What the tax reforms will mean to you

The government is reforming the tax system: here is what you need to know On Tuesday, the government published its 2019 spending plans, which include several changes to the tax system likely to have an impact on expats. In particular, we now know the government will not introduce a transition period for people claiming the 30% ruling. The government plans to introduce a number of changes to the tax system this year, although some measures will not come into effect until 2020 or later. Here’s a quick overview of the proposed changes. These will need to be ratified by the parliament and senate before they come into effect. 1 30% ruling Plan: This is the most awkward one for many expats. The maximum term of the 30%-ruling will decrease to five years and there will be no transition period. When will the change take effect: 1 January 2019 What does it mean to you: If you have already had the 30%-ruling for more than five years, the ruling will stop on January 1, 2019. For others the ruling will cease once your five years is up. It is important...  More >

Down with purchasing power predictions!

How much more in your pocket? Down with purchasing power predictions! There they are again: the spending power predictions. Don't you believe them, says economist Mathijs Bouman. Crack open the beer, we’re having a party. Next year spending power is up by 1.5%. For a while it looked as if the meter would get stuck at 1.3% but in an ultimate pre-budget day effort the government cranked it up by means of a number of measures. What these measures are we do not know – I’m guessing it will be something to do with a slight increase of the tax break for the elderly and some extra allowances for people on minimum incomes – but we do know they mean an extra 0.2 % to spend. This is important for people on benefits and pensioners in particular, because the gap between these groups and those in work is in danger of getting larger. The economic upturn means a healthy rise for the latter, and the government undoubtedly had to tug the national duvet quite rigorously to smooth the creases of injustice. But it worked: according to the calculations of the...  More >

Who is really Dutch anyway

You may have a Dutch passport, but when are you really Dutch? At least one of your passports may prove that you are Dutch. But who actually gets to be seen and accepted as a Dutch person by society at large? Traci White has been finding out. The 'average Dutch person' seems to be the only voter that Dutch political parties have cared about during elections this year and in 2017, even though no one knows who this imaginary man or woman is. One party’s 'gewone Nederlander' is another party’s 'boze burger'. During a 2017 lecture, Sybrand Buma of CDA said that the so-called 'boze burger' (fed up citizen) is just a normal Dutch person who feels he or she has hit a wall. 'His job has been given to an immigrant or an Eastern European person, his child’s education has become too theoretical and the coarsening of society is projected into his home on television.'Buma said. In a 2018 municipal elections campaign video, Geert Wilders, the leader of the Islamophobic PVV, avowed that Islam is antithetical to Dutch identity, implying that...  More >

DutchNews Podcast: Dick Lawyer Returns

DutchNews podcast – The Dick Lawyer Returns With A Leaky Suitcase Edition – Week 37 On this week’s podcast, we update you on Lili and Howick, further the leaks ahead of Budget Day and discuss the potential changes to the dual nationality law. Dick Lawyer returns and Paul sneaks in a bonus op hef. In the discussion, Molly interviews Gordon about his recently published memoir. All The Time We Thought We Had. Molly's Twitter Thread Top story Government plans leak out ahead of Tuesday’s 2019 budget News Minister changes his mind, Lili and Howick can stay in the Netherlands Dutch funded ‘jihadist’ group in Syria, terror trial may now falter Dutch to publish ‘modernised’ dual nationality plans next spring Dutch singer Glennis Grace makes final of America’s Got Talent Sport FC Utrecht maakt zich op voor komst Advocaat Discussion: Interview with Gordon Darroch All The Time We Thought We Had - Amazon All The Time We Thought We Had - ABC Book Launch (Join us!)  More >

It’s back, the ‘I am not a tourist’ Amsterdam expat fair for internationals

It’s back, the ‘I am not a tourist’ Amsterdam expat fair for internationals Find out everything you want to know about the Dutch expat life, under one roof: on Sunday 7 October 2018, the 16th edition of Amsterdam’s renowned I am not a tourist Expat Fair will shake up the Beurs van Berlage in the heart of Amsterdam. Explore what the Netherlands has to offer, including this year’s highlight sections: 'Jobs for Expats' and 'Houses for Expats'. Every year we give you the chance to take part in engaging and useful workshops, mingle with thousands of fellow internationals and network with companies from across the country in what has become the largest expat-focused event in the Netherlands. And, what’s more, it’s free! Living, working and studying in the Netherlands We have over 125 exhibitors and 40 professional presentations arranged around the themes of relocation, finance, employment, families, healthcare, education, transport, housing and setting up home. Next to that we have an entertaining programme. So whether you have just moved to Holland,...  More >

'I obsessively collect supermarket stamps'

‘I obsessively collect supermarket stickers for cheap crockery I don’t need’ Writer and journalist Gordon Darroch was widowed soon after moving to The Hague with his terminally ill wife, Magteld. He talks about the challenges of single parenthood, Jan Steen and the secret of a perfect uitsmijter. How did you end up in the Netherlands? My wife, Magteld, was from Drenthe and like a lot of mixed couples we’d talked idly for years about emigrating, especially once we had children. It became more urgent when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012. The treatment seemed to have been successful, so we pressed ahead with our plans, but then in 2014, a week after we’d sold our house in Glasgow and booked the removal van, she discovered she was terminally ill. By then we were too far down the road to turn back and in any case she wanted to spend her remaining time with her family. She died seven weeks after we crossed the North Sea. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I suppose I’m a lovepat in the sense...  More >

Staffing agencies need calling to order

Staffing agency exploitation is the other side of the benefit fraud scandal Last week, the Dutch media was full of a new scandal, which they dubbed 'the Polish fraud'. But the expose only covered part of the story, and the real scandal is going unmentioned, says Malgorzata Bos-Karczewska, editor of Polonia.nl. Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees wants to come down hard on Polish fraudsters, who are claiming unemployment benefit while living back home in Poland.  He is, of course, totally justified in doing so, but in essence it is not enough. Why? Because the way temporary employment agencies operate is pushing Polish workers into unemployment and forcing society to foot the bill. Instead of focusing on the symptoms, the minister would do better to eliminate the root cause of this particular ill. The Netherlands is sloppy when it comes to its treatment of other EU country workers. The Poles, so beloved of employers for their capacity for hard work, are ending up on unemployment benefits by the thousands each year at the expense of the taxpayer. Cheap...  More >

DutchNews.nl destinations: Den Bosch

DutchNews.nl destinations: enjoy art and cream pastries in Den Bosch Whether you call it Den Bosch or s-Hertogenbosch, the capital of North Brabant is a great place to spend a weekend. Its museums and quirky cafes are truly one of a kind. Here’s Brandon Hartley’s rundown on just a few of the city’s attractions. s-Hertogenbosch means ‘The Duke’s Forest’ in English but learning how to properly pronounce it if that’s your native language could take hours or longer. This is why many people opt to use ‘Den Bosch’, the city’s colloquial and much less tongue-twisty nickname. Once upon a time, Duke Henry I of Brabant and his family owned a large estate in the area. When he was still in his 20s, he decided that a nearby marsh with a few dunes would be a positively fantastic place to start building a city. He established Den Bosch in the late 12th century but it was allegedly all part of a scheme to protect his family’s land holdings from encroachment. The duke envisioned the city as an impenetrable fortress but his efforts all came...  More >

Podcast: The Blok's Book of Bigots Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Blok’s Book of Bigots Edition – Week 36 The podcast returns after the summer hiatus with news of a foreign minister fighting to stay in his job, two children fighting to stay in the country and students fighting for space on overcrowded university campuses. We also bring you up to speed on the terrorist stabbing at Amsterdam station and ING bank's unprecedented fine for money laundering, plus how Wesley Sneijder's last match as a Dutch international gave a whole new meaning to playing at home. In our discussion we look back at the best stories and ophefs of the long hot summer. Top story Minister under pressure to stop two children being deported to Armenia News Terrorist who stabbed tourists in Amsterdam expected to die, says lawyer ING settles money laundering case for €775 million Foreign minister Stef Blok survives debate sparked by multiculturalism comments Teachers call for public sector workers to strike for better pay Dutch translation of Hitler's Mein Kampf goes on sale Sport Wesley...  More >

Enough of out-of-court settlements

Enough of out-of-court settlements, put bankers in the dock Banks that settle scandals out of court continue in their wicked ways. Instead, they should be hauled before a judge so justice is seen to be done, says economist Mathijs Bouman. But Mr Hamers, how do you explain the fact that your own computer system was programmed deliberately to limit alarm signals over possible money laundering practices to three times a day? The public prosecutor gazes at the ING boss Ralph Hamers for a long time before adding: ‘And how could it be that your bank – in spite of repeated warnings by supervisors – simply refused to set aside extra money to comply with the legal obligation to prevent money laundering? Answer me that, Mr Hamers, if you can.’ Coming soon to a court near you? No, unfortunately. ING ‘forgot’ to properly monitor account holders’ money laundering practices but will not be held accountable in court. The public prosecution office decided to settle for an amount totalling €775m. It’s the toughest settlement ever and...  More >

Seven Dutch national parks to visit

From heather fields to eagles – seven Dutch national parks to visit The first national parks in the Netherlands were established in the 1930s and they now cover over 130,000 hectares nationwide. Esther O'Toole takes you on a tour through seven of the Netherlands' natural treasure troves. If you have been led to believe that the natural landscapes of the Netherlands are flat, grey, largely rainy and agricultural then you have been mistaken. There are hills, dunes, forests and a beautiful coastline to explore; where you may encounter, wildlife as diverse as wild boar, beavers, seals, birds of prey and even… flamingos Most National Parks in Holland are now looked after by the Dutch forestry commission (Staatsbosbeheer) and their regional partners. As well as preserving the integrity of each area's unique character and maintaining a healthy environment for indigenous species, they also operate a great outreach programme, such as guided night-time walks with the forester. You can even stay on or very close to many of the 20 parks across the country....  More >

Blogwatching: Cycling through Limburg

Blogwatching: Cycling through Limburg history (and a message to the countess) Welcome to Waking Up on the Roof, where Kim Stokes share stories, thoughts and photos from her bicontinental life, her travels throughout Europe and Canada, and her road-trips in Electric-Blue, her trusty VW van. About two years ago I invested in a bike with battery power. Very un-Dutch, I know, but we live in a very un-Dutch part of the Netherlands. A hilly part. And since I bought that bike (and Arthur followed suit), we’ve been spending an increasing amount of time discovering our surroundings on two wheels. The Dutch make sightseeing by bike super easy. All over the Netherlands, maps and markers called Fietsknooppunten, (translated, bicycle junctions), route cyclists through the most scenic landscapes that an area can offer, but beware! It’s easy to be lured far afield by the beauty. Just yesterday afternoon Arthur looked up from his scores and called in my direction. Hey! Is it time for a glass of chilled chardonnay at Kasteel Schaloen? Twist my arm. Castle Schaloen...  More >

12 great things to do in September

From flowers to ballet and Islamic art: 12 great things to do in September The new cultural season starts in the Netherlands in September, and here is a round-up of some of the great things to see and do. Smell the flowers Zundert, in the province of Noord-Brabant is getting ready to stage ‘the biggest flower parade in the world’. The 20 small communities which make up the town give their all to produce the best float in a fiercely fought competition. The result is a parade of some pretty weird and wonderful – and enormous-  flowery creations which are well worth seeing. September 2 and 3. Website Meet Turkish writers The Balie in Amsterdam is organising an English-language evening with Turkish writers whose work does not meet with the approval of the powers that be in their country and who are forced to live and write abroad. Writers Çiler İlhan and Burhan Sönmez explain how living in exile has influenced their writing and how they feel about the present climate in Turkey. Translator Hanneke van der Heijden shares what it is like to translate...  More >

Weird places to eat in Amsterdam

The 10 quirkiest locations to eat dinner in Amsterdam The Dutch have a long history of turning old buildings into something else. Think of the Kruisherenkerk (church) in Maastricht that is now a hotel. Or the old tram depot in Amsterdam that’s now the Foodhallen. So it’s no surprise that there are some weird and wonderful places to eat dinner in Amsterdam and its environs… Here are 10 of the quirkiest, for next time you feel like dinner with a difference: 1 Revolving office block: Moon When the old Shell building across the IJ River was transformed into the A’DAM Tower, restaurant Moon was one of the first new inhabitants to open. Any why? Because of the spectacular view diners are treated to from 360 degrees of revolving glass. Given that the restaurant is on the 19th floor, and the full rotation takes 90 minutes (just about long enough for a proper meal), it’s definitely a dining experience worth saving up for. And the food isn’t bad either: Chefs Jaimie van Heije and Tommy den Hartog have dreamt up a fine dining...  More >

‘Dutch people with different backgrounds are no longer timid newcomers’

‘Dutch people with different backgrounds are no longer timid newcomers’ The Netherlands is a pretty stable, well-integrated and prosperous country. So why do the white Dutch talk about the failed multi-cultural society? asks journalist and writer Hassnae Bouazza. The media and politicians have been banging on about it for over twenty years: the multicultural society has failed and we are living a multicultural nightmare. I have never understood the failed-multicultural-society mantra. You might as well say the sun has failed. The multicultural society is a fact and that’s it. Like any other society it has its share of friction, groups that get along or not. Put people together and this is what you get, regardless of background. We live in a pretty stable and very prosperous country and the only way you could cry failure is if society doesn’t live up to a preconceived ideal. If your idea of success is a society in which everybody thinks alike, loves the same things and laughs and cries at the same things it’s not society that has failed but...  More >

13 English-language theatre companies

13 English-language theatre companies in the Netherlands From open-air Shakespeare to comedy classics like ‘Allo ‘Allo!, the English-language theatre scene in the Netherlands now covers a myriad of genres. Here are our top picks from this rapidly-expanding realm. Amsterdam Toneelgroep Amsterdam Soon to be known as the International Theatre Amsterdam (ITA), following a merger with Amsterdam Stadsschouwburg, Toneelgroep Amsterdam is the city’s largest theatre group and is over 30 years old. Historically, performances have been in Dutch, with English surtitles on Thursdays to attract a broader audience, but the English-language offer is likely to improve as the new alliance seeks a more international following. They kick off the Amsterdam theatre season with an adaptation of the Ingmar Bergman classic Scenes from a Marriage, surtitled in English, which will later tour the country. International Theatre in English (iTIE) Run by Greek national Theodora Voutsa, the iTIE has – unsurprisingly – a taste for classical tragedy,...  More >

How to buy a house in The Hague

From the sea front to suburbs, here’s how to buy a house in The Hague As the cost of rental housing continues to rise, buying your own home has become a very real alternative for expats – and no-where more so than in The Hague. The How To Buy A House events were created to help expats find their home in the Netherlands. The Hague is a welcoming city with a wide variety of places to live, from the rolling dunes in Kijkduin to the canals and gracious mansions of the city centre. You can live in an 18th century town house or a modern home in one of the many suburbs, a high-rise flat near the main railway station or close to the sea in Scheveningen. The first thing you need to do is decide where you would like to live, says Bernadette Willems, of estate agency BW Housing. ‘If your children go to an international school, you will want to be near them,’ she points out. ‘Otherwise, the Statenkwartier, Belgisch Park, Benoordenhout, Archipel and Duinoord are currently among the most popular areas. Price, of course is key and The Hague has homes...  More >

'The Delta Works are a great construction'

‘I really would like to meet the members of the Delta Works design team’ Daniel Garbowski is a computer engineer for NetApp. Bank with ING or ABN AMRO? Use Ziggo, Vodaphone, or interact with the Dutch government? Chances are that Daniel’s looking after your data. He says he is one of the 5% of Poles that work for multinationals in the Netherlands, and he has a message for EU citizens everywhere. How did you end up in the Netherlands? In 2010 I moved here from the States. If you live and work in the United States, you need to renew your working visa every one or two years. In my case, [2010] was the end of my visa, so I could have requested to stay longer, but it takes a lot of time. You need to go through this whole process, with some ridiculous questions, and I knew that in Europe you don’t need it; you can just move from one country to another. It’s a never-ending story. And if you can just go back to Europe and forget about it? Relief. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc? I felt like an immigrant in...  More >

How to buy a house in Amsterdam

How to buy a house in Amsterdam and Amstelveen – don’t be afraid to take the plunge! The housing market in and around Amsterdam and Amstelveen can be pretty complex but more and more international workers see owning their own home as the best answer to ever rising rents. The How To Buy A House events were started to help expats buying their own home in a foreign country. It might seem daunting, but buying a home in the Netherlands it is perfectly possible – as long as you get proper advice. Currently in Amsterdam and Amstelveen, properties are selling quickly and prices have risen to record levels over the past year. Nevertheless, there are still great buys around and a tuned-in estate agent will help you make the most of your money. There are plenty of legal ins and outs to deal with as well, so you will need to get good legal advice from a specialist notary too. On Sunday, September 23, a special event is being held at the Posthoornkerk on the Haarlemerstraat in central Amsterdam. to help expats find their way around the housing maze. ‘The event will guide...  More >