Wednesday 23 June 2021

Foreign students languish under lockdown

Far from their support systems and saddled with expensive courses unfit for online study, international students in the Netherlands say they have been neglected by the Dutch government. Now they are launching a petition for proper compensation. Haneen Abou El Hessen (25) is sick of the 12m² study space in central Groningen that she has been confined to for most of her Master’s in Clinical Psychology. ‘I usually start out my day sitting at my desk, and the day ends... More >

Childcare news: BSOs reopen

A round up of the latest Dutch childcare news, brought to you by Zein International Childcare. After school care (BSO) is open again The government announced last week it would reopen after school childcare and holiday care facilities (BSO) from Monday for primary school pupils, as long as strict hygiene and other protocols are observed. The move is the next step in the slow return to normality in the Netherlands, and one which has been widely welcomed by parents and... More >

Podcast: Jurassic Park at Hogwarts Edition

As infections rose again this week, the government agreed to organise a series of mass events for people who are sick of lockdown, so they can get sick with coronavirus instead. We also explain why a D66 MP gave up his seat after just 15 days while Geert Wilders was uncharacteristically silent on the subject. Newly published tape recordings shed light on the case against the four men accused of shooting down flight MH17. And police are trying to trace... More >

'Umbrellas are pointless in NL'

Sporty equal rights advocate Mérida Miller (32) swapped the US east coast for Amsterdam in 2017. She is the founder of Project Fearless, an after-school programme for girls that breaks stereotypes and builds confidence through activities such as boxing, skateboarding and artivism. She’s partial to a stroopwafel, but it has to be stale; and she loves tulips, but is suspicious of Keukenhof’s immaculate grounds. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was a little bit of love and... More >

Credit cards in NL: things to consider

The demand for new credit cards has plunged during the coronavirus pandemic. The same goes for card spending, which went down considerably in the first wave as people played safe with their finances and postponed big purchases. Nevertheless, demand for credit cards are set to rise again soon, as more and more people get vaccinated and countries open up their borders for tourists once again. If you have been thinking about getting a new Dutch credit card, perhaps as part... More >

Party of 4: the couple friendmaking app

When Megan Valverde, a nurse from Boston, arrived in Amsterdam with her husband and two young boys, she was delighted to explore a new city but faced with a challenge. ‘For years, my husband and I have talked about how as we’ve gotten older, it’s harder to make friends, especially when you have young children,’ she says. ‘You quickly realise you have to find friends with kids because your interests and ability to stay out late don’t really align any... More >

Podcast: The Resurrection Rutte Edition

In an Easter week of remarkable comebacks, none was so spectacular as Mark Rutte’s career diving and resurfacing like a Dutch submarine catching a glimpse of barbecue sunshine. Forum voor Democratie’s prodigal pensioner Theo Hiddema returned as a senator and veteran negotiator Herman Tjeenk Willink came out of retirement to head the coalition formation talks. We ask what could possibly go wrong as Hugo de Jonge unveils a cunning plan to hold mass public events in the middle of a... More >

What Dutch reveals about its people

Can you really understand a culture without speaking the language? Students at Dutch language school Talencoach have been surprised how much fun it is to learn a language when you understand the culture that shapes it. Both Dutch and English use an insect idiom to communicate pedantic behaviour. The English have ‘nitpick’, taking tiny louse eggs from hair. The Dutch, however, have mierenneuken: ant-f*cking. Open, direct, blunt, pragmatic – it’s all there. Almost everything newcomers need to know about Dutch... More >

How to buy a house despite coronavirus

If there’s one lesson from the past year of the pandemic, it’s how important it is to have a good home. Working in the same space as home schooling children can be difficult while the lack of an outdoor space can make the lockdown feel even more oppressive. At the same time, however, shortages on the supply side are helping to push up prices, and, as the cities become more expensive, more rural areas are also in the spotlight. Mortgage... More >

The lowdown on nannies in NL

If coping with children, home schooling and doing your job all at the same time is getting too much, you might have been thinking about bringing in the professionals. Here’s what you need to know! ‘I’ve been a nanny for most of my working life, and people are often curious and ask me questions about aspects of the job,’ says Darla Duggan, who has been a live-out nanny for 20 years. ‘Prospective nannies want to know what the job and... More >

The Dutch are no good at political scandal

As a country, the Netherlands is excellent at many things: cheese-making, playing football, creating fried bar snacks, freeing container ships from Egyptian canals. When it comes to political scandals, however, we’re awful, writes Ben Coates. In countries like the US, a major scandal might involve stolen nuclear secrets, illegal arms deals or crooked campaign contributions. In France, two former presidents have been found guilty of corruption within the last decade. And in Britain, the last week alone has seen the... More >

From Easter to Eid al-Fitr

This year April and May include no less than nine significant events on the Dutch calendar – and in normal years, a lot of excuses for a party.  Schools are also closed for a week or two around the end of April for their spring break but if you are crafty with the public holidays, you hardly need eat into your official holiday entitlement. Pasen This year, Easter (Goede vrijdag, 1e and 2e Paasdag) take place over the first weekend... More >

Dutch recycling strategy needs a rethink

The Netherlands claims to be a leading light when it comes to recycling, but walk along any Amsterdam street, and you have to wonder who is recycling what. Piles of cardboard and old furniture stack up alongside the underground paper and glass containers, next to full plastic bags of household waste. Zuza Nazaruk spoke to Rob Buurman of Recycling Network Benelux to find out what is going wrong. ‘We have almost no idea what is going on with Dutch recycling,’... More >

Returning colonial-era art 'is not easy'

This weekend Trouw revealed that Dutch museums have over 100 items in their collections which form part of the fabled Benin Bronzes collection, stolen by British soldiers from the king’s palace nearly 125 years ago. The report again focuses attention on how the Netherlands is dealing with returning stolen art. ‘It’s new, it’s groundbreaking and it’s progressive,’ says Jos van Beurden of the new guidelines introduced by the Dutch government to facilitate the return of colonial-era artefacts to their nations... More >

Podcast: The Alkmaar Cheese Scam Edition

While Dutch salvage experts worked to free a 200,000 tonne cargo ship blocking the Suez canal, back home everything ground to a halt this week. The coalition talks were stalled by Kajsa Ollongren’s positive coronavirus test and then torpedoed by her documentary faux pas. Hugo de Jonge struggled once again to convince MPS he was turning round the Netherlands’ vaccination strategy. And the football team’s World Cup dreams were marooned in the doldrums as Turkey inflicted a 4-2 defeat in... More >

Artist leaves widow 1000 unseen paintings

When Willem Barbieri died in 2019, he left his wife with an unusual legacy: over 1000 extraordinary paintings, collages and sketches, created during their life together. Poet Pauline Barbieri (78) has spent most of lockdown trying to catalogue and photograph the immense body of surrealist-inspired artwork left behind by her late husband Willem (1948-2019) which fills the UK home they once shared. ‘You couldn’t get into bed for the pictures,’ she says. ‘When one painting was finished, he just got... More >

How to cut the cost of your car insurance

Shopping around for car insurance can save you up to €200 a year, so it is well worth checking out the options. So, you’ve finally got a car of your own, or are thinking about buying a nifty little sports number for the summer? Buying a car can be one of the most expensive purchases you will make but the insurance need not cost an arm and a leg. For the first time in years, the cost of car insurance... More >

How to get your webshop off the ground

With the coronavirus pandemic changing the role of the high street, an increasing number of people are setting up their own webshop. Here are some suggestions to help you join the online retail boom. Online retail continues to grow in the Netherlands, with spending in webshops up an average 44% last year. In fact, the Netherlands is home to around 50,000 online retailers, selling everything you could imagine – from eyewear to plants and machine parts. Some shops are purely... More >