Saturday 24 October 2020

DutchNews podcast – The King of Ophefs Edition – Week 43

DutchNews podcast – The King of Ophefs Edition – Week 43

It’s been a week of blaming and shaming as the king and queen flew into a storm of outrage over their pandemic-busting trip to Greece. A Dutch hacker hijacked Donald Trump’s Twitter, AZ snatched an unlikely win in Naples and the egg-pilfering gay penguins were up to their usual tricks. Further lockdown measures loom larger as coronavirus infection numbers continue to climb. And there’s concern that up to 6,000 British people may become illegal immigrants at the stroke of midnight... More >

Rabo is more than a bank account

For some new arrivals in the Netherlands, it is like opening the pages of a novel by Kafka. You arrive here, you need to transfer a deposit for a house, you desperately need a bank account, but you can’t get a bank account until you’ve registered your address with the city. This is just one of the dilemmas that the Rabobank’s international client team desk helps international residents in the Netherlands solve. Such has been the demand from the tens... More >

Huawei is committed to Europe

This week Huawei held its online conference eco-Connect Europe 2020 under the theme of ‘New Value Together’. The event marked 20 years of Huawei technology being available in the Netherlands, and across Europe. Huawei opened its first European R&D centre in Europe in 2000. Today, the company serves serving customers in every European country, and works with over 3,000 suppliers and 1,000 partners in the region. In 2019 alone, Huawei contributed more than €16.4bn to Europe’s GDP and has a... More >

‘I can now hear an alarm without fear’

Rami Abusaleh (31) arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee in 2014, stateless and alone. He has since got married, become a Dutch national, and is beginning to heal from the trauma of living with conflict and oppression in his home country of Syria. A Master’s student in comparative literature at the University of Amsterdam, Rami dreams one day of having his own educational centre for cultural analysis. He is currently seeking work. How did you end up in the... More >

$55m in funding for cultured meat maker

It has been over seven years since Dutch researcher Mark Post unveiled the world’s first ‘cultured meat’ burger. Grown in a laboratory at Maastricht University, the single beef patty took several years and several hundred thousand euros to produce. Now Post’s company Mosa Meats has just raised $55m in a second round of funding. As costly as it was to develop, Post’s innovation offered proof that real meat – not a meat tasting alternative – could be produced without the... More >

Euthanasia for people with dementia remains a minefield

Granting people with dementia the right to ask for euthanasia when they are still capable of making the decision will free doctors from the task of taking the decision for them, says Klaas Rozemond, associate professor of criminal law at Amsterdam’s VU University. Once again, a medical disciplinary board has said the actions of a doctor involved in the euthanasia of a patient with dementia were negligent. On August 17 the Amsterdam disciplinary board decided that a doctor who works... More >

Podcast: The Lockdown Roulette Edition

Mark Rutte was in no mood to celebrate his 10th anniversary as prime minister this week, but there was a party outside Parliament as drinkers packed the bars for a last round before lockdown. We ask if the new restrictions will be enough, why Germany is bailing out the Dutch ICUs again and whether circle parties will ever return. In crime news, the chances of being murdered go down but the stakes for illicit gamblers are raised as police break... More >

Life everlasting? ‘Green’ burials grow

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And now, you might add, mushroom roots to help break the body down. While more than half of the Netherlands no longer believes in a formal religion, funeral directors have noticed a huge growth in interest in ‘green’ funerals and new rituals of grieving. A Delft University of Technology student start-up has been overwhelmed with the response to its ‘living cocoon’ coffin, made from the root structure of fungus, mycelium. Once... More >

The government's 2021 tax plans

Last month, the Dutch government announced a set of measures aimed at creating ‘a better, fairer and greener tax system’, and many of the changes will make a difference especially to those at the lower end of the income scale. ‘This was an important budget for various reasons,’ said a spokesperson from tax and benefits expert Blue Umbrella. ‘The government wants to stimulate the economy again, keep people in work or at least retraining for their future career, and make... More >

Dutch destinations: western Groningen

If you are looking to get away from it all, if you love walking or birdwatching or just exploring an unknown bit of the Netherlands, then the western part of Groningen is an often overlooked gem. Muntjersyster Ryd, Middag-Humsterland, Langewold, Elzinge – many of the names in this very rural part of the country sound as they have come straight out of Lord of the Rings. They are names steeped in history, and Westerkwartier, which runs from the Wadden Sea... More >

Podcast: Nightmares at the Binnenhof

After months of delays, the coronavirus tracker app gets the green light just as the country’s infection map turns a deep shade of red. The disease even manages to get sucked into the black hole of ophef that is the renovation of the Binnenhof. In another long-running saga, Willem-Alexander is thwarted again in his quest to become the Sun Energy King. And in sports news, Kiki Bertens is accused of contempt of court at the French Open and PSV snap... More >

Buying a house? You may need an office

Will we go back to the office full time, once the coronavirus crisis is finally over? Labour market experts and behavioural specialists are following developments closely. However, there are signs that the switch to home working is beginning to have an impact on the housing market. ‘I have definitely noticed a change in the way people are approaching buying a house since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,’ says real estate agent Mie-Lan Kok, who specialises in helping international workers... More >

Playing around with robots in healthcare

Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative aims to ensure nobody is left behind in the digital world by encouraging digital inclusion programmes and empowering technology adoption globally. The project is similar to some of the work happening within academia across Europe, where research projects are focused on harnessing technology for societal good. Professor Andrea Bonarini has spent 10 years investigating this cause at the laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics of Politecnico di Milano (AIRLab), through the development of games involving robots and... More >

'Do you know about the naked bike ride?'

Miyuki Okuyama grew up in Yamagata, Japan and works as a professional photographer. Her latest exhibition, Foto-opdracht Nightfall, is currently underway in her new home town, at the Museum Arnhem. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came to Holland to do an artist in residence and work on an exhibition. I’m still here. I met my husband, who is also an artist, in Arnhem. That was 18 or 19 years ago already. We got married later on,... More >

Lemonade makes insurance easy, transparent

A bubbly new personality might not be what you expect in the insurance world – but the data-driven company Lemonade likes to look for the upside. Lemonade, an American company with EU headquarters in the Netherlands, has just launched its contents and liability insurance on the Dutch market. Its tagline is that it’s built ‘for the 21st century’. Instead of dealing with brokers, and lots of ‘hold the line’ moments, it aims for instant everything and zero paperwork, offering a... More >

What is reverse culture shock?

Many readers are former expatriates who have returned to their country of origin but maintain a connection with the Netherlands. For some, this homecoming was accompanied by an acute culture shock. What does this confusion about ‘home’ feel like and what is reverse culture shock? finds out. ‘It was like a case of mistaken identity or something,’ says Irish national Mary Queally (40), who in 2018 moved from Amsterdam back to the picturesque west coast of Ireland where... More >

Podcast: The MN-4D Political Chess Edition

They can cover our faces, but they can’t mask the awkwardness of performing a full U-turn in a matter of days. Mark Rutte grudgingly agreed this week to mask up at the grocery store and advised everyone else to cover their faces wherever the sun doesn’t shine. That prompted an even more startling U-turn from Geert Wilders, who suddenly decided he didn’t like the government telling people what to wear in public. Elsewhere, the Covid recession started to bite as... More >

Don't celebrate yet, first-time buyers

First-time buyers have been having a hard time of it of late, but they should not start celebrating the recent budget tax cut just yet, writes José de Boer, of financial consultants FVB De Boer. Last month the government published its 2021 spending plans which, at first sight, contained some good news for first-time buyers. Ministers have decided to scrap the transfer tax – overdrachtsbelasting – that everyone buying a home has to pay over the cost of the property.... More >

Can you do your tax return yourself?

The Dutch tax office has an advertising slogan about making it easier to sort out your tax affairs, even though this is something nobody likes to do. But can everybody file their taxes without the help of a specialist? And what is the impact of coronavirus and remote working likely to be on your 2021 tax return? ‘Of course, if you have a straightforward job, don’t own a house and speak Dutch you can file your taxes pretty easily,’ says... More >