Net broadcaster helps refugees connect

The net broadcaster helping refugees connect in the Netherlands In a modern office complex in Hilversum, all sleek elevators and glass walkways, are four journalists who know the value of free speech. Deborah Nicholls-Lee went to meet Arash, Basel, Besan and Kowfurow - refugees who were denied the right to speak their mind in their home countries. It is a far cry from fleeing your homeland to working in the heart of the Dutch media landscape, but Arash, Basel, Besan and Kowfurow have been lucky. In November 2016 they were selected to be part of an expanding editorial team at Net in Nederland (NiN)  a new website that uses subtitled Dutch television to help refugees improve their Dutch and to integrate into their new lives in the Netherlands. Kowfurow Ali (31), a Somalian who came to the Netherlands in 2009, explains how their work at NiN office mirrors its mission: ‘It is a learning process for us as well, as we are learning about the Dutch samenleving in depth [and] we’re learning the Dutch language because we speak, read and write...  More >


Nothing is black and white in Volendam

In ‘Holland’s most right-wing town,’ nothing is black and white Nestled alongside a picturesque seafront just a few kilometers outside Amsterdam, Volendam draws tourists with its hammed-up depiction of the Netherlands of old; all fishing boats, clogs and cheese shops. But there’s a new kind of gawker in town: the foreign journalist hungry for some homegrown Dutch xenophobia, as Graham Dockery reports. Volendam has become known to the foreign press as a bastion of conservatism in an otherwise liberal country. Far-right populist Geert Wilders may have won 17% of the popular vote in the last election, but in Volendam one in two people voted for his party, the PVV. With a general election approaching and Wilders topping polls, the eyes of the foreign press are naturally focused on the Netherlands. Following Brexit and the election of Trump, the wave of nationalism sweeping the western world could potentially break here next. Smear Campaigns Wim Keizer is angry at his town’s portrayal in the media. ‘They smear us!’ he exclaims. ‘We’re...  More >


Dutch News Podcast - Week 8

Hear all about it: Dutch News Podcast – The (Week 8) Top Story: Cannabis News DBB Storm King's birthday Lost and found at NS Sheep fund Football round up Discussion https://www.volksgezondheidenzorg.info/onderwerp/drugsgebruik/regionaal-internationaal/internationaal-0#node-gebruik-harddrugs-jongeren-nederland-en-de-europese-unie https://www.rechtspraak.nl/Organisatie-en-contact/Organisatie/Rechtbanken/Rechtbank-Oost-Brabant/Nieuws/Paginas/Schuldig,-maar-geen-straf-voor-bezit-drugsvoorraad-coffeeshop.aspx https://www.trouw.nl/home/gemeenten-willen-experimenteren-met-gereguleerde-wietteelt~a19f72e5/ https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2014/10/22/red-de-economie-legaliseer-wiet-maar-kan-dat-eigenlijk-wel-a1499439  More >


Some of the best Dutch escape rooms

We’ve gotta get outta this place: some of the best Dutch escape rooms Escape rooms have been popping up all over the Netherlands over the past few years. Brandon Hartley checks out the best of these adventure games that involve solving puzzles to get out of everything from old bank vaults to former prisons. The clock on a screen mounted on the wall said we had two minutes left. I ran over to the staircase while a flustered colleague shouted out some instructions. 'STEP ON THE FIRST STAIR, THEN JUMP ON THE THIRD ONE DOWN, THEN GO BACK UP TO THE SECOND ONE….NO, WAIT….WAIT! UHHH…..' She and our two fellow thrill seekers were trying to piece together a series of clues that would prevent us from getting zapped into an alternative dimension but it was too late. I did my best to bounce on the mechanical stairs in the correct order but we were out of time. Our collective goose had been cooked. Some escape rooms contain plotlines inspired by Hollywood films or involve famous figures from the history books. They accommodate as few as two players...  More >


Send a love letter to the Netherlands

Sign a pink hat love letter to the Netherlands if you live here! They marched in the Women’s March on January 21, 2017 against hate and for inclusion. Now Carrie Ballard and Hugo Skoppek are spearheading an open letter to the Netherlands. Dear the Netherlands, We are all people who live in the Netherlands. We are normal people; your neighbours. Some of us are foreigners, and some of us are Dutch. We all care about the Netherlands. The United States woke up to the election of Donald J. Trump only a few weeks ago. Many people were shocked. His campaign appealed to Americans who have been left behind by the modern economy, feel cheated out of their right to a good future, the white middle class whose views were not understood or addressed, and who feel they are looked down on by a supposed élite. Are they racist? No, but they witness minorities getting ahead of them and when the people are of a different color or religion it is easy to direct anger and fear at them. A better future? The supporters of the current US president thought...  More >


'Dutch cheese won me over'

‘Until I lived here I wouldn’t look at cheese unless it was in a burger’ Vince Dinga, 27, arrived in Amsterdam from Romania four years ago in search of a purpose in life. After studying for a masters degree he stayed on and is now PR manager with award-winning tech conference organisers The Next Web. He explains why wayward tourists make him laugh and he can no longer stomach stroopwafels. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was a combination of the desire to start from scratch in a new place and wanting to have a purpose and a goal in life. so, I started looking for interesting Masters courses. The University of Amsterdam looked really good: it was the only one I applied for and luckily it all panned out. Finding a place to live was difficult; back home in Bucharest it’s much easier. I was lugging my heavy suitcase around the city and staying in different places for a few days at a time. After about a month I found a really central place near Dam Square. That was great for a couple of years, being able to walk to Uni and go out a lot. But...  More >


'The Netherlands was always a safe bubble'

Election interview: The Netherlands was always this safe, prosperous bubble Former British parliamentary researcher Ben Coates says the recent economic upheaval has created an opportunity for politicians such as Geert Wilders to exploit the uncertainties surrounding globalisation and portray it as a threat. By Gordon Darroch It was a happy accident that first brought Ben Coates to the Netherlands. Stranded at Schiphol airport one day, he called up a Dutch girl he'd met on his travels and went round for dinner. By the end of that year he'd turned his back on his career as a parliamentary researcher in London and moved in with his new partner in Rotterdam. Now married, living in the harbour city and describing himself as a 'recovering Tory', Coates has been keeping a keen eye on this year's election even from his temporary base 7,000 miles away in Nairobi. Coates took an autodidactic approach to the concept of inburgering: he wrote a book, entitled Why The Dutch Are Different, that got under the skin of the Dutch psyche and unpicked the standard caricature...  More >


Dutch News Podcast - Week 7

Hear all about it: Dutch News Podcast – The Mansplaining Edition (Week 7) This week, it's elections, elections, elections and one stowaway cat. We talk the CPB report about the parties platforms, the latest polls and the rule of law assessment in election news. In our discussion, we cover equality in the Netherlands and why women seem to be lagging behind. Top Story CPB report News Rule of law PVV polls Groningen gas Ajax and AZ Austria cat Street harassment Discussion http://www.allesoverdeverkiezingen.nl/daling-aantal-vrouwen-in-kamer/ http://www.republiekallochtonie.nl/onderzoek-pro-demos-diversiteit-in-de-tweede-kamer-2012 https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/01/30/jonge-vrouwen-werken-al-parttime-6480120-a1543728  More >


Dutch South African relationship in focus

New Rijksmuseum exhibition focuses on Dutch relationship with South Africa The Netherlands’ 'disturbing and striking' colonial history in South Africa is the centre of an new exhibition covering 400 years of the Dutch South African relationship at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Julia Corbett has been finding out more. 'The arrival of the Dutch changed South Africa once and for all,' says Martine Gosselink, head of the Rijksmuseum's history department and the exhibition's producer. 'The population’s composition and the introduction of slavery by the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) result from the ties with our country. But this also applies to the language, Afrikaans, the legal system, the protestant church, the introduction of Islam, the typical façades and the Dutch names on the map.' The exhibition Good hope. South Africa and the Netherlands from 1600 focuses on images and artefacts linked to the fraught history between the Netherlands and South Africa throughout their 400 years relationship. The items on display include documentation...  More >


Wilders can learn from Marine Le Print

Geert Wilders and Donald Trump can learn from Marine Le Print Economist Mathijs Bouman thinks The Donald and The Geert could learn something from Marine Le Pen. It’s easy to come up with populist schemes. But how to pay for them? Donald Trump wants to lower taxes and invest in infrastructure at the same time. Geert Wilders is going to lower the state pension age, abolish the health insurance own risk element as well as lower income tax and halve vehicle tax. Meanwhile in France, Marine Le Pen wants to lower the state pension age, up benefits and lower income tax. Lots of fun things for citizens and lower taxes is the message. Because money doesn’t grow on trees the creatives of the right have to resort to trickery to make things look affordable. Marine Le Pen’s Front National came up with the most creative trick of all: to print money and lots of it. But first: the optical illusions of The Donald and The Geert. Straight face Trump, who has taken a good look at how Ronald Reagan used to handle things, managed to keep a straight face...  More >


Election 2017: who should get your vote?

Election 2017: online aids to help you decide who to vote for Confused by the plethora of parties? Clueless about the CDA, puzzled by the PvdA and baffled by Denk? There are all sorts of websites out there to help you make up your mind who to vote for. Here's a list. The stemwijzer is based on 30 political premises ranging on from support for euthanasia for people who are 'tired of life' to boosting defence spending to 2% of GDP. Kieskompas does not tell you who to vote for, but puts your position on various issues into a grid with other parties. Dutch public broadcaster NPO has drawn up its own advisory poll Partijwijzer, which targets young voters. Gay lobby group COC Nederland has put the various party policies on gay rights together on Gayvote. The site also looks at how the various parties have voted on gay issued in the past. Women's magazine Libelle has worked together with the ProDemos centre for democracy to work out a coaching system Kiescoach for its readers, apparently based on subjects close to their heart. Weed...  More >


'There are no 'A' and 'B' Dutch people'

Election interview: There are no ‘A’ and ‘B’ classes of Dutch people You can travel a long way in Europe before you find a politician who is upbeat about the future of the European Union at the moment. But not all is doom and gloom, as D66 MP Sjoerd Sjoerdsma tells Gordon Darroch. Eurosceptics have been buoyed by both the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump, who has predicted that other member states will follow Britain out of the EU. The day after Trump took office, far-right leaders across the continent, including Geert Wilders, held a 'counter-summit' in which they called for European nations to adopt Trump's protectionist 'America First' stance and close their borders to migrants. Yet Sjoerd Sjoerdsma is far from solemn about the EU's prospects. The foreign affairs spokesman for the centrist-liberal D66 party believes the need for co-operation between European nations has become even more urgent in the age of Trump. 'The Americans have always been an important ally and that's not going to change any time soon,' he says....  More >


Dutch News Podcast - Week 6

Hear all about it: Dutch News Podcast – Week 6   Lizards for dinner, fights over skeletons and a discussion about fake news. Molly Quell and Paul Peeters talk about the real news from the week and the impact of fake news on elections. All that and more on this week's DutchNews.nl podcast. Stories we discussed this week: 50Plus raises the stakes Albert Heijn lizard salad Households living in poverty Internet tapping Ukraine signatures Skeleton fight in Delft AFM letterhead ADO Discussion http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/08/514167929/dutch-far-right-leader-tweets-fake-image-showing-rival-with-islamists http://thefederalist.com/2017/02/06/16-fake-news-stories-reporters-have-run-since-trump-won/ http://www.vox.com/new-money/2016/11/16/13659840/facebook-fake-news-chart http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/02/05/513252650/long-before-there-was-fake-news-there-were-fake-photos  More >


A Valentine's look at amorous Amsterdam

With Valentine’s Day approaching, here’s some tips for amorous Amsterdam When Amsterdam’s canal bridges light up at night and the frost sparkles on the branches of the trees, it’s like a film set for lovers. Valentine’s Day, on the 14 February, is the perfect excuse to explore all things romantic in the city. Deborah Nicholls-Lee has 14 ideas to get you started. Dinner with a view Hop on the ferry at Central Station and take a trip across the IJ to the imposing A’DAM Tower. Ride the elevator to the revolving Moon restaurant on the 19th floor and enjoy fine dining and panoramic views while Amsterdam rotates around you. For old-fashioned elegance and candle-lit dining Belhamel in the Jordaan is hard to beat. Its art nouveau furnishings add a soupçon of Parisian romance while the splendid double canal view showcases the very best of Amsterdam. View the city from the water on a luxury canal cruise. Jewel Cruises’ attractive antique river boat is more intimate than the long tour boats and there’s no tannoyed commentary to disturb...  More >


Virtual reality: healthcare to gambling

From healthcare to gambling: virtual reality takes off To many, virtual reality is still a distant and futuristic concept, with the possible exception of gamers. Yet the applications are becoming increasingly more available, improvements are being made in the gambling industry, doctors are becoming better educated, and virtual reality can potentially contribute to a more sustainable society. Virtual reality’s technology precedes the current developments by over 60 years. In fact, Morten Heilig was the first to conceive ideas and laid the foundations of Virtual Reality as far back as 1950. Heilig developed the Sensorama, consisting of a stereoscopic 3D display, stereo audio systems and a vibrating seat to increase reality. This technology (albeit improved) is still being used in creating Formula 1 simulators. Heilig’s goal was to make the viewer participate in a film and to let the viewer experience more of what’s happening around him or her. Heilig also created a number of short films to be used in the Sensorama in which the viewer...  More >


'I like how the Dutch always sing goodbye'

‘I always laugh because of the way the Dutch sing their goodbyes’ Originally from Canada, Savannah Grace has set her sights on becoming the youngest woman to visit every country on the planet. At the age of just 26 she has already ticked 111 off the list and written three books cataloguing her travels. After falling in love with a Dutchman while travelling in Africa, Savannah now lives in the Netherlands where she continues to travel and share her experiences abroad through her writing. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was on a round-the-world trip with my family that was meant to last a year and turned into four. While in Africa we met my fiancé, who was using a truck to travel round the continent. We ended up spending eight months travelling round 36 African countries and fell in love. I went back to Canada but after four months I decided to come to the Netherlands where my partner lives because I felt if I didn't it would be something I would always regret. Seven and a half years later here we are, about to get married next week! How...  More >


Nyenrode launched business admin BSc

Future leaders look no further: Nyenrode launches business admin BSc If you think of Dutch universities, you probably think of massive campuses, packed lecture theatres and the endless debates about the use of English. But not all the country's educational establishments are like this. University colleges are on the up and now Nyenrode Business Universiteit has launched a new bachelor's degree in business administration. There can be few places more inspirational to study in the Netherlands than the Nyenrode campus, set in the grounds of a 17th century castle just a few minutes drive from Utrecht. And Nyenrode's focused programmes, small classes and truly international approach has proved a hit since the university was launched in 1946. For after focusing on top-rated master's degrees in a wide range of business-related subjects, Nyenrode has now launched its first bachelor's degree course - a three year programme dedicated to developing the best in business administration skills. The course started in August with 32 students from all over the...  More >


The big election issues: healthcare

The big election issues: healthcare needs a shake-up The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new government on March 15. Gordon Darroch is taking a close look at the five big issues dominating the campaign: healthcare, immigration, Europe, the elderly and housing. Part 1: healthcare According to the European Health Consumer Index, the Netherlands has had the best-run healthcare system in the world for the best part of a decade, ahead of Switzerland and Norway. So it might seem surprising that health is likely to be one of the most contentious issues in the election campaign. But as the EHCI acknowledges, the Dutch also have the highest per capita spending on health in Europe, and the spiralling cost of health insurance is a major concern for voters. A decade ago the Netherlands introduced competitive health insurance, replacing the universal ziekenfonds dating from the 1940s. As the scope of health cover increased with medical advances, administrators warned that the system was becoming unaffordable and producing long waiting...  More >


Celebrating photographer Ed van der Elsken

Photographer Ed van der Elsken celebrated in Amsterdam Dutch photographer and film-maker Ed van der Elsken (1925-1990) is perhaps most famous for his images of Amsterdam dating from the end of World War II to the 1970s. Julia Corbett has been checking out a major exhibition of his work at the Stedelijk Museum which opens on Saturday. Ed van der Elsken was, says curator Hripsimé Visser a 'real Amsterdammer'. And capturing the best of Van der Elskens’ work in both film and photography, the Stedelijk Museum’s newest exhibition Camera in Love showcases the iconic Dutch artist through the decades. Visitors will be able to experience an extensive body of work which led van der Elsken to be remembered as one of the 20th century’s most important Dutch photographers. He first came to prominence with Love on the Left Bank, a photo novel produced in 1956 when he lived in Paris. Stories Van der Elsken travelled extensively and went on to produce over 20 photography books and dozens of films during his life. 'He was one of the...  More >


Expat life has made me a fickle friend

Expatriate life has made me a fickle friend There's something cruelly disposable about the expat friend and it is easy to become pragmatic about dealing with their comings and goings, says Deborah Nicholls-Lee. I have adopted a sort of no-strings-attached attitude when it comes to expat friendships; we can see each other but I can’t promise commitment. They are transient, itinerant types who will love you and leave you, so why invest in the relationship? And there’s always someone more interesting just getting off the plane. Cold nonchalance When a good friend recently told me that she was moving away, it was all I could do not to shrug my shoulders. You see, I’ve started to view my expat relationships a bit like an airport lounge. You might spend a little time with people there but essentially we’re all just passing through. I’m not heartless; I’m just pragmatic. In Amsterdam, where I live, nearly 8% of the population moved out of town in 2015 and around 60% of them were foreigners like me. That’s...  More >