Friday 22 November 2019

‘I stick to the Swedish way of always wearing a bike helmet!’    

‘I stick to the Swedish way of always wearing a bike helmet!’    

Annika Markovic is the Swedish ambassador to the Netherlands. She enjoyed meeting the king when she first arrived here, is fond of the north of the country and her favourite Dutch word is ‘klant’. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Being ambassador is a government appointment so it was the Swedish government that appointed me. But you can also indicate your interest… and I was interested in coming here. In some ways the Netherlands is very similar to... More >



How to cut your energy bills and save cash

With chilly days upon us and the nights drawing in, you are bound to be using more gas and electricity at home – something you cannot fail to see if you have a smart meter. Making sure your home is well-insulated, turning off the lights when you leave a room and even turning down the central heating a degree will all help cut your energy spending. But you can also save money by shopping around to make sure you have... More >


Clubs and societies are still key

It’s 2019. The internet is beyond prevalent and internationals in the Netherlands are very online. Yet groups that meet face to face to socialise and network are still a key part of the international community. Ionna Dimitriou would describe herself as a person who is very online. The 27-year-old Greek native plays Fortnite, a cooperative video game where she and her teammates battle against zombies. She’s active on a forum to discuss the game, which is how she met her... More >



Readers' tips for new arrivals in NL

We asked our social media followers for the single most important tip they would give a newcomer to the Netherlands. These are your answers. Customs Learn that please (alstublieft) is when you give someone something not when you ask for it Choose wisely – you can only have one (1) cookie with your cup of coffee. Buy an agenda and get used to know what are you are going to do two weeks in advance. Start eating slice of bread... More >


Podcast: The Vroem Vroem Debacle Edition

As the nitrogen crisis continues to hang over the country like a vaguely threatening cloud, we examine how cutting speed limits became such a hot political potato. A court orders the government to bring home the children of jihadist mothers, while the MH17 takes another twist as prosecutors implicate Russian military commanders. The start of Sinterklaas season triggers the annual tide of rage about Zwarte Piet and GroenLinks leader Jesse Klaver is named the brightest star in the Dutch political... More >



Threat against anti-blackface is real

While opinions about how to modernise the Sinterklaas celebration remain as entrenched as ever, pro-blackface activists are becoming more radicalised, and the threat should be taken seriously at this weekend’s parades, write Liesbeth Hulst and Kees van den Bos. In 2017 a group of pro-Piet activitists prevented a demonstration from taking place during the Sinterklaas parade in Dokkum. In 2108 a number of parades were marred by hooligans intimidating demonstrators. In at least nine local councils, anti-blackface Pete demonstrations were... More >


Smile! Frankey street art cheers the city

Have you sometimes thought that a strange public sculpture looks rather like a skate park? That there are some house numbers missing, or that a bit of brickwork looks a bit like a pizza oven? If you are street artist Frank de Ruwe, that means that it is crying out for an intervention. This 41-year-old from Eindhoven, a creative director of ad agency Natwerk, has a mission to raise a smile on the faces of Amsterdam’s city dwellers. On dozens... More >



Is it time to switch health insurer?

If you are considering switching health insurer, all the big health insurance companies have now published their premiums for next year. And there is bad news in particular for people with a collective policy – because their discount is being halved. Health insurance premiums are going up marginally in price for the basic package next year, according to an overview by Zorgwijzer.nl. While some policies will actually be slightly cheaper,  the price differences between policies is increasing yet again. In... More >


Online gaming is neither good or bad

Gaming. The word triggers worry and fear in many parents and caregivers. Gaming addiction is a growing problem but at the same time, kids who game are acquiring valuable knowledge and skills. Gaming makes digital environments and experiences familiar and helps them understand gamification (using game design and game principles outside of gaming) which is a tool being used by companies and organizations such as ING, Nike, Starbucks and Microsoft to engage people, sell products and services, and influence behaviour.... More >



The girl with the pearl is looking at me

What do you do if you have been sent to live in the Netherlands as a trailing husband, while your wife works in a high powered job? Columnist Joe Weeg, who was here in 2018, is back again for a short visit. Part 2: the Mauritshuis She’s definitely looking at me. Of course, it’s just a trick of the eye. A common phenomenon. We’ve all experienced it. But still. After all the adulation, the paparazzi, the gazillion of hours devoted... More >


Podcast: The All Hijackers On Deck Edition

It’s been a week of false starts and abrupt endings as Schiphol’s timetable was thrown into turmoil by a trigger-happy instructor. Teachers went out on strike following a double U-turn by unions, a lawyer survived a cross-border assassination attempt and Ajax salvaged a draw after being reduced to nine men against Chelsea. We also discuss the fall-out from the recent revelations about a raid by Dutch fighter planes that killed 70 civilians in Iraq. Want to support the DutchNews podcast... More >



After the gas ban, the city heat is on

  Councils may be blind, but in Purmerend people are wising up to the problems inherent in banning gas and burning wood instead, writes columnist Syp Wynia. Like many a local council, Purmerend wants to be the most sustainable and climate-ambitious local council in the land. And that means it wants to be the first to go gas-free. If local politicians don’t promote the sustainability competition, then wily climate bureaus will. And will it work? The people of Purmerend will... More >


'Complaining is deeply ingrained'

Cafe owner Canadian Chris Godwaldt only moved to the Netherlands four years ago, but he speaks Dutch and is a proficient complainer. He’s sold everything back home and has no plans to leave the Netherlands.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I am of Dutch extraction. My mother is Dutch and my father’s parents were both Dutch, but I was born and raised in Canada. When I was 17, I didn’t want to go on a school trip... More >



Meet Pixie, Amity's new school assistant

The newest recruits to the classroom are furry and four-legged. We visit Amity International School Amsterdam to learn how their school dog helps create an innovative and nurturing learning environment. It might sound barking mad, but the staff list at Amity International School Amsterdam includes Miss Pixie, a three-year-old dog. Fitting in snugly with the school’s caring philosophy, where social and emotional development is as important as academic excellence, the adorable cockapoo – a cross between a miniature poodle and... More >


Blogwatching: Five mini tales of taal

Rebekah was born in Ireland, grew up in England and met her Cornish husband in Catalonia. They now live in the Netherlands, in Dutch suburbia, with their two differently wired, small kids. She spends her days parenting, writing and being amazed at all the Dutchness around her. She writes at Write Now Rebekah. Five mini tales of taal One I’m in Dutch evening class, trying to write a short story with another student. We’re so drained from our day, that between... More >



Exhibition: the darker side of sex work

On one side of the room are images of happy hookers – red light district souvenirs like a miniature house of sex workers, or a condiments dish where a woman’s giant breasts figure as salt and pepper. On the other are 17 videos of re-enacted interviews with sex workers, telling darker stories of the legalised trade in Amsterdam, and other tales from across the world. Above them hang 60 masks, self-portraits by sex workers, some of whom are illiterate or... More >


Podcast: Dick Lawyer Hard Reset Edition

There’s a groundhog day feel about this week’s podcast as the builders’ protest fills the deep tyre treads left by the farmers on the Malieveld, yet another do-or-die date is set for Brexit and our favourite football manager once again comes out of retirement for one last job. Plus we bring you an 11-year-old shaggy dog story from the Achterhoek and the lottery giveaway that made green-eyed punters see red. In our discussion we step into the legal and political... More >



The deadliest woman in the Netherlands

Maria Swanenburg is arguably the most prolific female serial killer of all time, so why isn’t she world famous? Here’s a look at a fearsome former Leidener, and a group of modern day residents who are keeping her macabre legend alive. How many people did Maria ‘Goeie Mie’ Swanenburg kill in Leiden during her murder spree in the 19th century? Teacher and author Stefan Glasbergen believes he found the answer while he was working on a new biography about her.... More >


15 great things to do in November

There is plenty of English language theatre on offer this autumn, as well as great art and great debate. Get close to Audrey In 2016 the Nieuwe Kerk celebrated Marilyn Monroe’s 90th birthday by having a half-filled pot of face cream and some hair in a curler on show. This year Audrey Hepburn would have been 90, and the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam presents Intimate Audrey, an altogether more respectful affair. Put together by her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer,... More >