14 things about Johan Cruijff

14 things you may or may not know about Johan Cruijff Dutch football legend Johan Cruijff died at the end of last month at the age of 68. A number of initiatives are underway to commemorate the life of the man credited with pioneering the Dutch system of ‘total football’. In the meantime, here are 14 facts about the world's most famous number 14. 1 Johan Cruijff joined the Ajax academy when he was 10 but initially preferred to play… baseball. Fortunately wiser heads convinced him to opt for a footballing career at Ajax some five years later. 2 Cruijff scored on his debut appearance for the Amsterdam club at 17, but Ajax lost 3-1 to GVAV. ‘I remember two moments,’ he said 51 years later. ‘One was scoring my first goal for Ajax and two, not having the strength to take the corner shot. I pointed at my foot to suggest I had injured myself. We needed a substitute quickly because I simply didn’t have the strength.’ 3 Servaas (Faas) Wilkes, nicknamed Il Tulipano Volante (the Flying Tulip), was Cruijff’s idol. Born in 1923,...  More >

Ukrainians react to the Netherlands’ no

Ukrainians in the Netherlands react to the Dutch no vote Last week the Dutch took part in a referendum on the treaty of association between the EU and Ukraine. Just under one third of the electorate bothered to vote, but those who did voted 62% to 38% against the treaty. Graham Dockery spoke to two Ukrainians in the Netherlands about the result. ‘If I could have voted, I would have voted no,’ Anna stated bluntly. ‘Ukraine has to deal with its own problems first before getting into any kind of union. Ukrainians f****d up their own country like barbarians and now they wonder why people won’t accept them into the union? There’s a lot of double standards here.’ Anna (24) is a Ukrainian student living in Amsterdam. She came to the Netherlands three years ago from Donetsk, one of the regions hit hardest by the country’s ongoing civil war. Disappointment Iryna Rud was disappointed when she heard the result. ‘I think the problem was that many Dutch people have a negative opinion of Ukraine…which is of course influenced by...  More >

A guide to some of best Dutch coffee shops

A guide to some of the Netherlands’ best coffee shops (no, not those!) Tired of coffee that comes out of a plastic capsule? If you’d rather down a mug full of Folgers than a cup of coffee spat out of a machine operated by an indifferent waitress, well, keep reading. Here’s Brandon Hartley’s rundown on some of the best independent coffee cafes in the country. Feel free to include your own picks in the comments section below. Sweet Cup - Amsterdam In the Netherlands, the term 'coffee shop' has become synonymous with a certain vice favoured by Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg. Sweet Cup, along with the rest of the cafes in this article, isn’t that type of coffee shop. You won’t find any weed at this charming micro coffee bar and roastery located a short walk from the hustle and bustle of the Leidseplein. Oh, and the only dog (literal or otherwise) you’re likely to encounter is Sjefke. Lots of Amsterdam restaurants have a cafe cat but Sweet Cup is one of the few with a cafe dog. Sjefke, a young basset hound owned by Lisa Rooimans and Paul...  More >

The Dutch know how to deep-fry properly

‘The Dutch know how to deep-fry properly’ Cypriot Alexia Solomou is an associate legal officer at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. She has been in the Netherlands for nearly 18 months, is still working on her cycling skills and would love to have met Anne Frank. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2010 I was at Columbia University in New York and I got a fellowship with the president of the International Court of Justice which ended in June 2011. I then went off on my travels and when I was working at Cambridge University, I applied for an actual job here, which I was lucky enough to get. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? A globetrotter because I love moving around. How long do you plan to stay and why? Two years, and possibly another two, because that is how long my contract is at the International Court of Justice. Do you speak Dutch and how did you learn? I speak an intermediate level of Dutch. I have a private tutor. I'm a bit of a language buff...  More >

The Ukraine referendum is manipulative

The Ukraine referendum is cynical, manipulative and one we should boycott The Ukraine referendum is cynical, manipulative and all about fake democracy - so not something we should be voting in, writes DutchNews.nl editor Robin Pascoe. Tomorrow (April 6) the Dutch will be able to vote in a referendum on the EU's treaty of association with Ukraine. The vote is only open to Dutch nationals and the result of the referendum is only advisory – and it won’t have any official weight unless 30% of the electorate turn out. The Netherlands has, after all, already said it backs the treaty. So what is tomorrow’s vote really all about? The referendum on Ukraine is not about the treaty. It is about testing Dutch public opinion on the EU in general.  The campaign for a referendum was driven by anti-EU campaigners who have admitted they want to put pressure on the relationship between the Netherlands and the EU and deliberately looked for an issue they could use. Don’t care ‘We really don’t care about Ukraine, you need to understand that,’ Arjan...  More >

Lost years in terms of combating terrorism

The lost years: the state has failed to combat terrorism The state has failed to come up with a convincing counterstory to terrorism, says professor of jurisprudence Paul Cliteur. Perhaps one of the most remarkable facts to emerge from the confusion surrounding the attacks in Brussels is that very few people regard this as a failure on the part of the state. But that’s exactly what it is, isn’t it? Why else do we have states? A state is an organisation which purports to protect its citizens from each other and from attacks by other states. This primary function of the state is called the ‘monopoly on violence’. The state disarms its citizens, puts in place a system of law enforcement and a judicial system and arbitrates in conflicts. But since 9/11 and the many attacks that came in its wake it is starting to look as if the state is incapable, unwilling or not intending to take on this role. Politicians talk about terrorist attacks as if they are a natural phenomenon, something you can show your sadness about in a march or...  More >

10 Great things to do in April

10 great things to do in April From floating tulips and Pinocchio to clarinet music and Gainsborough portraits, here's our pick of the best things to do in April. Gasp at Gainsborough's portraits Gainsborough In His Own Words is the first exhibition in the Netherlands to feature the work of Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). He was the dominant British portraitist of the second half of the 18th century, although he preferred painting landscapes. The portrait shown here is from 1758 and is of his daughters Mary and Margaret. The exhibition consists of around 30 paintings and 30 watercolours, on loan from a variety of international museums and collections. In addition, there are a number of the letters on display which Gainsborough wrote to family, friends and patrons, and which provide an intriguing look at the personality of the man. Rijksmuseum Twente, Enschede until July 24. www.rijksmuseumtwente.nl Expect carnage Hot on the heels of Batman v Superman comes the year's second big blockbuster:  Captain...  More >

Dutch elite shows lack of moral leadership

Dutch elite forfeits moral leadership (but hangs on to its second homes) The Dutch elite has lost its moral leadership, writes political scientist Meindert Fennema. In an interview with writer and historian Geert Mak in Belgian newspaper De Standaard, the interviewer refers to the fact that in 1956 Geert’s father took in Hungarian refugees. Geert says he has fond memories of those refugees. The interviewer then asks him if he would do the same for Syrian refugees. ‘Well,' Geert says, ‘my father did have quite a big house.’ And hesitantly he adds, ‘if needs must, I would.’ I think the biggest difference between Geert Mak and his father is not the size of their homes. Geert’s father was a clergyman in a different era. That is where the crucial difference lies. Suicides in asylum seeker centres Until the seventies refugees were housed by private individuals, with the Church or the Red Family as intermediaries. In the nineties, solidarity became a matter for the government. When I called the vicar of Bloemendaal the other day, I asked...  More >

'At home we talk a Dutch English hybrid'

‘At home we talk that horrible Dutch and English hybrid’ Tracy Metz, 61, is a journalist and author who has lived in the Netherlands for over 36 years and has just been awarded the prestigious Grote Maaskantprijs 2016 for her work on architecture and landscape. She is currently director of the John Adams Institute, lectures on water management all over the world and describes herself as a gelukszoeker. How did you end up in the Netherlands? After college in the US I headed to Europe and planned to spend time in Spain and France. The cheapest ticket I could get was to Amsterdam so I ended up working there for a time to earn some money and then going off travelling again. I had a fluid relationship with the city until 1980 when I decided I'd like to settle here. I'd been teaching English to adults and had met the editor of the Parool newspaper. He introduced me to journalism and gave me a six-month internship. I knew immediately that being a journalist was what I wanted to do. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant,...  More >

Shortage of programmers will push up pay

Economist Mathijs Bouman thinks programmers and otherwise talented folk will push up the average wage. The Netherlands has two million unemployed, many more than the official tally of 600,000, according to a recent report from the Dutch central bank. It’s a labour surplus which will put any thoughts of big pay increases a long way into the future, even if the economy is showing signs of recovery, the bank opined. Really? The bank seems to be awfully sure of itself. Perhaps it was wrong to include all those who said they want to work more hours, even if they worked full time. At the same time half a million people who said they wanted to work fewer hours were ignored. Why? And why would the lack of trained welders or IT experts or otherwise talented folk not lead to a higher average wage? An email from the Intelligence Group If you really want to know about wage pressure it would be advisable to find out how difficult it is for companies to recruit the right staff. You might...  More >

The best Dutch stories on the web

A good read: the best Dutch stories on the web this month Cooking for refugees, real green electricity and a ban on short skirts. Ahead of the holiday weekend, here is our pick of the best longer reads from the international media and DutchNews.nl over the past month. From lawyer to chef Website Quartz carries a fascinating story about Syrian lawyer Kamal Naaje who is now cooking for hundreds of asylum seekers at an Amsterdam refugee centre.  'Dutch food is good - the volunteers are very generous in bringing it to us - but it is bland. We’re not used to it. We like spices,' Naaje tells Quartz. Read on First, pronounce inburgering Deciding to go through the inburgering process and learn Dutch led Molly Quell to discover that some people still think CD-Roms are the height of new technology. And that her dog likes to eat language books. Read on A WWII ghetto in Amsterdam Israeli news website Arutz Sheva looks at the Amsterdam district of Asterdorp, an Amsterdam ghetto where Jews were charged inflated rents during World War II ahead...  More >

'How could you do this, Karadzic?'

‘How could you do this, Karadzic?’ asks Srebrenica mother Munira Subasic, president of the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’, will be in court when former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic hears his verdict at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), writes Jesse Wieten. ‘This will be an historic judgment for both the victims and Bosnia and Herzegovina,’ Subasic said in an interview with Dutchnews.nl. Munira Subasic lost 22 relatives in the massacre at Srebrenica in July 1995, including her husband and son. During the Bosnian war the ‘safe haven’ in Srebrenica was protected by Dutch soldiers under the UN flag. Over 8,000 men and boys were murdered and buried in mass graves when the enclave was over-run by Bosnian Serb forces, in what was Europe's worst atrocity since World War II. ‘At the beginning of the war I could not and did not believe that it would happen,’ Subasic said. ‘I could not believe that our neighbours would turn their backs on us and that they would turn into perpetrators. I...  More >

'Our way of life'

Today I have nothing clever to say about the central European bank, writes economist Mathijs Bouman, in the wake of the Brussels bombs. First there is an 8.30 tweet from @LeMondeLive about a ‘double conflagration’, two explosions in the departure lounge at Zaventum airport in Brussels. Shortly afterwards I see images of people running from a smoking building. It’s obviously going to be one of those black days again, a day of watching tv disconsolately, a day that grows progressively worse with every new death and every new detail about the attacks. Perhaps you’re expecting a little piece about the latest policy analysis of the CPB , or a clever remark about the European Central Bank.  But I haven’t anything to say about that now. I am watching news bulletins with a heavy heart. Nothing clever comes to mind. I’m listening to Belgian prime minister Charles Michel who tells us, first in French and then in Dutch, that ‘what we feared might happen has happened’. I’m...  More >

Permanent contracts are good

Permanent contracts are good for competitiveness, say professors Employers are ignoring the importance of 'tacit knowledge' in their quest for easy ways to get rid of workers, at their and the economy's peril, say five senior economics professors. Much criticism, especially from the ranks of the employers’ organisations, has been levelled against the changes in the new Dutch dismissal law (Wet Werk en Zekerheid): the new rules will make it virtually impossible for small businesses to hire people and instead of fewer flexible contracts there will be more. Employment lawyers will have their work cut out. The most salient feature of their criticism is that is seems to be focused on the question of how to get rid of staff as simply as possible, as if downsizing is the only relevant business strategy. It exemplifies the way employers today regard the people who work for them. No longer an essential production factor contributing to the success of a business, they are increasingly seen as a costly encumbrance and a risk factor. Not only are they...  More >

New calls to release Dutch orca Morgan

New calls to release Morgan, killer whale caught off Dutch coast By Senay Boztas There was a tidal wave of reaction when the American park chain SeaWorld announced it would stop breeding killer whales and end controversial ‘theatrical shows’ last week. But scientists and activists are concerned about what this means for Morgan, an orca found off the coast of the Netherlands in 2010. This female killer whale has ended up living ‘under SeaWorld’s care’ at an amusement park called Loro Parque in Tenerife. SeaWorld, which operates in San Diego, Orlando and San Antonio, built its brand around a leaping, splashing killer whale known as Shamu. But ticket sales suffered and animal rights protests rose after the release of a 2013 documentary Blackfish, about an orca called Tilikum who was responsible for the death of a SeaWorld trainer and two others. Now, though, the orca known as Morgan is the subject of a new short film that is starting to tour film festivals, giving an impression of what life in a concrete tank might feel like for...  More >

Dutch schools should embrace expats

There is more to international education than a school uniform International schools may make Robin Pascoe a little nostalgic about school uniforms, but she wishes ordinary Dutch schools would do more to embrace their expat pupils. As a product of the British school system, I wore a shirt, tie and blazer to school every day for goodness knows how many years. The only change came when there was a girls’ revolution and we were finally allowed to wear trousers. But apart from that, it was do I have a clean shirt, is it ironed and will my new skirt from Chelsea Girl get past the prefects? When I finally left school, the first thing I did was set fire to my tie outside the gates. I can remember the sheer delight to this day. So it is with some surprise that I find myself looking at groups of international school pupils in their uniforms with more than a hint of nostalgia. There is something sweet and old-fashioned about them, from the tinies in their matching sweatshirts to the serious seniors standing around on street corners with a sneaky cigarette. International...  More >

Video: Syrian refugees make NL their home

Video: A Syrian refugee family in the Dutch village of Kessel-Eik It is now five years since the start of the Syrian conflict and since then, thousands of Syrian refugees have come to the Netherlands to make a new life. The conflict has triggered the world’s largest displacement crisis. Half of all Syrians have fled their homes, around 4.8 million of them have become refugees outside the country, mostly in neighbouring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq. The Thomson Reuters Foundation has been following Hanadi and her family who now live in the Netherlands. They had a middle-class life in Damascus, until the fighting closed in around them. They sold all they had and fled to Turkey. The team first filmed Hanadi and her family in 2014, when they had been in their new home in the small Dutch village of Kessel-Eik, for three months. Sixteen months later the team visited them again to see how Hanadi was getting on in her new European home. For the first part of the series, please visit the website.  More >

Can international students make it in NL?

Jobs, language, the weather: why don’t international students stay on? A record 90,000 international students are currently studying at Dutch universities and now account for some 10% of the student body. Despite programmes encouraging them to stay, most of them leave when they graduate - even though many would like to make the Netherlands their home. Molly Quell finds out why. In 2013, EP-Nuffic, the organisation for international cooperation in higher education, started a programme called Make It In The Netherlands (MIITN), aimed at retaining the foreign students who studied in the country, but left after graduation. When MIITN was launched, the numbers were pretty bleak. According to Nuffic, 70% of international students wanted to remain in the Netherlands when they graduated, yet only 27% actually did so. International students are said to cost the Dutch taxpayer an estimated €108 million per year and that money, according to official reasoning, is only recouped if those students stay on after graduation and work. ‘The recruitment and...  More >

10 essential things about a Dutch Easter

10 things you need to know about Easter in the Netherlands Easter (Goede Vrijdag, 1e and 2e Paasdag) takes place next weekend (March 25-28) and this year, coincides with the clocks going forward - so less sleep on Sunday! Easter Monday is a public holiday but Friday is a normal working day, apart from government workers, lucky things. Here is our updated list of Dutch Easter habits. Easter breakfast box If you have children at a Dutch primary school, they, rather you, will probably have to make an Easter breakfast box which they will give to another child in their class. This is a shoe box beautifully decorated with Eastery things and should contain all the ingredients for a delicious breakfast. Some schools have banned jam and sweet things, white bread and even chocolate eggs… which is a little odd. But hey, a cheese sandwich can be festive as well. Brunch An extended breakfast with all the family and friends on Easter Sunday – and possibly Monday if you are greedy. All sorts of rolls, cheese, ham, eggs, eggs and eggs. You may...  More >

Windlicht brings light to a wind farm

Windlicht is a led laser light show on a wind farm (update) This weekend's planned showing of a new project by Studio Roosegaarde focussing on the 'beauty of green energy' has been cancelled because the wind is coming from the wrong direction. The project involves beams of green light dancing across a wind farm in Zeeland but the weather has scuppered this weekend's planned laser display. Artist Daan Roosegaarde says has been inspired by the traditional windmills of Kinderdijk. At the same time, the installation is a tribute to modern ways of harvesting wind energy. 'There’s a lot of "I want it, but I don’t want to see it",’ Roosegaarde said in an interview with Wired. 'I think that’s weird. I think they’re beautiful, to be honest.' Keep a watch on the studio's Facebook page for new dates.   More >