The best of the Rembrandt shows nationwide

2019 is the year of Rembrandt: here’s where to catch his works The life and works of Rembrandt van Rijn are being celebrated across the country this year to mark the 350th anniversary of his death. Deborah Nicholls-Lee has a round-up of the main events. 2019 marks 350 years since Rembrandt van Rijn’s death and the Dutch tourist board has leapt at the chance to extol one of the country’s best-loved artists and wax lyrical about the Golden Age, when Amsterdam was the wealthiest city in Europe. Amsterdam The Rijksmuseum Rembrandt spent most of his life in Amsterdam and painted his most iconic pieces there. The city’s Rijksmuseum is home to the largest collection of Rembrandts in the world. Currently courting huge press attention is the exhibition All the Rembrandts (15 February – 10 June) – a giant celebration of all Rembrandt’s styles and periods, comprising 22 paintings, 60 drawings and over 300 prints. Alongside world-famous works such as The Night Watch and The Jewish Bride, the public will get a rare view of fragile...  More >

Employers who can’t find staff need to up their pay rates

Employers who can’t find staff need to up their pay rates   Employers who can't attract staff need to stop advertising and start paying, says economist Mathijs Bouman. I'm sorry employers of the Netherlands but you are still not getting the message. At every congress and event in the land you tell me how important it is to conquer new markets, embrace new technologies and, especially, how essential it is to put the customer first. Customer service, that’s what it’s all about for growing companies. But customers are not your problem when it comes to growth. In fact, customers who find someone at the other end of a phone line at your company can count themselves lucky. With so many unfilled positions you are hardly going to free up staff to answer the telephone. According to new figures from the UWV jobs agency 46% of jobs are difficult to fill. Construction and industry in particular are having a hard time finding staff. One in 10 employers is expecting quality of work to fall because of lack of personnel. Staff shortages...  More >

Dutch destinations: Deventer

Dutch destinations: Deventer is an under-rated gem Best known for its annual Dickens festival during the winter holiday season, Deventer is a picturesque city located east of Apeldoorn with a rich literary history. Here you’ll find gorgeous architecture, great cafes, and a very old kettle with a blood-soaked past. Deventer’s history goes all the way back to the Dark Ages, and it’s one of the country’s oldest communities. Historians theorise that it was likely founded by the English missionary Lebuinus in the mid 8th century. He constructed a wooden church in the area that was later destroyed by the Saxons. Over a hundred years later, the fledgling village known as Deventer was hit by another major setback. This time, it was burnt to the ground by rampaging Vikings. It was quickly rebuilt, this time with a protective wall that was steadily improved during the centuries that followed. The city served as one of Europe’s most important centres for publishing in the 15th century after Richard Paffraet brought a printing...  More >

Podcast: The Whistling Dixit Edition

DutchNews Podcast – The Whistling Dixit Edition – Week 6 There's an end of days feel to the podcast as we review a week in which schoolchildren took a collective day off to demand urgent action on global warming, just days after MPs agreed to talk about it for a bit longer. We also look at how Geert Wilders became Islam's number one recruiting sergeant, why a no-deal Brexit could trigger medicine shortages in the Netherlands, a setback for British expats and Dutch shoemakers, and perhaps the most alarming news of all – is Dick Lawyer really about to pull out of football management? Top Story Ministers doubt whether carbon tax will cut emissions News British residents fail in bid to force EU court ruling on their nationality after Brexit Former MP Joram van Klaveren becomes second Wilders-to-Islam convert Compensation for unemployed people who used toxic paint in job scheme Van Haren loses latest stage of legal battle over red soled shoes Sport Dick Advocaat rules out taking over at Feyenoord because of 'negative...  More >

The main changes on your January pay slip

Tax cuts and premium rises: the main changes on your pay slip With the first month of 2019 now over, you will have received your first pay packet of the year. Financial advisor José de Boer knows what you should be looking out for. Dutch pay slips are complicated affairs - a sheet of acronyms and percentages that take a great amount of knowledge and concentration to unravel. Research by payroll processing company Raet has shown that 35% of people think their pay slip is too complicated for them to be able to check and a further 18% say they have no idea what is taken off their gross salary to start with. So here is a quick guide to the main changes this year. Netto loon (take home pay) According to calculations by the social affairs ministry, most people will have more take home pay this month, even if they do not enjoy a January pay rise. The increase will be between 1% and 2.4% of take home pay, so roughly Loonbelasting (income tax) The boost in take home pay is mainly down to changes to the income tax system, which will have moved...  More >

'There is a non-hierarchic mentality here'

‘There’s a non-hierarchic, “say what’s in your heart” mentality here’ Groningen-based Israeli Guy Weizman (45) moved to the Netherlands with his partner some 20 years ago to work with celebrated choreographer Itzik Galili. Today he is the artistic and general director of theatre company Noord Nederlands Toneel and dance company Club Guy & Roni; parent to a teenage son; and an enthusiast for Dutch art, literature, philosophy and oliebollen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was invited to come and work here when I was dancing, myself. It’s not so unusual for dancers to travel around because dance is pretty much an international language. Before I came to the Netherlands, I lived in Berlin and Barcelona and Brussels. When I was in Brussels, this guy that I worked with before asked me if I wanted to join a project in Amsterdam with him. That’s how I ended up in Amsterdam for two years; and then the whole group moved up to Groningen and I moved with it – and I’ve stayed ever since! How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat,...  More >

Impotent ministers, MPs and voters

Impotent ministers, impotent MPs and impotent voters: Wynia’s week In the Netherlands governments govern as if elections and even new cabinets are just by the by. It’s diversity and sustainability galore and anyone who dares criticise Brussels is a populist. Where can a voter find refuge these days? asks Syp Wynia. Who wouldn’t want to be a minister? A nice, chauffeur-driven car, a ministry at your beck and call and a weekly outing to the Trêveszaal, the most beautiful place for a parliamentary get-together ever. But does a minister have any say at all? Take the current cabinet. Most ministers came into view seven months after the government accord. They were supposed to carry out an agreement in which they had no say whatsoever. Only prime minister Mark Rutte (VVD), agriculture minister Carola Schouten (ChristenUnie) and social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees (D66) were actually present when the accord was written – with Schouten and Koolmees taking a back seat. And how about CDA’s Hugo de Jonge? He may be deputy prime minister...  More >

Blogwatching: Amsterdam's unique boutiques

Blogwatching: Amsterdam’s unique boutiques There are dozens of boutique places to shop in Amsterdam and lots of independent stores. Tracy and Marc from blog Amsterdam Wonderland have put together a list of favourites. The city authorities have worked hard to keep international chains out of the centre, strictly limiting the number of fast food joints and coffeeshops (ie: the places that DON’T sell coffee!) within the the historic heart. If it IS a coffee you’re actually after, the chains you’ll find are, in general, Dutch ones with the likes of Bagels and Beans and Coffee Company far more ubiquitous than Starbucks and co. But if you want is to hit the shops, then read on.  Shopping in Amsterdam is a joy – IF (that’s a big if) – you know where to head. For us, the independents are what we really love.  Those little stores in the city centre that you know probably struggle to make a living, but that we all want to see thriving.  They are mostly not clothes shops (though there are many lovely ones scattered...  More >

Podcast: The Tweede Kamer Mint Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Tweede Derde Vierde Kamer Mint Edition – Week 5 It's a high-stakes edition of the podcast as political parties are banned from receiving foreign donations, the government sees an €8 million Rubens painting go west and cyclists face €95 fines for using mobile phones. In sport, physiotherapists' goldmine Robin van Persie leaves Ajax's €75 million man chasing shadows in the Klassieker, while FC Utrecht call time on Dick Advocaat's lucrative career. And we discuss whether the deal to grant amnesty for more child refugees to settle means Mark Rutte's cabinet will be allowed to stay in the Binnenhof. Ophef of the week: Viewers cry foul as quiz show sets music questions in 'sport' round Poll identifies Sonja and Sander as the most average Dutch people Top Story Government bans political donations from outside EU News Climate debate cancelled as leaders protest Dijkhoff no-show Mauritshuis to check authenticity of two of its Rembrandts Sale of Rubens drawing brings in €8m for Dutch princess Cyclists...  More >

How to set up business in the Netherlands

Expanding or going it alone? How to set up a business in the Netherlands The Netherlands, with its stable business climate, its open economy and its excellent transport infrastructure, is one of the biggest draws in Europe when it comes to setting up in business. For a small country, the Netherlands packs a lot of punch. The country is considered one of the best connected in the world, thanks to its ports and transportation hubs - as well as its high speed internet. The country is currently sixth in the World Economic Forum's ranking of the most competitive economies, and as one of the most prosperous regions in the world, the local market also offers excellent potential. Coupled with that is the welcoming Dutch approach to doing business, a whole raft of organisations to help you establish in a new market, and, of course, a friendly fiscal regime. Company structure So how do you go about it to start a business in the Netherlands and what are the requirements? It is relatively simple, no matter where you live in the world. The Netherlands...  More >

Twelve great things to do in February

Gods, perfection and dance: 12 great things to do in February There is plenty of art and culture on offer this February - from the start of the Rembrandt celebrations to the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon. Hanneke Sanou has some recommendations. Meet Rembrandt the social networker This year the Netherlands is celebrating 350 years of Rembrandt and the Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam, where the artist lived for 20 years, kicks of the festivities with an exhibition about the role of friends, relatives and patrons in his life. Rembrandt  was a good networker although his luck ran out in the end and even powerful friends like collector Jan Six could not save him from penury.  The exhibition also explores Rembrandt’s relationship with the Uylenburgh family, childhood friend Jan Lievens and fellow-artist Roelant Roghman. Highlight is a portrait of Titus, his son, which has ever been shown in Europe before. From February 1. Website Don't drop that phone The next best thing to outdoor skating is to go out for a bracing walk with...  More >

Expat Centre Leiden extends a warm welcome

Expat Centre Leiden gives internationals a warm welcome     Leiden has a thriving international community, and many of the region’s expats have been helped to feel at home by Leiden Expat Centre. So what is the secret of its success? Last year, Expat Centre Leiden registered its 1,000th international worker. It’s a testament to the success of the project, which aims to give a soft landing to people coming to live and work in the region and create a community of internationals. Expat Centre Leiden is a public private partnership, funded partly by local authorities and partly by local industry, including the university and the science park. In short, the centre helps highly skilled migrants, traditional expats, scientific researchers, entrepreneurs and recent graduates with their move to the Leiden area, as well as offering consultations to companies and HR departments who are dealing with an international workforce and the paperwork. The centre covers Leiden itself and the surrounding municipalities of Leiderdorp,...  More >

Cabinet must do better on climate

Dutch climate agreement flawed, cabinet must do better Economists Willem Vermeend and Rick van der Ploeg say a carbon tax is inevitable to save a flawed climate agreement. In December 2015 195 countries and the EU signed up to the Paris climate agreement, committing themselves to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century compared to 1990 levels. To achieve this the global net total of emissions of greenhouse gases, and carbon dioxide in particular, would have to be practically zero in the second half of this century. China (30%), the United States (15%) and the EU (10%) are responsible for over half of current global CO2 emissions. The Dutch emissions level is around 0.4% but this country’s per capita emissions rate is higher than the European average. The Paris agreement also stipulated that it is up to the individual countries themselves to choose which measures they implement to achieve the climate goals. Recent calculations have shown that CO2 emissions are still increasing and that...  More >

Podcast: The Barefoot Refugees Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Barefoot Refugees Edition – Week 4 Dirty money and clean air are the hot topics on this week's podcast as the government is warned it won't meet the targets for CO2 emissions in the Urgenda ruling, while coming under pressure to tighten its fiscal rules to stop tax money flowing out of the country and organised criminals flowing in. In sport Frenkie de Jong celebrates his big-money transfer to Barcelona by leaking four goals to Heerenveen. And the controversial Oostvaardersplassen cull proves to be a big hit with lovers of venison. In our discussion we look at how the coalition has once again snagged itself on the thorny issue of asylum. Ophef of the week: Former soldier shoots down Baudet over 'cute' remarks in Parliament Kamerlid @HankeBruinsSlot schattig? “Toen @thierrybaudet in zijn studentenkamer zat, was ik militair” 💪🏻 #defensiedebat — CDA (@cdavandaag) January 22, 2019 Top story Government even further from meeting Urgenda targets than previously...  More >

The pope, the bishop and sister Urgenda

Wynia’s Week: The pope, the bishop and sister Urgenda Climate change in the Netherlands has become a matter of faith, says columnist Syp Wynia. Forum, the magazine of business lobbyists VNO-NCW, published an interview with Alliander energy boss Ingrid Thijssen recently. As Alliander provides a third of the Netherlands with gas and electricity you would be right to expect the interview to focus on this activity but no, its themes were guilt and atonement. Ingrid Thijssen personifies the way the Netherlands looks at gas and electricity: not as energy but as transitional phenomena on the road to Paradise or the Promised Land. Ingrid Thijssen makes it abundantly clear that she is carrying a heavy burden of responsibility. Not in the sense of having to deliver the best service at the lowest price to her customers but to her grandchildren when, in 2050, they ask her : ‘Grandma, what did you do during the transition?’ Energy transition She is not so much worried about the coming of the energy transition – she envisages...  More >

'This tiny country has 400 plus museums'

‘There are more than 400 museums in this tiny country’ Dual national Abbie Vandivere (Canadian and British) gets to work with some of the Netherlands' most precious paintings, as a conservator at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. In the Netherlands for 13 years, she would like to have a party at Jan Steen’s family tavern, and invite Hieronymus Bosch and Johannes Vermeer to join in. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’ve always been fascinated by Dutch Old Master paintings, and I came here in 2005 for an internship at a museum. Now I’m a paintings conservator: I restore 16th and 17th-century paintings at the Mauritshuis, and I teach technical art history at the University of Amsterdam. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international, etc? I proudly refer to myself as an allochtoon. If this word is used (negatively) to describe a certain type of person who moves to the Netherlands, then I want to reclaim it. How long do you plan to stay and why? I’ve lived in Canada, the US and England, but...  More >

Find your community at the international Feel at Home Fair

Find your community at the international Feel at Home Fair The Feel at Home Fair is the biggest gathering of the international community in the Netherlands. Over 4,000 people, representing more than 100 nationalities, come together in The Hague's city hall to share their experience of life in Holland. The Feel at Home Fair is known for the special warmth and atmosphere which it brings to The Hague every winter. The fair is a one-stop shop for help with everything from buying a house or choosing a school, to finding a sports club or even building a business. Just as importantly, it is a meeting point and fun day out for the whole community! ‘Sport, for example,  is a great way of getting people together because language and cultural barriers are more easily overcome by a shared interest,’ says fair organiser Billy Allwood. ‘Being active also contributes to our sense of health and well-being, while belonging to a club or participating in events gives us an important sense of belonging somewhere.’ All interests and pastimes Around...  More >

Key facts about Rembrandt, 350 years on

Rembrandt died 350 years ago this year: some key facts about his life Rembrandt van Rijn died 350 years ago this year and museums all over the land are commemorating the event. Here are some key facts about the Netherlands’ greatest – and most lucrative – old master. His early years Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn was born in the Weddesteeg in Leiden on July 15th 1606. The 17th century building is no more but a plaque marks the approximate spot. Leiden remained his home for the next 25 years and while among his many siblings there is a baker and a cobbler, Rembrandt chose a different trade, that of painter. Painters belonged to the same guild as house painters and, on average, earned around twice as much as carpenters. Where he lived After studying with local painter Jacob van Swanenborgh, Rembrandt went to Amsterdam to study composition with Pieter Lastman. After six months he returned to Leiden to set up shop for himself. His reputation as an etcher and painter grew and his work started to sell. By 1631 it was time to go back to Amsterdam...  More >

Podcast: The Blame David Cameron Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Blame David Cameron Edition – Week 3 It may be winter outside, but there's been plenty to get hot under the collar about on the news front this week. Amsterdam's most infamous neighbourhood gets a less than clean bill of health, party leaders turn up the heat on the climate change deal and showbiz star Gordon (no relation) sees red over a spicy TV review. We also bring you the results of the Ophef of the Year vote, hot off the press, and discuss the ongoing nuclear meltdown that is the Brexit saga. Ophef of the week: Gordon's online tirade against with TV reviewer goes viral TOP STORY Amsterdam's red light district clean-up needs proper plan, says ombudsman Election campaign heats up as coalition leaders clash over climate deal Syp Wynia: Klaas Dijkhoff's yellow vest is losing its lustre Teachers plan nationwide strike on March 15 over pay and workload Government attempts to compile list of definitive Dutch icons SPORT Kramer wins 10th European skating title as Schulting claims short track...  More >

'Corporate lunch stereotypes are true'

‘I’ve frequently encountered the traditional sad raft of floppy Dutch broodjes’ Amsterdammer and comedian Greg Shapiro is 50 and has lived in the Netherlands for over half his life. He likes cooking boerenkool stamppot, would like to meet several Dutch kings who share the name Willem, and is surprised by how little Dutch people know about Het Plakkaat van Verlatinghe. How did you end up in the Netherlands? It was the Boom Chicago comedy theatre that hired me to perform in Amsterdam for just one summer.... That was 24 years ago. A few years into my time in Amsterdam – the same year Seth Meyers came to work at Boom Chicago – I met the love of my life, a Dutch woman. She was very direct. She said ‘We’re getting married.’ I said 'yes'. We toyed with the idea of living in the US. One year, I took her to meet my family in Chicago for Christmas. And then we stayed on a bit, in January, in Chicago. I guess I didn’t feel comfortable asking her to move to a climate where – if you don’t wear the right clothes to go outside – you’d die.     How do...  More >