From space to sunshine: great things to do in October

From space to sunshine: great things to do in October

There's an autumn chill in the air and the leaves are starting to tumble, but that's no excuse to stay cooped up at home. Here's a round-up of some of the best ways to get out and about this October. Check out a royal handbag Amsterdam's quirky museum of bags and purses is staging a new exhibition of handbags that belonged to princesses and queens. Check out bags owned by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, Princess Grace of Monaco and, of course, the Dutch royals. Queen Maxima has selected three bags from the collection of former queen Juliana. Get spaced out On October 2, the European Space Agency is holding an open day at its headquarters in Noordwijk. Visitors will be able to wander round the sprawling facility at their own pace, meeting astronauts, scientists and mission designers while seeing special exhibits and actual space hardware. You need to register in advance to take part. Remember Marilyn Monroe The Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam is staging an exhibition of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia based on the collection of German Monroe aficionado Ted Stampfer. The items on show include a turtleneck sweater and black-and-white capri pants, dresses the star wore in several of her films, jewellery and even a little silver baby cup with her name engraved on it, as well as diaries and other papers. Dance into autumn The first weekend in October is the traditional home of the Dutch Dance Festival, featuring performances from up-and-coming choreographers as well as established dance companies at locations throughout Maastricht. The programme ranges from classical ballet to urban dance and avant-garde to modern dance. Visit a museum at night On October 29 it's The Hague's turn to open its museums into the wee small hours. In total 38 of the city's cultural institutions are taking part in Museum Night 2016. This year the theme is 'real fake'. The clocks go back that night as well, so you've even more reason to stay out and enjoy. Celebrate language Saturday October 1 is the second day of the popular Drongo language festival at the Jaarbeurs exhibition centre in Utrecht. The event is aimed at everyone who works in the language industry or who is interested in words. Take in some sunshine If your Dutch is up to it, why not catch legendary performer and tv personality Andre van Duin in a successful production of The Sunshine Boys at the snazzy De Lar Mar theatre in Amsterdam? Van Duin and Kees Hulst play two comics who attempt to reunite after years of not speaking to each other. This comedy production was awarded five stars by the NRC and AD. Have a good laugh The International Comedy Festival Rotterdam is now in its third year. This year's event, which runs from October 7 to 9, has a star-studded line-up including deadpan British comic Jimmy Carr, Brendon Burns (Australia/UK), and Gina Yashere (UK). Get close to the music lesson The British royal family owns one of the finest collections of Old Masters in the world, and 22 of them are featuring in a new exhibition at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. The show include works by Gerard ter Borch, Gerrit Dou, Pieter de Hooch, Gabriël Metsu and Jan Steen. The highlight of the exhibition is ‘The Music Lesson’ by Johannes Vermeer. Timed tickets for the exhibition are now on sale. Get into Dutch design Every October Dutch Design Week  takes place in Eindhoven. What is billed as the biggest design event in Northern Europe features the work and ideas of more than 2,400 designers at 80 locations across the city. The event, which includes concerts, debates and award ceremonies, runs from October 22 until October 30.  More >

How to get on with the job

Get on with the job, and let us take care of the details Congratulations! You’ve successfully secured that dream job in the Netherlands. Now you need to make sure you get the most out of the tax system. Tax breaks are a nice extra and if you know your rights the benefits can add up to a considerable sum. After all, there are few things the Dutch love more than a discount. Legislation The Dutch knowledge economy has prospered by attracting migrants with the right type of expertise, so it makes sense for the government to make it as appealing as possible for people like yourself to come and work here. To attract foreign specialists whose field of knowledge is scarce or unavailable in the Netherlands, the Dutch government introduced a special tax facility for expats known as the 30% ruling. Briefly put, this tax advantage means that you only pay income tax on 70% of your gross salary, so the remaining 30% is tax free. This tax benefit is applicable to expat employees working in the Netherlands as long as they meet certain requirements. The...  More >

How to go Dutch: Passing exams is easy

How to go Dutch: Every time I pass an exam I lose an excuse to speak English Five years ago Molly Quell moved to the Netherlands with her husband, an academic, for a short-term project. Now she’s single, has fallen in love with the country and finds herself in the unexpected position of having to integrate. Read the first and second parts of her series here. I was honestly terrified that as I sat down to write the third piece in this series, I would have to confess that I had failed the inburgeren examen. In fact, if you’d talked to me after I'd written the last piece I would have told you I was considering taking up residency in any country that didn’t require me to speak Dutch (which, it turns out, is most of the world). But that is not what happened. In the past three months, I have sat and passed two of the five exams – with 9s. As I explained in my first piece, the integration exam has five components: Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking and the infamous Knowledge of Dutch Society. I have passed Reading and Listening and am due to sit Writing...  More >

10 years of Top 10 stories

10 years of stories from the Netherlands that made a splash is celebrating 10 years of providing Dutch news in English. Since its launch in September 2006, the website has published 35,000 articles which have been read 76 million times by 13 million unique visitors from all over the world. So what have been the biggest stories and features over the years? ‘We have been surprised by the broad range of news stories which have made the top 10 of most-read items,’ says editor Robin Pascoe. ‘Classic Dutch subjects such as cannabis and euthanasia are included of course, but so are Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb’s outspoken views on Isis and sexual abuse within the Catholic church.’ Top news stories in 10 years More prisons to close as falling crime leaves cells empty Amsterdam will not ban tourists from cannabis cafes Dutch to scrap ban on insulting foreign heads of state Catholic church abuse: at least one youth castrated for ‘homosexuality’ Time is right to wipe out Isis, says Rotterdam’s Muslim...  More > in English, but not yet perfect’s English site is online but not yet ‘under the knee’ Since mid-June online hypermarket has been available in English to increase its appeal to non-Dutch speakers in the Netherlands and Belgium. The feature is in the beta phase and has been using automated translation software to translate the content from Dutch to English. So how is it working out so far? To carry out the translations, is working with Microsoft Translate. Because the translation is done automatically, the English doesn't always come out perfect. admit to their customers in the drop-down information bar that they don't quite have the service ‘under the knee’. You can, of course, buy a dictionary from to look up the original Dutch phrase onder de knie, which mean's you've mastered something. Books, music, computers, washing machines, baby clothes, cat baskets, bikes... you name it, probably sells it. Since being founded in 1999 has become the biggest online store in the country. And after receiving...  More >

'I have a Dutch layer full of memories'

‘Amsterdam in the 80s had a gritty, open texture and a kindly tolerance’ Julia Barnes, 59, is a musician (viola) and composer based in Zaandam. An American by birth, she's lived in the Netherlands for 35 years and remembers the man who used to rollerblade around Amsterdam wearing just a thong. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here from London to take lessons from a particular viola teacher. As a student I thought I would be in Amsterdam for one year. I had no idea about the local artistic scene and I found it to be diverse, wacky and wonderful. I met a man, now my ex-husband, and had two daughters. Today I am a performing musician, a teacher and a composer of new crossover projects mixing art, literature and music. I spent the last year and a few months composing nine song settings based on James Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach and putting them together with Dutch translations of the poems into a performance that tells the story of the poet’s journey from Dublin to Trieste to Zurich. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant,...  More >

A six month election campaign has started

And they’re off: a six month election campaign started with the budget Tuesday's budget was a predictable good news story and the launch of a six-month long election campaign, writes editor Robin Pascoe So, what a surprise! We’ll all be better off in election year. If last year’s budget was all about treading water and waiting to see what the economic upturn would bring, this year's is the coalition's last before the general election next March. Little wonder then that the emphasis is on boosting spending power across the board and rewarding voters who have gritted their teeth through four years of crisis, cautious recovery and cuts. A little extra in top-up benefits for the poorest families, the healthcare own risk payment gets frozen and more money for defence and public safety – all measures which can be guaranteed to generate a few positive headlines for the struggling VVD-PvdA coalition. Debate The pre-election nature of the budget will only be emphasized in the subsequent debate in parliament, where all the opposition...  More >

Not a tourist? This is the fair for you

New to the Netherlands and not a tourist? This is the fair for you Learning Dutch, finding a house, experiencing Dutch culture, making connections, solving immigration and tax issues, and finding employment – all at the 'I am not a Tourist' fair for Internationals in the Beurs van Berlage - Amsterdam on Sunday, 2 October 2016. For those not familiar with this annual celebration, the I am not a Tourist' fair is the biggest expat-oriented event in the Netherlands – expected to host 4,500 internationals and friends again this year. Still going strong after 13 previous editions, and the introduction of the Eindhoven edition, it brings you everything you need to enjoy life in the Netherlands. In just one day and under one roof at the beautiful Beurs van Berlage, this event is all about enriching your life abroad, whether you are new to the expat lifestyle or an old hand. Featuring the Job Fair for Internationals This year the Expat Fair will feature the Job Fair for Internationals, where expats can meet with some of the top employment agencies,...  More >

Video: how Schiphol airport has grown

Video: how Schiphol airport has grown over 100 years Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is celebrating its 100th anniversary and the city's archive has produced a video animation of how the airport has grown over the years. Today, Schiphol has five runways and processes 58 million passengers a year.   More >

What's On this autumn? English theatre

What’s on this autumn? English language theatre, comedy and other shows The International theatre scene continues to blossom, with an increasing number of English language companies, language-no-problem shows and internationally focused festivals popping up all over the country. Esther O’Toole had a look at what the new season promises. Theatre Toneel Groep Amsterdam In the last few years TA’s programming has become increasingly interesting and diverse. This season the theme of freedom runs through all the productions. Though most shows are in Dutch they still offer English surtitles on all their Thursday night performances and are continuing their cooperation with internationally renowned theatre directors. This season stellar director Katie Mitchell (UK) will be one to watch out for. Website The International Theatre in English Theodora Voutsa’s company return to the Compagnie Theater in Amsterdam November, with their much lauded modern version of Sophocles’ Antigone, which enjoyed a sell-out run back in March. November 4 and 25 only....  More >

Volunteer group Access celebrates 30 years

Volunteer organisation Access has been helping new arrivals settle for 30 years Whether it be sensible advice about childbirth or making friends, finding a job or even where to buy a tie, volunteer organisation Access has been helping internationals in the Netherlands for the past 30 years. Molly Quell looks back at the organisation's history as they celebrate their anniversary this month. The Access model is unique in the world but the problems it seeks to solve aren’t. The experience of moving abroad is, unsurprisingly, a stressful one. In 1985, the American Community Council (ACC), an organisation which brought together all of the American-focused groups in The Hague - from churches to schools - took on this challenge. According to Gale Metcalf and Joel Wallach, who helped with the founding of Access: 'It was not about the availability of support or information, it was access to and awareness of it that we noted as being absent in The Hague.' The ACC looked at that model and concluded that what its community needed was a clearinghouse for information...  More >