'The work-life balance surprised me'

‘I was surprised how high the quality of life is, and by the work-life balance’ Singaporean neuroscientist Xing Chen (32) moved to Amsterdam for work in 2014. Already a die-hard FEBO fan with a convincing Dutch accent, she has quickly made the Netherlands her home. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was studying for my PhD in the UK and in 2014 I was looking to continue my career. I had a lot of experience working in the lab and studying the visual cortex and how the brain works and I found my dream job in Amsterdam, so that’s why I came over. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc? I would say ‘a global citizen based in Amsterdam’. I grew up in Singapore until I was 18 and it’s a very small country – only 60km x 40km – and it has a very international perspective and is very outward-looking. I’ve always felt that international boundaries are not really that important; they shouldn’t determine the trajectory of your life. How long do you plan to stay and why? As long as possible. As soon as...  More >


The 30% ruling cut is foolish

The changes to the 30% ruling are foolish Dutch tax minister Menno Snel should resign because of the incompetence he has shown with his plans to cut the 30% ruling for current cases, says expat Jay Henning. Anyone familiar with tax will know that retrospective changes to tax law are taboo, as it creates a climate of uncertainty which puts off investment and long term planning.  But that does not seem to apply to the 30% ruling, which the Dutch government is cutting from eight to five years, with no transition period. So what has been the reaction to the plan? It has been massive and unanimous – the government can make the change but absolutely should not apply it retrospectively.   PwC, tax advisors, legal firms, trade unions, the American and German chambers of commerce, they all offered opinions on this with the same message. Major technology companies such as booking.com and TomTom explained how this would be traumatic and disruptive for their staff, and make it difficult for these world class companies to...  More >


Podcast: The Rutte Gets Busy Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Rutte Gets Busy Edition – Week 28 As one of the longest droughts on record continues, examiners are feeling the heat after an administrative meltdown leaves hundreds of students in Limburg facing a miserable summer. The government admits that new migrants have been left high and dry by the integration process, employees are being burned by the rise of casual labour and Max Verstappen is on fire in the Austrian Grand Prix. In the discussion Paul and Molly look back at how Mark Rutte hot-footed it from Brussels to Washington to the Catshuis as he attempted to fix all the world's major problems, including Donald Trump, by Tuesday lunchtime. And spare a thought for the delivery drivers who broke down in a sweltering van with no way out and a huge pile of money for company. Ophef of the week: Lilianne Ploumen's app mishap Top story: Summer arrives in June Dry, warm weather to last another week, say forecasters News Swans caught up in oil spill need longer to recover School boards accused of failing...  More >


DutchNews.nl destinations; Delft

DutchNews.nl destinations: there’s more to Delft than blue and white china Best known for its pottery, the city of Delft offers plenty of quaint streets to wander through and some delicious places to eat. Molly Quell lives there and tells you why you should visit. Delft's reputation is one of polar opposites. It’s picturesque, quaint and adorable, but it also boasts the oldest and largest university of technology in the Netherlands and the largest start-up incubator in Europe. You can’t walk through the city centre without bumping into houses from 1500 and multiple PhDs. With a population of just over 100,000, Delft teeters between being a city, like its close neighbours The Hague and Rotterdam, and a village. You’ll bump into your boss, your friend and the dentist's assistant in Albert Heijn, but you can always get home from a late night in Amsterdam with the night train. With its rich and interesting history, Delft's beautiful cityscape offers plenty to look at as you wander. But there’s also an active nightlife, interesting museums and...  More >


Expats stay longer, live like locals

Expats in the Netherlands want to stay longer and live like locals The expat profile is changing and the property market is evolving accordingly. One operator is adding long-stay apartments to its portfolio to meet the needs of today’s international newcomers. The highly-skilled worker who comes to the Netherlands for a few months and then flies out again is on the decline. Today, expats are more eager than ever to adapt to Dutch life and live like a local here. Expats stay longer in the Netherlands, with around half remaining for more than five years (CBS, 2015). In Amsterdam, ICAP’s 2017 survey found that expats were twice as likely to send their children to a Dutch school, rather than an international one; while other research has shown 38% plan to take Dutch lessons within a year. One thing that hasn’t changed is the popularity of Amsterdam, which is still the Netherlands’ most popular expat destination. The capital offers interesting employment opportunities for foreigners as big-name companies and organisations, seeking a...  More >


Blogwatching: Summer spots by the beach

Blogwatching: Five places I’ll be hanging out by the beach this summer Hayley, aka the Bitterballenbruid, is originally from the UK and mostly blogs about Hilversum and ‘t Gooi area, eating too many bitterballen, getting married in Holland, learning how to be Dutch… and the language. This weather right now is giving us a delicious taste of more sunny days to come in the Netherlands (I hope!!) and what better way to hang out in the sun than by the beach? Dutch people love terraces (terrasjes) when the sun’s out but I like to go one further when I possibly can. Being by the sea is probably my favourite thing in the world. And I know I’m not the only one. There’s something about the crashing waves, the fresh air and seeing the beautiful blue sea meet the sky on the horizon that makes me feel so calm and peaceful. After I’ve had my walk along the beach, I love going for a drink (and maybe some bitterballen!!) afterwards. Here a few of my favourite places: Ubuntu Beach, Zandvoort Zandvoort is my favourite beach in the Netherlands. We’re...  More >


Podcast: Everything is Miserable Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Everything Is Miserable Edition – Week 26 Own goals, defensive stalemates and an unorthodox formation – no, not the World Cup, but Rotterdam's talks to find a coalition, which finally concluded this week. This week the podcast team discuss the last week's political developments, which also saw former GroenLinks leader Femke Halsema come out of retirement to become Amsterdam's first female mayor. In another first for women, sailing came home as Carolijn Brouwers celebrated victory in the Volvo Ocean Race, which finished in Scheveningen harbour. There was also a disturbing attack on the Telegraaf's newspaper offices, the ophef that erupted when when writer Tommy Wieringa joked about it, an oil spill in Rotterdam harbour and a victory for the PVV as the burqa ban becomes law a mere 13 years after they first proposed it. Top story Police find getaway car used in Telegraaf newspaper attack burned out News Major clean-up in Rotterdam after 220 tonnes of oil are spilled Fraudsters try to scam immigrants with fake...  More >


Castles to classical music in a greenhouse: 11 great things to do in July

Castles to classical music in a greenhouse: 11 great things to do in July If you are in the Netherlands over the summer, there is no shortage of fun or thought-provoking things to do. July's entertainment ranges from a visit to Hotel New York to classical music concerts in the Netherlands four botanical gardens. Work up an appetite The private museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar presents the first European retrospective of American painter Wayne Thiebaud (1920). His colourful paintings of cakes, ice creams and hotdogs are bound to make the enamel on your teeth crack by proxy. The show also includes new work especially made for the exhibition ( but not of a stroopwafel or Bossche bol unfortunately). Until September 16. Website Bring a torch A guided tour of the bat bunker in Wassenaar won't actually bring you face to face with any bats, but it will teach you about the role the bunker played in the defence of the Netherlands during World War II. Wear sturdy shoes and bring a torch. The tours are organised by Staatsbosbeheer and take place every Saturday in July...  More >


'Leaving Amsterdam improved my Dutch'

‘Moving out of Amsterdam really helped me improve my Dutch’ In 2005, nutrition educator Shay Klomp Bueters (43) left the mountains of Montana, USA for the Dutch lowlands, following a romance on a cruise ship with a Dutch co-worker whom she went on to marry. They live with their five-year-old son in Almere-Poort, where she been amazed at the Dutch ability to reclaim and settle new land. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I fell in love with a Dutchie while we were both working for the Holland America cruise lines, in Alaska. We travelled the world for a few more years working on cruise ships, and after seeing Antarctica decided to move to the Netherlands for one year. Thirteen years later, we are still here! How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc?  Interesting, I haven’t ever heard of a lovepat before. I guess I would fit in that category, although I consider myself more an international, living in the Netherlands - albeit having my Dutch passport as well as an American one. How long do you plan...  More >


Heralding in the herring season

Fishy business – heralding in the herring season in The Hague The herring party is a very Dutch tradition, held every June to mark the start of the new herring season. Molly Quell takes the next step in her ongoing inburgering process. When the editor-in-chief of this esteemed publication sent me the press release for The Hague Herring Party and told me to go and write about it, I assumed I was being punished. Was it the typo I’d made on Facebook that week? My foul language on the podcast? The puns? Taking the bait I agreed to write this story for two reasons. One, I was permitted to address the fact that I loath herring. Two, I knew, afterwards, I could stop by my favorite burger place in the Hague and enjoy a juicy cheeseburger, fries and a coke and then go browse the used book selection at the ABC. I arrived at the Crowne Plaza hotel in the Hague on a gorgeous sunny Tuesday evening and quickly realised I was grossly under-dressed. In the group of around 300 people who turned up to this 20-something year tradition, there was only...  More >


Howzat! Cricket in the Netherlands

Cricket in the Netherlands: the agony and the ecstasy With an estimated 2.5 billion followers, cricket is one of the most popular sports in the world, second only to football. Not so in the Netherlands, where a little over 5,000 people play the game, and many of them are expats from the traditional cricket-playing countries.   There are all sorts of reasons why the Dutch have not particularly taken a shine to the ‘Gentleman’s Game', yet they have been playing cricket since 1883 and have made the most of the few opportunities they get to play. They often qualify for the marquee tournaments, where they have on many occasions knocked over top teams or have given them a tough fight. And last year, the Dutch qualified to be included in the One Day International league that will run between 2020 and 2022. Abraham Abhishek, who volunteers with the Dutch cricket board, has the lowdown on Dutch cricket in this 10 minute video.   More >


Podcast: The Name Goes Here Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Canna-Business as Usual Edition – Week 25 The podcast team looks back at a week of contrasts, as falling crime levels lead the government to consider closing more prisons while rising sea levels trigger a deal to set long-term climate change targets. As PSV's manager Phillip Cocu gets ready to fly out to Turkey, the Netherlands' Moroccan footballers are flying home after an early exit in Russia. And police arrest four people suspected of supplying illegal guns to terrorists in France, but terrorism is ruled out as a motive for the fatal accident at the Pinkpop music festival. In our discussion we ask if the attempt to create a legal cannabis supply chain will end the link between drugs and crime. Top story Four arrested in Netherlands suspected of supplying weapons to IS terrorists News Seven parties close to agreement on new climate law Four more prisons to close as crime rate falls to 1980s levels One dead and three injured after white van strikes pedestrians at Pinkpop festival Netherlands to build...  More >


13 Dutch 'streken' to put on a map

So you think you know the Netherlands? Here are 13 Dutch ‘streken’ The Netherlands has plenty of well defined provinces, towns, cities and regions. But there is also such a thing as a streek, an area whose borders are very often much more difficult to pinpoint. Here’s a list. Achterhoek Many people only have a vague idea about the Achterhoek (literally back corner) except that its main export was a band called Normaal whose performances usually ended in total mayhem. It lies at the eastern end of the province of Gelderland, with Germany to the south and east, but its borders are fluid and local spats are rife. So ‘that bit in the corner of Gelderland’ it remains. Refoband The Bijbelgordel, or Refoband, is the Dutch Bible belt. It roughly cuts a swathe across the centre of the Netherlands, beginning in Overijssel and ending in Zeeland. It is defined by the voters of the fundamentalist Protestant political party SGP, the party which believes women should not vote and the Netherlands should be governed by the word of God. Randstad The...  More >


Vrij Links must remain free-thinking

Vrij Links must remain faithful to their free-thinking, secular roots Spinoza sowed the seeds of a free Europe in which secular thought could flourish so we should stop thinking that non-western immigrants need protecting from free debate, say writer Asis Aynan, actor Femke Lakerveld, film maker Eddy Terstall and former Labour MP Keklik Yücel.. Group thinking is dividing this country. Nationalist right-wing opinion is feeding on romantic nationalism and all the regressive left has to show for itself are equally divisive tales of identity politics. The group is elbowing out the concepts of nationhood as well as individuality. The progressive left, traditionally based on universal values and the elevation of the masses, has been left to languish on the side lines. We, a number of progressive Dutch people from different backgrounds, refuse to give up on the left-wing ideas that have stimulated freedom and modern thought in the Netherlands and the entire Western world. Polarisation We are worried about increasing polarisation and segregation...  More >


British citizens call for Dutch support

Dutch politicians have a key role in protecting the rights of British citizens This week, the Dutch courts will decide if a court case brought by British nationals in the Netherlands who want to keep their European citizenship should be referred to the EU courts. But, whatever happens, the Netherlands can play an important role in making sure the rights of British citizens in Europe are protected after Brexit, writes Sarah Parkes of the British in the Netherlands group. Some 85,000 British citizens currently live in the Netherlands. Our number has been growing since the early 1930s and we hope, post Brexit, that we will be able to maintain our good relationship with the Dutch, can continue to contribute to the Dutch economy and, of course, to Dutch society. Whilst the UK government has been paying attention to the details of how the three million EU citizens can continue their current lives in Britain, they have given little attention to the estimated 1.3 million British citizens resident in the other 27 EU countries. Indeed, some of us could not even...  More >


Podcast: The Balls, Bans and Bangs Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Balls, Bans and Bangs Edition – Week 24 The podcast team looks back at a week in which the government decided that burqas were a bigger threat to society than stray fireworks, a school in Drenthe shelved plans to stage a mock shooting and Delft's porcelain image was rattled by a series of blasts and bombings. Schiphol airport vowed to get tough on passengers who pre-load during pre-boarding and the women's football team almost blew their chances of World Cup qualification. In our discussion we ask if Mark Rutte's speech to the European Parliament signals a seismic shift for the prime minister and the European Union. Top story Dutch senate set to pass ban on burqas on public transport News School postpones 'active shooter' safety drill after parents complain Cabinet refuses to ban New Year fireworks despite safety warnings Police investigating series of shootings at businesses in Delft Schiphol to crack down on drunk and dangerous passengers Sport Late Martens strike keeps Lionesses on course...  More >


‘I’m grateful to this place for its peaceful and relaxed, but professional, mindset’

‘I’m grateful to this place for its peaceful and relaxed, but professional, mindset’ Hungarian-born, US and-Israeli-educated David Lusztig is a growth hacker for Codemotion—a 'geek connector' that unites developers and tech communities in cutting-edge conferences. He says he escaped a life in the tech world at the mercy of some money-hungry superiors—'sharks'—where many friends ended up burnt out or worse. He has since become 'stupid proud' of what he does, and he plans to stay in the Netherlands 'until forever'. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in Israel, in the summer of 2014, and I was asked by a British headhunter company if I would like to be one the six founders of a new online gambling company in Amsterdam. And I said 'sure'. I mean in my career, with the experience I had at the time, nobody gets asked to set up an online casino with that kind of [financial] backing. Anyone would have said yes. We went bankrupt a month before the launch. I then got offered a job by a Dutch company in Amsterdam, but that was more of a rough ride—very...  More >


A sizzling summer of space in Delft

Delft is heating up this summer with the Sizzling Summer of Space A two month long international space university might not be your idea of a summer vacation, but for experts in the space industry, that’s exactly what they will be doing in Delft during the upcoming months. With them come a summer-long series of events with a space theme, open to every would-be astronaut or astronomer. Some 110 space professionals from 25 countries will pack into Delft later this month to learn about the latest in space technology, advancements in research and to boost cooperation between institutions and universities involved in exploring space - as part of the International Space University's space studies programme. The ISU was founded in the US in 1987 and is headquartered in Strasbourg but moves to a different location for its summer school every year. This year, Delft has the honours. ‘Space is increasingly important for society worldwide. I think the Netherlands is an excellent place for educating the next generation of space professionals,’ says...  More >


Podcast: The Who Spilled My Coffee Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Did You Spill My Coffee Edition – Week 23 This week's podcast asks if Amsterdam can hold back the rampant spread of tourism in the age of Airbnb and stag weekends. We also look back at a week in which Mark Rutte's handiness with a mop broke the internet, universities once again asked if English is taking over on campus, AD's fishy judging panels kicked up a stink and two fallen giants of world football went through the motions in Turin. Ophef of the week Frosty reception for Leidschendam ice-cream salesman's 'healthy option' AD scraps 'taste tests' in row over alleged bias and vitriol Top story Rutte to meet Trump at White House in July – reports Prime minister goes viral after cleaning up own mess \   News Minister says English at Dutch universities 'must not compromise standards' Deal struck on teachers' pay but strikes will still go ahead Dogs and cars top list of neighbourhood nuisances Sport Netherlands and Italy play out 1-1 draw in battle of World Cup absentees (FourFourTwo) Dumoulin...  More >


DutchNews.nl destinations: Nijmegen

Dutchnews.nl destinations:  explore 2,000 years of history in Nijmegen Nijmegen, the oldest city in the Netherlands, started life as a Roman military encampment in the 1st century BC. Esther O'Toole spent a weekend exploring. Despite its location on the Waal river, Nijmegen is not the prettiest of Dutch cities - much of it was bombed in World War II and planners in the 1960s and 70s helped finish the job. So, although the charming main square retains a sense of history and the centre is welcoming to visitors, if you are after long strolls through medieval streets you will be largely disappointed. However history buffs, whether young or old or favouring ancient or modern periods, will have lots to explore. Politically Nijmegen is a progressive stronghold in the Netherlands, so much so that it’s sometimes referred to as Havana on the Waal. Its liberalism is tangible in the laid-back, terrace culture that has developed over time; a strong vibe of intellectual curiosity in the events scene, which has lots of ties to the student life of the Radboud...  More >