Wednesday 21 October 2020

Banking to go green, and save money

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to enjoy the moments spent with our loved ones, to prepare for unforeseen circumstances and to take care of our planet. It’s a lesson which resonates with Amsterdam-based digital bank bunq, which is known for its rainbow coloured cards, but which has put going green at the core of the company ethos. bunq has always invested ethically and was the first bank in the world to offer ‘freedom of choice’, letting its... More >


Podcast: The Towering Humiliation Edition

A low-key Budget Day brings sober news on the economic front, unless you happen to be a princess approaching her 18th birthday. New coronavirus restrictions are imminent as a surge in infections puts even more strain on the testing system. The tension also took its toll on Rotterdam’s Erasmusbrug and the prosecutor handling a high-profile racial abuse case. Plus we tell you why zoos have been hit by corona and there’s a sense of anticlimax around the new football season... More >



Bored with broodjes: six alternatives

Visit any Dutch office canteen at lunchtime (or, nowadays, many a Dutch home-office kitchen) and you can be sure of one thing: broodjes. Generally, two slices of bread (or perhaps a roll) filled with a couple of slices of Gouda cheese. All washed down with a glass of milk. Not that there’s anything wrong with this prandial tradition – it’s arguably what’s been making the Dutch so tall in recent generations. And I love a good Gouda as much as... More >


Know your rights: tenancy agreements

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, Dutch law applies to renting accommodation. Once a tenancy agreement is signed, it is legally binding, so it’s important to understand what type of contract it is, and what that means for your rights when it comes to terminating the lease. Read on for more on the different Dutch tenancy agreements, their respective notice periods and termination rights. Types of tenancy agreements in the Netherlands Tenancy agreements for residential space can be... More >



The 2021 budget: news, views and reactions

The government published its 2021 spending plans on Tuesday. Here is a round up of the main news, reactions and useful links. The Netherlands must be ready for serious economic setbacks, says king The Netherlands must ready itself for serious economic setbacks, king Willem Alexander said on Tuesday afternoon, in his official speech to mark the start of the parliamentary year. The king’s speech, in English Budget focus is on strengthening the economy, finance minister says The government’s 2021 spending... More >


Interpreters say no to minister downgrade

Professional interpreters and translators play an important role in courts and police investigations. However, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus’s decision to downgrade the professional requirements to ‘secondary school levels’, is not a good idea, says certified translator and interpreter Roemer Leushuis. International crime and the flow of refugees have led to a greater need for professional interpreters and translators. The Dutch government claims it is unable to meet that need. Is there really a lack of professionals, and if so, how... More >



Dutch destinations: the Veluwe

Many consider the Veluwe, an area of heathland between Arnhem and Apeldoorn to be a sanctuary. Its wilderness areas and small towns offer a welcome respite from the turbulence of the Randstad cities, especially during the off-season. Just watch out for the wolves and wild boars! The Veluwe is about as rural and isolated as things get in the Netherlands. As an area it is best known for the Hoge Veluwe National Park, but the rest of the roughly 1,1000... More >


Podcast: The Pythagorean Parrots Edition

Despite a new surge in coronavirus infections, there were signs of normal life returning this week. The government’s budget plans were leaked ahead of Prinsjesdag, the football season geared up for a restart and there was a bitter row in parliament about refugees. While D66 decided not to pick a self-confessed forger as its leader, Geert Wilders announced his discrimination trial would run for another season. And we bring you a shocking tale about blue parrots, legal eagles and a... More >



'Eating herring is a ritual'

American native Matt Steinglass is The Economist’s Europe correspondent. He likes herring and a special breed of potato, but cannot get to grips with the Dutch fondness for group projects. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always had a thing for the Netherlands. I had a stopover here on my way back from Israel when I was 13 and the Netherlands seemed so advanced. I dated a Dutch-American girl when I was in college and we planned... More >


So how much insurance do you really need?

Funeral, bike, dentistry, personal liability – the Dutch, you cannot have failed to notice, are very fond of insurance. In fact it has been said that the average person,  has eight different types. Here are 12 to choose from. Health insurance (zorgverzekering) This is the one everyone is required to have by law. The government determines the basic make up of the policy and insurance companies compete on price and conditions, such as free choice of healthcare provider. Expect to... More >



People before profit key in scaling up

    Startups and scale-ups around the world can tap into international business expertise and learn about putting people ahead of profit, as the BASE 2020 conference goes digital. This year, the second edition of BASE is being held online on September 17 and 18, making it easy for companies to join, wherever they are. The 2020 theme is Humanising Business Beyond Profit, and features entrepreneurs and business leaders who scaled up and found success by putting people before profit.... More >


Blogwatching: Real Dutch coronavirus facts

Amanda van Mulligen is British born but calls the Netherlands home. On her blog Turning Dutch, she writes about all aspects of life in the Netherlands. In her latest post, she takes a satirical look at the state of Covid-19 in the Netherlands.  Last week we found a coronavirus flyer in our mailbox. The flyer contains Dutch coronavirus ‘facts’ and counterarguments for measures taken against the spread of the virus. It looks like the viruswaarheid movement has found itself some followers... More >



Podcast: Grapperhaus Goes Viral Edition

The podcast returns from the summer break to find the Dutch border has advanced further than the coronavirus tracker app. We explain why Ferd Grapperhaus’s wedding turned into a political horror show and why Hugo de Jonge still can’t celebrate his CDA leadership win. Plus we weigh up Tom Dumoulin’s chances of winning the Tour de France and Dick Advocaat’s chances of a fourth term as national football team coach now Ronald Koeman has jumped ship for Barcelona. Want to... More >


A round-up of the latest housing news

A round-up of the latest housing news, brought to you by Expat Mortgages. Good news for home buyers in the budget The Dutch government will present its 2021 spending plans to MPs and the public on September 15 but as usual, some of the plans are already being leaked – and there is some good news for young first-time buyers. Overdrachtbelasting – the transfer tax which you pay on the price of your new home – is being scrapped for... More >



13 great things to do in September

We’ve a very varied package of suggestions to keep you entertained this September, from Shakespeare to moonlight walks, Syrian artists and gargoyles. Take an art break at Schiphol Anyone having to linger at Schiphol airport could do worse than to banish thoughts of coronavirus by visiting the small annex of the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum there. Among the restful offerings to meet the anxious travellers’ eye are the atmospheric land and cityscapes of Dutch 19th century realists such as Jozef Israël, Anton... More >


Leiden University versus coronavirus

Universities all around the world are facing one of the most difficult academic years in history. Here’s how Leiden University, the oldest in the Netherlands, has been dealing with the Covid crisis. Every August like clockwork, a gigantic fort made of beer crates materialises in a parking lot across the street from the A.L.S.V. Quintus building. It’s one of the most common sights during Leiden University’s EL CID, the name given to its annual multi-week introductory event for thousands of... More >



WWII bomber recovery ends 12 year mystery

On a winter’s day just before Christmas in 2008, the Royal Dutch Rescue Society received a call-out to a boat that had broken down on the Markermeer lake, around six miles north-east of Amsterdam. The crew dropped anchor while they waited to be rescued, and when they pulled the weight back up again they found a piece of aircraft machinery attached. It was the first piece of a wartime puzzle that would take 12 years to piece together. More than... More >


‘We must redefine what Dutch culture is'

Born in New York but with Surinamese heritage, and now a Dutch citizen, cultural historian Jennifer Tosch (56) moved to the Netherlands eight years ago to explore her Dutch roots. She is the founder of the Black Heritage Tours in Amsterdam and co-founder of arts and culture foundation Sites of Memory. She is happiest surrounded by water, but insists that Dutch culture is so much more than canals and herring. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came... More >