Monday 16 September 2019

The most read features of 2017

From Dutch food with EU protected status to the king’s 50th birthday and reforming the red light district – this year has published over 150 features. Here’s a round-up of the best longer reads of 2017. 1 Dutch TV show says Hello Mr Trump, this is the Netherlands 2 Dutch TV documentary claims Trump has ties to Russian mobsters 3 11 key facts about king Willem-Alexander as he turns 50 4 Who can vote for whom and how the... More >

How to celebrate New Year the Dutch way

New Year’s Eve in the Netherlands is celebrated in a most untypical over-the-top way. Here’s list of 10 things you must do to fit right in. 1. Buy fireworks – lots of them and enormous ones – if you have not smuggled them in from Belgium or Eastern Europe months ago. This year you can only buy fireworks on December 28, 29 and 30 – and for some reason, garages seem to be popular licenced stockists. Start setting off your... More >

Should you change health insurer?

There are just a couple of days to go before you have to decide whether or not to change health insurance company. Here’s the answers to some of the questions which expats most frequently ask about Dutch health insurance and the healthcare system. Changing healthcare insurance company does not have to be a complicated business. But there are some things you do need to think about before you do. When do I need to pay the deductible excess? The deductible... More >

Science and faith not mutually exclusive

Science and faith are not on the opposite side of the fence and Christians are responsible for many scientific breakthroughs, says Rob Mutsaerts, the auxiliary bishop of the diocese of ‘s Hertogenbosch. Richard Dawkins, advocate of scientific and rational thought, is calling on everyone, and  people of faith in particular, to think for themselves. People who believe in God do not think for themselves, he claims, and are cowardly and lazy to boot. Perhaps this is a good time to... More >

Home for the Christmas holidays?

The winter holiday season in the Netherlands is magical, with all the trees and houses lit up by twinkling lights. But for editor Robin Pascoe, the Christmas period is also about an intangible nostalgia for ‘home’, wherever that is. When I first came to the Netherlands in the early 1980s, Christmas was something that just happened between Sinterklaas and New Year. You had a tree and a family dinner and that was about it. More and more, however, the... More >

'The beaches on Terschelling are amazing'

Veteran journalist Andy Clark has worked for BBC Radio, Radio Television Hong Kong, and Radio Netherlands Worldwide. The Middlesbrough native, who would like to interview Geert Wilders and loves the Dutch islands, currently lives in Leiden. He now hosts a popular podcast titled Here in Holland. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in Hong Kong where I met my wife, Julie, who is also British. We got together and lived there for a while. Then... More >

Go Dutch this Christmas

December is in full swing and that means it is time to begin preparing, enjoying, and celebrating Christmas. A sparkling tree in the living room, the smell of baking biscuits floating out of the oven and Christmas songs on the radio—Christmas celebrations really do start at home. But just how do you give your Christmas that extra touch of ‘Dutchness’ while living in the Netherlands? Here is a list to inspire you, based on some of the ways the Dutch... More >

Family fun for the Christmas holidays

The school holidays are finally coming up! Esther O’Toole has a run down of special Christmas events and activities, for young and old, up and down the country, traditional and alternative; starting on December 15. Countrywide: winter circuses A trip to the circus is a popular Dutch tradition at Christmas. You will find Christmas Circuses all over: Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam, Haarlem, Nijmegen, Sittard…Eindhoven’s will be in the Park Theater and offers lots of extra activities for kids throughout the... More >

Dutch cats - here's nine things to know

They peer down at you from the windows of canal houses and slink past your legs while you’re hanging out in cafes. Indeed, cats definitely seem to be everywhere in the Netherlands. According to one estimate, there’s over 2.8 million of them currently living in the country. Brandon Hartley has nine key facts about Dutch cats Cats in the Kunsthal You can sink your claws into an exposition devoted entirely to cats at Rotterdam’s Kunsthal museum, until January 14, 2018.... More >

FvD has 'damaging' focus on race

D66 MP Jan Paternotte calls the Forum voor Democratie’s focus on race ‘damaging’ and challenges its MPs to face opposition where it can be heard: in a public debate in parliament. ‘Hiddema didn’t say anything wrong, silly Jan Paternotte’. That is how columnist Theodor Holman ended a passionate defence of Forum voor Democratie MP Theo Hiddema in his column in the Parool. This was the same Hiddema who, during a parliamentary debate spoke of a ‘proud, noble negro’ who, he... More >

Key facts about top-up health insurance

Supplementary health insurance policies have been in the news a lot this month, with the central Dutch bank suggesting they could disappear in the future. So what’s all the fuss about? Here’s a handy guide to what supplementary health insurance policies cover, how they work and whether or not you need one in 2018. What should you look out for when assessing supplementary health policies? Cover The basic health insurance (basisverzekering) is the compulsory part of Dutch health insurance. It... More >

Podcast: The Grinch Stole My Oliebollen

There’s not much Christmas cheer in our last podcast of the year, as the Dutch government joins the chorus of disapproval against Donald Trump’s latest diplomatic intervention, texting while cycling is officially frowned on, a radio station is pilloried for a sexist prank and Spain comes under fire for its treatment of Morgan the orca. Andre Rieu makes a surprise guest appearance in our sports news, while our end-of-year discussion looks at some of the top 2000 reasons to celebrate... More >

'The red light district is beautiful'

Travel blogger, museum guide and Dutch cheese addict Tea Gudek Šnajdar from Haarlem emigrated from Croatia in 2013 in search of adventure. At work or at play, there is nowhere she’s rather be than at Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, marvelling at the Golden Age masterpieces. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My husband and I wanted to go somewhere abroad, and we had this idea while we were both still studying to go somewhere outside Croatia and get an international... More >

Great new books to give away

December is a time of giving and that’s just what we are doing this month at We’ve got some great gifts to give away to several lucky readers. NLXL by Karel Tomei The Netherlands might like to consider itself a small country – a kleine kikkerlandje, as the Dutch are so fond of saying – but this is one mighty big book. Karel Tomei’s NLXL weighs in at a whopping 3.5 kilos but is such a joy to look... More >

Podcast: The Vial of Fake News Edition

In this week’s podcast we tackle the biggest, blackest hot potato of our times – when and how will the Zwarte Piet debate end? It’s been a week of bitterness and recriminations, with a chaotic end to the Yugoslavia tribunals in The Hague and the Dutch government facing accusations of fitting up an airline pilot who spent eight years in an Argentinian jail before being cleared this week of throwing dissidents out of planes in the 1970s. We also pick... More >

12 great things to do in December

Not everything on the calendar for December is about Sinterklaas and Santa Claus but inevitably lots of events at this time of year are Christmas-themed.  We’ve got top notch theatre, ice sculptures, cat karaoke and the American dream in our latest listing. Savour some savoir-faire If you haven’t bought a single present yet and are not short of a euro or two why not visit the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam for inspiration. Meesterlijk is a three day extravaganza of ‘style, specialisms... More >

Gender-neutral marketing hits Holland

This is your last weekend to pack in the pre-Sinterklaas shopping. So will it be pink for the girls and blue for the boys? Gender-neutral marketing has finally arrived in the Netherlands but, as Deborah Nicholls-Lee reports, not everyone is happy. In June 2015, following a particularly depressing visit to toy store Bart Smit – whose signage suggested that my five-year-old daughter had no business looking at toys that had to do with engineering, natural history or science – I... More >

British ambassador reassures Brits in NL

With European leaders due to meet in Brussels next month, the time is right to press on with negotiations on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, says  ambassador Peter Wilson says in an open letter to British nationals in the Netherlands. On 14 and 15 December the leaders of the European Union member states will meet in Brussels for the December gathering of the European Council.  The council comes together after months of talks which have generated a huge... More >