DutchNews.nl destinations: Overloon

DutchNews.nl destinations: go Dutch with a holiday in the countryside Looking for good weather, green woods and excellent beer? Head to the Dutch countryside for a summer break. Esther O’Toole takes you south to the small towns of Overloon and Venray, on the Brabant/N. Limburg border. There is plenty of history down this neck of the woods. The St Peter ad Vincula church in Venray has a large collection of medieval wood sculpture and the area in and around Venray and Overloon saw heavy fighting during WW2, as it lies right next to the river Maas, by the German border. Now an area rich in natural tourist attractions it is popular with the Dutch for holidaying at home Things to do Overloon If you’re after outdoor activities, whether mountain biking, hiking, swimming or fishing then this is a great area for all of the above. Explore the Overloonse Duinen by bike or on foot, or head to t’Schaartven, a pretty, well-maintained swimming lake with amenities; there you can also climb up the ‘uitkijktoren’ for panoramic views. Museum Park,...  More >

Holiday reading: our favourite features

Holiday reading: if you missed them earlier, here are some favourite features Wether you're heading back home to visit family, off to the Mediterranean beaches or just enjoying another part of the Netherlands, holidays are the perfect time to catch up on your reading. Here's a round-up of our favourite features so far this year. It's been impossible to avoid the fact that Dutch gangster Willem Holleeder has been on trial in Amsterdam for most of the year accused of ordering various gangland murders. Gordon Darroch went along for a day and wrote a piece explaining why this is currently the hottest ticket in town. Another hot topic so far this year has been the rise of English at Dutch universities. Are the Dutch now native speakers of English, and is Dutch-English a distinctive thing? Deborah Nicholls-Lee went to meet linguistics expert Alison Edwards to get some answers. Housing and the shortage of affordable homes was the big topic of the March local elections, but solutions are being found. For example, could a custom-made tiny house be your new home? If...  More >

Salary shaming does not curb exec pay

If salary shaming doesn’t work what will curb executive pay? If salary shaming does not limit excessive executive pay, a link with workers’ pay will, write social psychologist Naomi Ellemers (Universiteit Utrecht) and organisational sociologist Rafael Wittek ­(Rijksuniversiteit Groningen) Executive pay levels at large companies frequently prove controversial. ING, Van Lanschot and Unilever have all come in for criticism recently for what is perceived to be the excessive remuneration of their CEOs. Perspectives on the subject vary. Politicians, concerned with public accountability, rely on the embarrassing effect of transparency. If top executives are shown to have much bigger pay packets than the workers, surely they will think again? Supervisory board members refer to the size and complexity of executive tasks. After years of modest pay increases it is high time salaries reflected CEOs’ time and trouble, they say. Economists in their turn point to the market: how are Dutch companies going to hold on to their top executives if...  More >

12 great things to do in August

From butterflies to body art: 12 great things to do in August Hello? Anyone there? If you're not sunning yourself on a beach in Crete, here's what you can do in the Netherlands this month. On your bike Get to know Amsterdam by taking a guided bike tour around Amsterdam Oost, the Bijlmer and other bits of Amsterdam that you thought would not be that interesting but are. Pay Attention Please is the somewhat admonishing title of the tours. Throughout August. Website Listen to the human voice What better way to forget the 30% ruling and Brexit for a while than to listen to an opera about other people's troubles in the sedate surroundings of the garden of the Museum van Loon in Amsterdam. La Voix Humaine, based on a play by Jean Cocteau, is about love and heartbreak. And it's only a shorty with drinks afterwards! Dutch language only. August 9 - 14. Website Grab a gracht It will be difficult NOT to catch a tune during this year's Grachtenfestival as it will be taking place in 94 locations around Amsterdam. Some even take place underneath...  More >

'I was shocked by how beautiful NL is'

‘What shocked me the most about the Netherlands was how beautiful it is’ Why would someone with a successful career in a casting agency in New York City up sticks and move to Zaandam? In Elyse O’Shaughnessey's case, she did it for love. Now artistic director of Orange Theater Company, Elyse is on a mission to promote world-class English-language theatre in the heart of Amsterdam. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here as an au pair about five years ago. I was working with this woman – she worked for Tommy Hilfiger – and one day she was like, 'Oh, I’m moving to Amsterdam; do you wanna come with me?' At the time I was quite young, so I said, 'Okay. Let’s go!' It was an adventure. I’d never been to Amsterdam, and I was here with an added comfort factor. I was only supposed to come for three months, but at the end of it I was still just starting to get acclimatised. I stayed for a full year and met my current [Dutch] partner in the last three months of my visa. I went back to New York, and we did long-distance for about two years....  More >

Column: Stef Blok backtracks but the damage has been done

Column: Stef Blok backtracks but the damage has been done What will be the ramifications of foreign minister Stef Blok's comments on the multicultural society, asks Arend Jan Boekestijn, a former VVD MP and lecturer in international relations at Utrecht University A safe pair of hands, that is the image Stef Blok projected in the wake of the ludicrous and ego-inspired dacha affair which scuppered his predecessor Halbe Zijlstra’s career at the foreign office. A smaller ego was required and when Edith Schippers refused, Blok, after being wooed for some time, agreed to step into the breach. Devoid of any foreign office experience but capable of blending in at various ministries, he seemed a safe choice. Tricky Diplomacy can be a tricky business. In the absence of a world government nation states are sometimes hard put to defend their interests. In a world dominated by contradictions it takes tact and reason to get results. Blok’s controversial comments came when he attended a private meeting for people home from a stint of working...  More >

Five great places to eat vegan food

Five great vegan lunchrooms and restaurants in the Netherlands Even the most committed meat eater cannot fail to have noticed the surge in veganism in the Netherlands. Marieke Mills has been checking out some of the best Dutch vegan restaurants and lunchrooms. Vegan restaurants are not just limited to Amsterdam anymore. You’ll be a happy vegan foodie if you live there, but Rotterdam and Utrecht have a number of vegan options as well. Beer and vegan food: Oproer Brouwerij (Utrecht) Vegan food and beer go hand in hand in Oproer Brouwerij. This restaurant and brewery is the go-to place for a plant-based dinner and a pint. Oproer Brouwerij is a merger between two breweries - Rooie Dop and Ruig - and the current restaurant was founded in 2016. Oproer Brouwerij’s vegan journey was one they stepped into by accident. The owners found a great spot for a pub, but were told the space was meant to be food-oriented. They decided to establish a restaurant. Oproer Brouwerij searched for great cooks and found two female chefs, who had experience in...  More >

Police in the polder: the search for truth

Police in the polder: detective fiction and the irresistible quest for the truth The Netherlands' best known tv detective, Baantjer, was based on the adventures of a real life policeman, Appie Baantjer who was based in the Warmoesstraat on the edge of Amsterdam's red light district. British crime writer Daniel Pembrey has now used the real-life 1983 Heineken kidnapping case to understand his police detective character. What makes a fictional detective compelling? Not likeable, necessarily, but rather the kind of character you want to follow for case after case – despite his or her flaws? As a fan of detective fiction from a young age, I have often pondered this question, and I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer lies in the character willfully fighting for identifiable causes – justice, of course, of the purer variety (as opposed to the kind arbitrated by police superiors), but also the fight to protect ‘his or hers’ – a wife or a husband, a neighbourhood, an old friend perhaps. And as I began to investigate the motivations and formative experiences...  More >

Number of energy suppliers quadrupled

Number of energy suppliers in the Netherlands quadrupled since liberalisation The number of suppliers of electricity and gas has almost quadrupled since the liberalisation of the Dutch energy market in 2004, according to research by website Energievergelijk. Before deregulation there were only 12 suppliers for electricity, based in different parts of the country. Now, there are 47 which all want a piece of the cake. In total, 35 companies offer gas and electricity for consumers. The remaining 12 only offer energy contracts to businesses and multinationals. Energievergelijk has made a convenient infographic that shows all active energy providers in The Netherlands. Confusion Each provider offers different types of energy contracts and cashback deals. And with the immense increase in competition, consumers are finding it more difficult than ever to find the cheapest deal. Comparing energy prices and deals is definitely worthwhile, according to an analysis by the Dutch Consumer and Markets Authority (ACM). It recently pointed out that households can save...  More >

How the Dutch make their drinking water

The Dutch dunes are more than just sand: they’re a source of drinking water The drinking water in Amsterdam, the Hague and large parts of Noord and Zuid-Holland is cleaned and filtered in the sand dunes along the Dutch coast with the North Sea. Joshua Parfitt has been finding out how. It is early in the morning and I am trying to take the perfect picture of the sand dunes in Meijendel—a 2,000-hectare nature reserve just five kilometres from The Hague city centre. As I race down the sandy trail from a dune offering a disappointing vista, I glance up at my bicycle. Something’s wrong. There are figures silhouetted around it—horses. They curiously sniff out this odd-shaped arrival. Delighted, I hang back. Three horses become five, and then nine, and then three more come whinnying down the dune behind me. Unused to horses—terrified, even, after a frightful riding experience in childhood—I scarper up a nearby tree. A good twenty minutes of deadlock ensue, the horses toppling my bicycle and treading dangerously around my laptop bag. I send out a...  More >

Lessons for Nexiteers

Leave the European Union? Here are three lessons for Nexiteers     People in the Netherlands who support the idea of a Nexit need a few lessons in reality, writes macro-economist Mathijs Bouman. They really do exist, the Dutch politicians who look at the UK and think: now why can’t we do that. Political chaos, ministers stepping down in droves, parties split down the middle, companies preparing to leave, the economy on hold and a derailed social debate. Exactly what the Netherlands needs. ‘We want a NEXIT referendum, just like the UK,’ writes a new political party which has already collected some 13 seats in the polls. ‘It’s time to put an end to monetary union, close the borders and leave the EU.’ Another party (or should I say ‘movement’) which has been in parliament a little longer and has become the second most popular party in the country is even more succinct: ‘Make the Netherlands independent again. Leave the EU’. Lessons That, at least, is what they wrote in their one page election programme...  More >

The Dutch repatriates: is NL still home?

Ex expats from NL:  Dutch repatriates – how does it feel to be home? For Dutch repatriates, returning to the Netherlands after many years abroad is not always the homecoming they envisaged. Deborah Nicholls-Lee reports on the ups and downs of resettling. Arriving back in Amsterdam in 2013 after 15 years abroad was a huge shock to the system for Daniëlle Bos (45). ‘Ever since I’m back, I’m feeling like a legal alien,’ she explains. After six years in Portugal, a career on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and spells in South Africa and New Zealand, she decided to come back but, she says, ‘this whole settling thing has made me more miserable than ever.’ Over 150,000 Dutch nationals left the Netherlands last year, almost twice as many as in 2000. Two-thirds moved to Europe, but North America and Australia are also popular destinations. Between 5 and 6% of Dutch people currently live abroad. Most will return within seven years but coming home is not always easy. Loss Reverse culture shock is not talked about enough, says relocation...  More >

Podcast: The Groundhog Ophef Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Groundhog Ophef Edition – Week 28 With the summer break looming, we decided to pick out our favourite examples of 'ophef' - those tornados of outrage that blow up on social media only to be forgotten within 24 hours - from the year so far. It was also a week in which Mark Rutte got caught up in another Trump whirlwind at Nato, Frisian water engineers proved to be more useful than Elon Musk, the king faced a possible fine for flying drones in his back garden and a Dutchwoman reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon for the first time in 40 years. Top story Rutte pledges to raise Nato budget contribution as Trump raises stakes News Junior finance minister presses ahead with plans to restrict 30% tax rule Dutch water engineers on standby to rescue boys trapped in Thailand caves Anne Frank's family may have been denied US visa by bureaucratic failure Island of Schiermonnikoog tells visitors to leave their drones at home Sport Kiki Bertens' run at Wimbledon ends at quarter-final stage  More >

'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 >