Seven Deadly Dutch Sins in 2018

Review of the year: The Seven Deadly Dutch Sins of 2018 The New Year beckons and with it a slate mercifully wiped clean of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth and anything else you swore you would stop indulging in last December. But where does the Netherlands stand as a nation when it comes to the seven deadly sins? We have gone through the archives to gauge the nation’s sinfulness in this darkest of months.  Read it and repent, ye sinners. Pride Pride come before a fall and Camiel Eurlings’ has been an exceptionally lengthy slow motion tumble. The former CDA golden boy, who, after a glittering career in politics, went on to do an ignominiously short stint at KLM, found himself underperforming at IOC*NSF when he decided to beat up his girlfriend in 2015. Amid protestations of innocence, he clung on to the job until January this year. The Dutch love a survey especially when it shows them to be the best at English, the tallest race on the planet, or in possession of the happiest children in the whole wide world....  More >

Podcast: The Top 2000 Bonus Edition

DutchNews bonus podcast: The 2000 Problems But Zoutelande Ain’t One Edition The podcast team is taking a break over the festive season to stuff themselves full of rollade, kerststol and Advocaat, but we have a special bonus discussion for you on one of the Netherlands' most enduring traditions, the Top 2000. Every year the nation casts its votes for its favourite pop tunes, which are then played in reverse order during the week after Christmas, inevitably culminating with Bohemian Rhapsody in the final minutes of 2018. As Gordon bemoans the whole idea in a doomed bid to sound sophisticated, Paul takes a look at an intriguing political spin-off and Molly explains why you're not fully ingeburgerd until you've picked out your favourite numbers and written them in your agenda. See also: Old, white men dominate Top 2000 but there is some new blood   More >

'I cooked local food because I had to'

‘I got into local cooking because I had to. I knew I was going to stay’ Aileen Enda Jansen Dawson, 83, will be spending her 59th Christmas in the Netherlands this year. She moved here in 1959 to marry a Dutchman she met while working at a hotel in Germany. Now widowed and with four sons, she still gets het and de confused, has learned to eat Dutch vegetables and knows every museum in Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was doing hotel management at a hotel in Ireland. It was a six year course and for the final year we had an exchange system with either Germany or Switzerland. I ended up working at a family hotel in Heidelberg with a friend. I was 21 and she was 20. The local paper wrote about us when we left for Germany because we were sort of trailblazers. My future husband was studying at the hotel school in The Hague and he and a friend were also working at the hotel. So you can tell what happened. When I told my family I was going to marry my Dutchman, my father said 'not only is he a Protestant but he's a bloody Orangeman'. Once...  More >

Christmas events, from skating to stars

Christmas is coming, and here’s some special events to get you in the mood The festive season is almost upon us, and whether you're looking for cosy, cultural or culinary, we have Christmas holiday highlights to suit one and all. Amsterdam Amsterdam Light Festival If you're in the capital during the holidays, make sure to give yourself time to tour the canals and take in the many exhibits of this year's Amsterdam Light Festival. Special highlights include light artworks inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night and, for the first time, a specially commissioned theatre piece during a canal cruise of the festival sites - The Light Code by Chris Bajema. The festival runs all the way through December and into January. Website  Eye Film museum Too cold outside? Then head over to the EYE in Noord. Escape the wind, and the general state of the world, with the joy of the upbeat 50's classic White Christmas, or a screening of the Royal Opera House's (UK) spectacular version of The Nutcracker (2015), complete with sparkling prosecco.  Website Utrecht Nijntje...  More >

Podcast: The Commercial Breakdown Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Commercial Breakdown Edition – Week 50 Our last podcast of the year features a helter-skelter game of red cards, own goals and penalties that ultimately changed nothing, while away from the Brexit negotiations Ajax qualified for the next round of the Champions League. We ask why girls are more likely to move up the educational ladder then boys, whether stints will ever be allowed back on cycle paths and why a group of Chinese villagers were told to Buddha off by a Dutch court. In the discussion we look at the catchiest – and the most irritating – adverts in the Netherlands and how they have affected cultural life. TOP STORY Rutte has May for breakfast as EU rules out reopening Brexit deal MPs denounce no-deal emergency powers bill as undemocratic NEWS Electric 'stint' wagons still not allowed back on cycle paths Girls more likely than boys to move up secondary school ladder Dutch court throws out Chinese villagers' claim on Buddha statue Boyan Slat says ocean clean-up plan is still on despite...  More >

Celebrate in your home from home: How to go Dutch at Christmas

Celebrate in your home from home: How to go Dutch at Christmas The count down to Christmas has begun, but according to weather forecast there's not much chance of a white Christmas this year. So just how do you give your Christmas that extra touch of 'Dutchness' while living in the Netherlands? Here is a list to inspire you, based on some of the ways the Dutch celebrate Christmas at home. Get a tree The Dutch love their trees - in fact they love Christmas decorations in general. If you really want to be overwhelmed, check out any garden centre and you will be spoiled, and we do mean spoiled, for choice. Christmas lights tend to be terribly good taste which can come as a shock to the Americans and the British. Give your new home a festive feel with a beautiful paper star in the window. Go to church The Nachtmis is the only time lots of people go to church. The midnight mass is usually a jolly affair of Christmas carols and lots of twinkling lights in a heated church (if you’re lucky) followed by a Christmas breakfast with lots of kerststol....  More >

12 Dutch ads everyone should know

12 Dutch ads that have become cultural touchstones Keep Calm and Carry On? Lovely Day for a Guinness? Just do it? Good advertising can do more than sell shoes and beer, they can become cultural touchstones, referenced over and over again, years after they first appeared. So, if a colleague shouts 'Heyyyy biertje…' during a borrel and everyone else laughs but you’re left out in the cold, we’ve got you covered. Molly Quell has put together a list of 12 Dutch advertisements that you need to know. 1 Heineken - Rudi Possibly the most famous television ad in the country, we follow a lowly goat herder who turns into a suave ski instructor with the appearance of the first snowflake. He walks into a ski lodge bar and shouts “Heyyyyy biertje!” (Hey beer) to the delight of the crowd. While popular with most Dutch people, bar staff find having “Heyyyyy biertje!” shouted at them rather annoying. 2 Ohra - Purple crocodile Ohra's purple crocodile, which hit the television screens in 2005, has now become synonymous with...  More >

Dutch Destinations: explore Utrecht

Dutch Destinations: explore Utrecht from high up and from way down destinations: Utrecht  Located on the eastern edge of the Randstad, Utrecht is a picturesque city full of history and culture - if you avoid the hideous concrete area around the main railway station - that is. From the top of Dom Tower all the way down to its iconic canals, there’s no shortage of cafes, museums, and other attractions to keep you busy for a weekend trip or an entire lifetime. Human activity in and around Utrecht dates all the way back to the Stone Age, but the area remained almost entirely untamed until the Romans showed up to build a fortress named Traiectum around 50 AD. It helped mark their empire’s northernmost border...until it was burnt to the ground during a revolt a few decades later. Then it was later rebuilt bigger and stronger to house roughly 500 soldiers. Traiectum actually had to be rebuilt three more times before it was finally raided by invading Franks sometime in the 3rd century. The Romans skedaddled and the area remained pretty...  More >

Collective health insurance can be costly

Health insurance via your employer? You could be paying too much The chances are that your health insurance policy is part of a collective plan which you signed up to via work, a sports club or even your local council. But you could very well be paying more than you should. Almost two-thirds of the Dutch population are insured through a collective plan - a type of insurance scheme set up for a group of people, such as company colleagues, a patient organisation or a local authority. Even nature protection groups like the Wadden Vereniging offer special health policies for members. If you sign up for a collective agreement you are offered a seemingly attractive discount on your monthly health insurance premium. But beware! Research by comparison website shows that you could actually be paying for the discount out of your own pocket. Spokesman Koen Kuijper says there are numerous cases where an individual insurance plan is cheaper than one that is set up through a collective. 'There are over 50,000 different collective policies...  More >

Podcast: The Soros Eye Shadow Edition

DutchNews podcast – The George Soros Eye Shadow Palettes Edition – Week 49 As a round-the-clock deportation-busting church service draws the attention of the world's media, Amsterdam calls time on the giant letters outside the Rijksmuseum, Dick Advocaat causes some ophef when he gets a time out in the referee's room and Emile Ratelband is told he can't turn the clock back on his passport. We also discuss why the Marrakesh pact to control migration has sparked a heated debate both in the Tweede Kamer and internationally. Ophef of the week: Intratuin's packaged pine cones create needle on Twitter TOP STORY Non-stop church service stops government deporting Armenian family NEWS Government aims to cut number of road deaths to zero by 2030 Shell to link executive bonuses to carbon emissions targets Giant Iamsterdam letters removed from city's Museumplein Emile Ratelband loses fight to cut 20 years from his age SPORT Oranje draw Germany in European Championship qualifiers DISCUSSION: Marrakech migration pact Dutch Parliament...  More >

'Dutch people don't like long silences'

‘Dutch people don’t like long silences but in Sweden we can live with them’ Helena van Heel is a Swedish mezzo soprano who moved to the Netherlands 25 years ago. She lives in Amsterdam Noord with her Dutch husband and daughter, recommends you visit the 11 Fountain tour in Friesland and sneaks off to Ikea when she gets homesick. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I met a Dutchman in Stockholm, he was playing in an orchestra and it was love at first sight. The first time I had visited him I did an audition for Netherlands Chamber Choir - it just happened to be that week - and they said I could have a job - if I moved to Holland. I decided to finally make the move after a year. So the move was a combination of work and love. Actually, the love only lasted six months - we were very different. Anyway I had a job of course with the choir and then I met another man, who is now my husband. He is the reason I stayed. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I think I say I am Swedish. That never goes away. I am considering...  More >

Bunkers and naked volleyball

Blogwatching: bunkers and naked volleyball What do you do if you have been sent to live in the Netherlands as a trailing husband for six months, while your wife works in a high powered job? Visiting columnist Joe Weeg has been exploring his neighbourhood. Part 1: Bunkers and naked volleyball. They are stark naked. Yup, not a speck of clothes. The eight old men have the volleyball net pulled tight in the sand and are shuffling to new positions as I come over the dune. The server makes some comment that tickles everyone’s fancy and then hits the ball underhanded to a loud cheer. A flurry of naked men descend on the net. Point to server. Trust me, this began innocently enough. I was curious about the bunkers that line the beaches at Scheveningen in The Hague, Netherlands. They are leftovers from World War II and were part of Hitler’s plan to defend the coast. The North Atlantic Wall ran all the way from Norway to France. And it just happens that in Scheveningen the bunkers sit directly above a nude beach. No kidding. The...  More >

Podcast: The Ginger & Lime Brexit Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Ginger and Lime Brexit Edition – Week 48 The past looms large in this week's podcast as rail operator NS agrees to compensate Holocaust victims who were transported on its trains. Amsterdam's mayor comes under pressure to enforce the so-called burka ban, there's a run on contraceptive pills, Mark Rutte delivers a 'deal or no deal' message on Brexit and health insurers sound the death knell for reincarnation therapy. In our discussion we look at the contenders for the annual Word of the Year competition. Ophef of the week: Forum voor Democratie members are mostly there to make up the numbers TOP STORY Railway operator NS agrees to pay compensation to Holocaust victims NEWS Burka ban will not be prioritised in Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Utrecht British nationals will not be able to vote in next year's European elections Scarce contraceptive pills being sold on Marktplaats for four times cover price Insurer CZ stops covering reincarnation therapy and other 'ridiculous' treatments SPORT Ajax reach...  More >

Dutch under threat in higher education

‘The threat to Dutch in higher education is no idle chitchat’ In the garden of higher education, Dutch is being weeded out. It’s alarming that the education minister seems oblivious to the demise of Dutch in higher education, say Annette de Groot, Erik Jurgens, Jean Pierre Rawie and Ad Verbrugge. The language policy of education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven is like a garden where English is allowed to bloom unhindered while Dutch is withering on the vine. In a recent radio-interview with journalist Frits Spits the increasing influence of English in higher education was recognised at once, but then the subject was conspicuously avoided. All the minister was willing to say was that we should not accept the prevailing idea that all teaching is already being done in English. ‘Higher education is still mainly conducted in Dutch’, she said. In other words, the public commotion about the unbridled colonisation of Dutch higher education by the English language is just so much idle chitchat. This stance wilfully denies the disastrous...  More >

11 great things to do in December

There is no snow on the way, but here are 11 great things to do in December Classic films, Christmas events and Chanel - here are some December delights. But if you are more of a bah humbug person who can't wait for 'the season to be jolly' to be over, there is something for you too. Meet Sinterklaas The Catharijneconvent in Utrecht is Sinterklaas' home away from home and right up until the busiest day in his calender he is inviting all good children up to 8 and their parents for lots of Sinterklaas-related activities and a meet and greet in his study. Until December 5. Website Climb every mountain The Sound of Music is 50! How time flies when you're frolicking in an alpine meadow. The colours of the film were always glorious but the new 70mm copy shown at the Eye in Amsterdam renders the Austrian Aalps even more resplendent, or 'newly-washed' as the Eye has it. We dare you not to sing along. December 19 to January 9. Website   Force your child to be creative Kasteel Keukenhof, a dinky little castle in Lisse, is offering...  More >

Coding for kids: boosting digital literacy

Coding for kids: digital literacy to become key in the curriculum Digital literacy is increasingly recognised as a vital component of future education. As the Dutch government seeks to update both the primary and secondary curricula, teaching coding to children is set to become compulsory. Esther O´Toole took a closer look at the current state of coding for kids. Bo Boekelman and Hilde Verschuren, two primary school pupils at De Harlekijn school in Cuijk, Noord Brabant are exploring coding at Expedition Robot, one of the extracurricular courses on offer as part of the Techlab scheme at their local library. 'What I like best is when you have finished the coding part and can see your creation come to life,' says Bo, who is in her final year of primary school. 'I really liked it and would have liked more time. I'd definitely do something like that again, especially if it was at school!' says friend and classmate Hilde. Their school's director, Rob Lamers, is working with nine other local schools on  integrating 21st century skills throughout...  More >

Podcast: The Piets and Pensions Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Piets and Pensions Edition – Week 47 Things fall apart in this week's podcast as we update you on the increasingly bitter Zwarte Piet debate, plans to deal with a no-deal Brexit, the dispute over the 30% ruling and an electoral boycott triggered by a missing hyphen. Thankfully the football team salvaged some pride with their stunning comeback against Germany. In our discussion we ask if the breakdown of talks to reform the pension system is the beginning of the end for the Dutch polder model. Ophef of the week: Albert Heijn destroys Christmas with 'vegetarian propaganda' (RTL, Dutch) TOP STORY Rutte issues mild rebuke to hooligans who threw eggs at Zwarte Piet protesters NEWS Stef Blok proposes emergency powers to soften impact of 'no deal' Brexit Campaigners for 30% ruling transition period switch attention to Senate D66 success with constitutional reform paves way for elected mayors GroenLinks make major gains in Groningen in elections for new councils SPORT Late equaliser against Germany...  More >

'We are in love with the Netherlands'

‘We have fallen in love with the Netherlands, the people, the weather’ British national Hannah Bayliss, husband Tim and dog live next to the Valkenburg airbase near Katwijk where they distill gin, enjoy beach life and have gotten to grips with the weather. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We ended up here in 2015 after Tim sent me a picture of the beach at Noordwijk. We both wanted to live in another country and were debating between New Zealand or the Netherlands. Tim had a temporary job in the Netherlands and I was in New Zealand when he sent me the photo. It was an early morning shot, the beach was deserted and all I could see as far as the eye would go was flat golden sands and blue sky!  I just thought, this is an amazing place. Why would we move half way around the world when we could live here? Tim now works for KPMG and we have set up a craft gin business on the side. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc ? I think we would describe ourselves as EU citizens. We are both proud to be British,...  More >

Are you as bad at Sinterklaas as I am?

Parents, are you as bad at Sinterklaas as I am? So, Sinterklaas is back in the Netherlands and the count-down to December 5 is well and truly underway. After numerous debacles, Deborah Nicholls-Lee thinks she’s got the hang of celebrating Sinterklaas with her kids. But has she? When the pepernoten appear in Dutch stores at the end of the summer, I usually chime in with the moaning. Not this year. Succeeding during Sinterklaas is all about preparation. I know this from experience: last year was a shambles. The intocht (Sint’s arrival in the Netherlands with his Zwarte Piet helpers) is eagerly anticipated by children, but for foreign grown-ups like me it can be bitter-sweet. This is partly because, until recently, to my unaccustomed British eyes, it looked rather like someone had poured the contents of a 1940s comic book of smiling stereotypes onto the streets of 21st century Amsterdam. But it’s also because it signals the start of a tradition which I’m still struggling to navigate and frequently fail at. Christmas For...  More >

Podcast: The Brex'nkaas Breakdown Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Brex’nkaas Breakdown Edition – Week 46 In a week dominated by dodgy deals, Molly and Paul look at the implications of the Brexit breakthrough for UK nationals in the Netherlands, find out how a cinema chain lost €19 million in an internet scam and explain why Dutch language tests have been cancelled for the rest of the year. We also catch up with the ever petulant Max Verstappen, the triumphant women's football team and the soft cheese manufacturers who learned the hard way that 'over smaak valt niet te twisten'. In the discussion we look at plans to make the appointment of mayors more democratic and transparent. TOP STORY: BREXIT Foreign minister Stef Blok welcomes Brexit deal but will study terms closely NEWS Language tests postponed after students share exam details on social media Cinema chain Pathé left reeling by €19m internet scam Economic growth slows to 0.2% but sunny weather boosts spending Bitter aftertaste as cheese manufacturer loses 'copyright flavour' case SPORT Max Verstappen...  More >