Sunday 19 January 2020

Smart homes start to break through in NL

One-third of Dutch households are using some sort of smart home technology, to regulate their heating, monitor security and even switch off lights. Intelligent robot vacuums that clean the floor, your children telling the bathroom light to turn itself off and checking who is ringing your doorbell while you are having drinks with the neighbours – smart home technology is seeping into many aspects of our lives. Yet despite the advantages smart home technology offers, research published in September shows... More >

Are insects the future of pet food?

  With an increase in environmental awareness, some pet owners are opting for sustainable pet food – and that’s where insects come in! Several Dutch companies are harvesting grubs to make eco-friendly alternatives for pets, but are insects really worth all the hype? Veganism is surging in popularity at the moment, but what about a plant-based diet for your pet? The meat industry is one of the world’s most polluting and through their meat-based diets, pets contribute to the environmental... More >

Podcast: The A Fridge Too Far Edition

It’s the final podcast of the year and that can only mean one thing: the nominations for Ophef of the Year are in. We update you on the situation in Duindorp, the tax office benefits scandal and Ajax’s exit from the Champions League. There’s a tall story about US basketball players bingeing on a Dutch delicacy, and Molly gets to ask Stef Blok the question on everyone’s lips: who’s inside the Brexit muppet suit? Vote for your favourite Ophef of... More >

Mark Rutte is nearing his sell-by date

It is a wise move by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte to scupper any rumours he might want to stand down and accept an international position. However, his professed attachment to his favourite cafes and Indonesian restaurants in The Hague are not deceiving anyone. We all know that he knows he’ll have to decide sooner rather than later, says commentator Syp Wynia  Tell the public you’re leaving and you’re a lame duck. Your authority wilts, cabals form behind your back... More >

Fish, speed dating, and Dutch character

What do you do if you have been sent to live in the Netherlands as a trailing husband, while your wife works in a high powered job? Columnist Joe Weeg, who was here in 2018, is back again for a short visit. Part 3: Fish The tall, strong-looking Dutch woman began her story by telling me about fish. The story suddenly took a right turn into speed dating. And then the darn thing ended up about Dutch character. Her character.... More >

Podcast: The Rutte Tops Trump Edition

Hot gossip, dodgy deals and bureaucratic minefields dominate this week’s news. Finance minister Menno Snel comes under fire over the tax office’s blunderbuss approach to suspected benefit fraud and tempers flare as The Hague cracks down on New Year beach bonfires. The detention of a teenager who was unaware he was an illegal immigrant sparks uproar, as does Klaas Dijkhoff’s decision to trouser thousands of euros for leaving a cabinet post after less than a month. We bring you the... More >

'Mark Rutte, talk to us about racism'

The recent, violent events surrounding anti-Zwarte Piet protesters, and the lack of a response from Mark Rutte, means it is high time the prime minister started a conversation with Kick Out Zwarte Piet, say campaigners Jerry Afriyie, Naomie Pieter, Elvin Rigters, Jessica de Abreu and Mitchell Esajas. Dear Mr Rutte, We are writing to you because of your deafening silence concerning the violence against anti-Black Pete demonstrators and your failure to respond to our invitation to discuss institutional racism in... More >

'Looking down canals is romantic'

Dianne Biederberg has lived in Amsterdam for more than 40 years. She’s almost retired from a job in media sales. As president of the Australian and New Zealand Club, she’s still in close contact with many of her compatriots. But she’s also become very Dutch. Unless it comes to her agenda. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman while traveling in Europe in 1972. I was on my grand tour of Europe and my sister... More >

You bought a house with defects: what now?

It is your worst-case scenario: you bought a property in the Netherlands – but after you signed the purchase agreement, you discovered there are defects. What can you do? What are your rights? Glenn Kerver of GMW lawyers explains what Dutch law means for you in this situation. The essential role of the purchase agreement Under Dutch housing law, the purchase and sale of a residential home (whether house or apartment) must be recorded in a written agreement. This describes... More >

'We left a diplomatic life for Groningen'

Wakanyi Hoffman moved to Groningen this summer after more than a decade of hopping around the world, in and out of seven countries on three continents. In this column, she looks at why her family gave up the high life of diplomacy and international organisations to settle in the north of the Netherlands. There is no doubt that someday, the colourful collection of visa stamps decorating our passports will retrace the path of our intrepid travel tales. But in the... More >

12 great things to do in December

Is it ‘bah humbug’ for you in December or are you Christmas crackers? This month’s round-up of great things to has something for everyone. See the mighty fall The John Adams Institute invited Pulitzer price winning journalist Megan Twohey to  discuss her and fellow New York Times journalist Jodi Kantor’s book She Said which explores the sexual abuse that toppled Harvey Weinstein and the underlying mechanisms which made it possible in the first place. December 3. Website See Sinterklaas! Every... More >

Podcast: Cats Are Worse Than Stikstof

Several long-running sagas come to a head in this week’s podcast. Prime minister Mark Rutte and defence minister Ank Bijleveld face more tough questions over the deaths of 70 civilians in a bombing raid in Iraq. The tax office’s sledgehammer approach to families suspected of defrauding the child support system also comes in for heavy criticism. Meanwhile, decorated war hero Marco Kroon’s career is dangling by a thread after his confrontation with police during Carnaval season. And we ask the... More >

The Dutch are selling out their language

On Tuesday, a group of Dutch academics and others published an essay collection entitled Against English – a call to action against the way English is squeezing out Dutch. Niek Pas is one of the people behind the campaign. Only the bell gables I pass on my way to work still speak to me in Dutch. The windows of all shops, bars and restaurants, including the Italian place, are in English.  A lone brown café bravely resist the trend, but... More >

Our best Sinterklaas and Christmas books

Sinterklaas and Christmas are fast approaching, and what better gift than a book?  Here are our recommendations for the best buys, including some suggestions for those of you whose bookshelves may already be groaning with books about the Netherlands. Order a book marked with an asterisk and you will get a 10% discount, courtesy of Holland Books, if you use this code: DNHB1119 1 New to the Netherlands and still finding your feet? Holland Handbook: the indispensable guide to the... More >

Backing women's rights with PissWife

The feminist magazine and art collective PissWife is more than just a magazine – it’s a community, too. They’re on a mission to empower women and open minds with their writing, poetry and art. ‘The name derives from the word zeikwijf which is a very Dutch, old Amsterdam term for women who have an opinion…it means something like ‘whine-y bitch’,’ Robin Jay explains in an empty bar at midday in a hip part of Amsterdam. ‘We used that word as... More >

Dutch News Podcast: Hook Us Up Hoekstra

We’re a man down this week, with Gordon disappearing under mysterious circumstances. Molly and Paul hold down the fort and tell you about why Kim Kardashian West ruffled some feathers in the Netherlands, why Dutch people are still chanting racist things at football matches and how Oscar Wilde got his ring back. In the discussion, they ask what is integration and why are the Dutch so bad at it?   Want to support the DutchNews podcast and keep our stocks... More >

'When I cycle I always wear a bike helmet'

Annika Markovic is the Swedish ambassador to the Netherlands. She enjoyed meeting the king when she first arrived here, is fond of the north of the country and her favourite Dutch word is ‘klant’. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Being ambassador is a government appointment so it was the Swedish government that appointed me. But you can also indicate your interest… and I was interested in coming here. In some ways the Netherlands is very similar to... More >

How to cut your energy bills and save cash

With chilly days upon us and the nights drawing in, you are bound to be using more gas and electricity at home – something you cannot fail to see if you have a smart meter. Making sure your home is well-insulated, turning off the lights when you leave a room and even turning down the central heating a degree will all help cut your energy spending. But you can also save money by shopping around to make sure you have... More >