Monday 16 September 2019

'The Evenings', a Dutch Christmas classic

Set in the period from Christmas to New Year 1946, The Evenings (De Avonden) is considered a classic of Dutch literature. Molly Quell wonders why De Avonden is so important and if you should read it. You could say The Evenings is about nothing, and nothing happens. The novel follows Frits van Egters, a 23-year-old office clerk living in Amsterdam and covers 10 days from December 22 to December 31 1946. Van Egters is bored, dissatisfied with his life and... More >

Seven Deadly Dutch Sins in 2018

The New Year beckons and with it a slate mercifully wiped clean of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth and anything else you swore you would stop indulging in last December. But where does the Netherlands stand as a nation when it comes to the seven deadly sins? We have gone through the archives to gauge the nation’s sinfulness in this darkest of months.  Read it and repent, ye sinners. Pride Pride come before a fall and Camiel Eurlings’... More >

Podcast: The Top 2000 Bonus Edition

The podcast team is taking a break over the festive season to stuff themselves full of rollade, kerststol and Advocaat, but we have a special bonus discussion for you on one of the Netherlands’ most enduring traditions, the Top 2000. Every year the nation casts its votes for its favourite pop tunes, which are then played in reverse order during the week after Christmas, inevitably culminating with Bohemian Rhapsody in the final minutes of 2018. As Gordon bemoans the whole... More >

'I cooked local food because I had to'

Aileen Enda Jansen Dawson, 83, will be spending her 59th Christmas in the Netherlands this year. She moved here in 1959 to marry a Dutchman she met while working at a hotel in Germany. Now widowed and with four sons, she still gets het and de confused, has learned to eat Dutch vegetables and knows every museum in Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was doing hotel management at a hotel in Ireland. It was a... More >

Christmas events, from skating to stars

The festive season is almost upon us, and whether you’re looking for cosy, cultural or culinary, we have Christmas holiday highlights to suit one and all. Amsterdam Amsterdam Light Festival If you’re in the capital during the holidays, make sure to give yourself time to tour the canals and take in the many exhibits of this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival. Special highlights include light artworks inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night and, for the first time, a specially commissioned theatre... More >

Podcast: The Commercial Breakdown Edition

Our last podcast of the year features a helter-skelter game of red cards, own goals and penalties that ultimately changed nothing, while away from the Brexit negotiations Ajax qualified for the next round of the Champions League. We ask why girls are more likely to move up the educational ladder then boys, whether stints will ever be allowed back on cycle paths and why a group of Chinese villagers were told to Buddha off by a Dutch court. In the... More >

Celebrate in your home from home: How to go Dutch at Christmas

The count down to Christmas has begun, but according to weather forecast there’s not much chance of a white Christmas this year. So just how do you give your Christmas that extra touch of ‘Dutchness’ while living in the Netherlands? Here is a list to inspire you, based on some of the ways the Dutch celebrate Christmas at home. Get a tree The Dutch love their trees – in fact they love Christmas decorations in general. If you really want... More >

12 Dutch ads everyone should know

Keep Calm and Carry On? Lovely Day for a Guinness? Just do it? Good advertising can do more than sell shoes and beer, they can become cultural touchstones, referenced over and over again, years after they first appeared. So, if a colleague shouts ‘Heyyyy biertje…’ during a borrel and everyone else laughs but you’re left out in the cold, we’ve got you covered. Molly Quell has put together a list of 12 Dutch advertisements that you need to know. 1... More >

Dutch Destinations: explore Utrecht destinations: Utrecht  Located on the eastern edge of the Randstad, Utrecht is a picturesque city full of history and culture – if you avoid the hideous concrete area around the main railway station – that is. From the top of Dom Tower all the way down to its iconic canals, there’s no shortage of cafes, museums, and other attractions to keep you busy for a weekend trip or an entire lifetime. Human activity in and around Utrecht dates all... More >

Collective health insurance can be costly

The chances are that your health insurance policy is part of a collective plan which you signed up to via work, a sports club or even your local council. But you could very well be paying more than you should. Almost two-thirds of the Dutch population are insured through a collective plan – a type of insurance scheme set up for a group of people, such as company colleagues, a patient organisation or a local authority. Even nature protection groups... More >

Podcast: The Soros Eye Shadow Edition

As a round-the-clock deportation-busting church service draws the attention of the world’s media, Amsterdam calls time on the giant letters outside the Rijksmuseum, Dick Advocaat causes some ophef when he gets a time out in the referee’s room and Emile Ratelband is told he can’t turn the clock back on his passport. We also discuss why the Marrakesh pact to control migration has sparked a heated debate both in the Tweede Kamer and internationally. Ophef of the week: Intratuin’s packaged... More >

'Dutch people don't like long silences'

Helena van Heel is a Swedish mezzo soprano who moved to the Netherlands 25 years ago. She lives in Amsterdam Noord with her Dutch husband and daughter, recommends you visit the 11 Fountain tour in Friesland and sneaks off to Ikea when she gets homesick. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman in Stockholm, he was playing in an orchestra and it was love at first sight. The first time I had visited him I... More >

Bunkers and naked volleyball

What do you do if you have been sent to live in the Netherlands as a trailing husband for six months, while your wife works in a high powered job? Visiting columnist Joe Weeg has been exploring his neighbourhood. Part 1: Bunkers and naked volleyball. They are stark naked. Yup, not a speck of clothes. The eight old men have the volleyball net pulled tight in the sand and are shuffling to new positions as I come over the dune.... More >

Podcast: The Ginger & Lime Brexit Edition

The past looms large in this week’s podcast as rail operator NS agrees to compensate Holocaust victims who were transported on its trains. Amsterdam’s mayor comes under pressure to enforce the so-called burka ban, there’s a run on contraceptive pills, Mark Rutte delivers a ‘deal or no deal’ message on Brexit and health insurers sound the death knell for reincarnation therapy. In our discussion we look at the contenders for the annual Word of the Year competition. Ophef of the... More >

Dutch under threat in higher education

In the garden of higher education, Dutch is being weeded out. It’s alarming that the education minister seems oblivious to the demise of Dutch in higher education, say Annette de Groot, Erik Jurgens, Jean Pierre Rawie and Ad Verbrugge. The language policy of education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven is like a garden where English is allowed to bloom unhindered while Dutch is withering on the vine. In a recent radio-interview with journalist Frits Spits the increasing influence of English in... More >

11 great things to do in December

Classic films, Christmas events and Chanel – here are some December delights. But if you are more of a bah humbug person who can’t wait for ‘the season to be jolly’ to be over, there is something for you too. Meet Sinterklaas The Catharijneconvent in Utrecht is Sinterklaas’ home away from home and right up until the busiest day in his calender he is inviting all good children up to 8 and their parents for lots of Sinterklaas-related activities... More >

Coding for kids: boosting digital literacy

Digital literacy is increasingly recognised as a vital component of future education. As the Dutch government seeks to update both the primary and secondary curricula, teaching coding to children is set to become compulsory. Esther O´Toole took a closer look at the current state of coding for kids. Bo Boekelman and Hilde Verschuren, two primary school pupils at De Harlekijn school in Cuijk, Noord Brabant are exploring coding at Expedition Robot, one of the extracurricular courses on offer as part... More >

Podcast: The Piets and Pensions Edition

Things fall apart in this week’s podcast as we update you on the increasingly bitter Zwarte Piet debate, plans to deal with a no-deal Brexit, the dispute over the 30% ruling and an electoral boycott triggered by a missing hyphen. Thankfully the football team salvaged some pride with their stunning comeback against Germany. In our discussion we ask if the breakdown of talks to reform the pension system is the beginning of the end for the Dutch polder model. Ophef... More >