Calling all scale-ups - get ready for BASE

Calling all scale-ups: there’s a new, interactive conference in town This May a new international event for scale-ups is being held in Amsterdam. The BASE Conference, launched by local entrepreneurs, is dedicated to businesses which are about to, or already, scaling up. BASE is an acronym for Build, Advance, Sustain and Elevate - the four pillars that founders Veronica Guguian and Lana Jelenjev see as fundamental to grow a business to the next level. ‘We believe that building relationships and managing resources are key for scale-ups’, says Guguian. ‘They can really make a difference when expanding a business and building a strong team, especially when combined with advanced strategies for marketing & sales, and, of course, innovation.' For a sneak preview of the approach of the big event, sign up for the BASE webinar on how to get free publicity on April 9. The actual conference on May 29 will bring together business owners, professionals, managers and policymakers to share knowledge and create connections that will help any business...  More >

Amsterdam has international school places

Yes, there are still places at an international school in Amsterdam Finding a place at an international school has just got easier. We visit the newly opened Amity International School Amsterdam, which is creating much-needed places for expat families in search of an English-speaking education. Any conversation among expat newcomers to Amsterdam about finding a good quality international education for their children invariably includes two words: waiting list. Rapid economic growth in the Netherlands has seen Amsterdam emerge as a European hub for commerce, finance and technology, attracting twice as many foreign migrants (largely from the US, UK and India) as ten years ago. The education sector has struggled to keep up, with many international schools full to capacity, but Amity International School Amsterdam, which opened its state-of-the-art campus in Amstelveen in February 2018, is enrolling new students all the time and hopes to ease the shortage of places. Personal attention Amity is a not-for-profit organisation with schools in over...  More >

Kings Day and lino: things to do in April

From Kings Day to lions, lemurs and lino: 12 great things to do in April There is a lot going on in April, from the traditional festivities of Kings Day to the start of the spring school break, plus a lot of gold, glitter, polka dots and crazy coloured glass at museums around the country. See Venice in Carré A musical theatre version of Death in Venice, directed by Ivo van Hove and performed by Theater Amsterdam and the Concertgebouworkest, is coming to Carré in Amsterdam and if you’re quick (and flush) you may just be able to get a ticket. The story by Thomas Mann was reworked by Ramsey Nasr to feature a writer in crisis who, in the privacy of his study, reinvents himself as Von Aschenbach, the kind of man he would like to be. American composer Nico Muhly wrote a new score for the production.. Surtitled. April 4 to April 13. Website Gaze at the glitter that is all gold The treasure of Utrecht’s Domkerk was all but destroyed during the Reformation but now the Museum Catharijneconvent has been given the chance to shine with the unparalleled riches...  More >

Bank on bunq to challenge the status quo

Banking on bunq: the banking app that wants to challenge the status quo They don’t do fat banker bonuses, overdrafts or loans. Built like a mirror image of the financial systems that brought on the last economic crisis, bunq is a mobile-only bank that wants to shake the foundations of the system. If you don’t have the money to buy something, they advise you to save rather than offering a high-interest loan. Instead, for a straightforward monthly fee, they will offer you 25 interest-paying joint or solo accounts, bank cards that link to any of them, and the ability to do everything with a swipe of your mobile phone. After all, bunq says, its mission is 'to wake up the banking system.’ bunq was launched in 2015 by Ali Niknam after he ran into a banking system that seems to be there for consumers, but is, in fact, only trying to make it as complicated as possible. Not any longer, says bunq. The system bills itself as the ‘bank of the free’, with three types of membership for individuals, business owners and groups. The monthly fee starts...  More >

Things to know about Dutch holiday lets

Thinking of renting a Dutch holiday cottage: here’s what you should know The Netherlands is stuffed full of places where you can rent a cottage for a few days to get away with friends and family. Center Parcs is, after all, a Dutch invention. But there are a few things you should be aware of before you get too excited. It looks so great on the website - that May holiday bargain cottage for four, which will cost you just €319 for three nights. But, as we at have all discovered to our cost, there are some things you may find out the hard way when renting a Dutch holiday home. The price That bargain price of €319 may not all it seems. You may notice the little asterisk or the small print which point out that this price does not include compulsory additional costs. If you are booking through a holiday company you will probably be asked to pay reservation costs - adding between €20 and €30 to the invoice. Then will come taxes and possibly a deposit. Tourist taxes are upwards of €3 or €4 per person a night. But there is more....  More >

Podcast: The Owls are Not What They Seem

DutchNews podcast – The Owls Are Not What They Seem Edition – Week 12 Thierry Baudet's success in the provincial elections stirred up plenty of ophef (as well as sparking a speech cobbled together from off-cuts of Oswald Spengler and rejected Nick Kershaw lyrics), but has it really changed the political landscape? We dissect the results and discuss the implications for Mark Rutte's cabinet on this week's podcast. Plus the latest on the Utrecht shooting, which is now being treated as a terrorist act, where the Netherlands ranks on the world happiness index, and a look ahead to Oranje's Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. Top story Utrecht shooter accused of terrorist offences but may have had personal issues News Dutch prime minister tells British government to stop whinging and make a decision Hundreds of primary schools close as teachers go on strike Dutch rank fifth in latest World Happiness Report Sport Netherlands beat Belarus 4-0 in opening Euro 2020 qualifier, Germany next Verstappen plays down F1 title hopes despite third...  More >

Nearer, not dearer: Almere

Nearer, not dearer: why house hunters are looking to Almere Want to find your dream house? Why not build it yourself, in the green stretches of Almere, a new town and a space where more than 2,000 people have done just that. If embarking on a quirky construction is a little ambitious for you, Almere still has plenty to offer, according to local experts. It may not have an ancient historic centre, but pretty much everything else you might want is there or nearby (including the dream houses other people have built). Forty years young, and quickly growing, Almere has matured into an attractive place for house buyers, says Mira Makkinje, a mortgage consultant for Expat Mortgages. ‘At first, nobody knew about Almere but nowadays property prices here are much better than Amsterdam, public transport to Amsterdam and Schiphol is very good, there’s an international school in Almere Poort, and a lot of people are thinking about moving here.’ Prices Amsterdam prices – an average of €5,129 per square metre at the end of 2018, according...  More >

Wynia’s Week: Baudet’s meteoric rise

Wynia’s Week: Thierry Baudet’s meteoric electoral rise explained A first time participant in the provincial elections and newcomer to the senate becomes the biggest party in the land in one fell swoop. It’s not something the Netherlands has ever experienced before, says columnist Syp Wynia. Forum voor Democratie, the party of Thierry Baudet, Henk Otten and Theo Hiddema, all of three years old, scorned by politicians as well as the Hilversum media, was hoisted to the top of the political tree by the voters. It is now the biggest in a number of provinces and the city of Rotterdam. The political establishment can no longer ignore it, lest it wants Baudet’s party to become a bigger winner still, starting with the European parliament election on May 23. The VVD miraculously managed to hold its own, although the party scored the worst provincial election results since 1970. Not so the other parties traditionally at the heart of Dutch politics. CDA and PvdA did poorly as did D66, a trend that started in 1989. Never before could ‘right wing...  More >

'People speak their mind but aren't rude'

‘People here speak their mind, but they’ve never seemed rude to me’ Originally from Plymouth in the US, New York Times author and illustrator Brooke Barker moved with her husband from America to Amsterdam a few years ago. She loves real ginger tea with ginger slices, is baffled by the local love of toothpicks and says she is too short to ever feel really Dutch. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always loved the Netherlands, and I’d always wanted to live there so I found a job with an international ad agency I’d worked with before in America. I grew up there, but I’ve lived in France, Germany, Australia, and Canada. When I visited the Netherlands, I was very impressed with how happy, optimistic, and outgoing everyone seemed. I liked how I pictured myself there, and it seemed like a happy and cosy place to live. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I would describe myself as an international. While growing up, I sort of always felt a little weird, like most people do while growing up, and...  More >

International food stores in NL

A taste of home: International food stores in the Netherlands We asked you where you buy the food and drink that makes you think of home. This is what you told us, in no particular order. Brazil Finalmente Brasil has outlets in Amsterdam and Rotterdam and its range includes home grown cosmetics and over the counter medicines. Romania The Netherlands' Romanian community obviously misses a lot from home. Website Români în Olanda lists shops in Tilburg, Breda, Roermond, Boxtel and The Hague as well as a butchers in Dordrecht! British, Irish, Australian and American The English-speaking community is pretty spoiled for choice, with bigger Albert Heijn and Jumbo supermarkets selling the likes of HP sauce and Marmite (albeit in those silly squashy jars) as well as Irish butter. Kelly's Expat Shopping can be found in Wassenaar and The Hague and has recently expanded into Amsterdam. It stocks all the usual suspects. Sterk in Amsterdam is boosting its sourcing of Anglo-American favourites and has a secret supply of home made scones...  More >

Podcast: Ministry of Silly Dancing Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Ministry of Silly Dancing Edition – Week 11 In a week when the government agreed to bring in a "polluter pays" tax on CO2 emissions, the atmosphere turned poisonous at an Amsterdam school where staff are accused of having terrorist sympathies and in the fishing community of Urk, where a mob descended on the home of a migrant family. Mark Rutte nears the end of his tether over Brexit, though if if he's hopping mad or stockpiling Marmite he'll have to stay away from the Foreign Affairs ministry's canteen. We also try to keep up with the all-conquering Dutch speed skaters and discuss how (and whether) you can vote in next week's elections. Ophef of the week: Politicians condemn De Wereld Draait Door presenter Matthijs van Nieuwkerk's gargantuan salary Top story Parents meeting about Islamic schools cancelled after too many turn up News Two arrested after mob attack migrant family in Urk Solution to Brexit impasse should come from London, says Rutte Climate plans may miss target but will cost less than thought Ministry...  More >

Six things for freelancers to think about

Thinking of going freelance? Here’s six key issues to consider Becoming self employed is increasingly popular in the Netherlands – in fact nearly all the 191,000 new companies registered with the Chamber of Trade last year were one-man operated firms. If you are thinking of taking the plunge, what key issues should you think about? 1 Can you set up a company as a non-Dutch national? Yes, nationality as such is not relevant for registering a business, particularly if you are already living in the Netherlands. However if you are not living in the Netherlands you will need to meet substantial conditions.  You will need to prove what ties your business has with the Netherlands. If you want to set up a sole proprietorship you will at least need a Dutch business address and Dutch fiscal number and, if you are setting up a limited company (BV) you will need a local director. 2 Do you need a business plan and if so, what should it include You don't need a business plan to set up your business but it is wise to have one as part of your...  More >

Dutch drug policy hits medicinal cannabis

Medicinal cannabis users left high and dry by Dutch tolerance policy Many patients find cannabis calms their symptoms, eases pain and reduces the side-effects of other medication – but despite the relaxed attitude to marijuana in the Netherlands, acquiring this alternative medicine is often a battle. Deborah Nicholls-Lee investigates. ‘I wish I could tell you that this was conventional – it isn’t,’ says Dutch-Israeli multiple sclerosis (MS) patient Anat Avissar Koren. Inhaling cannabis is one of the few things that helps relieve her chronic pain but socially, even in the Netherlands, it is not fully accepted. ‘The stigma is the horrible part for a patient,’ she says. But the low-percentage CBD oils she was offered on prescription were useless. ‘I have low absorption problems,’ she explains. ‘The oil doesn’t affect me at all.’ Figures from the National Drugs Monitor (2017) estimate that Anat is one of around half a million people in the Netherlands who use cannabis medicinally – the vast majority without a prescription –...  More >

Wynia’s Week: Let Rutte go to Brussels

Wynia’s Week: Let Mark Rutte go to Brussels, if they want him, that is. Mark Rutte is doing everything in his power to please in case he is offered a top job in Brussels. If they want him and if he is willing – which would be sensible – CDA and D66 mustn’t stand in his way, writes Syp Wynia. During the first RTL election debate of 2019, Klaas Dijkhoff, chair of the VVD parliamentary party, let slip a couple of times that after ‘Rutte Three’ there would be a ‘Rutte Four’. Dijkhoff had a strategy. What he was actually saying was that the cabinet would not fall after the provincial elections, Mark Rutte would not be finished and Mark Rutte would not be going to Brussels. But by protesting too much he is giving credence to the idea that the cabinet will be teetering on the edge, that Rutte will be a spent force and that he could be moving to Brussels. The problem is, of course, that potential candidates for the VVD leadership and/or the post of prime minister are few and far between. Halbe Zijlstra, who bragged about a non-existent visit...  More >

Dutch destinations: Maastricht

Dutch destinations: Go south and mooch around in Maastricht Maastricht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, and it elegantly combines classic architecture with modern twists. Here you’ll find a vibrant bookstore and coffee bar in a centuries-old cathedral, electrifying boutiques located along cobblestone lanes, and what some say is the best bar in the country.  As one of the country’s most gorgeous (and strategically located) cities, it should come as no surprise that various empires have tried to seize Maastricht over the years. No one can quite agree on its exact origins. Celts lived in the area at least as far back as the 5th century BC, and the Romans showed up about 600 years later to build a bridge over the Meuse River that now runs through the centre of the city. Servatius, Maastricht’s patron saint, is said to have died there in 384 AD, and a stone church was built over his grave in the 6th century. It was gradually expanded and redeveloped into the majestic Basilica of Saint Servatius that’s still located...  More >

Podcast: The Name Goes Here Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Belgium is Cancelled Edition – Week 10 Plenty of ground to cover in this week's podcast, from Ajax's swashbuckling conquest of Madrid to Wopke Hoekstra's peacemaking mission to Paris and a setback for Albert Heijn in Belgium. Dutch ministers call for short-haul flights to Brussels to be scrapped, IS fighter Yago Riedijk is told he'll have to find his own way back to Arnhem and Willem Holleeder's long career as the Netherlands' most notorious gangster may be running out of road. In our discussion we look at the latest moves to return works of art taken during the colonial era to their countries of origin. Top story: Willem Holleeder trial Public prosecutor demands life sentence for Willem Holleeder Feature: The hottest ticket in town is a seat at the Holleeder trial News Economic growth forecast cut to 1.5% for this year Housing market shows signs of cooling down Jihadi Yago Riedijk 'will not be allowed to bring his family to the Netherlands' France and Netherlands make up in wake of Air France-KLM...  More >

Introducing 10 remarkable Dutch women

On International Women’s Day, here are 10 remarkable Dutch women Dutch women get a lot of stick at times - for working part-time, for dressing down and for letting their children run riot. So here, to celebrate International Women's Day, are the brief stories of 10 Dutch women who broke the mold. A businesswoman and soldier To be called a Kenau in Dutch is not a compliment - it means you are a harridan - and yet Kenau Hasselaar (1526 – 1588) was by all accounts courageous and clever. When the city of Haarlem was under siege by the Spanish in 1572 Kenau is said to have led 300 women into battle and, according to contemporary historians, gave as good as any man. There are many other traces of her in the local judicial archives: Kenau was a business woman who did not shun conflict and there were many. It is not too great a leap of the imagination to think that many a man must have considered her pretty troublesome, and the epithet stuck. A playwright Belle van Zuylen (1740-1805), writer, playwright and prodigious correspondent, had her...  More >

Housing is hot, don't burn your fingers

Home ownership is hot in the Netherlands: Here’s how not to burn your fingers While there are signs that the rise in house prices in the Netherlands may be slowing down, the market is still extremely tight. So what can you do to boost your chances of buying a home of your own? Rotterdam-based estate agent Wil Jansen of @Work Real Estate Agency has been watching the housing market closely, as prices pick up in the port city. House prices in the most popular areas have more than doubled in the past two years, and are still rising, he says. Nevertheless, there are still bargains to be had, if you know where to look and are prepared to step outside the areas currently considered hot. ‘If you look in Rotterdam Prinsenland, for example, you get much more house for your money,’ he says. ‘But you can still cycle to the city centre for work. Or take Noordereiland, an island in the middle of Maas river, which has a real village-like atmosphere. Kop van Zuid is another place where there is a lot of investment and development going on.' Schiedam too is...  More >

'Amsterdam looks like a postcard'

‘I couldn’t get over how perfect Amsterdam looked, like a postcard’ Bilge Yörük spent most of her childhood in Turkey before she moved to Canada as a teenager. She now lives in Amsterdam with her husband and young daughter and works for a medical research company. She would like to meet tv presenter Arjen Lubach and loves hanging out in the Jordaan. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met my now husband while I was working on my PhD in Toronto. He was doing a research internship in the same department. He's Dutch, we met at a birthday party and have been together ever since. It’s been...let me think, seven years now. But once we decided that we really liked each other we had to figure out what we were going to do. At that point, he was only scheduled to be in Canada for another six months, and I still had to finish my PhD. Then he was able to extend his internship, we got to know each other a bit better, and we decided to stick together in a long distance relationship for another year and a half until my research was done. I moved over...  More >

Inheritance law for expats in NL

Inheritance law for expats in the Netherlands – key considerations Inheritance is fundamentally a difficult subject to think about, but as an expat with family in other countries, it can be even harder as you have to deal with contradictory and confusing international laws during a difficult time. Here are some key considerations to simplify inheritance law for expats living in the Netherlands. Determining which country’s law applies to an inheritance is an important first step, as it can affect how the estate is divided, as well as the rights and obligations of the heirs. Which country’s law applies to my (international) inheritance? If you’re living in the Netherlands, you may think that Dutch law will automatically apply to an inheritance you receive, regardless of where the deceased lived - but this is not guaranteed. Every country has its own rules to determine which inheritance law applies to a person’s estate. This could be the law of the deceased’s country of nationality, or the law of the country where the deceased lived,...  More >