Tuesday 20 April 2021

'An old couple on a bike is so romantic'

Nanda Milbreta is originally from Riga in Latvia. After spending a summer working in Disneyland Paris, she relocated to the Netherlands. She works as a poet, illustrator, and musician, would like to meet saxophonist Candy Dulfer and would say farewell to the Netherlands with a 24 hour party. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here to study at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. When I came here I already had two Bachelor degrees,... More >

The Netherlands is creeping to the right

Dutch voters are currently heading to the polls to cast votes in an election they know will have little impact on the country’s political climate – if the opinion polls are to be believed. For despite the turmoil of the pandemic, the curfew, the subsequent riots and a national benefits scandal that pushed the prime minister into resignation – the ruling VVD are almost certain to emerge as the biggest party, giving Mark Rutte his fourth term as prime minister.... More >

First time voters in the Dutch election

Some 810,000 first-time voters are eligible to take part in this week’s general election. That seems like a substantial number. But just how important is the youth vote to the Dutch elections? In a country of some 17 million people, new voters make up roughly 5% of the population. In the Netherlands, young voters tend to come out in force. In 2017 during the last parliamentary elections, 76% of the under-25s cast a ballot. ‘All parties are fiercely competing for... More >

Podcast: The Superspreading Hippos Edition

In a week dominated by elections, infections and corrections, Mark Rutte engaged some elaborate verbal trickery to justify extending the coronavirus curfew that he’s been promising for weeks to abolish. Less than a week before election day, we ask why Rutte’s VVD seem unassailable in the polls and what their rivals are doing to bridge the gap. The Dutch pick up plenty of gold in the sporting arena, with Suzanne Schulting sweeping the board in short track speed skating. And... More >

Who will rule the roads of the future?

Urban planners from all across the globe often look to the Netherlands for ways to make the streets of their cities safer and more bike-friendly, but to the outsider, what the Dutch are doing can often seem downright bizarre and even dangerous. On a Saturday last summer, a father and his young daughter got onto a cargo bike after grocery shopping in the centre of Leiden. They proceeded to ride down the sidewalk and over a nearby bridge…where they nearly... More >

Feel at Home Fair goes online in 2021

Coronavirus has put paid to many of the traditional events which take place within the international community but the annual Feel at Home International Community Fair is still going ahead on March 14 – with an online spectacular. Billy Allwood, who started the fair over a decade ago, says he feels it is more important than ever that the international community continues to connect – particularly as new arrivals have been struggling to develop networks and a social life. ‘Our... More >

Women are central to clean tech revolution

Clean tech has the power to make large-scale change, but a lack of diversity in the sector may be holding it back. On International Women’s Day, DutchNews.nl meets serial entrepreneur and tech-spert Dr Nilofer Christensen to learn more about the contribution that women can make. ‘I realised that if I wanted to effect real change, then I needed to take the plunge and do it full time and commit myself,’ says clean-tech pioneer Nilofer Christensen (36) who recently swapped a... More >

Podcast: It's All Happening in Drenthe

A mixed week for boutique entrepreneurs as hairdressers and beauticians went back to work while cafe owners and sex workers protested against the lockdown. The first leaders’ debate featured a painful confrontation for Mark Rutte, a pointed exchange between Sigrid Kaag and Geert Wilders, and an own goal by Jesse Klaver. We explain why cut-out penguins popped up in Drenthe, how researchers read a 300-year-old letter without opening it and why Rutte raised hackles in Groningen again. And with less... More >

It's time to think about your tax return

    The 2021 tax season officially began on March 1 and 8.3 million people will have to file their tax return in the next two months. This year, the tax office is warning people to be extra careful, thanks to the impact of coronavirus. This year, millions of people will get a tax return which the tax office has already partly filled in. After all, details about your salary, childcare benefits and other regular payments are already in the... More >

Cut your energy bill, help the environment

Energy bills are likely to go down slightly this year, because of lower delivery charges and taxes. But what else can you do to make sure you are getting the best deal for electricity and gas? According to national statistics office CBS, after years of steady increases, energy bills will go down by around 3.8% this year. The change, the CBS says, is due to lower delivery charges and taxes. But that 3.8% alone is not going to pay for... More >

Learning Dutch in a non-Dutch family

What can you expect when children in the Netherlands learn Dutch within a non-Dutch household? DutchNews.nl discovers that the triumphs mostly exceed the trials, but accepting difference is key. Derya Demirtas Nguon from Twente, whose mother tongue is Turkish, was finding it hard to understand what her two-year-old son was saying in Dutch. ‘I sent a video of him to my Dutch colleagues to help me to decipher,’ she told DutchNews.nl. ‘To my surprise, my colleague told me that my... More >

Dutch exceptionalism and coronavirus

The Dutch are very fond of international comparisons if they come out well, but when it comes to coronavirus, they see the Netherlands’ position as one of  ‘superior failure’, writes Ben Coates. About a year ago, I became a Dutch citizen. In the age of corona, it was a strange experience: I cycled to the city hall through empty streets, with an ambulance siren wailing in the distance, then waited behind a glass screen for a while before being handed... More >

Podcast: Dancing German Gangsters Edition

The third wave of coronavirus rolls in just as deliveries of the vaccine grind to a halt and Amsterdam becomes the superspreading capital. Shipments of heroin and cocaine are also disrupted by police, while one of Germany’s most wanted men is tracked down to Amsterdam. Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra slips up in Friesland, where ice stadium bosses are accused of engineering overblown results. In pot and kettle news, Hugo de Jonge accuses AstraZeneca of reneging on its promises. And we... More >

'Van Gogh's life was a tragedy'

Originally from the United Kingdom, Steve White travelled all around the world and lived in Tokyo for several years before he eventually moved to the Netherlands with his family. He currently works as an artist in Almere and longs to spend an entire day visiting his favourite spots in Amsterdam after convincing all its tourists to go biking in the Dutch countryside. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my future wife, who’s Dutch, in England back... More >

Election watch: political party lowdown

Netherlands has an ever-expanding range of political parties in parliament, due to the recent trend of dissidents breaking away after an intra-party row to form their own splinter group. There are also various flavours of Christianity to choose from. Here’s an alphabetical list of the 13 parties that currently hold seats in parliament, in alphabetical order, and three hopefuls which, the polls suggest, are in with a chance in the March general election. 50PLUS Campaign leader: Liane den Haan Seats... More >

Election watch: how the system works

The Netherlands goes to the polls to elect a new lower house of parliament on March 15, 16 and 17. Here are some key facts about how the Dutch political system works. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy and the king (or queen) is the official head of state. There are four layers of government in the Netherlands: local councils, provincial councils, the lower house of parliament or tweede kamer and the upper house of parliament or senate. The water... More >

Podcast: The Dreadlocked Deadlock Edition

Alarm bells rang out in The Hague this week after a judge struck out the coronavirus curfew, prompting a mad scramble to get a new version through parliament. There was also a mad scramble across the country to find old skates as the coldest temperatures for eight years turned the Netherlands into a winter wonderland. Scientists call on people to send in their dead mosquitos and PVV MP Dion Graus faces more allegations of domestic abuse. And as election day... More >

House prices up, interest rates down

A round-up of the latest housing news, brought to you by Expat Mortgages. House price developments If you look at developments on the Dutch housing market last year, you might be forgiven for thinking that coronavirus did not exist. In all, prices rose by an average of 12% and they are expected to rise by a further 4% to 6% in 2021. The reason, says Expat Mortgages’ Henk Jansen, is the ‘incredible shortage of properties’. The current situation, says Henk,... More >