A Tiny House as a Dutch home?

Could a custom-made Tiny House be your affordable new home? Who would want to live in a space the size of a shed at the mercy of the elements? Deborah Nicholls-Lee finds out why the Tiny House movement is gaining ground in the Netherlands. Sometimes a queue forms outside Marjolein Jonker’s Alkmaar home. She enjoys showing people around her house, but at just 20m², only a few visitors at a time can fit inside. Co-designed with students from the TU Delft and parked since 2016 on grassy wasteland where a gas factory once stood, Marjolein’s Tiny House was one of the first of its kind in the Netherlands. Marjolein (42) co-founded Stichting Tiny House Nederland in 2015 and is one of the most active voices in the Tiny House movement here which, in times of sky-high property prices and massive personal debt, is gathering momentum (see map). Tiny Houses are cleverly-designed homes, no more than 50m², which make efficient use of a small space. Most, like Marjolein’s, have self-sufficient features such as a composting toilet, a rain...  More >


The best, and most bizarre, Dutch burgers

Ingeburgered? Then here are a few of the best and most bizarre burgers in NL The Netherlands is in the middle of a full-fledged burger bonanza. It seems like there’s a cafe devoted to them on every corner, especially in Amsterdam. This means there’s a burger for nearly every taste, whether you’re a vegetarian or eat red meat with every meal. Here’s Brandon Hartley’s picks for a few of the best, weirdest, and wildest ones in the country. A burger for those who consider variety the spice of life Burgermeester - Amsterdam Since 2007, Burgermeester has specialised in a wide array of burgers. They now have four locations in the nation’s capital where you can enjoy ones with patties made out of everything from salmon to apples and cheese. There’s several beefy burgers too, of course, and they include the ‘Cheese Deluxe’ (Blonde d’Aquitaine beef, cheddar, jalapeños, pancetta, onions, and harissa mayo). Burgermeester also has a monthly burger. The one for March was a vegan option with a spicy falafel patty. If you can’t pick just one, try...  More >


The Netherlands is full of valleys

You might not be aware of it, but the Netherlands is full of valleys As every cyclist knows the Netherlands is as flat as a pancake, bar a few hillocks in the province of Limburg. However, over the last few years, the Netherlands had become riddled with valleys. Food Valley, Metal Valley, Seed Valley - the country is positively mountainous. The fashion for valleys can be blamed squarely on the wits of those who decided to call part of California Silicon Valley because of all the tech companies that are based there. Perhaps not realising that this area in American actually was bound in by hills, Dutch PR whizzkids have leapt on the valley concept and use it to describe any cluster of industrial activity. Here's a list. Food Valley Food Valley is not an area where five star restaurants are jostling for space but a commercial partnership between lots of companies and what they call 'knowledge institutes' dealing with (agro) food production and innovation. How green is this valley? Quite green in fact, as Food Valley inexplicably takes in the Veluwe...  More >


Podcast: The Arm All Prostitutes Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Arm All Prostitutes Edition – Week 14 After scoffing all their Easter chocolate in record time, the podcast team return with news of the Dutch lawyer jailed for his part in Donald Trump's rise to power, why the supermarkets came under fire for their part in English football fans' latest rampage through Amsterdam, and the man ordered by his local council to hunt down and catch a school of vanishing goldfish. We also look at proposals to change the security law, in the wake of the sleepwet referendum, and rules on bankers' pay in the wake of ING's climbdown on their chief executive's salary. In our discussion we ask if freedom of speech should be restricted after Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was called an 'infidel' in a video blog by an imam. Top story Ministers to review security services law in wake of referendum 'no' News Dutch banker is first person to be jailed over Trump-Russia investigation Finance minister plans to tighten rules on bankers' pay MH17 experts counter Russian 'fighter jet' theory Police...  More >


DutchNews.nl destinations: Rotterdam

DutchNews.nl destinations: take the train for a weekend in Rotterdam With Eurostar now running a three-hour service from London to Rotterdam, the city's fortunes as a tourist hub are set to boom. So, get over there now and appreciate the fantastic views, great museums and excellent cocktails before the British stag parties take over, says Molly Quell. Only slightly smaller than Amsterdam by population, Rotterdam is the Netherland's second largest city. It is home to the largest port in Europe, a fact which is partially responsible for its diverse population - more than half of the city’s residents have at least one parents who was born abroad. Rotterdam was granted city rights in 1340 but was, famously, nearly totally destroyed during World War II, leaving the city with a much more modern skyline than the capital. Get walking The city is too large to do a walking tour of everything, but you can easily get around with the city’s bus and tram system, but also the water taxi system. It’s fast, efficient and just a lot of fun. Go up the Euromast,...  More >


'I plan to stay here forever, no question'

‘I plan to stay here forever, no question. My wife and everyone I love, is here’ While he was working at NASA, Houston resident Carl Guderian decided he was ready for a change. A trip to an event for hackers in Lelystad wound up changing his life forever. He now lives in Amsterdam where he works as an engineer. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Around 1990, I was besotted with Mondo 2000 and Wired Magazine and I hung out with hackers. By 1991, I’d also gotten most of my way through a graduate study of Futures Forecasting and picked the newfangled Internet as my subject of study. In 1993, I went to a hacker camp out near Lelystad called Hacking at the End of the Universe. I’d been working for seven years at NASA and I was looking for a change. I was also tired of working for a government contractor. I visited Amsterdam and the Hague and liked both, but I had no definite plans to move here. At that camp out, though, I met someone else from Houston and we got together a year later. As luck had it, those hackers I’d hung with all went to work for an...  More >


Blogwatching: Five bands from Amsterdam

Blogwatching: Five bands from Amsterdam that won’t let you sit still Ana V. Martins is a Portuguese actress and a writer who lives in Amsterdam. Her blog AmsterDive is about her relationship with Amsterdam with a focus on arts and culture. In this post, she writes about five of the lesser known Amsterdam bands who get her feet moving. Ah, bands from Amsterdam! Not the good old classics, not the über famous ones. Real bands composed of real people who make real sound and play in real concerts that real people attend. Some of these musicians are folks whose activity I follow closely because I KNOW that whatever they are involved in, it’s bound to be good (or simply put, bound to make me happy). This is how I have seen a couple of these bands a few times already (Furake, Conjunto Papa Upa) and don’t seem to get tired of it. If you’re into dancing like a freak, this is possibly going to be your pool as well. Let’s jump right in. Furake Furake is an experimental project which has West African music at its core. It combines n’goni, balaphone,...  More >


Expatriate Archive celebrates 10 years

Life in a suitcase: The Expatriate Archive Centre celebrates 10 years Thirty years ago, a suitcase full of papers and photos sat on a shelf. What that suitcase contained would go on to become the start of the Expatriate Archive Centre in The Hague. Now, it’s going on tour.  Molly Quell finds out more about a globetrotting piece of luggage. Years ago a group of Shell wives (as they referred to themselves) set about to publish a book on the experiences of the families of Shell expatriate employees to celebrate the oil giant's centenary. They called it the Shell Ladies Project and they collected letters, diaries and handwritten accountants of the life experiences of families who had been moved abroad by the energy company. One of these women, Judy Moody-Stuart, stored the materials in a suitcase and kept it at her home. The suitcase had been used to tote belongings to boarding school in London for her children, clothing in Brunei and had gotten soaking wet while stacked on the top of a car in Nigeria. It was as well-traveled as the people whose...  More >


From careers to childcare: IamExpat Fair

From careers to childcare, the Amsterdam IamExpat Fair has it covered Need help with finding the perfect place to live, that next career move or even mates to hang around with? You'll find all the answers at the fourth edition of the the IamExpat Fair in Amsterdam, which will take place on Saturday April 7 at the Westergasfabriek. The IamExpat Fair was set up to support internationals in the Netherlands and connect them with local businesses and service providers so the organisers are delighted to be hosting their fourth Amsterdam edition. 'The IamExpat Fair is designed for both new arrivals and established expats who want to discover something new or find answers to questions that have been bugging them for some time!,' says co-organiser Nikos Nakos. 'For example, finding time to make an appointment with a mortgage or financial advisor, can seem daunting, but here we've got them all under one roof,' says his colleague Panos Sarlanis. One-stop shop Indeed, the event is a great opportunity to find everything you need in one location, on...  More >


12 great things to do in April

From Easter egg hunts to King’s Day orange: 12 great things to do in April The Easter weekend may be set to be chilly and wet, but spring temperatures should be on their way next week - if we are to believe the KNMI weather bureau that is. So here are some great things to do this April. Join the egg hunt There's plenty to do this Easter. You could try the traditional Easter market on The Hague's Lange Voorhout on April 1 and 2 or take the children to join the search for the Easter bunny's lost eggs in the Hortus botanical gardens in Amsterdam. There are Easter bonfires galore as well (a pagan ritual adopted by Christianity to symbolise the resurrection), with one of the biggest taking place in Espelo in the province of Overijssel. on April 1. Pity Oedipus (and his mother) The Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam is the scene of a 'contemporary, free' adaptation by British writer and director Robert Icke of tragic hero Oedipus's journey to his doom. This month's performance will be surtitled. April 12. Website Meet the author The John Adams Institute is...  More >


Happy Streets: Rotterdam mobile activists

Meet Happy Streets: Rotterdam’s cheeky activists for social mobility in the city A cheerful squad of urban agitators are using Rotterdam to conduct quirky experiments in social mobility. Is this car-centric city ready to rethink its use of space? Deborah Nicholls-Lee finds out more. If you wake up one morning to find your street covered in pink and yellow dots, a lawn where once there was a parking space, or a bike-through cafe in your neighbour’s front room, then it might be the work of Happy Streets, a mischievous but well-meaning group of urban activists, with a mission to reclaim the streets of Rotterdam for people rather than cars. Working in association with DRIFT, Veld Academie and the local council, Happy Streets uses urban experiments to trial more inclusive and sustainable mobility concepts. Jorn Wemmenhove is one of the movement’s initiators. Happy Streets, he explains, sprang from the municipality’s 2015 Mobility Arena programme, which was already challenging current models of mobility in the city. ‘It became a much more social story...  More >


Learn from history, both good and bad

Let’s learn from history, both good and bad History's saints as well as its villains carry lessons for the present, writes historian Tineke Bennema. I could see where Urk city council was coming from when it decided to name some of the town’s new streets after discredited sea heroes such as Michiel de Ruyter and Jan Pieterszoon Coen. I believe Urk didn’t do this to stir up controversy but to show that the history of human beings is not a blank slate but a product of the past. A people that denies its history loses its bearings and flounders like a drowning man in the ocean. The discussion about whose view of the nation’s history is the right one focuses on whether values and actions of the past can be judged by modern society and, consequently, rejected or approved, particularly when the these values and actions refer to harm done to others. First of all we need to ask if the past is something we can or want to learn from. You could say we do learn from the past whether we want to or not otherwise we would still...  More >


Podcast: Spekkoek and Straciatella Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Spekkoek and Straciatella Edition It's an election results special in this week's podcast, as we discuss why local parties rule the roost, how D66 lost out in the cities, whether it can get any worse for Labour and who fared best of the newcomers, including Denk, the PVV and the Animal Rights Party. There's also news of the 'dragnet' referendum, technological advances in football and death in the Oostvaardersplassen. Local election special GroenLinks and local parties are big election winners How the parties fared in the DutchNews focus cities Coalition challenges for GroenLinks after topping poll in Amsterdam Groep De Mos pull off surprise win in The Hague News Referendum set for narrow 'no' vote Dead sea eagle was hit by wind turbine Sport KNVB approves video referees for next league season Discussion: Local elections The votes have been counted, now the coalition building can begin What the papers said about the local election results Wilders breaks through with a...  More >


Farewell Facebook, we're through!

Farewell Facebook, you and I are through! Economist Mathijs Bouman has said goodbye and good riddance to Facebook and he won't be back (he hopes). I would like to start this column by offering my sincere apologies to all my friends. Bart Stoffels, Rineke Gieske-Mastenbroek: my apologies. A hearfelt sorry is also due to Witdietma Narain from Arnhem, Willem-Aart Hop from Spakenburg and of course Fokke Obbema from Amsterdam. Apologies too to Remco Dijkstra and Annette van Trigt. And even to Thierry Baudet who, to my surprise, is also a friend. Sorry one and all, I really regret to inform you that we are no longer friends and that goes for the friends of friends as well. I hope you have a good life. I’m quitting, pulling the plug. I have deleted my Facebook account. Which is not as easy as it sounds. Facebook doesn’t like final goodbyes and at first it only agrees to deactivate my account. It will only remove the account permanently in two weeks’ time. Unless I log in between now and then, because then it will be reactivated...  More >


Nine things to know about tulips

It’s spring, so to celebrate here are nine things to know about tulips Spring is officially here and that means the Keukenhof bulb gardens in Lisse are now open. It is the 69th time that the gardens will have opened to the public and they are expecting over a million visitors in eight short weeks. This year's theme is romance and so among the special gardens in 2018 are Cupid's Garden, with a kissing gate, a Holiday Romance garden, with a tropical atmosphere under the palms and Rob's Oriental Romance. For those of you who are a little less soppy about your flowers, the Hipster Garden could be a good alternative, with such no-nonsense pastimes as chopping wood, throwing some meat on the barbecue and knocking back a beer or two! The Keukenhof - first designed in 1957 as a garden for the Keukenhof castle - might be open for business for just eight weeks, but you'll still need a little patience before the tulip fields are in full bloom - as you can see from this report. In the meantime here are some facts and figures about the Netherlands' eponymous...  More >


Brexit boom for Dutch clinical trials

Brexit boom ahead for Dutch clinical trials and human test subjects The arrival of the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam next year will be a major boost for the Netherlands' own drugs testing sector, and moves are already being made to make the most of the opportunities, writes Max Opray. Amsterdam was announced as the new home for the EU regulatory body in November when the Dutch city’s name was effectively drawn out of a hat after tying with Milan in the final round of voting. The announcement prompted a wave of concern from British experts such as John Hardy, professor of Neuroscience at UCL, who predicted the move of the EMA would extend beyond the regulatory body’s 900 employees and ‘be a magnet to Holland and Flanders (which already have strong pharma industries) for inward drug company investment and for divestment from the UK.’ Drugs testing firms and other pharmaceutical industry players are already jostling for position. After all, the Netherlands is in prime position to poach Britain’s lucrative clinical trials industry...  More >


Podcast: The Disaster Tourism Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Disaster Tourism Edition – Week 11 With a week to go until the local elections, we bring you up to speed on the soap opera that is Rotterdam's campaign and explain how and where you can cast your vote. Elsewhere, was ING's about-turn on its CEO's pay rise a victory for people power, and did Unilever's decision to close its London headquarters really have nothing to do with Brexit or the Dutch government's abolition of dividend tax? There's also the remarkable story of the Paralympic athlete who won two gold medals amid an ongoing 18-year battle against cancer. In the discussion we pick out our favourites from the growing crop of books about the Netherlands. Top story Rotterdam 'left alliance' folds amid outcry over Islamic party's tweet News ING backtracks on plan to raise CEO's salary by 50% Unilever moves headquarters to Rotterdam MPs back overhaul of 'patronising' integration exams Rotterdam museum takes in kingfisher frozen in ice (AD, Dutch) Sport Bibian Mentel wins second Paralympic...  More >


The best Mexican food in the Netherlands

From tacos to tiras a la Mexicana – the best Mexican food in the Netherlands Many people from North America often bemoan the lack of quality Mexican food here in the Lowlands. Fortunately, things have been steadily improving on this particular culinary front in recent years. Whether your gut demands fajitas cooked to near perfection or you simply can’t shake your cravings for Grilled Stuft Burritos, here’s a few of Brandon Hartley’s picks that will help you get your fix. KUA - The Hague and Rotterdam What’s the best authentic Mexican restaurant in the Netherlands? It’s open to debate but these two cafes owned by Monterrey, Mexico native Daniel Muñoz and his colleague Rass Butt are both a safe bet. Their menus are packed with dishes from all over Mexico and many of their tacos are among the best you’ll find anywhere in Europe. Doubt it? Reserve judgement until you give their slow-cooked taco de barbacoa a shot or try a mouthwatering taco estilo al pastor before you wash it down with a margarita at their taco bar in Rotterdam. The menu at their...  More >


A year without money: finding happiness

A year without money: one Dutchman’s journey to find human happiness When Mundo Resink (35) realised that money was holding him back in life, he chose a drastic solution: to live without it. Deborah Nicholls-Lee finds out more about his life-changing experiment. On the evening of January 6, 2013, Mundo Resink couldn’t sleep. Something had been growing inside of him: a resounding truth which this night refused to be silenced. ‘It was like something from my belly just came up and it was unstoppable,’ he says. That night Mundo realised that the path he had chosen - the startup he was working on, the money he was trying to make - was unnatural, joyless and at odds with his inner voice. The more he chased money, the more it eluded him. ‘Every time I allowed myself to be talked into things I didn’t want to do, that didn’t feel right... we would end up throwing money into a bottomless pit, working with clients that were not happy, making ourselves unhappy and just not living,’ he says, five years on. The reverse was also true: ‘Every...  More >


Dutch agriculture is not a beacon

Dutch agriculture is not a beacon of good farming practice to the world Dutch agriculture has to become a lot less efficient or the environment will suffer even more, say agro-environmental scientists. Greater awareness among consumers and voters may make it happen. In an opinion piece in January, Volkskrant columnist Bert Wagendorp claimed most farmers simply can’t help being fraudsters when it comes to manure: it’s a national sport to hoodwink the authorities. We are not trying to make excuses but isn’t it also true that we are all responsible for the mess agriculture is in today? ‘This tiny country feeds the world’ National Geographic headed one of its articles in November 2017. It’s because of articles like these the Netherlands is seen as a beacon of good agricultural practice around the world. But over the last 50 years that agricultural practice has wiped out over 70% of partridges, godwits and skylarks. Large-scale expansion not only swallowed up small farmers but traditional landscapes as well, all in the name of efficiency. But...  More >