Dutch school teacher takes on Dan Brown

Indiana Janssen? Dutch teacher writes thrillers about a Leiden archaeologist It all started when Jeroen Windmeijer’s wife challenged him to work on a novel during his days off from teaching classes at a high school in Leiden. A few years later, he’s now the author of a bestselling trilogy of thrillers that have spawned their own smartphone app and an upcoming film. The series focuses on the adventures of Peter de Haan, an archaeologist at Leiden University, and a student-turned-historian named Judith Cherev. Together, they set out to solve mysteries that involve Biblical lore and real-life historical events. Their trials and tribulations have been compared to those of the scholarly globetrotters in the Indiana Jones films and American author Dan Brown’s novels. But while Windmeijer’s books have been successful here in the Netherlands and among Dutch audiences all around the world, will they capture the imagination of English readers? On 31 August, HarperCollins published an English Kindle edition of St. Paul’s Labyrinth, the series’ second...  More >

Should you be moving health insurer?

Health insurance premiums go up, so should you be switching insurer? Dutch health insurance companies are putting up their rates by an average of €8 a month next year, according to research by insurance comparison website Zorgwijzer.nl. This well below the €10 per month the government had been expecting. In addition, the deductible excess (eigen risico) remains the same in 2019 as it was in 2018 - at €385 per person. Despite the small increase in insurance premiums, the difference between the cheapest and most expensive health insurance is over €300 a year in 2019, the biggest gap on record, the Zorgwijzer research shows. So having a look at your current health insurance plan and switching to another insurance provider may save you a tidy sum of money. Changes What else do you need to know about next year’s health insurance? Firstly, the government has decided to make some changes in next year’s basic insurance package (basispakket). A new item in the basic package this year is the so-called combined lifestyle intervention...  More >

Suikerbrood and sailing in Sneek

Dutch destinations: enjoy suikerbrood and sailing in Sneek Most famous for its Sneek Week, a week long sailing competition and festival, the Frisian city of Sneek (Snits in West Frisian) has plenty to offer during the other 51 weeks of the year. Molly Quell goes north (again) to check out to eat more suikerbrood and see what the city has to offer. The area around Sneek has been inhabited since Roman times and received its city right in 1456, joining the other 10 Frisian cities that make up the Friese elf steden or Frisian eleven cities. They may be more famous for the ice skating race, the Elfstedentocht. Or if your preference is for unfrozen water, Sneek Week. The city itself is the only of the Frisian cities to be walled, an expensive and difficult project due to the surrounding geography. Today, all that remains of the undertaking is one picturesque bridge which has become the symbol of the city. Sneek is now home to around 30,000 people and both C&A and Tonnema (a sweets factory known for its brand of King mints) were founded...  More >

Podcast: The Nuclear Mosquitos Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Mosquitos Should Be Dead By Halloween Edition – Week 45 The regular podcast team returns to discuss whether nuclear power will kill us faster than global warming, why there's been a rash of births among sports stars and whether filming at accident scenes should be banned. We also bring you up to date on the Pakistani lawyer fleeing religious persecution, Ajax's revival in Europe and a forthcoming feast of Rembrandt. In the discussion we ask why several hospitals were allowed to go bankrupt last month and how the government can prevent a repeat of the chaotic scenes that followed. Ophef of the week: Emile Ratelband wants judges to fix his Tinder profile TOP STORY Asia Bibi may be heading for Netherlands after acquittal for blasphemy NEWS Red Cross launches campaign to stop filming at accidents VVD backs plan to bring back nuclear power De Bilt sets record for November 6 at 17 degrees Rijksmuseum to put all its Rembrandts on display to mark artist's death SPORT Ajax on verge of first Champions League knockout...  More >

Getting to grips with Virtual Reality

From hospitals to dance: getting to grips with Virtual Reality No longer the terrain of developers and gamers alone, Virtual Reality has made its way into hospitals, architects offices, classrooms and the arts. Last month, hundreds of aficionados got together in Amsterdam and Esther O'Toole went along to find out what other realities are taking shape. It's still unusual and we're not quite used to it: watching people with strange contraptions on their heads, flailing their arms about, as if in the dark. But step into the seeming darkness and you´ll be surprised at how immersive it really is, how quickly you forget where you are and imagine yourself somewhere completely different. It remains true: with VR - you have to try it to understand it. In the four years since VRDAYS Europe started as a small assembly of enthusiasts, the once sci-fi technology has made the jump from expensive, early prototypes to more general access. This was the biggest version of the event to date with 1,800 registered visitors. Alongside VR, AR (Augmented Reality)...  More >

'I made bitterballen with liquid nitrogen'

‘I try to make Dutch food healthier, I made bitterballen with liquid nitrogen’ Jordanian Moayad Abushokhedim is a trained food scientist who has embarked on new business adventure using recycled food waste to create chemical-free additives in the Netherlands. Based in Rotterdam, he has learned to ride a bike and has become Dutch enough to go for 'buy two, get one free' offers in supermarkets. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved in November 2015, from Jordan — well, I moved to Spain first, and from Barcelona I moved to the Netherlands. I did my internship [in Barcelona] in food science, but I was more specialised in food science technology. Ferran Adrià—he’s a really famous chef, the most famous chef in Spain when it comes to food science and gastronomy—he trained me for three months. In Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the whole aim was to start my own company. I moved here because it’s a great place for business, and, mainly, because I could work in English. I came with lots of ideas—I’ve been working on my ideas since I was 16. I started...  More >

Why written notice is indispensable

Write it down: why written notice is indispensable for employers In a time when we accept VOIP calls, sound bites and instant messaging as standard work tools, it can be tempting to believe that a verbal discussion is sufficient – but this is not always true. In the case of ending a fixed term employment contract, written notice remains essential, writes lawyer Daniëlle van den Heuvel. As the end of an existing fixed-term employment contract approaches, employers have an obligation to notify their employee about how they wish to proceed. Whether the employer wishes to renew the contract or if they wish to end the working relationship, they must inform the employee of their intentions. This notice must be given more than a (calendar) month before the end of the existing contract, and – critically – that notice must be given in writing. Always put it in writing Under Dutch law, not only does an employer have an obligation to notify, it is also mandatory that they serve that notice in writing, whether this is done as hard copy (paper)...  More >

Blogwatching: Opening night

Blogwatching: Opening night (a play about women, sex and porn) The writer of Amsterfam moved from London to Amsterdam nearly two years ago with three kids. She switched school systems, ditched the car and threw her children into the box on a cargo bike. She has also been known to swear. In my privileged capacity as Tulse Hill’s greatest export to Amsterdam, twice Mumsnet’s blog of the day, guardian of #stevethebakfiets, fair-weather Instagrammer, diarist, documenter of disaster, dealer in schadenfreude – ALL my stock is in schadenfreude, that’s my only horse in the race, if you start to yearn for some actual useful intel about Amsterdam then I am FUCKED, I tell you, FUCKED – I am often, these days, on the receiving end of a phenomenon that I believe is called reaching out. The people who reach out and find me in their unwitting grasp are public relations consultants, and they have googled Amsterdam Bloggers – or, worse, Amsterdam Mummy Bloggers (Christ) – and, look! They found Amsterfam! Here’s a woman with 1.4 more children...  More >

DN podcast - The Feminazi Takeover - w44

Dutch News podcast – The Feminazis Take Over Edition – Week 44 The Dutch News podcast this week moves to Amsterdam, ditches Gordon and Paul, and introduces a whole new host of characters behind your daily news site. Senay Boztas and Deborah Nicholls-Lee join Molly to talk about the latest in the story about an electric wagon maker filing for bankruptcy, what advice Mark Rutte is giving schoolchildren and a new turn in the case of a Dutch collector accused of owning a stolen mummy. Molly talks sports and the latest with Max Verstappen, under sufferance, and Deborah goes on an unusual fishing trip. In the discussion, Dutch News editor-in-chief Robin Pascoe joins the crew to debate the merits (or otherwise) of moving Amsterdam's red light district. TOP STORY Electric wagon maker files for bankruptcy after fatal crash Manufacturers call for greater clarity on new electric vehicles on the road (in Dutch) NEWS Who's the Daddy? Buddha with mummy in hands of new owner, court hears Rutte advises schoolchildren to just say no to cannabis Cabinet...  More >

14 great things to do in November

From great women to drug dealers: 14 great things to do in November November may be a gloomy month but there is much going on to lighten the day, or night. Catch a play about Brexit, check out some Dutch masters which live in England and ask yourself why a hair that fell of the head of Maradona is in an exhibition in Utrecht. Say hello to old friends Matilda, the BFG, the Enormous Crocodile and many more are all waiting for young and old fans to come and say hello at the Quentin Blake exhibition in the Meermanno museum in The Hague. Some150 drawings, sketches, miniatures and photographs show how the illustrator based his instantly recognisable characterisations on the written text. Until March 3. Website Admire the Dutch masters with an English accent In total 22 17th century Dutch Masters are travelling to the Mauritshuis in The Hague from their august surroundings in 12 stately homes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland courtesy of the National Trust.  Among the paintings are Rembrandt’s self-portrait with a feathered bonnet and Gerard...  More >

New book aims to unravel NL's dna

What makes the Dutch who they are? New book aims to unravel NL’s dna For a small country built on boggy ground, the Netherlands has punched well above its weight in global history. Foreigners, as outsiders, have written many books which aim to unravel the peculiarities of the Netherlands. Now local journalist Cees van Lotringen has written his own insider story about what makes the Dutch Dutch. There are three reasons why the Dutch have become what they are, says financial journalist Cees van Lotringen. 'Firstly, the landscape. We have built our country in a difficult environment  and that has forced the Dutch to be extremely inventive - not only in water management. They had to get their food from elsewhere as well because the marshy ground was not good for farming. And when they bought too much, they sold it on, which of course helped drive their business instinct.' The 80 Years War with Spain in the 16th and 17th centuries, which resulted in the provinces which then made up Netherlands toppling their ruler and winning independence was another...  More >

Visit beautiful Belarus in all its glory

Visit beautiful Belarus in all its glory – without a visa Belarus might not be the first place that springs to mind when you think of a holiday abroad, but you'd be surprised just how much there is to do and see. The rich culture, outdoor activities and historical sites will keep even the most experienced traveller busy.  Some 40% of Belarus is covered by woodland and forests, so the colours in autumn are a sight to behold. And in winter the weather is crisp and cold with plenty of snow. Belarus has plenty to offer tourists, and now you don’t have to spend your time and money on getting your documents in order and applying for a visa. For tourists from 74 countries entering the country through National Airport Minsk-2, the visa-free regime has been extended to 30 days. If you are feeling a bit under the weather or could simply do with some care and attention, why not visit one of the Belarusian health resorts? Sanatorium treatment in Belarus is very popular with foreigners. Before the visa extension, tourists could only enjoy a two...  More >

Move It Forward: Female digital starters

Find out what it takes to get started in the tech industry at Move It Forward While many employment sectors are becoming increasingly co-ed, the tech industry remains predominantly male. One upcoming event seeks to encourage more women to pursue careers in the field. During Move It Forward: Female Digital Starters, participants can attend hands-on workshops about digital technologies that will help them develop projects and acquire useful real-world skills. The two day event is a collaboration between the Digital Leadership Institute, the Women Entrepreneurship Platform, Women’s Business Initiative International, and Webster University. It will take place on 10 and 11 November 2018 at Webster’s Leiden campus and is open to both students and members of the public. ‘The focus of the event is to find ways to help women improve their IT skills and test out their entrepreneurial ideas,’ said head organiser Dr Yang Fan, who is programme coordinator for the Business and Management department at Webster Leiden. ‘Our goal is to encourage more of them...  More >

Guarantee citizen's rights post Brexit

Citizens’ rights should be guaranteed, regardless of Brexit European leaders should guarantee the rights of British and Dutch nationals alike ahead of Brexit, say D66 MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld and MP Kees Verhoeven. The spectre of failed Brexit negotiations between the EU and Britain means that the status of millions of people at risk. Will they be unceremoniously kicked out of the country between now and a year’s time? Can they keep their jobs? It is high time assurances were put in place for these people now that a no-deal Brexit seems to be approaching fast. After 45 years of British EU membership, it is only six months until Brexit and negotiations are stalling. But whatever the outcome, European government leaders must separate the fundamental civil rights of ordinary Europeans from the negotiations on trade and the economy. Alarm bells are ringing for 3.5 million EU citizens in the UK and 1.5 million Britons living elsewhere in the EU. Five million people are standing helplessly by as a no-deal Brexit looms with all the disruption...  More >

Podcast: The Bankrupt Banquet Edition

DutchNews podcast – the Banquets and Bankruptcy Edition – Week 43 While King Willem-Alexander spiced up a royal banquet this week by mentioning Brexit and the last successful invasion of England in the same dinner speech, back in the Netherlands more recent ghosts loomed large as the government faced calls to apologise for the treatment of the so-called 'kraut whores' after WWII. We also focus on what happens to patients when a hospital goes bust, why religion has become a minority pursuit, the Champions League goalscoring hero who had a public message for his mother and an intrepid cat's impromptu road trip. In our discussion we examine the legacy of former prime minister Wim Kok, who died this week at the age of 80. TOP STORY Patients moved out of Slotervaart hospital after bankruptcy order NEWS Religious allegiance drops below 50% for first time Dover sole and Brexit on the menu as King pays state visit to UK Call for Dutch state to apologise for publicly shaming 'Kraut Whores' after WWII Hitchhiking cat goes full circle...  More >

'People see my name and assume I'm Dutch'

‘People see me and they see my name and they assume I am Dutch’ Rachelle Meyer is an American illustrator who moved to Amsterdam with her British husband twelve years ago. She’s currently putting together an art collection of her Faces on the Ferry drawings, she would like to meet Jesse Klaver and she thoroughly recommends the Hoge Veluwe as a place to visit. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’m originally from Texas but I was living in New York City when I met my British husband. He was living in LA but agreed to stay in New York for me, with the idea that we would eventually move to Europe. He had three cities in mind: Brighton, Amsterdam and Zurich. We visited all of them and I felt like Amsterdam was the most interesting and had the potential to take my life in unexpected ways. It has a rich history of art and design. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I veer between immigrant and international. I consider myself a global citizen. I think people should have freedom of movement. How...  More >

The Hague hosts third IamExpat Fair

The IamExpat Fair makes it three in a row in The Hague Looking for the perfect place to live, a career shift or even mates to hang around with? You'll find all the answers at the third edition of the IamExpat Fair in The Hague, which takes place on Saturday November 10 at the Grote Kerk in the city centre. The IamExpat Fair was set up to support internationals in the Netherlands and connect them with local businesses and service providers, and the organisers are delighted to be back in The Hague for a third edition. This year the fair will host over 70 exhibitors and welcome more than 2,000 visitors. 'This event is an exciting opportunity for internationals to find everything they need under one roof in one day,' 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. From companies and services in the areas of career, housing, education and expat services, to family,...  More >

How's life in remote parts of NL?

Expats in remote areas of the Netherlands – How’s life for you? Not all internationals live in the Randstad with expat services at their fingertips. Deborah Nicholls-Lee speaks to readers in remote locations across the Netherlands and asks, ‘What’s it like when you’re the only expat in the village?’ Sicilian Nicola Sirchia (32) is in love with his trees. ‘I have apple trees! I can see them grow, make apple cake and do all those kinds of things. That makes me happy!’ he enthuses over the phone from his home in the rural Hoeksche Waard, an island in Zuid-Holland.  ‘I don’t need a house that costs a million euros in the city centre. I just need a simple house where I can have my trees.’ The online digital manager lived in Amsterdam, Breda and Rotterdam, before moving, in 2017, with Dutch wife Shirley (29), a mental health counsellor, to the village of Goudswaard, where the population is under 2000 and the only other expat is the owner of the local Chinese restaurant. ‘My work is quite intense, so we decided to move somewhere...  More >

Podcast: The Dividends of Crime Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Crime Doesn’t Pay Dividend Tax Edition – Week 42 Fireworks and firearms are to the fore in this week's podcast as we rake over the ashes of Rutte's dividend tax debacle, find out how police blew open a suspected terrorist cell in Arnhem, and reveal how Amsterdam plans to make New Year a less explosive occasion. Plus the Night Watch gets a very public makeover and for once there's plenty to cheer about in the sporting arena. In our discussion we look at how local mayors are increasingly being driven into hiding by mobsters. Ophef of the week: Twitterstorms and talking at concerts #hetisfokkingADE TOP STORY Rutte survives no confidence vote triggered by dividend tax debacle NEWS Details emerge of undercover police operation to infiltrate terror cell in Arnhem Dutch integration exam scrapped after questions are shared online Number of euthanasia deaths falls for first time since regulation began Rembrandt's Night Watch to be restored in full public view Amsterdam city council proposes banning New Year firework...  More >

How a bicycle changes a culture

A cycling nation: how the bike impacts on Dutch society We all know that the Netherlands’ has world-leading bicycle infrastructure. But how does this affect us, the society that uses it? Joshua Parfitt delves into the benefits of being bike-friendly. Two mamils (middle aged man in lycra) arrive at a cafe in The Hague. The weather’s great and they proudly show off a digital map displaying bicycle routes, which when zoomed out makes the Netherlands look like a network of varicose veins. 'Ah it’s really nice here,' says Ivor, sipping his lungo. 'You’re separated from the cars, and it’s so flat. It’s impossible to drive on a country lane in England.' We’ve all heard the statistics about the Netherlands. Utrecht is building the world’s largest bike park, with 12,500 places. There are an estimated 1.3 bikes per person here, the most per capita in the world, and about 27% of all trips made are by bicycle — compared with 2% in Britain. Cycling can do wonders for the body. With 14.2% of the population classed as obese,...  More >