Podcast: The Shortbread and Chill Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Shortbread and Chill Edition – Week 18 It's an especially taxing edition of the podcast this week as we ask if the government has left expats high and dry with its changes to the 30% rule. Elsewhere, the Prime Minister fires a warning shot over the EU's plans to raise its budget after Brexit, passengers at Schiphol are stranded by a power cut, FC Twente crash out of the Eredivisie, Max Verstappen crashes out of another Grand Prix and an eight-year-old girl has an uplifting experience while waiting to cross a bridge. Top story Rutte calls EU plans to expand budget and scrap rebates 'unacceptable' News Dutch scientists create embryos without fertilisation Flights delayed and cancelled at Schiphol after power failure Websites selling fake goods taken offline Eight-year-old girl left dangling in mid-air from bridge barrier (NOS, Dutch) Sport Red Bull boss orders Verstappen and Ricciardo to apologise to team for crash FC Twente relegated after 34 years following 5-0 thrashing by Vitesse Ophef...  More >


Remembering the dead, celebrating freedom

May 4 and 5, remembering the dead and celebrating freedom Five years of occupation during WWII left an indelible imprint on the Netherlands, and the tangible memory of the war means National Remembrance Day is marked at a grand scale, with events and activities in villages, towns, cities and museums up and down the country.  In fact, it’s not just one day, but two. A day to remember the fallen on the May 4, and then a day to celebrate and cherish the freedom that they fought to protect, on the May 5. By Esther o'Toole Every year at 8pm on May 4, a formal Remembrance Day ceremony, headed by the king and queen, takes place in the Nieuwe Kerk followed by a wreath laying and two minutes of silence by the peace monument on the Dam. Around 20,000 members of the public attend the event on the Dam annually. It’s a poignant spot for the service, being the site of one of the last shootings of WWII when German soldiers holed up in the Groote Club shot at Amsterdammers celebrating the German surrender.  The two-minute silence is...  More >


'The Dutch should be proud of their food'

‘I wish, I really wish, my Dutch friends would be more proud of their food’ Ebere Akadiri rebels against the stereotypes of being a ‘trailing spouse’. Before she moved to the Netherlands from Nigeria, with five children in tow, she was running a successful catering business. The boredom she felt after selling her company spurred her on to open up Ataro Food and Spices in The Hague and release a cookbook to raise money for her charity. Oh, and she’s about to complete a Masters degree.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I followed my husband. He works for Shell... at the time he was working in Port Harcourt, and then they transferred him to The Hague. That was in 2013. So I had to follow him with the children—all five of them. We had to literally pack the whole household and come to the Netherlands. Initially my restaurant business continued for another two years, but when it wasn’t going the way it should I had to let it go. We had two restaurants, and we did catering on the side. We cooked a lot of different foods - did curries and French...  More >


Blogwatching: The 30% ruling row

Blogwatching: What’s all the fuss about the 30% ruling? Molly Quell is an American journalist living in the Netherlands. She blogs at Neamhspleachas about anything that strikes her fancy and today turns her attention to the small bombshell which hit the international community last week. Internationals in the Netherlands have been up in arms recently about the government's planned changes to the 30% ruling. A Change.org petition has garnered over 10,000 signatures. So what's all the ophef about? Some people who are classed as highly-skilled migrants are eligible for the so-called 30% ruling which means, basically, you do not pay income tax on the first 30% of your earnings. There are a number of requirements. For example, you must earn a certain amount of money and you can’t have lived within 150 km of the Dutch border before you moved. Dutch citizens are also eligible - if they haven’t lived in the Netherlands for ten years. Essentially, the 30% rule is supposed to offset the costs of living abroad for the traditional expat....  More >


14 great things to do in May

From harps to glass blowing: 14 great things to do in May Celebrate freedom May 5 is Liberation Day and a day of national celebration, with 14 music festivals taking place across the country. Find out who will be performing at a festival near you on this website. Amsterdam is the scene of the traditional Liberation Day open air concert on the Amstel river in the presence of the royals and city dignitaries. You're invited too but it will be a bit of a squeeze. From 8.30pm  Website Come to Planet Harp If you think the harp is about ladies in floaty dresses playing the sort of dreamy music that used to introduce flashbacks in films you are only partly right. The harp is hip and used in pop and jazz as well as classical music. Apart from the annual harp contest the Dutch Harp festival offers a variety of events such as Concerts in the Dark, a concert by Spinvis and a performance by the National Ballet. It even features Harp yoga (cue some dreamy harp music)!  May 12 and13 at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. Website Have a spoonful...  More >


Podcast: Missing Gordon Is Taxing

Dutch News Podcast – The Missing Gordon Is Taxing Edition – Week 17 It's a special King's Day podcast this week as the team examine the Dutch tradition of donning inflatable headgear and flogging your unwanted Dire Straits CDs to unsuspecting neighbours. We also find out why the prime minister was caught out by some unmemorable memos, why Turkey was upset about Menno and why expats are up in arms about the 30% ruling. Plus how a Dutch city gave a ringing endorsement to the late Swedish DJ Avicii. Dividend Tax Memos https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/04/rutte-does-u-turn-and-pledges-to-release-documents-on-dividend-tax/ https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/04/dutch-prime-minister-faces-stormy-debate-over-dividend-tax-memos/ 30% Ruling https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/04/government-to-cut-time-limit-for-30-rule-from-next-year/ https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/04/no-transition-period-for-expats-hit-by-30-ruling-cuts-ministry-says/ https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2018/04/opposition-parties-unit-to-censure-prime-minister-over-dividend-tax-memos/ Armenian...  More >


Are you ready for King's Day?

One in three adults buy something orange for King’s Day – are you one of them? If you are in the Netherlands at the moment, you cannot fail to have noticed it. Yes, King’s Day is about to hit and the orange tat is everywhere. This year, according to ING, three in 10 adults will buy something orange to wear - with the average bill reaching €26! This year too, the Friday weather forecast is not as bad as it could be. The day will start out sunny but there will be showers, particularly inland, although the temperature could be as high as 17 degrees in the south, the KNMI says optimistically. Here at DutchNews.nl opinion about King’s Day is divided. Some of us have been collecting our clutter to sell for months, some of us have a 24-hour feest ahead of us and some of us are even leaving the country to get away from it all. All you need is a plan. Here’s an updated version of ours. 1. If you are a party animal, you need to know that the best parties all take place the night before King’s Day and run until breakfast. This means you will not be up...  More >


Bike measures air pollution hotspots

Red light: air pollution measurement bike shows traffic hotspots Cycling might be a healthy way to get around, but what about all the fumes you breathe in while stuck behind a lorry or a moped? Senay Boztas has been finding out about efforts to quantify exactly what cyclists are inhaling. Laden with solar panels, video camera, batteries and three air-pollution measuring devices, the ‘soot’ bike is no easy ride. Not only does the €30,000 electric vehicle weigh a ton. But a spin on this bicycle will also weigh on your mind. The whole point of the air pollution measuring bike is to record the nitrogen dioxide, soot and ultrafine particles that you have just breathed in en route. A study last year suggested that the Dutch live, on average, four months less due to nitrogen dioxide in the air, and even though estimates for future air pollution levels are falling, last autumn a court in The Hague ordered the government to do more to improve air quality. Traffic fumes Some believe that mobile measurement systems could...  More >


DutchNews.nl destinations: Ameland

DutchNews.nl destinations: exploring the shores of Ameland Whether you’re in search of nature, cosy inns, history, kitsch, or just a few good meals, you can find all of them on the Wadden Sea island of Ameland. Brandon Hartley recently visited the often overlooked island. Ameland is sort of like a kid sister to its more popular southern siblings. Texel and Terschelling tend to hog all the attention but there’s plenty to do and explore along its shores and further inland. Centuries ago, Ameland stood apart from the mainland in more ways than one. It used to consist of three separate islands. They were ruled over by a private lordship until 1704 when they were sold for 170,000 Guilders to Johan Willem Friso, the heir regent of Friesland. The construction of drift dikes fused the islands together in the 19th century and it was invaded by the Germans during World War II in 1940. The Allies never bothered to liberate Ameland, since it was hardly a strategic landmark, leaving the troops stationed there to eventually surrender a few weeks...  More >


The tax return deadline is looming

It’s that time of year again: you’ve only got a few days left to file your tax return Yes, it is that time of the year again. You’ve got until April 30 to hand in your annual tax return and this year, like every year, a few things have changed. Here’s a handy overview of what you need to know. 1 Do you have to file an income tax return? If you received an invitation from the Dutch tax office to file your income tax, you are required to comply, even if you had no income. The letters are typically sent in the month of February. If you live in the Netherlands currently or have done for part of the year you may also file a tax return voluntarily. You may, for example, expect a refund or you have received undeclared income. And who knows, perhaps you will be entitled to money back. 2 If you are a new arrival Tax filing for the year you arrived in the Netherlands is different from filings for residents with a complete tax year. You become liable for tax the moment you arrive but you might find the tax office has a different date – such as the date you registered...  More >


Podcast: The More Coke Less Drop Edition

DutchNews Podcast – The More Coke Less Drop Edition – week 16 We have a second shot at discussing the war on drugs in the week's podcast: is the Netherlands really becoming a narcostate, and are so-called 'cocaine yogis', with their healthy eating, hard partying lifestyles really to blame? We also bring you the latest news on British citizens' efforts to secure their rights ahead of Brexit, the expats who are allegedly taking over Amstelveen's schools, the impasse in Rotterdam's coalition talks and a rugby club that's going to surreal lengths to pay for their solar panels. TOP STORY British expats take concerns about Brexit to Dutch parliament NEWS Health minister De Jonge sanguine about sunbeds and alcohol Expat families accused of overburdening schools in Amstelveen Baudet breaks with Leefbaar in attempt to break Rotterdam gridlock Unemployment drops below 4% for first time in 10 years Netflix announces first Dutch horror series on students and demons (NOS, Dutch) Original Dali works sold to pay for rugby club's...  More >


DAFT visa is not as stupid as it may sound

It’s Dutch American Friendship Day and the DAFT visa is not as stupid as it may sound Today, the Netherlands and the United States celebrate their friendship which stretches back 226 years. But it’s more than an excuse to have a party. The treaty recognising the relationship between these two nations also offers the opportunity for citizens to move to the other country under the DAFT visa. Molly Quell finds out more. The Netherlands and the US began diplomatic relations way back in 1782 and the Netherlands was the second country to recognise the US as an independent nation - after Morocco. Indeed, the US relationship with the Dutch is the longest, unbroken peaceful relationship that it has with any nation. During the 1950s, the US went on a charm offensive in an effort to combat the spread of communism by the then USSR. As part of this officials signed a number of so-called friendship treaties with other nations. The Dutch-American Friendship Treaty, or DAFT, was signed in The Hague on March 27, 1956.   Many of these treaties, including DAFT, made vague promises...  More >


'Go to as many museums as you can'

‘Get a Museumkaart and go to as many museums as you possibly can’ Author, publisher, and mentor Jo Parfitt describes herself as a ‘serial expat’. She’s run the steeplechase of raising two sons while cultivating a portable career across seven countries—and still she’s eager for more. Jo lives in The Hague, where last month she launched a new book Monday Morning Emails. She runs her own company Summertime Publishing. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved abroad the day after I got married, in 1987. He, my husband, had already been posted to Dubai and we had to get married for me to be able to join him! We have been fortunate to have had many international postings: Dubai, Oman, Norway, the Netherlands, Brunei and Malaysia. My husband works for Shell. This is our second time in The Hague. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc - and why? I would describe myself as a ‘serial expat’. We have moved again, and again, and again, and it’s something that I don’t necessarily want to stop...  More >


Dutch castles, forts and fortified towns

A slice of Dutch history: castles, forts and fortified towns to visit Ever fancied playing monarch for a day? Enjoying some jousting, a feast fit for a king or wandering in the lanes of the royal gardens? Here in the Netherlands there is a rich and varied heritage sector: from sites of archaeological interest to romantic retreats in restored castles. Muiderslot The ‘Muiderslot’ is barely a 30 minute drive from central Amsterdam but it feels surprisingly rural. Just outside the pretty town of Muiden, this 13th century keep was first erected by the famous knight Floris V. Shortly afterwards however, Floris met a sticky end and the castle was destroyed. Restored and strengthened in later years, it is now a beautiful living museum covering three main periods of history: the Middle Ages, the Golden Age and the 19th century. There are a wide variety of different kinds of activities on offer to the public: there are multiple treasure hunts for kids; glorious gardens to explore; an expansive collection of armour and regular exhibitions. This year they...  More >


Podcast: The Breaking Brabant Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Breaking Brabant Edition – Week 15 It's a week of shattered illusions on the podcast as a former CDA politician in Brabant is jailed for his part in the Netherlands' biggest ever drugs farm and a Jeff Koons sculpture meets an explosive fate in an Amsterdam church. Also: is the housing market overheating, why did a singing road lose its voice, and how did hawks and sea eagles become embroiled in a treetop turf war? Top story Former politician jailed for hosting Netherlands' biggest drugs lab on his farm News House prices approach 2008 record levels First-time buyers turning to 'bank of mum and dad' Dutch government waters down 'Big Brother' tapping law after 'no' vote Jeff Koons artwork accidentally destroyed by visitor Residents' protests silence musical road in Friesland Nest war breaks out between hawks and sea eagles Sport Dutch women's team close in on first World Cup qualification Hamilton and Verstappen mend fences after Bahrain collision (The Guardian) Discusion: 'Cocaine...  More >


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 >