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 >

Blogwatching: The Worst Place On Earth

Blogwatching: The worst place on earth The blog Amsterfam is the creation of Lauren Collett. She moved from London to Amsterdam nearly two years ago with three kids and her other half, My Lawyer. These are her adventures. On Tuesday, My Lawyer says: ‘I might go to Dubai next week.’ I reply: ‘What is the likelihood in percent?’ ‘Like…. 50%.’ ‘Okay,’ I nod. ‘Keep me updated.’ On Wednesday, My Lawyer says: ‘I am 80% not going to Dubai next week.’ ‘Okay,’ I say. ‘Good to know.’ On Thursday, My Lawyer says: ‘I booked my tickets for Dubai. I leave Monday. First thing.’ This little back-and-forth, aside from sounding like a corporate reworking of Craig David’s Seven Days, will be familiar, I’m sure, to Trailing Spouses across the globe (I HAVE TWO SUBSCRIBERS IN PANAMA). Others might be wondering what the merry fuck a Trailing Spouse is, and why I’ve deigned to capitalise it, as if a Trailing Spouse is akin to a CEO (IMAGINE!). The truth is, written lower case,...  More >

Podcast: The Magnificent Gift Card Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Magnificent Solo Gift Card Edition – Week 9 A week of impulse buys and dodgy transactions is capped by the Dutch government increasing its stake in Air France-KLM, sparking ophef in Paris and causing the airline's share price to take a nosedive. We do our best to untangle the can of worms that was opened by Wopke Hoekstra's surprise move. Elsewhere, 90,000 bottles of vodka marked for Kim Jong-Un are seized in Rotterdam, new migrants are warned not to fall for scammers posing as the Dutch immigration service and disgruntled gift card owners spark riots in toy stores. We also bring you news of a terrorist plot in Groningen and ask what could possibly be prompting record numbers of British expats to turn Dutch. News Man from Groningen arrested on suspicion of preparing terrorist attack More British nationals give up passports and go Dutch as Brexit looms Dutch customs seize 90,000 bottles of vodka allegedly headed for North Korea Warning after Indians living in Netherlands targeted by fake IND phone calls 'Numberplate...  More >

IamExpat Fair is bigger, better than ever

The Amsterdam IamExpat Fair is bigger and better than ever Amsterdam's biggest expat event is moving to a new location this year - the iconic Gashouder in the city's Westerpark. And that means the IamExpat Fair, which targets newcomers and established internationals, will be bigger and better than ever. Looking for a new job? Need mortgage advice? Looking for a good school or day-care for your kids? Want to enrol in a quality Dutch course or advance your career with an MBA? Find all the answers at this year's bumper edition of the IamExpat fair in Amsterdam. This year the fair is taking place in the Gashouder, a former gas storage tank, which has been converted into multifunctional but edgy event centre in the city's popular Westerpark. The building, which covers 2,500m2, is a major cultural venue, hosting events and festivals such as Awakenings and Unseen Photo Fair. 'We are always striving to offer a great experience to the thousands of internationals who visit our fair. We are confident that the IamExpat Fair in Amsterdam on April 6...  More >

Save the postie, write a love letter

Save the postal service by writing a love letter How to keep the postman safe in the era of e-mail? Put pen to paper and write a love letter, advises economist Mathijs Bouman. This is what I fished out of my No-bestickered post box this morning: a letter from a solar panel seller, a folder from a web shop in office supplies and a blue envelope from the tax office. The first two immediately end up in the paper recycling bin while I swear to myself never to buy anything at a web-based shop that still uses paper to promote its wares. All the tax office has to tell me is to file my return before the first of May. This I have to do online, making the letter a silly anachronism. And so, throughout the year, my post box is the recipient of nothing very significant at all. Lots of promotion material addressed to me and the occasional bill from an energy company which, after a number of unfortunate experiences, no longer has automatic access to my bank account. Your post box is probably much the same. E-mail and the internet have...  More >

Hockney to Hair Peace – here’s 14 great things to do in March

Hockney to Hair Peace – here’s 14 great things to do in March The John and Yoko peace protest in Amsterdam, English-language theatre, amazing art and the missing link in photographic history - these are just some of the events in our March list of great things to do. See nature through their eyes David Hockney's elegiacal homage to nature  begins on the first of this month at the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. 'Nature is never boring,' Hockney says, 'and Van Gogh knew that'. Hockney-Van Gogh - The Joy of Nature explores the relationship between the two lovers of landscape. Until May 26. Website Go West young girl The Nationale Opera in Amsterdam presents Girls of the Golden West, an opera by American composer John Adams directed by Peter Sellars. It tells the story of the gold rushes of the 19th century which combined the heights of racism and misogyny in one frantic greed and poverty driven push for gold. Adams based his opera on authentic experiences and stories from the time. March 2, 5, 7, 9, 13 and 17. Website  If you're quick...  More >

Where to celebrate Carnaval this weekend

It’s Carnaval time – here’s where to celebrate south of the rivers This weekend Carnaval breaks loose in the southern part of the Netherlands. Here's what you need to know about this most Dutch of events. In Brazil they have the famous Rio Carnival; in Greece, Italy and other parts of the southern Mediterranean religious parades take place through towns large and small. In the Netherlands, predominantly in North Brabant and Limburg, we have Carnaval - without either the sparkly costumes or the religious overtones. Carnaval derives from the latin, carne vale, meaning farewell to meat, and takes place over the weekend ahead of the six-week period of Lent. This year the celebrations start on Friday March 1, but will keep on going well into Tuesday in many places - unless the beer runs out. The Dutch tradition is particularly anarchic and increasingly secular and satirical. Towns and cities change their names - Den Bosch becomes Oeteldonk; Bergen op Zoom Krabbegat and Tilburg Kruikenstad. Each town or village also appoint their own  Prince...  More >

Rutte rules the VVD or is it D66?

Wynia’s Week: Rutte rules the VVD or is it D66? Prime minister Mark Rutte is currently big on Europe and the climate.  Yet his party used to hate wind turbines because it was subsidies that kept them turning, says commentator Syp Wynia. The VVD was the party that wanted less Europe, not more, the party which, under Frits Bolkestein, became, for the very first time, the biggest in the land. But that was the 1990s and Bolkestein’s VVD has had its day. In 13 years as party leader, Mark Rutte has made it clear: the European Union is welcome to increase its mandate and if we want to have any say in this world at all we need to be a part of this alliance. And yet, according to VVD tradition, foreign policy needed to be kept out of the hands of the big European countries. Rutte now feels wind turbines are an integral part of the measures needed to achieve the climate goals of the Paris agreement. Not too long ago, the VVD wasn’t that convinced the greenhouse effect was actually a thing. Today the VVD, the Dutch government...  More >

Good grades for Amsterdammer of the year

Good grades: Amsterdammer of the Year tackles pupil underachievement Studiezalen (Study Rooms) is a non-profit organisation helping children from disadvantaged backgrounds get a foot back on the education ladder. Deborah Nicholls-Lee meets founder, and newly-elected Amsterdammer of the Year, Abdelhamid Idrissi to find out more. ‘Better grades is something that’s easy to achieve,’ says Abdelhamid Idrissi (29) from Slotermeer, who was voted Amsterdammer of the Year in January, amassing around a third of all the votes cast. ‘Everybody can do that,’ he explains. ‘But if someone is not happy, if someone has a lot of problems in their head, they can’t think about maths or geography.’ In 2010, Idrissi founded Studiezalen: quiet, nurturing spaces in deprived areas of Amsterdam Nieuw-West and Noord, where children aged 9 to 18 can receive homework help, mentoring and coaching to guide them through a challenging home and school life. The foundation is run by 60 volunteers aged 13 to 73 – including former pupils – and seven permanent...  More >

Podcast: The Jihadi Daycare Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Jihadi Daycare Edition – Week 8 The sound of doors slamming shut echoes through this week's podcast as the Netherlands says it will turn away returning IS fighters, Venezuela closes its border with Curacao and a Dutch journalist has a full-on crockery-smashing row with a Fox News host. We also find out how the cabinet got its fingers burned over energy bills and discuss whether compelling children from immigrant families to attend pre-school will really help them integrate better. News Coalition parties projected to lose heavily in provincial elections Government admits it used wrong figures in underestimating energy price rise Jihadi bride who faces losing British citizenship may seek Dutch nationality Venezuela shuts sea border with Dutch Caribbean islands to block aid Sport Ajax roll over Breda to close gap at top of Eredivisie to four points PSV and PEC angry at KNVB's decision to postpone Ajax game Discussion: Does compulsory pre-schooling help integration? Dijkhoff: children...  More >

Nine key facts for filing your taxes

Nine things to take into account when filing your tax return February is the month that most of us get a blue envelope from the tax office, telling us it is almost time to file our annual tax return. Here are nine key issues that you need to take into account. 1. It is all down to boxes The Dutch tax system distinguishes three types of income for tax purposes. Each type of income is referred to as box 1, 2 or 3 and has its own tax rate. Box 1 covers taxable income from employment and home ownership, box 2 includes taxable income from income you have from shares in companies in which you have a 'substantial interest' and box 3 is used for taxable income from savings and investments. 2 Do you have to file an income tax return? Probably yes. If you received notification from the Dutch tax office to file your income tax, then you have to do so even if you had no income. The letters are typically sent in February, so yours may have already dropped through your letter box. If you live in the Netherlands currently or have done for part of...  More >

Who will guard your child when you’re gone

Who will take care of your child when you’re gone? Historically, if you wanted to designate a guardian for your child in case something should happen to you, it had to be done by will. Today, a new option is available which makes this process cheaper and easier: appointing a guardian via the parental authority register. As a parent in the Netherlands, you want to know that if something happens to you, your child will have someone to protect their best interests. However, until recently the only way that a parent could designate a guardian was to state this in their will. Appointing a guardian via the parental authority register Since April 1, 2014, it has been possible to designate a guardian for your child via the parental authority register. This second option makes the process easier and cheaper – but is available only in Dutch. Visit the parental authority register With the parental authority register, parents can appoint a guardian by submitting an online request, or completing a form in writing and posting that form...  More >

'I am not a great believer in maps'

‘Amsterdam weather is controlled by an angel who is on an internship’ Originally from Pakistan, Basir Mahmood is an artist, photographer, and filmmaker whose works have appeared in galleries and museums all around the world. A few years ago, he was awarded a research fellowship in Amsterdam, and he continues to live in the city. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I have been travelling around for the last eight years now, from one artist residency to another. This is how I also ended up at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 2016. After finishing the two-year-long programme, I decided to stay because of the city itself and the people I met here. In Amsterdam so far I have collaborated with professional translators, athletes and young actors, to produce video works. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I think I would be more comfortable calling myself an expat, even if I was residing back in Pakistan. This feeling comes mainly through the position I take as an artist while making a work...  More >

Weird stairways, stone tables and Gandalf

Leiden’s not-so-visible oddities: Mysterious stairways, stone tables and Gandalf Leiden dates back all the way to the 9th century. Over the past 1,100 years, it’s steadily acquired its fair share of historical oddities and other curiosities that are unique or simply bizarre. Here’s a few that are often overlooked by visitors and locals alike. 1 A mysterious stairway Outside Leiden’s medieval Stadhuis, there’s a stairway that leads to a small platform. Together, they seem pretty pointless but they served an important purpose back in the day. The platform was once used by civic leaders to make important announcements to the public. These included everything from information about political dealings to the latest developments in criminal proceedings (stuff like which convict was going to get hanged next and when). A closer look at the stairway reveals two other interesting details. There are two rods that served as measuring sticks back when a unit of measurement called the Rhineland Foot was still being used. Okay, well, one of the ‘rods’...  More >

Podcast: The Everyone's a Muppet Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Everyone’s a Muppet Edition – Week 8 A blockbuster edition of the podcast this week as the Dutch government sends in Stef Blok to wrestle with a muppet named Brexit and try to beat Venezuela's aid blockade by going through Curacao. We also hear how Ajax took pride from a home defeat, Amsterdam's mayor raised the stop sign to red light tourism and a Dutch entrepreneur's flour bomb blew up in his face. In our discussion we review the court decision that could allow dozens of people to prove once and for all that they were secretly fathered by a sperm clinic owner. Ophef of the week: Blok's big blue Brexit muppet sparks backlash Top story Dutch government to use Curacao as 'relief hub' to break Venezuela's aid blockade (NRC, Dutch) News Amsterdam's mayor says red light district should not be a tourist attraction Brexit has brought 42 firms and 2000 jobs to the Netherlands School pupils to continue environment protests after meeting Rutte Dutchman loses patent on Ethiopian flour after bid to sue bakery...  More >

The Dutch mock weddings which are sincere

Marry for a day? Dutch mock weddings which are surprisingly sincere At Wed and Walk, marriage isn’t for life, it’s for just one day. Deborah Nicholls-Lee finds out why romantics are flocking to Amsterdam to take part in a mock wedding. Toon and Tetty exchange rings under an arch festooned with roses and ribbons and crowned with two white doves. The birds, flowers and wedding are fake, but the sentiments are all real. Despite having presided over around 6000 mock weddings, Jona Rens (39), whose business Wed and Walk ‘marries’ people for just one day in the Netherlands’ only fake wedding chapel, still often finds herself in tears. She’s not the only one. ‘Nine out of ten men start crying,’ she tells me. ‘They just break down – it’s beautiful to see.’ Kitsch Jona is on the train, but I’m sat on the red carpet (her ‘aisle’) in the middle of her shop in Amsterdam’s Pijp district, whispering into my phone. Around me is a cornucopia of kitsch: plastic cakes, love-heart sweets, and trays of thrift-store rings. Frilly...  More >

Indian designer bridges east and west

Indian designer bridges east and west to go Dutch A fashion designer in India is reaching out to the international community in the Netherlands in a bid to break into Europe. Dutch women may not be renowned for their passion for high fashion, and their casual approach to both work and formal wear is one of the first things which new arrivals often notice. But Indian designer Amit Sachdeva hopes his cross-over designs will help change all that. Amit uses simple cuts and classic drapes for his designs, which, his supporters say, are bound to appeal to the native Dutch as well as internationals and expats. ‘My approach to fashion is a melding of western notions of cut, construction and finish, but using Indian detailing and craftsmanship,’ Amit says. ‘My way of designing is very meditative. I like to take my own sweet time to finish or start a design. I can’t design under any time pressure. I am a perfectionist and pay attention to minutest details.’ Many in the Netherlands’ growing Indian community have heard of...  More >