recipes – not all of which involve potato It would be very easy to be snotty about Dutch food and talk about snack bars, chicken with apple puree and the ubiquitous ‘ovenschotel’.  We could go on and on about boiled chicory with ham and cheese sauce and meatballs with green beans and potatoes – served at 6pm sharp.But we won’t be doing any of that. We have a sneaking appreciation for some traditional Dutch recipes – especially those guaranteed to get you through the cold winters. Here are 10 dishes you really should try.1. Stamppot and its ilk Let us get this out of the way to start with. When it comes to food it seems the Dutch like nothing better than to mash things. They cannot put a number of perfectly nice ingredients together without taking a hand blender to them. But then, it’s difficult to make a hash of a mash – the basic ingredients being simply potato and some vegetable or other. There is an endless list of things you can mash. Here are some examples.Hutspot is said to have originated in Leiden...  More >

V&D's owners are doing a bad job

V&D’s private equity owners fail to show business acumen V&D is tired and looks as if it’s fighting a losing battle. And its owner isn’t helping, writes Jan Maarten Slagter.At the end of the 1980s, V&D was struggling to shed its tired image. Then, as now, shopping at the store was not a pleasure but a necessity: you were out of socks, or you needed a pencil case. They had all you needed but nothing that made you dream.The management of V&D realised this and in a rare moment of self-knowledge set about developing a new concept for the store’s in-house restaurants. Until then, the V&D restaurant experience had the boring uniformity of a motorway service area: coffee and a cheap piece of apple tart from the freezer was the best they had to offer.OppositeAll that had to change and V&D decided to ask its customers what they thought a typical V&D restaurant would look like. They made a list and then came up with its exact opposite: La Place was everything you wouldn’t expect to find at V&D. The restaurant...  More >

Amsterdam city council as pimp

Amsterdam city council as pimp Amsterdam city council has plans to set up and run a number of brothels itself - where women can work in the sex industry out of free will.  Christian Democrat city council members Marijke Shahsavari en Diederik Boomsma think the council as pimp is taking things a step too far.More and more people are beginning to realise that prostitution in Amsterdam is going hand-in-hand with serious abuses, people trafficking and oppression.Fortunately, the faux romantic air of ‘look how free and easy we ex-Calvinists have become’ that used to surround the red light district is on the wane. Lately, new steps were taken to protect women. With the support of the Amsterdam Christian Democrats the minimum age for prostitutes was raised to 21 and more stringent licencing rules were put in place.NormalThere is a difference, however, between offering protection and trying to ‘normalise’ prostitution. By effectively running the brothels itself, the council is taking things a step further:...  More >