Clean slate

The new Dutch government can finally get down to business and has a pretty clean slate to work on. The fresh-faced ministers are already beginning to make their personalities felt. (more…)  More >


Protocol

The NRC website turns its attention today to the photograph of the new cabinet and the queen on the steps of the royal palace which traditionally follows the swearing-in ceremony. The tradition dates back to 1971 and is subject to strict protocol. (more…)  More >


Escapism

Dutch liberal attitudes are currently getting caned by The Sun. The British tabloid newspaper is up in arms about the fact that an escaped prisoner from an English jail cannot be extradited from Holland because the Dutch don’t consider escaping a crime. They believe clambering over prison walls is just normal human instinct. (more…)  More >


Amsterdam highlife

Amsterdam city council and its pals at Amsterdam Partners - the people behind the IAmsterdam slogan - have been trying for some time now to improve the city’s image and get away from the sex and drugs reputation that haunts the Dutch capital. (more…)  More >


Hats off

Three cheers to the plucky little town council of Alphen aan den Rijn which is taking on the big cities and upping the ante considerably in terms of ‘customer service’. The council has produced a leaflet outlining its service targets, and pretty tough they are too. More than that, if the council fails to deliver on time, it will hand over a five euro token in compensation. Take phone calls for example – if you have to wait any more than three rings, five euros will be winging their way to you. And you will no longer be put through to more than two people. The maximum waiting time if all workers are busy is fixed at six minutes and if no-one can help you by then, you will be called back within three days. It all sounds too good to be true... There are also guidelines for building permit applications, which will not take longer than 10 weeks to process, and waiting times at the counter which will be no longer than 15 minutes. And just in case you failed to get the message that Alphen...  More >


VVD ministers bare their soul

It was quite an achievement for late night TV chat show Pauw & Witteman to get all nine outgoing VVD ministers in the studio last night. There was some serious probing - defence minister Henk Kamp in particular was grilled over allegations that Dutch troops had tortured Iraqi prisoners. (more…)  More >


The Prince’s crazy dream

Prince Claus, the Dutch Queen's late consort, had what some would call a crazy idea. Right up until his death in 2002, he dreamed of creating an opera in the Sahel; the band of African countries along the southern Sahara stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. (more…)  More >


Verdonkey

If there’s one thing you can’t accuse hard-line integration minister Rita Verdonk of, it’s bowing out of the cabinet gracefully… yesterday the Iron Lady once again showed her mettle by joining Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigration PVV party, in calling into question the loyalty of immigrants. (more…)  More >


Driving

The police may have arrested a 62-year-old man from Leiden earlier this week who has been driving without a licence for 47 years, but the Telegraaf turns its attention today to renewing an EU driving licence. (more…)  More >


Happy

So Dutch teenagers and children are the happiest in the developed world are they? They are according to Unicef. And journalists from the UK, where children are apparently the most miserable, have been falling over themselves trying to find out why Dutch kids have it so good. (more…)  More >


Will Sun shine for PSV?

PSV Eindhoven has become the first football club in the Netherlands to sign a player from China. A commercial masterstroke, because when Sun Xiang appears on the field as a left-back, some 100 million extra pairs of eyes will be watching the match. (more…)  More >


Enough

Commercial TV station SBS6 was delighted to announce yesterday that it is to broadcast a new reality show on May 12. Its title? Nothing to do with pimping or skating but alas, yes, it is something to do with BN’ers - Dutch celebrities. (more…)  More >


Dark Secrets

Ayaan Hirsi Ali blames Islam for the miseries of the Muslim world. Her new autobiography shows that life is too complex for that. (more…)  More >