Universities partly blamed for downturn in Dutch as a language degree

Universities partly blamed for downturn in Dutch as a language degree Dutch is no longer a popular choice for prospective students but universities are partly to blame, says Lotte Jensen, professor of Dutch cultural and literary history at Radboud University in Nijmegen. In recent weeks newspapers have been reporting on the alarming decline in the number of young people opting to study Dutch at university level. It is a worrying development which, if the trend continues, could land Dutch in the department of minority foreign languages. There are several reasons why this should not be allowed this to happen. Not only do we need academically trained Dutch language and culture graduates to teach at secondary schools, we also need specialists to conduct research into the Dutch cultural heritage. Johan Koppenol, professor of Dutch literature (1100 to 1800) at the VU University in Amsterdam, rightly said that a profound knowledge of the Dutch language, culture and history has never been more relevant: all current public debates are about language and culture...  More >

ING takes the money and the biscuit

ING takes the money and the biscuit, says VVD MP Society has nothing to apologise for but ING does, says VVD MP Roald van der Linde, who is the party's financial markets spokesman in parliament. ‘It’s MPs who are fuelling public mistrust,’ said Henk Breukink, a member of the supervisory board at ING, in a recent opinion piece in the Financieele Dagblad. When I read this I nearly fell off my chair and I don’t think I can have been the only one. For years ING has looked the other way as criminals laundered the proceeds of their criminal activities. Far from incidental, this was part of a structural policy which criminals were quick to turn to their advantage while the chic bankers of the ING pretended not to notice. The end result was an out-of-court settlement of €775m, the biggest settlement the Netherlands has ever seen. As MPs, we represent the people and it is our job to call out these bankers. We are not alone. The finance minister said the practices at ING were ‘extremely serious’. Ordinary citizens are...  More >

Podcast: The Barbies and Bonnetjes Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Blackface Barbies and Bonnetjes Edition – Week 41 It's been a week of comings and goings after Russian spies were ejected from The Hague, Pim Fortuyn's assassin was allowed to emigrate, and Zwarte Piet got a last-minute reprieve. Ajax returned from Germany with a point in the Champions League and Unilever looked poised to stay in Brexit Britain despite the Dutch government's offer of a tax sweetener. In our discussion we try to bring you up to speed on the national soap opera that is the Willem Holleeder trial. TOP STORY Russia condemned for foiled cyberhack at OPCW headquarters Dutch did not arrest Russian spies 'to avoid damaging relations' NEWS Unilever ditches plan to consolidate headquarter operations in Rotterdam Children's daycare centre plans legal action to stop ban on electric wagons Broadcaster clarifies stance on Zwarte Piet: 'Some will be black' Judges say killer of Pim Fortuyn can emigrate Dutch MEPs want to open up expenses claims SPORT Ajax 'deserved to win' Champions League encounter...  More >

For sale in Amsterdam, very green homes

For sale in Amsterdam, family homes in a very green building A family home in one of the greenest buildings in Amsterdam and which won't set you back more in mortgage payments than you would pay in rent? A home with its own garden and great views, which is just a few minutes from Schiphol airport and the city centre? Too good to be true? Next year, developer Heijmans will start work on Vertical, a new residential project in Amsterdam west, which, the company says, is the place for modern families who want the convenience of city living but are interested reducing their environmental footprint as much as possible. The first tranche of homes has already been sold but the second batch is now up for grabs. You can sign up via the Amsterdam Vertical website. Bike-friendly A short bike ride from Amsterdam's Westerpark and the 'real' countryside, Vertical will have 144 homes ranging from compact garden lofts to family homes with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. So far, so good. But the Vertical project is special for a number of reasons. Firstly...  More >

13 things about the 80 Years' War

13 things you have to know about the 80 Years War It is 450 years since the start of the 80 Years War (1568-1648) and the Rijksmuseum has made it the subject of a major new exhibition. Here's what you need to know about why this was such an important event in Dutch history Who was fighting who and why? It was Netherlands versus Spain. The Netherlands of the 16th century was a patchwork of 17 gewesten ( areas ruled by nobles) stretching to the French border and including what is now Luxemburg and Belgium. It formed part of the Catholic Spanish empire and the Dutch, already chafing at the bit, became more contrary by the minute as freedom of religion was reigned in - ie Protestantism was under attack. Rumblings of war To begin with the Dutch nobles, led by William of Orange, asked the local Spanish powers nicely but the persecution of Protestants continued. In 1566 a group of protestant started smashing up Catholic churches in the south of the Netherlands, in what became known as the ‘Beeldenstorm’ (‘storming of the images’)...  More >

Blogwatching: Flex work spots in Hilversum

Blogwatching: The best flexible work spots in Hilversum for freelancers The Bitterballenbruid moved to Hilversum in 2014 and has been living there with her Dutch husband and her cat ever since. She writes about about Hilversum and ‘t Gooi area, eating too many bitterballen, getting married in Holland, learning how to be Dutch… and the language on her blog The Bitterballenbruid.  Freelancer? Remote worker? Me too! (The latter.) I often work from my office at home, but sometimes you need to get out of the house! Maybe you need some human interaction… or even just a good coffee! Enter the coffee shop… no, not that kind!! We’re in the Netherlands but I’m talking beverages here!! Freelancers need a good cafe where they can hang out and work… somewhere with strong wifi and equally strong coffee… I’ve visited A LOT of cafes in Hilversum over my 4 years of working from home, so let me share my favourite spots with you: 1. MOUT If you follow me on Instagram, you will know I’m here, A LOT. And why? Because it’s so damn good....  More >

A sticky workfloor is why women stay put

Glass ceiling? It’s a sticky workfloor that makes women stay put It's not the glass ceiling that keeps women from the top positions but the sticky workfloor of part-time jobs, says Barbara Baarsma, director of knowledge development at Rabobank and economics professor at the University of Amsterdam. If, like me, you think quota are a paternalistic panacea for the lack of women in top executive positions, you are duty-bound to monitor the labour market for women with an eagle eye. Unfortunately, the last 15 years do not make for happy viewing. The good news is that in 2018 over six in ten women are in work, half a woman more than in 2003. Having children is, apparently, no longer the hurdle to employment it used to be. Some 29% of working women have jobs in management, which is a good sign as it paves the way to the top. Compared to the 26% of women who work full time, women are not doing badly at all. The ratio is much lower for men: 73% work full time while ‘only’ 71%  of managers is male. But apart from this not much has changed since...  More >

Podcast: The Smoke-Free Bubble Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Smoke and Terrorist-Free Bubble Edition – Week 39 Partnerships made the headlines this week as Sigrid Kaag answered Rihanna's call to invest in education, Mark Rutte called on the UN to secure justice for the victims of the MH17 disaster and new fathers were given more time off work to spend with their babies. One baby that stirred more controversy was Morgan the orca's calf, born in Tenerife despite a 'no breeding' clause in the contract that regulated her move to Spain. And police and security services claimed to have thwarted a major terrorist plot in Arnhem and Weert. In our discussion we take a closer look at Groningen's plan to become the Netherlands' first smoke-free municipality. Top story Seven arrested as police foil 'major terrorist attack' News New gun licensing rules under fire for making owners disclose race and religion Paternity leave to be stretched from two days to five Rutte urges UN to help secure justice for victims of MH17 disaster Rihanna nudges Kaag to invest €20m in educational development Morgan...  More >

15 great things to do in October

Buy bulbs and spot bare bums: 15 great things to do in October The nights are drawing in and the autumn half-term holidays are approaching - but there are lots of great things to do in October. Why not listen to a Pulitzer prize winning journalist or go mushroom spotting, or even take in a play? Look at a Leonardo The Teyler's museum in Haarlem proudly presents the first big exhibition featuring Leonardo da Vinci's drawings in the Netherlands. The museum has squirreled together 30 drawings from various museums around the world for an exhibition focusing on how far Leonardo was ahead of his time. From October 5. Website Chase some (vicarious) thrills If you are the sporty type you will enjoy the European Outdoor Tour, a travelling series of films on mountaineering daring-do and other dangerous feats involving skis and wingsuits. October 10 -30 in theatres all over the country. Website Get your bulbs at the Keukenhof Where would you go for bulbs but the Keukenhof. And they’re not your run-of-the-mill bulbs either, the Keukenhof promises....  More >

'Dutch families celebrate events together'

‘Dutch families have dinners together, celebrate special events and holidays together’ Sheetal Shah originally moved to the Netherlands with her husband while she was finishing her PhD and pregnant with their second child. She now lives in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, teaches psychology at Webster Leiden, and works with Bridge 2 Hope, an organisation that helps the victims of human trafficking.   How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was born and brought up in Mumbai and I moved to the Netherlands 12 years ago as a trailing spouse. My husband was working at ABN Amro and then he joined their global team. At the time, I was completing my PhD and was working, studying, volunteering, was a mother, and was soon to be a mother to a second son. I thought we would come to the Netherlands, I would finish the PhD, and we would eventually move back, but that never happened. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? This is a very interesting question because this has been a journey for me. I moved here as an expat but I’m very often...  More >

How safe is buying a car online?

First Dutch online second-hand car dealership cleans up industry image You can now buy a second-hand car and have it delivered to your door with a few clicks of the mouse. We find out why expats are embracing online car shopping. It sounds counter-intuitive to spend thousands of euros on a car you haven’t seen, but Bynco, the Netherlands’ first 100% online second-hand car dealership, has seen sales soar since it launched in 2017. ‘I was genuinely amazed when it turned up outside my house. Right until the last moment, I was thinking, ‘this is an internet scam’,’ says British expat Paul Hoban, a project manager from Groningen, who bought his Audi A4 Station Wagon on Bynco in May. Family members were also dubious. Paul’s mother-in-law told him that his money was as good as lost. But Paul had seen that the funds went into a third-party account hosted by GoCredible, which reassured him. All cars are independently inspected by DEKRA and the Thuiswinkel symbol on the website also demonstrates that the business meets high standards...  More >

The Dutch fi

The Dutch Film Festival goes English: blockbusters with subtitles galore The annual Dutch Film Festival in Utrecht, which culminates in country's most prestigious film awards, is making a big drive to attract an international audience this year, by subtitling many of the film screenings, including several box office hits. Here’s what you should know about the upcoming festival and a selection of what's on offer. 1 The Nederlands Film Festival is a Dutch institution and has been around since 1981. Cocking a snook at Amsterdam, Utrecht has traditionally been the venue for the film fest. This year the dates to save are September 27 to October 5. 2  The film festival is taking the English speaking contingent seriously: there are over 50 subtitled film screenings – including a number of blockbusters, prize-winning documentaries and festival premieres. Here’s the complete programme. 3 One of the must-sees is De Bankier van het Verzet  (The resistance banker, 2018) directed by Joram Lürsen, which follows a long tradition of Dutch wartime...  More >

Podcast: The King's Belgian Horses Edition

DutchNews podcast – The All The King’s Belgian Horses Edition – Week 38 In this week's podcast we bring you the latest news on the tragic accident in Brabant that cost four young children their lives. As it was budget day we also analyse the government's financial plans, including controversial measures on the dividend tax and the 30% ruling, as well as who wore the best hats and how government statisticians and Belgian horses made up the numbers. And while Dick Lawyer returned to the field for a last hurrah, a group of hot air balloonists got into hot water with a disgruntled farmer. Top story Town in shock after four children die when train hits electric wagon News Finance minister says budget will make Netherlands 'stronger, safer and more prosperous' Government rules out transition period for 30% ruling as expats plan legal challenge Dijkhoff's 'punishment by postcode' plan condemned on all sides Farmer denies holding hot air balloonists hostage on his land Sport Advocaat returns to FC Utrecht to settle unfinished business...  More >

What the tax reforms will mean to you

The government is reforming the tax system: here is what you need to know On Tuesday, the government published its 2019 spending plans, which include several changes to the tax system likely to have an impact on expats. In particular, we now know the government will not introduce a transition period for people claiming the 30% ruling. The government plans to introduce a number of changes to the tax system this year, although some measures will not come into effect until 2020 or later. Here’s a quick overview of the proposed changes. These will need to be ratified by the parliament and senate before they come into effect. 1 30% ruling Plan: This is the most awkward one for many expats. The maximum term of the 30%-ruling will decrease to five years and there will be no transition period. When will the change take effect: 1 January 2019 What does it mean to you: If you have already had the 30%-ruling for more than five years, the ruling will stop on January 1, 2019. For others the ruling will cease once your five years is up. It is important...  More >

Down with purchasing power predictions!

How much more in your pocket? Down with purchasing power predictions! There they are again: the spending power predictions. Don't you believe them, says economist Mathijs Bouman. Crack open the beer, we’re having a party. Next year spending power is up by 1.5%. For a while it looked as if the meter would get stuck at 1.3% but in an ultimate pre-budget day effort the government cranked it up by means of a number of measures. What these measures are we do not know – I’m guessing it will be something to do with a slight increase of the tax break for the elderly and some extra allowances for people on minimum incomes – but we do know they mean an extra 0.2 % to spend. This is important for people on benefits and pensioners in particular, because the gap between these groups and those in work is in danger of getting larger. The economic upturn means a healthy rise for the latter, and the government undoubtedly had to tug the national duvet quite rigorously to smooth the creases of injustice. But it worked: according to the calculations of the...  More >

Who is really Dutch anyway

You may have a Dutch passport, but when are you really Dutch? At least one of your passports may prove that you are Dutch. But who actually gets to be seen and accepted as a Dutch person by society at large? Traci White has been finding out. The 'average Dutch person' seems to be the only voter that Dutch political parties have cared about during elections this year and in 2017, even though no one knows who this imaginary man or woman is. One party’s 'gewone Nederlander' is another party’s 'boze burger'. During a 2017 lecture, Sybrand Buma of CDA said that the so-called 'boze burger' (fed up citizen) is just a normal Dutch person who feels he or she has hit a wall. 'His job has been given to an immigrant or an Eastern European person, his child’s education has become too theoretical and the coarsening of society is projected into his home on television.'Buma said. In a 2018 municipal elections campaign video, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Islamophobic PVV, avowed that Islam is antithetical to Dutch identity, implying that...  More >

DutchNews Podcast: Dick Lawyer Returns

DutchNews podcast – The Dick Lawyer Returns With A Leaky Suitcase Edition – Week 37 On this week’s podcast, we update you on Lili and Howick, further the leaks ahead of Budget Day and discuss the potential changes to the dual nationality law. Dick Lawyer returns and Paul sneaks in a bonus op hef. In the discussion, Molly interviews Gordon about his recently published memoir. All The Time We Thought We Had. Molly's Twitter Thread Top story Government plans leak out ahead of Tuesday’s 2019 budget News Minister changes his mind, Lili and Howick can stay in the Netherlands Dutch funded ‘jihadist’ group in Syria, terror trial may now falter Dutch to publish ‘modernised’ dual nationality plans next spring Dutch singer Glennis Grace makes final of America’s Got Talent Sport FC Utrecht maakt zich op voor komst Advocaat Discussion: Interview with Gordon Darroch All The Time We Thought We Had - Amazon All The Time We Thought We Had - ABC Book Launch (Join us!)  More >

It’s back, the ‘I am not a tourist’ Amsterdam expat fair for internationals

It’s back, the ‘I am not a tourist’ Amsterdam expat fair for internationals Find out everything you want to know about the Dutch expat life, under one roof: on Sunday 7 October 2018, the 16th edition of Amsterdam’s renowned I am not a tourist Expat Fair will shake up the Beurs van Berlage in the heart of Amsterdam. Explore what the Netherlands has to offer, including this year’s highlight sections: 'Jobs for Expats' and 'Houses for Expats'. Every year we give you the chance to take part in engaging and useful workshops, mingle with thousands of fellow internationals and network with companies from across the country in what has become the largest expat-focused event in the Netherlands. And, what’s more, it’s free! Living, working and studying in the Netherlands We have over 125 exhibitors and 40 professional presentations arranged around the themes of relocation, finance, employment, families, healthcare, education, transport, housing and setting up home. Next to that we have an entertaining programme. So whether you have just moved to Holland,...  More >

'I obsessively collect supermarket stamps'

‘I obsessively collect supermarket stickers for cheap crockery I don’t need’ Writer and journalist Gordon Darroch was widowed soon after moving to The Hague with his terminally ill wife, Magteld. He talks about the challenges of single parenthood, Jan Steen and the secret of a perfect uitsmijter. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife, Magteld, was from Drenthe and like a lot of mixed couples we’d talked idly for years about emigrating, especially once we had children. It became more urgent when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. The treatment seemed to have been successful, so we pressed ahead with our plans, but then in 2014, a week after we’d sold our house in Glasgow and booked the removal van, she discovered she was terminally ill. By then we were too far down the road to turn back and in any case she wanted to spend her remaining time with her family. She died seven weeks after we crossed the North Sea. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I suppose I’m a lovepat in the sense...  More >

Staffing agencies need calling to order

Staffing agency exploitation is the other side of the benefit fraud scandal Last week, the Dutch media was full of a new scandal, which they dubbed 'the Polish fraud'. But the expose only covered part of the story, and the real scandal is going unmentioned, says Malgorzata Bos-Karczewska, editor of Polonia.nl. Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees wants to come down hard on Polish fraudsters, who are claiming unemployment benefit while living back home in Poland.  He is, of course, totally justified in doing so, but in essence it is not enough. Why? Because the way temporary employment agencies operate is pushing Polish workers into unemployment and forcing society to foot the bill. Instead of focusing on the symptoms, the minister would do better to eliminate the root cause of this particular ill. The Netherlands is sloppy when it comes to its treatment of other EU country workers. The Poles, so beloved of employers for their capacity for hard work, are ending up on unemployment benefits by the thousands each year at the expense of the taxpayer. Cheap...  More >