Monday 23 November 2020

What is reverse culture shock?

Many readers are former expatriates who have returned to their country of origin but maintain a connection with the Netherlands. For some, this homecoming was accompanied by an acute culture shock. What does this confusion about ‘home’ feel like and what is reverse culture shock? finds out. ‘It was like a case of mistaken identity or something,’ says Irish national Mary Queally (40), who in 2018 moved from Amsterdam back to the picturesque west coast of Ireland where... More >

Podcast: The MN-4D Political Chess Edition

They can cover our faces, but they can’t mask the awkwardness of performing a full U-turn in a matter of days. Mark Rutte grudgingly agreed this week to mask up at the grocery store and advised everyone else to cover their faces wherever the sun doesn’t shine. That prompted an even more startling U-turn from Geert Wilders, who suddenly decided he didn’t like the government telling people what to wear in public. Elsewhere, the Covid recession started to bite as... More >

Don't celebrate yet, first-time buyers

First-time buyers have been having a hard time of it of late, but they should not start celebrating the recent budget tax cut just yet, writes José de Boer, of financial consultants FVB De Boer. Last month the government published its 2021 spending plans which, at first sight, contained some good news for first-time buyers. Ministers have decided to scrap the transfer tax – overdrachtsbelasting – that everyone buying a home has to pay over the cost of the property.... More >

Can you do your tax return yourself?

The Dutch tax office has an advertising slogan about making it easier to sort out your tax affairs, even though this is something nobody likes to do. But can everybody file their taxes without the help of a specialist? And what is the impact of coronavirus and remote working likely to be on your 2021 tax return? ‘Of course, if you have a straightforward job, don’t own a house and speak Dutch you can file your taxes pretty easily,’ says... More >

14 great things to do in October

Barbies, an extinct lion, Constable’s skies and even the odd dinosaur – there is a lot to see in the Netherlands this October. Celebrate two centuries of Naturalis Naturalis natural history museum in Leiden is celebrating its 200th birthday and has put together a special exhibition of 25 of its most valued possessions. You have 200 days to see the extinct Cape lion, Darwin’s finches, the En Tibi (the oldest herbarium in the world) and many other of the weird... More >

Ace & Tate: the rock'n'roll glasses firm

When you go to the optician, do you need an extra pair of glasses to read through the fine print of the ‘three for one’ offer? That’s not what Mark de Lange wants for his customers. Seven years ago, with no background in eyewear, the Dutchman from Laren set up Ace & Tate with the aim of making buying glasses more ‘transparent, friendly and fun.’ Now he has a company with more than 60 stores, 600 employees in 10 countries... More >

Podcast: The Great Tit In The Mine Edition

Autumn is a season of missed opportunities and mellow fruitlessness for the Dutch government as its coronavirus strategy unravels. Rising infections, waiting lists for corona testing and no trace of a tracker app – we ask what’s gone wrong. Also going nuclear are the VVD, who want to build more power stations if they remain in government next year. The socialists and D66 also kick off their election campaigns, while Amsterdam takes steps to control the spread of Airbnb. Want... More >

How to pick the right tv and internet deal

The Netherlands is home to dozens of television stations and a myriad of internet service providers. So how do you find the internet and tv subscription service that best meets your needs? According to the Business of Cities, a London based think-tank which specialises in urban development, the Netherlands is one of the best connected countries in the world. Not only do most households have internet, but they have fast internet – according to the Dutch government, 96% of Dutch... More >

'My final years have been most content'

Leo’s mother is the only person who ever called him by Royston, his birth name. He’s a retired electronic technician who worked with international agencies including Nato and the European Space Agency over the course of his career. Originally from the UK, he currently lives with his family in Noordwijk. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I first came here with a small team of Brits to install digital satellite communications for Nato in their kazerne (base) in... More >

Banking to go green, and save money

If 2020 has taught us anything, it is to enjoy the moments spent with our loved ones, to prepare for unforeseen circumstances and to take care of our planet. It’s a lesson which resonates with Amsterdam-based digital bank bunq, which is known for its rainbow coloured cards, but which has put going green at the core of the company ethos. bunq has always invested ethically and was the first bank in the world to offer ‘freedom of choice’, letting its... More >

Podcast: The Towering Humiliation Edition

A low-key Budget Day brings sober news on the economic front, unless you happen to be a princess approaching her 18th birthday. New coronavirus restrictions are imminent as a surge in infections puts even more strain on the testing system. The tension also took its toll on Rotterdam’s Erasmusbrug and the prosecutor handling a high-profile racial abuse case. Plus we tell you why zoos have been hit by corona and there’s a sense of anticlimax around the new football season... More >

Bored with broodjes: six alternatives

Visit any Dutch office canteen at lunchtime (or, nowadays, many a Dutch home-office kitchen) and you can be sure of one thing: broodjes. Generally, two slices of bread (or perhaps a roll) filled with a couple of slices of Gouda cheese. All washed down with a glass of milk. Not that there’s anything wrong with this prandial tradition – it’s arguably what’s been making the Dutch so tall in recent generations. And I love a good Gouda as much as... More >

Know your rights: tenancy agreements

Whether you are a landlord or a tenant, Dutch law applies to renting accommodation. Once a tenancy agreement is signed, it is legally binding, so it’s important to understand what type of contract it is, and what that means for your rights when it comes to terminating the lease. Read on for more on the different Dutch tenancy agreements, their respective notice periods and termination rights. Types of tenancy agreements in the Netherlands Tenancy agreements for residential space can be... More >

The 2021 budget: news, views and reactions

The government published its 2021 spending plans on Tuesday. Here is a round up of the main news, reactions and useful links. The Netherlands must be ready for serious economic setbacks, says king The Netherlands must ready itself for serious economic setbacks, king Willem Alexander said on Tuesday afternoon, in his official speech to mark the start of the parliamentary year. The king’s speech, in English Budget focus is on strengthening the economy, finance minister says The government’s 2021 spending... More >

Interpreters say no to minister downgrade

Professional interpreters and translators play an important role in courts and police investigations. However, justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus’s decision to downgrade the professional requirements to ‘secondary school levels’, is not a good idea, says certified translator and interpreter Roemer Leushuis. International crime and the flow of refugees have led to a greater need for professional interpreters and translators. The Dutch government claims it is unable to meet that need. Is there really a lack of professionals, and if so, how... More >

Dutch destinations: the Veluwe

Many consider the Veluwe, an area of heathland between Arnhem and Apeldoorn to be a sanctuary. Its wilderness areas and small towns offer a welcome respite from the turbulence of the Randstad cities, especially during the off-season. Just watch out for the wolves and wild boars! The Veluwe is about as rural and isolated as things get in the Netherlands. As an area it is best known for the Hoge Veluwe National Park, but the rest of the roughly 1,1000... More >

Podcast: The Pythagorean Parrots Edition

Despite a new surge in coronavirus infections, there were signs of normal life returning this week. The government’s budget plans were leaked ahead of Prinsjesdag, the football season geared up for a restart and there was a bitter row in parliament about refugees. While D66 decided not to pick a self-confessed forger as its leader, Geert Wilders announced his discrimination trial would run for another season. And we bring you a shocking tale about blue parrots, legal eagles and a... More >

'Eating herring is a ritual'

American native Matt Steinglass is The Economist’s Europe correspondent. He likes herring and a special breed of potato, but cannot get to grips with the Dutch fondness for group projects. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always had a thing for the Netherlands. I had a stopover here on my way back from Israel when I was 13 and the Netherlands seemed so advanced. I dated a Dutch-American girl when I was in college and we planned... More >