It’s like a recurring nightmare: problems with the educational system. Week in, week out, the papers carry stories about pupils with little grasp of the three ‘Rs’ (reading, writing and arithmetic), a poorly managed education system and big shortages in quality teaching staff. (more…)  More >


She’s back. Former Dutch MP and outspoken critic of Islam Ayaan Hirsi Ali returned secretly to the Netherlands yesterday from her year’s sojourn in the US amid the all-to familiar blare of controversy. (more…)  More >

Sense of loss for Dutch as ABN tussle nears end

For the Royal Bank of Scotland-led consortium striving to buy ABN Amro, this week should mark a final stage in the biggest financial services deal. The €71bn ($101bn) offer for the Dutch lender is due to close and, if the trio of banks completes its mammoth fundraising effort, it is expected to win ABN’s hand after a six-month scrap. (more…)  More >

The Soldier of Orange dies at 90

A tiny urn of ashes – bearing only the inscription, Soldier of Orange –will solemnly be carried from an aeroplane at Amsterdam airport on Thursday. For Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, who is rumoured to have planned a royal reception, it will be a poignant moment: the return to his native soil of the remains of Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, Holland's most heroic and decorated Second World War resistance fighter. (more…)  More >


Teenagers have again been in the news this week – fortunately, not this time shock-horror reports of their drink and drugs usage or their lack of ambition at school. (more…)  More >

More jams please

Today's Volkskrant makes a case in favour of most people's pet hate number one: traffic jams. Devoting almost a whole page to defending congestion, the paper says it's high time we learnt to 'love and cherish' traffic jams. (more…)  More >


Can they really be so devious? Have Labour MPs really done a deal and agreed not to press for a new EU referendum in return for their ministers' commitment not to support the cabinet's redundancy law plans? (more…)  More >


How easy it is to blame the euro for everything. The number of American tourists visiting Amsterdam has remained unchanged in the first six months of this year after years of steady increases and the tourist board is blaming the pesky little euro for being too strong. (more…)  More >


Why do some people consider it absurd that the health minister is considering fitness classes for those who are overweight as part of the health insurance package? After all, everyone knows that regular and effective exercise is really the only way to tackle this growing problem. (more…)  More >

Boxed in

The government seems to have boxed itself into a corner over calls for a referendum on the new European treaty. Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende is determined to do all he can to stop a referendum taking place. (more…)  More >


Did anyone really think that the legalisation of brothels would lead to prostitution becoming a 'normal' job? It seems to have taken seven years for someone – Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen – to come out and state the obvious. (more…)  More >

Foreign pests

Thursday's Volkskrant looks at the difficulties the Netherlands faces in getting rid of the 'foreign' animals and plants which are setting up home on its waterways. (more…)  More >


No sooner is the budget released and partially digested and politicians of every political hue start jumping up and down demanding more money for this and less taxes on that. (more…)  More >

Biggest, best

The Dutch reputation for being happy with a C+ is undeserved, according to HP/de Tijd. The magazine carries a list of 50 Dutch facts which, it says, are worthy of an A- at least. (more…)  More >

Hotels only

So what has Amsterdam Centrum borough council come up with now to boost the city’s tourist industry and encourage professionals to come and work in the capital? (more…)  More >

Papers on budget

Holland’s biggest paper, the Telegraaf headlines its front page budget story with the word inleveren (hand back). ‘It’s a bitter pill but luckily we are thrifty,’ one couple with a baby tells the paper. (more…)  More >