Monday 24 January 2022

NL should be doing more to curb Covid

There may be no need to panic, but the Netherlands has not learned lessons from the past, and is not taking the rise in coronavirus infections seriously enough, writes Ben Coates. In early and mid-October, many Dutch newspapers made for grim reading. ‘In some towns… a third of the population lies sick’, one outlet reported, while another warned rising infections meant ‘in the hospitals there is no more room to take in seriously ill patients’. In the Hague, journalists reported... More >

Buying a home needs patience, preparation

A round-up of the latest housing tips, brought to you by Expat Mortgages. House prices continue to rise and the number of houses coming up for sale is dwindling, making the Dutch housing market increasingly difficult. This issue of the Dutch Housing Update focuses on how to maximise your chances. Buying a home in the current climate is both stressful and time consuming but that does not mean you won’t succeed, says Henk Jansen, of Expat Mortgages, who has been... More >

English language theatre in the NL

With theatres open again after the long hiatus, it’s a great time to be richly entertained while giving the sector some much-needed support. For productions in English, look for the ‘language no problem’ label at Dutch theatres or check the agendas of the many English-language theatre companies dotted around the Randstad. Amsterdam Queen’s English Theatre Company QETC has brought two decades of high quality English-language theatre to the capital with a company of native English speaking, professionally trained actors. Productions... More >

Selfish anti-vaxxers are stealing freedom

When did the rights of the minority of anti-vaxxers become more important than the rights of the vast majority who are doing the decent thing? asks Robin Pascoe. No-one would ever think nearly 4,000 people a day are being diagnosed with coronavirus in the Netherlands at the moment, there are so few public health measures in place. Social distancing gone, masks worn on public transport only, busy shops and no more queues at the market – it is as if... More >

Podcast: Sinterklaas Mortal Kombat Edition

Sinterklaas ophef comes round earlier every year, but there’s a twist this time around: it’s not about Zwarte Piet. A critical review of the government’s coronavirus strategy comes out just as cases soar again and ministers promise to repeat the same mistakes as last year. Infections are certainly moving much faster than efforts to compensate for the victims of the child benefit scandal, with MPs, judges, the ombudsman and the Council of Europe all criticising the handling of the affair.... More >

How to share a city: living experiments

In Rotterdam, where the shortage of housing is becoming increasingly urgent, grass roots organisation Stad in de Maak is experimenting with original ways of living, working, and organizing together. Three children conquer the legendarily steep Dutch stairs like a mountain, supporting themselves with a rope. This way, climbing two floors down from their attic playground paradise to grab a bite in the kitchen becomes an adventure rather than a chore. Their parents, Christine van Meegen and Sebastian Kubersky, run an... More >

'Amsterdam is no city for high heels."

Moroccan-born Karim Adduchi (33) is an award-winning artist and fashion designer who moved to Barcelona as a child and then relocated to Amsterdam in 2011 to take up a place at art school. Since then, Karim has opened Amsterdam Fashion Week, featured in Forbes 30 under 30 for Europe and the Middle East, and presented his ready-to-wear collection on the runways of Paris Fashion Week. A co-founder of The World Makers Foundation, his work draws on his mixed religious and... More >

The con of Big Umbrella

The rainy autumn weather has set in and so has the familiar packing and unpacking of raingear, the shaking of umbrellas by cafe doors and the hoods of raincoats cutting off peripheral vision. Longtime resident Molly Quell thinks Big Umbrella has conned everyone.  A few days ago, I arrived at a bar to meet a friend for a drink. I was soaking wet. As I’d gotten off the tram, the Dutch autumn skies opened up and proceeded to raise the... More >

Action needed on bottle and can deposits

A legal loophole means retailers can sell drinks in small plastic bottles but don’t have to take the empty bottles back. That is not exactly consumer-friendly,  says Rob Buurman, director of environmental NGO Recycling Netwerk Benelux. From July 1 this year most small plastic bottles have carried a deposit. But during the negotiations over the introduction of the scheme the cabinet scrapped the legal requirement on the part of retailers to take the bottles back. This has already led to... More >

A Dutch AI start-up changing healthcare

Dutch computer scientists are building software that can read your body language through CCTV. Already functioning in care homes around the country, the technology is the product of a spin-off team from the University of Amsterdam, which uses machine learning that can monitor and respond to human behaviour in real time. In theory, the technology could recognize scenes of aggression or fear, harassment or intimacy, automatically alert police or ambulances and report suspicious or indecent behaviour. While the idea may... More >

Podcast: The Stef Blok Snert Rap Edition

This week the coalition talks moved into an exciting new phase as the four parties from the last government finally agreed to make up the numbers. Also making up numbers was junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol, who was rounded on by all sides after she suggested 100,000 Afghans could be on their way to the Netherlands. Other numbers causing concern are the coronavirus infections, which are rising again, and the figures on your next gas bill. Can Wopke Hoekstra come... More >

How will the new budget affect your taxes?

In September, the Dutch government announced its budget for next year, including some alterations to the tax regulations. Here’s what you need to know. ‘Because there is still no official coalition and the government is acting in a caretaker capacity, there is not much change this year,’ said a spokesman for tax adviser Blue Umbrella. ‘However, there are some alterations that could be very important for expats in particular.’ In general, if your income is more than €68,507 a year,... More >

Inburgering with DN: wine

With the nights drawing in, what better thing to do follow the inburgering course? Lesson 25: Dutch wine Is ‘good Dutch wine’ a contradiction in terms? Is it possible to produce a full-bodied red or a twinkly white in the Netherlands? Can the Dutch attitude to wine still be summed up in the phrase ‘as long as it has alcohol’? Questions, questions. Here are some facts & figures about wine, yes wine, from the Netherlands. 1 According to the... More >

Dutch destinations: Dordrecht

The inhabitants of the oldest town in the province of Zuid-Holland are known to some as ‘sheepheads.’ According to lore, to avoid paying an import tax on meat, two men dressed a sheep up as a man and attempted to sneak the animal through the city gates, only to be discovered when the sheep bleated. There’s a statue to the legend that you can see if you visit this island city.  Dordrecht was given city rights in 1220 by William... More >

11 great things to do in October

Discover your inner beast October kicks off with a great day out for children and adults alike at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam. We Are Animals is an often joyful but also critical look at our relationship with animals seen through the eyes of some thirty artists. The weird and the wonderful are equally represented: those cute pussycats on YouTube will never look the same again. On Sunday October 3 families are welcome to enjoy lots of activities related to the... More >

Podcast: The Sultans of Waku Waku Edition

Six months after the election, the coalition merry-go-round comes full circle as the four parties from the last coalition agree to form the next one. A vegan restaurant in Utrecht becomes a cause célèbre for protesters against the coronavirus check pass. Mark Rutte gets some unwanted attention from the criminal underworld and a former councillor best known for his part in a penile pastry scandal. Supermarket chain Jumbo hopes its ‘kletskassa’s’ can help to combat the epidemic of loneliness and... More >

Why expats want a home of their own

Judging by several recent articles, the Dutch press seem to be surprised that international workers are actually buying property in the Netherlands. But the reasons are obvious, says José de Boer from De Boer Financial Consultants. This summer the main Dutch financial newspaper ran an article highlighting the fact that expats are increasingly likely to buy a house in the Netherlands, rather pay the high rents so common in Amsterdam and the other big cities. The experts interviewed for the... More >

'People swim in the sea in the snow'

Originally from Lille, France, Greg Dubus relocated from Wisconsin to the Netherlands over a decade ago. He now works as both a business information risk manager and an artist. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Before I moved to the Netherlands, I was living in the USA with my wife. We lived in Wisconsin, a state which is very cold. It’s under snow, maybe, six months of the year. If you like fishing and hunting, it’s the perfect... More >