Labour’s integration policy backfires

Labour’s integration policy backfires

The Dutch Labour party has just expelled two MPs of Turkish origin for not agreeing with the party line. But having antiquated ideas is a prerogative of living in a democracy, says former Amstedam University professor Meindert Fennema.   The Labour party wants to change tack completely. Today’s slogan is ‘bottom-up instead of top-down’. Labour administrators, councillors and MPs should...  More >

11 Dutch phrases involving animals

11 Dutch phrases involving animals In both Dutch and English you can catch bulls by the horns and run around like headless chickens. Here is a list of 11 more popular Dutch phrases involving animals. Be poedelnaakt, or as naked as a poodle. Except the word nothing to do with poodles and comes from poedelen, or splashing about in the bath. Wash a pig. If someone says: Ik zal dat varkentje wel eens wassen they mean that they will tackle this job good and proper. Be as stoned as a shrimp. This entered the language thanks to comedian Kees van Kooten who had a hit with his carnival song parody Stoned als een garnaal. Listen to it here. Have your sheep on dry land. If you have your schaapjes op het droge you are rich. Be caught in dog’s weather or hondenweer. You wouldn’t send your dog out in it. Unless you give him a little raincoat. Take the hare’s path. Het hazenpad kiezen, or scarper Be as bald as nits. Slightly puzzling. Nits don’t commonly have hair but there is probably a connection between...  More >

Stress at work

Stress at work should be employers’ headache Why should workers come up with solutions for workplace stress-related problems? It’s up to the employers to act, and a time management course won’t do the trick, say psychology professors Michiel Kompier and Sabine Geurts Last week, home affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher proclaimed a workplace stress week, and not for nothing: stress at work is a wide-spread and growing phenomenon bringing a range of psychological and physical problems in its wake. More people need to take time off work because of illness. Some of the causes of workplace stress have to do with the changing nature and context of what we do. Because of ICT and automation, modern jobs are highly intensive and primarily done behind a computer. Relatively simple production work has been moved to low wage countries and the economy has become focused on knowledge and services. What we are left with are jobs that can be complex and emotionally draining. It could mean dealing with aggressive customers, patients or prisoners,...  More >

Shoppers: Pushy cashiers are a pain

Stop badgering shoppers at the till with sweets and biscuits and put some healthy treats on display, say behavioural scientists. Research shows that 6 out of 10 people don’t like the ‘pushy cashier’ phenomenon. Pushy cashiers try to sell you something as you are paying for your groceries and it’s usually something not particularly healthy, like a chocolate bar, or rather two chocolate bars for the price of one. Even if the cashier is not trying to lure you into buying something extra, the supermarket cash desk is usually surrounded by an artfully displayed array of snacks. One in five people say they regret having succumbed to temptation at one time or another. We, a number of behavioural scientists and the centre for nutrition Voedingscentrum, are urging shops and other food outlets to make it easier for consumers to make a healthy choice. Liquorice while you read More and more non-food shops now have an ample display of snacks, sweets and chocolate at the till. Petrol...  More >

10 must see IDFA documentaries

10 documentaries you must see at this year’s IDFA festival The IDFA documentary film festival takes place in Amsterdam up to November 30. More than 300 films are being screened during the 11 day event, which was first held in 1988. Here is the Parool's list of 10 documentaries you should not miss. 'Plaza man' (Director: Kasper Verkaik) Robert Groder turned 18 the day president Kennedy was shot. He has dedicated his life to finding out the ‘truth’ about what happened that day. His obsession - Groder paints a big X on the road at Dealey Plaza, Dallas every day – has taken a heavy toll on his personal happiness. 'Solo – Out of a dream' (Director: Jos de Putter) In 1994 Jos de Putter’s 'Solo – De wet van de favela' was an Idfa winner. It turned Leonardo, an eleven-year old football player from the favelas, into a star who played for Ajax and Feijenoord.  Twenty years later De Putter and Leonardo return to Rio: the confrontation with his past is not an easy one for the football player. 'Finding Fela' (Director: Alex...  More >

The Dom tower in Utrecht by drone

The Dom tower in Utrecht by drone Film makers Jelte Keur and Reinout van Schie say they were waiting 10 months for the perfect weather conditions to take this stunning footage of Utrecht’s Dom tower. The resulting film of the city's cathedral tower surrounded in mist was taken earlier in November using a drone. The Dom is the tallest church spire in the Netherlands at 112.5 metres and was built between 1321 and 1382. The cathedral itself was never completed and collapsed in 1674, leaving the tower as a separate structure.   More >

'The Scots and Dutch are pretty alike'

‘I think the Scots and the Dutch are pretty close to each other’ Charlie MacGregor, 38, is Scottish and came to the Netherlands 11 years ago. He is the founder and CEO of The Student Hotel group. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved from London to Amsterdam after coming here for lunch with my girlfriend. We both fell in love with the city within 20 minutes. Six weeks later we moved here together. I rented an amazing flat on the Singel from a local guy who had a really good network of friends (all Dutch) which I slid into and never looked back. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc - and why? I’m just me who lives here. I am very lucky that I have fitted into the Dutch scene very quickly. I don’t have many (if any) expat friends, they’re all Dutchies. It was harder the first few years than it is now. How long do you plan to stay? My plan was to stay two years then move onto Barcelona. I figured I may as well learn a bit of Dutch before I leave so I had my first Dutch lesson within...  More >

Delft sells science with sexist stereotype

TU Delft sells science with sexist stereotypes Is a sexist flash mob video the best way to encourage links between industry and universities? Delft University of Technology chemistry Phd researcher Aldo Brinkman doesn’t think so. Delft University of Technology has an official Facebook page and earlier this month it endorsed a video aimed at technical studies students. Not only was the video shot on campus but it was 'powered by the TU Delft'. Screaming blondes, a biker girl in lingerie and a fake Arab with a camel. Is this really the way we should be promoting ourselves? The two-minute video at first appears to be an amateur video of a flash mob. But in fact it is a small-minded white guy approach to humour promoted by a university that is struggling to get more women to attend. Sure, the acting is so-so and flash mobs are outdated and were popular years ago. That's okay. The real issues start with the questionable choice of a male hero. This is a university of technology we're talking about. It is a very real problem that...  More >

It's cool up north

It’s cool up north The northern Dutch province of Groningen is unfairly being written off by some because of economic problems and the earthquakes. But it is a vibrant place to be and deserves to be treated fairly, says Sandra Beckerman, a candidate for the Socialist party in next year's provincial elections. When I decided to study archaeology I had already made up my mind to go to a university in the one of the four big cities. My school at the time made it a rule that would-be students also had a look at universities further afield. I had never been to Groningen and up north I went. It was 200 kilometres from where I lived and I didn’t know a soul there but I knew there and then that Groningen it would be. Now, 14 years later, I live there still. Groningen and the north are beautiful. I love the people, the city, the university, the unique landscape, the dolmens, the mounds and the sky-filled views. That is why I was struck by a recent newspaper headline which said ‘The north is a write-off’....  More >

10 great Dutch reads in English

Nine great Dutch reads, translated into English The nights are drawing in, so why not curl up in front of the fire with a good book? Here's our pick of nine great Dutch novels in an English translation. The selection is a random one from website Netherlands by Numbers and of course there are many, many more.   The Dinner by Herman Koch Novelist Herman Koch’s fifth novel takes place in a well-known Amsterdam restaurant (a thinly disguised De Kas) popular with the upwardly mobile. Two brothers and their wives meet for dinner and as the evening wears on some very unsavoury truths emerge. The narrator  is disillusioned and deeply cynical former teacher Paul. Although he and his wife Claire seem to enjoy a happy home life, free from the hypocrisy he lays at his politician brother’s door, it transpires that his son has committed a disgusting and cold-blooded crime. Paul may have mislaid his moral compass but his vicious comments on middle-class tastes are right on target.   In my father’s garden by Jan Siebelink The...  More >

'You feel part of the little bus family'

‘When you get on a bus, the driver says hello’ Kristina Wilms is 27 and from Germany. She came to Amsterdam after winning a European competition to devise a start-up - which she now leads. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The whole story began in October 2013 when I won a ticket for the BeNeLux StartupBus. I didn't know anything about it at the time, but the StartupBus is a competition involving five buses travelling through Europe loaded with techies who compete against each other to devise a start-up within four days. At this time I was studying dance therapy in Germany - I suffer from depression and this was part of my treatment. As part of it, I had to track, reflect and later enhance my behaviour patterns and reactions. To do this, I had to fill out special forms at least three times a day. I had to fill them out in public and carry them with me all the time – which was an additional burden for me. Then I got this strange email in my spam:'Do you have an idea for an App? Tell us!' So I emailed them: 'I suffer...  More >