Monday 24 January 2022

Winter warmers: reasons to be cheerful

This article started out as six reasons to be cheerful, rose to nine, then 10 and now, thanks to the new lockdown, is back down to seven again. Omicron may have put paid to a lot of traditional winter holiday fun, but here is a list of things which you can still do to bring a little Christmas cheer into your life. Drink! Are booze shops essential? We think so. Baby, it’s cold outside, as Dean Martin sang, which means... More >

How a tax rule could give you a refund

As the pandemic has shown us, sometimes one year is significantly better than another financially. If your income has been affected by coronavirus, for better or for worse, remember this when you come to do your next tax returns. If you have income that has varied considerably over the past few years, there’s a Dutch tax ruling that might help you even things out. ‘Middeling’ – which means averaging – looks at three consecutive tax years to find your average... More >

'The Irish could be 30% more Dutch'

Irishman Rory Brosnan came to Amsterdam for love. After working as a freelance copywriter and running a private tour business, he founded Remote Pals, an online organisation that hosts team-building sessions online. Rory says the Beemster is the best place to see tulips and is quite happy to be considered an immigrant.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2014 I moved here for a relationship. We’ve since broken up, but life here is too good to leave.... More >

Northern star: why look north to buy?

When house prices are rising hard across the nation, it may pay to look north, says Expat Mortgages northern expert Erwin Berghuis. Although the Rabobank predicts parts of Groningen will be one of the Netherlands’ hottest regions in terms of price growth this year, housing experts believe that in the north and east of the Netherlands, there are still some beautiful homes and excellent deals to be had. Erwin Berghuis, mortgage adviser and area manager for Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe... More >

BBB: farmers' unrest has not gone away

As if the Dutch political landscape wasn’t enough of a hutspot, the election last March added four new ingredients to the parliamentary pot-pourri, taking the total number of parties to 17. Perhaps the most unexpected newcomer was the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), led by former agriculture journalist Caroline van der Plas. BBB was founded two years earlier and only appeared on pollsters’ radar near the end of the election campaign: the poll of polls run by Leiden University political scientist Tom... More >

Podcast: The So Sad To See Hugo Edition

Eleven months, eight resignations and more than 8,000 coronavirus deaths since the Dutch government resigned, a new cabinet looks set to take office just in time for the Christmas recess. Schools will not be finishing early for the holidays, however, despite the threat of the Omicron variant and the advice of the Outbreak Management Team. The booster campaign picks up speed as the EU decides that covid passports will expire after 9 months for people who have only had two... More >

Covid vaccination at work – legal FAQ

The employment law experts at GMW lawyers share insights on your rights in the workplace regarding coronavirus vaccination, and when it is worth contacting a lawyer. The rules surrounding coronavirus change frequently. GMW lawyers is pleased to share some clear answers to the most frequently asked questions about Dutch employment law and coronavirus vaccination. The following is a general advice on your rights in the Netherlands and is correct at the time of writing (26 November 2021). Can my employer... More >

New biography restores the Winter Queen

Elizabeth Stuart, queen of Bohemia, arrived in The Hague in April 1621 after a perilous five-month journey across Germany. Her husband, Frederick V, had fled his kingdom in Prague the previous November after his army was defeated at the Battle of White Mountain. Elizabeth sought refuge in Brandenburg, where she gave birth to her fifth child, Maurice, in January. The choice of name was no accident: three months later Frederick accepted an invitation from his cousin and Calvinist ally, Maurice,... More >

Home work: buying a house in Holland

You’ve found your dream house, or you are looking for one. But what is the exact process for taking out a mortgage in the Netherlands? The first step, actually before you even start looking, is to properly understand the Dutch house financing system, says Michael Smits, mortgage adviser for expats at ABN AMRO. For a start, you must intend to live in the Netherlands within the next six months to buy a house here with major lenders. However, it is... More >

Back to the future: Self-driving boats

From houseboats to floating farms, when space gets tight, the Dutch turn to their ample waterways. The latest example: the Roboat—or robotic boat—an autonomous, electric vessel that works as a water taxi, waste collection system, bridge, and even a floating stage. Lauren Comiteau took a ride on a prototype of one of the new vehicles in Amsterdam’s city centre to see what it’s all about. From the basin of Marineterrein Amsterdam, where the Roboat’s creators demonstrate how she moves, the... More >

Podcast: The Oppepkoffie Ophef Edition

Coronavirus cases are flying high but the big news this week was about two quarantining tourists who were barred from flying home and forced to spend the night in a stinking toilet in Groningen. Hugo de Jonge promises to give everyone over 60 a booster jab by Christmas as the cabinet comes under fire again for its sluggish vaccination programme. The coalition talks look to be creeping towards a conclusion as speculation begins about the ministerial merry-go-round. And completing a... More >

Switching health insurer? Some FAQs

You’ve only got a month left to decide whether or not to stick with your current health insurance provider. Maybe you you can’t be bothered, or think there is no point? So here are the answers to some of the most common questions people have when deciding whether or not to make the switch. Is there any point in comparing health insurance prices? Yes there is. The difference between different policies can be far more than a euro or two.... More >

Six tips for a great video interview

If you are applying for a job and your CV and motivation letter convinced the hiring manager you could be just the person they are looking for, chances are the next step is an invitation to an interview – but what if it is online? Video interviews were pretty common before coronavirus, to shorten hiring time and to improve accessibility for applicants based further away. But with with working from home remaining the norm, interviews via Zoom or Google Meets... More >

Eleven great things to do in December

No evenings at the theatre or cinema, no late night Christmas parties in your local cafe, no New Year fireworks: for many people the end of 2021 will seem strangely lacking. Still, there is plenty to do in the festive month. Everything on this list is, of course, subject to changes in the coronavirus rules, but here’s what we think will happen. Check beforehand. Don’t see the light The Amsterdam Festival of Light this year will lose a bit of... More >

Buying a house in the Netherlands? You have lots of mortgages to choose from

The shortage of houses for sale and the record low interests dominate much of the talk about the housing market at the moment. But how much do you know about the different types of mortgage on offer? At the moment in the Netherlands you can deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage from your taxable income, provided you meet certain conditions – and have the right type of mortgage. How much you can claim depends on your income and... More >

Out with racism, in with insulting poems

Any international who has survived one Sinterklaas season in the Netherlands is familiar with the dreaded Zwarte Piet debate. (If you’re not, David Sedaris can fill you in.) The pro-blackface Zwarte Piet camp claims it is defending Dutch culture and Dutch history, but really they are only defending grown adults wearing dumb costumes and uncomfortable face paint. Molly Quell thinks that if they wanted to promote Dutch culture, they should stop promoting racism and start advocating for poetry and art... More >

Podcast: The Nijntje's Nightmares Edition

While shoppers hunt for a Black Friday bargain, the Dutch government faces a Code Black scenario in hospitals as coronavirus infections continue to spread. Unrest boils again in Dutch cities as bars are forced to shut early and stricter rules are mooted for unvaccinated people. The cabinet comes in for criticism for its mixed messages, ineffective measures and late start to the booster vaccine campaign. If all else fails for Hugo de Jonge, there’s good money to be made from... More >

Share your voice on work and careers

After running surveys on quality of life and healthcare, the Share My Voice organisation is now turning to the field of work, with its third survey. Participate and fill out the survey here. The new survey will focus on international workers views on training and education at work and on their wishes and opportunities for further developing their careers. The aim, the organisers say, is to ‘improve the employment conditions and quality of life for labour migrants in the Netherlands’.... More >