Monday 15 August 2022

Podcast: The Grey Monk's Eyeopener Edition

More evidence this week that the Netherlands is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic as people try to offload the jigsaw puzzles and DVDs they bought during lockdown on the King’s Day street markets. The government has a clear-out of its munitions depots to support Ukraine’s war effort, as Ukrainian refugees boost net migration in the first quarter of 2022. King Willem-Alexander finally makes it to Maastricht, while Amsterdam keeps up its Koningsdag tradition of imposing an alcohol limit that everyone... More >

On the clock: being an entrpreneur

In some countries, you don’t need to do much to start working freelance: you might just register for value added tax and get started. Being a freelancer or self employed is increasingly popular in the Netherlands. In fact,  the proportion of people who are classed as freelance workers has risen from 8% of the working population in 2003 to 13% in 2020, according to national statistics office CBS. At the same time, there has been a growing discussion about whether... More >

Dutch marriages are based on fairytales

Wedding season is upon us and, with the pandemic having wrecked many big days, this summer is seeing an explosion in couples celebrating their nuptials. Before you head off to a Dutch wedding, Molly Quell wants you to prepare yourself to be lied to by the official overseeing this very important and legally binding ceremony.  Dutch wedding traditions are ripe for comedic fodder. The multi-tiered invitation structure. The exhausting all-day celebration (if you’re a top-tier invite.) And let’s not even... More >

Dutch Biennale entry is kinky cuddle space

The Venice Biennale, the art world’s most anticipated event, opens on 23 April. The Dutch entry, melanie bonajo’s whimsical When the body says Yes, is sure to stand out. We meet the artist to find out more. ‘I’d just finished somatic sex coaching training and then I got the phone call,’ the multidisciplinary artist melanie bonajo (lowercase, they/their) told Being selected by the Mondriaan Fund to represent the Netherlands at the Venice Art Biennale, the world’s most prestigious international... More >

Podcast: Pull the Beschoor Plug Edition

This week the PvdA had to find a new leader after Lilianne Ploumen decided she was unsuited to the job and quit as an MP. But the real crisis was at D66, where Sigrid Kaag was undermined by the party’s woefully misjudged handling of a sexual harassment inquiry. Germany angered the islanders of Schiermonnikoog by announcing plans to drill for gas in the Waddenzee. Feyenoord tore up their plans for a new stadium on the Maas and Erik ten Hag... More >

Plans to get the housing market moving

Plenty of things have been happening on the housing market since the start of the year, when the Netherlands got a new government. Mortgage advisor José de Boer has the lowdown. If last month’s local elections have shown anything, it is that housing is the most pressing concern facing the Netherlands – where ever you may happen to live. And if you are hoping to buy a house in Amsterdam, or anywhere else in the country, some action is already... More >

'It's nice to say what you think'

Milos Mandic grew up in Belgrade and lived in the UK and the US before relocating to the Netherlands. After the pandemic forced him to stay put in Amsterdam, he used his spare time to build Socializer, an app that helps its users expand their social circle. He would like to go for a cycle ride with Mathieu van der Poel and wishes he’d known about hagelslag as a kid. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Pretty much... More >

Holland Festival and the world: soul mates

Emma Moloney will always remember the moment a man whispered quietly in her ear as she was sitting in the theatre. She was at an award-winning play called The Encounter during the 2016 Holland Festival and, like the rest of the audience, wearing a set of headphones. Director and writer Simon McBurney was the one blowing, whispering, then shouting in her ear, through those headphones. ‘The whole audience went: oooh!’ she recalls. ‘It still gives me the creeps. It was... More >

Americans abroad fight against FACTA

Many Americans in the Netherlands have been feeling the effects of FATCA in recent years. The infamous law has caused plenty of headaches for both them and the financial institutions they rely on.   If you’re an American living in the Netherlands, you may have already felt the impact. Perhaps it was a stern letter from your bank or maybe you’ve had trouble trying to hire a financial adviser? There’s a reason for that and it’s the Foreign Account Tax... More >

American Book Center celebrates 50 years

The American Book Center, online and in-store, is a go-to for English language readers in the Netherlands. As the team celebrate their 50th anniversary, we look back at how it all began. In the course of 50 years, some things have stayed the same in the Netherlands. 1970s Amsterdam, for example, was full of Dutch people with fluent English and Internationals with limited Dutch. But the shortage of English-language reading material at this time was a business opportunity waiting to... More >

Spread your net to buy in Amsterdam

The late Amsterdam mayor’s favourite song was about living on the Amsterdam canals – or, more accurately, being priced out of them. But housing experts Expat Mortgages say that despite a challenging market, there are still investments to be made and beautiful homes in and around the Dutch capital. ‘I see something changing,’ says Henk Jansen, founder of Expat Mortgages, who was born and grew up in Amsterdam. ‘In the past, Amsterdam was divided in areas: you had the city... More >

How to celebrate Easter the Dutch way

Easter (Goede Vrijdag, 1e and 2e Paasdag) takes place this weekend (April 15-18). Easter Monday is a public holiday but Friday is a normal working day, apart from government workers, lucky things. Here is our list of Dutch Easter habits. Easter breakfast box If you have children at a Dutch primary school, they, rather you, will probably have to make an Easter breakfast box which they will give to another child in their class. This is a shoe box beautifully... More >

Inburgering with Dutch News: potatoes

You cannot have failed to notice that the potato has a key role in the Dutch diet. But to be properly ingeburgerd, there is a lot to learn about the humble spud. Lesson 28: the potato The Netherlands produces some eight million tonnes of potatoes a year, of which around half will be eaten, 30% used to produce starch and 20% used to produce more potatoes. Here’s what you need to know. Varieties It’s very hard to pin down the... More >

Podcast: The Passion of the Hugo Edition

Former health minister Hugo de Jonge tried to extricate himself from the face mask scandal this week by defending a deal that he officially had nothing to do with. Another former minister, Stef Blok, is deployed to speed up the confiscation of Russian assets as the number of Ukrainian refugees reaches 22,000. Soaring fuel prices drive inflation up to its highest level in 1976, while economic uncertainty puts the brakes on the housing market. In football news, Ajax coach Erik... More >

Housing update: soaring interest rates

Interest rates have doubled since January, and there are signs house prices might not be rising so quickly any more. So what does this mean for the housing market? And should you consider remortgaging? Here is a round-up of the latest housing market news. What to do about interest rates Interest rates have hardly been out of the news since the start of the year when they began to rise in earnest. Basic rates have actually gone up about 1%... More >

Russian nationals in the Netherlands speak

A few days after the Netherlands expelled 17 Russian diplomats for spying, Lauren Comiteau looks at life in the Netherlands for ordinary Russian nationals. OLEG restaurant in the east of Amsterdam got off to a rocky start. It first opened its doors in 2020, right before the pandemic. Then in February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine, this Russian-owned and borscht- and pelmeni-serving restaurant faced intimidation. ‘In the first week, we got some weird phone calls where people shouted at us,... More >

History of racism in NL on show at last

From grotesque caricatures in children’s books to artwork depicting Sinterklaas as a woman of colour, a new exhibition in Amsterdam explores the depiction of black people in Dutch society and the ongoing battle for self-definition. Mitchell Esajas is driving in his car from the Black Archives on Amsterdam’s Zeeburgerdijk, which he co-founded in 2015, to an appointment he has across town. The monumental building soon disappears from his rear-view mirror, but the whole city stretching ahead of him is a... More >

Podcast: The Putin's Popcorn Party Edition

[Apology: unfortunately this week’s recording was disturbed by occasional drilling noises. We have passed the workman’s details on to Maurice de Hond.] Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy was the toast of Brielle this week as he commemorated the 450th anniversary of the town’s liberation from Spain. In his address to the Tweede Kamer he also called on the Dutch to send more weapons, stop buying Russian gas and lift the handbrake on his country’s wish to join the EU. Zwolle is... More >