Monday 13 July 2020

It's like a really long time since Provo

May 25 marks 55 years ago to the day when a couple of students got together to shake a nodding Dutch society out of its complacency. During its short existence – it only lasted two years – Provo, as the movement was dubbed, paved the way for the sexual revolution, the emancipation of women and gays, the peace movement, and brought about a greater awareness of the threats to the environment. Plus a couple of completely mad things. Here are... More >

Foodwiki shines light on take-out specials

We can’t go to restaurants at the moment – but we still have to eat. With the Dutch population home-based at mealtimes, first supermarkets and now takeaway restaurants are seeing a boom in orders. But what to do when you’ve had your favourite Indonesian meal six times in the past fortnight? Fortunately, Dutch meal delivery company has the answer: it has created a Foodwiki to give hungry customers inspiration and information about 194 dishes from 10 international cuisines. The... More >

An English potter and very old Dutch clay

A mention in the Guardian of ‘one potter called John’ who spent a muddy hour digging for ‘2.5 million-year-old clay in an old Dutch quarry’ piqued one writer’s curiosity. How did a bucketful of antediluvian Dutch clay end up in the studio of an English potter? It did not take long to find both the clay and the potter and uncover a history of craftsmanship that continues to this day. John Higgins, as his name turned out to be,... More >

How bad is the lockdown, really?

This could very well be the least popular article to ever appear on the website. I am prepared to be run off the internet for what I am about to say. I’m enjoying the lockdown. I don’t mean I am enjoying the pandemic and all the havoc it has wreaked. I am not a monster. I am, however, surprisingly comfortable being shut in my house for going on two months now. Let me get the large caveat out of... More >

Podcast: The Great Coffee Shortage Edition

The nation took its first tentative steps into the 1.5-metre society this week. Children started going back to school, hairdressers started hacking though their waiting lists and the American ambassador resumed his love affair with fake news. In parliament, defence minister Ank Bijleveld narrowly survived another motion of no confidence over the deaths of civilians in an air strike in Iraq. We also report on the freak incident that cost five experienced surfers their lives off the coast at Scheveningen... More >

Old surfers, dancing on top of the sea

In 2016, occasional columnist Joe Weeg was taught to surf by one of the five surfers killed in the sea on Monday. At the time, he wrote about Joost in a piece entitled Old Surfers on his blog, and we reproduce it here, as a tribute to the young men who died. Update 2020: Joe writes: ‘I am always troubled by young death — which I saw a lot of in my former life as a prosecutor either as murder... More >

'Everyone falls in love with Delft'

David Dilling grew up in Andover, a town north of Boston in the US. He started life in the Netherlands picking tomatoes before joining a software firm. He now lives in Pijnacker and is an ADO Den Haag season ticket holder. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The short version of the story is that I was in a bar in Newport Beach, California where I’d recently moved from cold Boston. I told my new friends that I... More >

Girl with a Pearl Earring

So while we are all largely confined to base, what better time to brush up your knowledge of all things Dutch? is pleased to present its very own ‘inburgering’ course in, well, however many lessons it takes. Lesson 11: Girl with a Pearl Earring Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665) has been voted ‘the most beautiful Dutch painting’ and described as ‘timeless, like Mona Lisa’. She’s also a massive money-spinner and features on everything from bikes to... More >

Dutch economy: there will be trouble ahead

The Dutch economy is heading for heavy weather if the government doesn’t promote the economy of tomorrow, say economists Rick van der Ploeg and Willem Vermeend. The Netherlands is one of the countries whose economy will be hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. Its open economy and dependence on now faltering trade are bringing economic shrinkage and soaring unemployment in its wake. More and more countries are taking measures to get their stagnant economies moving again. But while other EU... More >

Podcast: The Lavender Lockdown Edition

As the nation prepares to emerge from lockdown, hand stitched face masks at the ready, we examine the government’s plans in detail. Libraries, acupuncturists, sex clubs and campsite toilets all featured in Mark Rutte’s schedule as Dutch society slowly returns to normal. Coronavirus also gave this year’s ceremonies to commemorate the end of the war an even more sombre atmosphere than usual. While the humans are staying home, the animals have been getting busy, increasing the population of the Netherlands’... More >

Expat spouses: the untapped talent pool

When a spouse accepts a job in the Netherlands, their accompanying partner often has no intention of abandoning their own career aspirations. But as a newcomer, finding a job can be challenging. Deborah Nicholls-Lee reports on the frustrations of this overlooked talent pool. ‘The most common misconception about expat spouses is that they don’t want to work,’ says Kavitha Varathan (37), the founder and CEO of Expat Spouses Initiative (ESI), a social enterprise in Eindhoven, supported by the municipality, that... More >

A family in war: the Blessing brothers

From a comfortable home in Amsterdam, to German labour camps and the streets of Berlin. This is the story of one Dutch family with six sons, and their experiences of World War II. At the head of Amsterdam’s Westerkade, on the edge of the Jordaan, a low, squat grey building stands out among the rows of canalside apartments. During the prewar years, when the district was populated by working-class families, it was sometimes known as the Pirate House because the... More >

War stories: a round-up of WWII

As the Netherlands celebrates 75 years since the end of World War II, here is a recap of some of our stories. They focus both on the specific Dutch experience, and on the experiences of those from elsewhere who were touched by it, however briefly. ‘They were proud of what they were doing’: A Dutch Holocaust survivor’s story Henry Fenichel’s happy childhood in The Hague was destroyed by the Nazi occupation in 1940 and his subsequent deportation, as a Jew,... More >

Blogwatching: Life in the time of corona

Dana, the leading light behind the blog Amsterdamian, comes from Romania and has been living in the Netherlands since 2010. She has developed a passion for the country and everything it has to offer which she is delighted to share with her readers. Lately, she’s been collecting the stories of people in quarantine during the coronavirus pandemic.  This is the fourth week of lockdown in the Netherlands. By this time, we have managed to get used to the new normal... More >

Tracing World War II in the Netherlands

The Netherlands celebrates 75 years since the end of World War II in May, although this year’s celebrations have been virtually cancelled, due to coronavirus. The war may have ended in 1945, but there are many traces of the conflict still visible in towns, villages and the countryside. Here are just a few of them: Stumbling stones The Stolpersteine or stumbling stones project was launched by German artist Gunter Deming in 1992 and aims to commemorate individuals at the place... More >

Podcast: The Rutte is Scout Leader Edition

The podcast team overcomes ‘coronamoeheid’ and the horror of ‘coronakapsels’ to bring you the latest news on the lockdown as well as a few of the 700 new Dutch words that the epidemic has generated. Ministers come under more pressure over face masks, the economic outlook goes from terrible to abysmal and researchers warn of a hidden danger for intensive care patients. Mink farms are cordoned off as evidence emerges that some animals can transmit the virus, while the football... More >

12 Great virtual things to do in May

Museums and theatres remain closed and although they are busy trying to fit the 1.5 metre social distancing rule into their daily new normal practice, there is no way of telling if they will actually open their doors on May 21. So here is some more virtual fun. Make an exhibition of yourself As if you haven’t been corona-ed enough the Amsterdam Museum is preparing a virtual exhibition about Amsterdammers’ everyday experiences during the lockdown. Your written stories, photographs, videos... More >

'The work-life balance has kept me here'

British national Nicolas Deskos grew up in Manchester and moved to Amsterdam to do a master’s degree seven years ago. He enjoys the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, is a Johan Cruijff fan, and thinks Dutch is a bit like a secret language. How did you end up in the Netherlands? While I was at a university in the UK, a lot of my friends were doing year abroad study programmes. I was amazed at how good of a time they were... More >