Blogwatching: Opening night

Blogwatching: Opening night (a play about women, sex and porn) The writer of Amsterfam moved from London to Amsterdam nearly two years ago with three kids. She switched school systems, ditched the car and threw her children into the box on a cargo bike. She has also been known to swear. In my privileged capacity as Tulse Hill’s greatest export to Amsterdam, twice Mumsnet’s blog of the day, guardian of #stevethebakfiets, fair-weather Instagrammer, diarist, documenter of disaster, dealer in schadenfreude – ALL my stock is in schadenfreude, that’s my only horse in the race, if you start to yearn for some actual useful intel about Amsterdam then I am FUCKED, I tell you, FUCKED – I am often, these days, on the receiving end of a phenomenon that I believe is called reaching out. The people who reach out and find me in their unwitting grasp are public relations consultants, and they have googled Amsterdam Bloggers – or, worse, Amsterdam Mummy Bloggers (Christ) – and, look! They found Amsterfam! Here’s a woman with 1.4 more children...  More >

DN podcast - The Feminazi Takeover - w44

Dutch News podcast – The Feminazis Take Over Edition – Week 44 The Dutch News podcast this week moves to Amsterdam, ditches Gordon and Paul, and introduces a whole new host of characters behind your daily news site. Senay Boztas and Deborah Nicholls-Lee join Molly to talk about the latest in the story about an electric wagon maker filing for bankruptcy, what advice Mark Rutte is giving schoolchildren and a new turn in the case of a Dutch collector accused of owning a stolen mummy. Molly talks sports and the latest with Max Verstappen, under sufferance, and Deborah goes on an unusual fishing trip. In the discussion, Dutch News editor-in-chief Robin Pascoe joins the crew to debate the merits (or otherwise) of moving Amsterdam's red light district. TOP STORY Electric wagon maker files for bankruptcy after fatal crash Manufacturers call for greater clarity on new electric vehicles on the road (in Dutch) NEWS Who's the Daddy? Buddha with mummy in hands of new owner, court hears Rutte advises schoolchildren to just say no to cannabis Cabinet...  More >

14 great things to do in November

From great women to drug dealers: 14 great things to do in November November may be a gloomy month but there is much going on to lighten the day, or night. Catch a play about Brexit, check out some Dutch masters which live in England and ask yourself why a hair that fell of the head of Maradona is in an exhibition in Utrecht. Say hello to old friends Matilda, the BFG, the Enormous Crocodile and many more are all waiting for young and old fans to come and say hello at the Quentin Blake exhibition in the Meermanno museum in The Hague. Some150 drawings, sketches, miniatures and photographs show how the illustrator based his instantly recognisable characterisations on the written text. Until March 3. Website Admire the Dutch masters with an English accent In total 22 17th century Dutch Masters are travelling to the Mauritshuis in The Hague from their august surroundings in 12 stately homes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland courtesy of the National Trust.  Among the paintings are Rembrandt’s self-portrait with a feathered bonnet and Gerard...  More >

New book aims to unravel NL's dna

What makes the Dutch who they are? New book aims to unravel NL’s dna For a small country built on boggy ground, the Netherlands has punched well above its weight in global history. Foreigners, as outsiders, have written many books which aim to unravel the peculiarities of the Netherlands. Now local journalist Cees van Lotringen has written his own insider story about what makes the Dutch Dutch. There are three reasons why the Dutch have become what they are, says financial journalist Cees van Lotringen. 'Firstly, the landscape. We have built our country in a difficult environment  and that has forced the Dutch to be extremely inventive - not only in water management. They had to get their food from elsewhere as well because the marshy ground was not good for farming. And when they bought too much, they sold it on, which of course helped drive their business instinct.' The 80 Years War with Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries, which resulted in the provinces which then made up Netherlands toppling their ruler and winning independence was another...  More >

Visit beautiful Belarus in all its glory

Visit beautiful Belarus in all its glory – without a visa Belarus might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a holiday abroad, but you'd be surprised just how much there is to do and see. The rich culture, outdoor activities and historical sites will keep even the most experienced traveller busy.  Some 40% of Belarus is covered by woodland and forests, so the colours in autumn are a sight to behold. And in winter the weather is crisp and cold with plenty of snow. Belarus has plenty to offer tourists, and now you don’t have to spend your time and money on getting your documents in order and applying for a visa. For tourists from 74 countries entering the country through National Airport Minsk-2, the visa-free regime has been extended to 30 days. If you are feeling a bit under the weather or could simply do with some care and attention, why not visit one of the Belarusian health resorts? Sanatorium treatment in Belarus is very popular with foreigners. Before the visa extension, tourists could only enjoy a two...  More >

Move It Forward: Female digital starters

Find out what it takes to get started in the tech industry at Move It Forward While many employment sectors are becoming increasingly co-ed, the tech industry remains predominantly male. One upcoming event seeks to encourage more women to pursue careers in the field. During Move It Forward: Female Digital Starters, participants can attend hands-on workshops about digital technologies that will help them develop projects and acquire useful real-world skills. The two day event is a collaboration between the Digital Leadership Institute, the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, Women’s Business Initiative International, and Webster University. It will take place on 10 and 11 November 2018 at Webster’s Leiden campus and is open to both students and members of the public. ‘The focus of the event is to find ways to help women improve their IT skills and test out their entrepreneurial ideas,’ said head organiser Dr Yang Fan, who is programme coordinator for the Business and Management department at Webster Leiden. ‘Our goal is to encourage more of them...  More >

Guarantee citizen's rights post Brexit

Citizens’ rights should be guaranteed, regardless of Brexit European leaders should guarantee the rights of British and Dutch nationals alike ahead of Brexit, say D66 MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld and MP Kees Verhoeven. The spectre of failed Brexit negotiations between the EU and Britain means that the status of millions of people at risk. Will they be unceremoniously kicked out of the country between now and a year’s time? Can they keep their jobs? It is high time assurances were put in place for these people now that a no-deal Brexit seems to be approaching fast. After 45 years of British EU membership, it is only six months until Brexit and negotiations are stalling. But whatever the outcome, European government leaders must separate the fundamental civil rights of ordinary Europeans from the negotiations on trade and the economy. Alarm bells are ringing for 3.5 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.5 million Britons living elsewhere in the EU. Five million people are standing helplessly by as a no-deal Brexit looms with all the disruption...  More >

Podcast: The Bankrupt Banquet Edition

DutchNews podcast – the Banquets and Bankruptcy Edition – Week 43 While King Willem-Alexander spiced up a royal banquet this week by mentioning Brexit and the last successful invasion of England in the same dinner speech, back in the Netherlands more recent ghosts loomed large as the government faced calls to apologise for the treatment of the so-called 'kraut whores' after WWII. We also focus on what happens to patients when a hospital goes bust, why religion has become a minority pursuit, the Champions League goalscoring hero who had a public message for his mother and an intrepid cat's impromptu road trip. In our discussion we examine the legacy of former prime minister Wim Kok, who died this week at the age of 80. TOP STORY Patients moved out of Slotervaart hospital after bankruptcy order NEWS Religious allegiance drops below 50% for first time Dover sole and Brexit on the menu as King pays state visit to UK Call for Dutch state to apologise for publicly shaming 'Kraut Whores' after WWII Hitchhiking cat goes full circle...  More >

'People see my name and assume I'm Dutch'

‘People see me and they see my name and they assume I am Dutch’ Rachelle Meyer is an American illustrator who moved to Amsterdam with her British husband twelve years ago. She’s currently putting together an art collection of her Faces on the Ferry drawings, she would like to meet Jesse Klaver and she thoroughly recommends the Hoge Veluwe as a place to visit. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’m originally from Texas but I was living in New York City when I met my British husband. He was living in LA but agreed to stay in New York for me, with the idea that we would eventually move to Europe. He had three cities in mind: Brighton, Amsterdam and Zurich. We visited all of them and I felt like Amsterdam was the most interesting and had the potential to take my life in unexpected ways. It has a rich history of art and design. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I veer between immigrant and international. I consider myself a global citizen. I think people should have freedom of movement. How...  More >

The Hague hosts third IamExpat Fair

The IamExpat Fair makes it three in a row in The Hague Looking for the perfect place to live, a career shift or even mates to hang around with? You'll find all the answers at the third edition of the IamExpat Fair in The Hague, which takes place on Saturday November 10 at the Grote Kerk in the city centre. The IamExpat Fair was set up to support internationals in the Netherlands and connect them with local businesses and service providers, and the organisers are delighted to be back in The Hague for a third edition. This year the fair will host over 70 exhibitors and welcome more than 2,000 visitors. 'This event is an exciting opportunity for internationals to find everything they need under one roof in one day,' says co-organiser Nikos Nakos. 'For example, finding time to make an appointment with a mortgage or financial advisor, can seem daunting, but here we've got them all under one roof,' says his colleague Panos Sarlanis. From companies and services in the areas of career, housing, education and expat services, to family,...  More >

How's life in remote parts of NL?

Expats in remote areas of the Netherlands – How’s life for you? Not all internationals live in the Randstad with expat services at their fingertips. Deborah Nicholls-Lee speaks to readers in remote locations across the Netherlands and asks, ‘What’s it like when you’re the only expat in the village?’ Sicilian Nicola Sirchia (32) is in love with his trees. ‘I have apple trees! I can see them grow, make apple cake and do all those kinds of things. That makes me happy!’ he enthuses over the phone from his home in the rural Hoeksche Waard, an island in Zuid-Holland.  ‘I don’t need a house that costs a million euros in the city centre. I just need a simple house where I can have my trees.’ The online digital manager lived in Amsterdam, Breda and Rotterdam, before moving, in 2017, with Dutch wife Shirley (29), a mental health counsellor, to the village of Goudswaard, where the population is under 2000 and the only other expat is the owner of the local Chinese restaurant. ‘My work is quite intense, so we decided to move somewhere...  More >

Podcast: The Dividends of Crime Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Crime Doesn’t Pay Dividend Tax Edition – Week 42 Fireworks and firearms are to the fore in this week's podcast as we rake over the ashes of Rutte's dividend tax debacle, find out how police blew open a suspected terrorist cell in Arnhem, and reveal how Amsterdam plans to make New Year a less explosive occasion. Plus the Night Watch gets a very public makeover and for once there's plenty to cheer about in the sporting arena. In our discussion we look at how local mayors are increasingly being driven into hiding by mobsters. Ophef of the week: Twitterstorms and talking at concerts #hetisfokkingADE TOP STORY Rutte survives no confidence vote triggered by dividend tax debacle NEWS Details emerge of undercover police operation to infiltrate terror cell in Arnhem Dutch integration exam scrapped after questions are shared online Number of euthanasia deaths falls for first time since regulation began Rembrandt's Night Watch to be restored in full public view Amsterdam city council proposes banning New Year firework...  More >

How a bicycle changes a culture

A cycling nation: how the bike impacts on Dutch society We all know that the Netherlands’ has world-leading bicycle infrastructure. But how does this affect us, the society that uses it? Joshua Parfitt delves into the benefits of being bike-friendly. Two mamils (middle aged man in lycra) arrive at a cafe in The Hague. The weather’s great and they proudly show off a digital map displaying bicycle routes, which when zoomed out makes the Netherlands look like a network of varicose veins. 'Ah it’s really nice here,' says Ivor, sipping his lungo. 'You’re separated from the cars, and it’s so flat. It’s impossible to drive on a country lane in England.' We’ve all heard the statistics about the Netherlands. Utrecht is building the world’s largest bike park, with 12,500 places. There are an estimated 1.3 bikes per person here, the most per capita in the world, and about 27% of all trips made are by bicycle — compared with 2% in Britain. Cycling can do wonders for the body. With 14.2% of the population classed as obese,...  More >

Get a taste of the south in Venlo destinations: get a taste of the south in Venlo Venlo's strategic position on the river Maas, right on the border of Germany and the Netherlands, has made it a travellers' and merchants' crossroads since Roman times, and a central point in the final battles of WW2. Esther O'Toole has been checking out this very southern Dutch town. The urban regeneration after the war has allowed Venlo to grow into a bustling city today with a strong local culture and sense of place. And despite the wartime damage, it managed to preserve many historical buildings, like the imposing 'stadshuis' on the main square that dates from the end of the 1500s, and overlooks many welcoming cafe terraces in the summer. The city itself now has nearly 40,000 residents, with a similar number in the greater Venlo area since neighbouring Blerick and Tegelen were incorporated into the council region after the war. Currently, the city's most famous son is notorious Dutch politician Geert Wilders and the town has brought forth many a politician over the years,...  More >

It is time for politicians to take action

The social partners have done talking, time for politicians to take action The social partners have mulled over all the main issues in the government accord. So now it’s time for the government to take decisive action, says economist Mathijs Boumans. In March 2017 we went to the polls. In October, following the longest formation period in history, we had a cabinet. We are now a year into a new government but we are still not really being governed. Voters have no idea where the country is headed. Of course there is the government accord, boldly ambitious about a climate friendly economy, a dynamic and fair labour market and the introduction of a shiny new pension system. But no sooner had these plans been put to paper than the government decided to let them be mulled over by civil society. Unions and employers’ organisations were asked to chew on pension reform and the cautiously worded labour market plans. A motley crew of representatives of the business world, local authorities, environmental organisations, knowledge institutes and – here they...  More >

The Word is out: spoken word poetry in NL

The word is out: Spoken word poetry in English comes to the Netherlands Spoken Word – a performance art where words are conveyed to an audience in poetry, rap or music – is powerful, accessible and diverse. Deborah Nicholls-Lee shines a spotlight on the emerging English-language scene in the Netherlands. In a curtained-off room lined with books and posters, in the back of a west Amsterdam bar, a blond woman in a floral dress bobs around the microphone nervously. She ties herself up in knots with disclaimers about the spoken word poetry she is about to perform. ‘It’s super short – no worries – and it doesn’t have a title. I don’t know, I’m not good with titles...’ ‘Do it!’, ‘Just do it!’ holler two voices from the audience – more supportive than impatient. The piece is heard, and there’s a cooing ‘aaaah!’, a cheer, and a warm, enthusiastic round of applause. Community This event, organised by Word Up, is one of a clutch of English-language spoken word events which have popped up in Amsterdam over the last...  More >

Podcast: Pitchforks and Pindakaas Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Pitchforks and Pindakaas Edition – Week 41 It's been a week of departures as D66 leader Alexander Pechtold handed over the reins to Rob Jetten, Mark Rutte pulled the plug on his dividend tax plan, Unilever rowed back from Rotterdam and the Zwarte Piet motorway blockers had to leave their clogs at the door. Plus Bibian Mentel hangs up her snowboard as she reveals she's been diagnosed with cancer for the 10th time. In our discussion we take a look at the ongoing efforts to reunite artworks stolen by the Nazis during World War II with their rightful owners. SOUNDCLOUD TOP STORY Alexander Pechtold quits as D66 leader, Rob Jetten becomes youngest party leader NEWS Cabinet puts dividend tax plan on hold after Unilever turns back on Rotterdam Trial begins of motorway blockaders who stopped Zwarte Piet protest King regrets Brexit as Rutte holds talks with Merkel in The Hague Animal shelter seeks new home for lion cub abandoned in field SPORT Dutch women one step away from World Cup qualification after beating...  More >

Rotterdam awakes as Amsterdam overheats

Rotterdam awakes as Amsterdam’s property market overheats Expats are shunning the crowded, overpriced capital and heading south to buy property in Rotterdam. We find out why house buyers cannot afford to overlook Rotterdam.    Richardo Cruz Fortes, mortgage advisor at Expat Mortgages, foresaw, like many others, what is happening in the Rotterdam property market today. ‘What I’ve been calling Rotterdam for years now is “the sleeping giant”,’ he tells me. Rotterdam has everything you’d expect a large city to offer, Richardo explains, but has long played second fiddle to Amsterdam. As the capital’s property market overheats and public and private investment pours into our second city, all eyes are on Rotterdam as the giant now awakes. Founded in 2007 in Amsterdam, Expat Mortgages has been expanding its offices across the Netherlands as demand for housing outside the capital has risen. The opening of a Rotterdam branch in 2018 is a sign that expat investors and home-seekers are becoming more aware of the huge amount the...  More >

'I was told that "no means no"'

‘I was told “even if you’re the queen of the Netherlands, no means no”‘ Seven years ago, Beena Arunraj said goodbye to her dental practice and, with her husband Eddie, who works for Philips, upped sticks and moved from India to Eindhoven. Beena has been shocked by home births and sales staff in Ikea, but says she would like to meet Menno Snel and talk to him about the 30% ruling. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was by a very normal route: my husband was with Philips, so he moved here for work eight years ago. I had never moved to another country before, but when you’re living in India a different state is almost a foreign country. We have a different language for every state, so it teaches you what it means to move to a new culture. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc ? I wouldn’t call myself an expat, because technically my husband is the expat; I would call myself an international. And I would call myself an international even if I was in India, because when you read a lot, and when you...  More >

Universities partly blamed for downturn in Dutch as a language degree

Universities partly blamed for downturn in Dutch as a language degree Dutch is no longer a popular choice for prospective students but universities are partly to blame, says Lotte Jensen, professor of Dutch cultural and literary history at Radboud University in Nijmegen. In recent weeks newspapers have been reporting on the alarming decline in the number of young people opting to study Dutch at university level. It is a worrying development which, if the trend continues, could land Dutch in the department of minority foreign languages. There are several reasons why this should not be allowed this to happen. Not only do we need academically trained Dutch language and culture graduates to teach at secondary schools, we also need specialists to conduct research into the Dutch cultural heritage. Johan Koppenol, professor of Dutch literature (1100 to 1800) at the VU University in Amsterdam, rightly said that a profound knowledge of the Dutch language, culture and history has never been more relevant: all current public debates are about language and culture...  More >