12 great things to do in June

12 great things to do in June Summer is now well and truly with us, so its time to check out some of the great things to do in the Netherlands in June. There is lots of outdoor stuff of course, as well as English-language theatre, art fairs and an electrifying exhibition. Stroll in a Japanese garden You have just eleven days to visit the magical Japanese garden at Clingendael Park in the Hague which only opens its doors eight weeks in the year. Tread carefully; the plants are extremely fragile and strollers, baby carriages and dogs are not allowed. There is a separate entrance for wheelchair users who follow a shorter route. Only a limited number of people are allowed in so expect a wait. Until June 11. Website Party at Pinkpop The traditional Pentecost Pinkpop Festival kicks off on June 3 but Saturday is Bieber day and tickets for that day sold out quite some time ago. But you may still be lucky enough to score a ticket for June 4 or 5 when the programme features Liam Gallagher, Broederliefde, Amber Run...  More >


10 key facts about the Efteling theme park

10 things you didn’t know about the Efteling theme park A certain other magical kingdom may be ‘the happiest place on earth’ but the Netherlands’ homegrown Efteling has been going strong since 1952. Located in the town of Kaatsheuvel, the iconic Dutch theme park first opened its doors to the public on 31 May, 1952. As it approaches its 65th anniversary, Brandon Hartley lists some wild things you might not know about this ‘World of Wonders’. Walt’s Inspiration? A longstanding (and oft-repeated) legend claims that Walt Disney visited Efteling in the early 1950s and was inspired to break ground on his own theme park in California. How much of this is truth and how much is fantasy? Well, the initial conceptual drawings for Disneyland date back to at least 1948 and Uncle Walt’s muses didn’t hail from any one place. His park drew inspiration from everything including Los Angeles’ Griffith Park to Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. However, there’s at least a small possibility that he may have made it to Efteling. Walt and his...  More >


The Next Web: technology's effect on us

The Next Web: technology’s effect on all of us takes centre stage A lot can happen in a year. In 2016 The Next Web almost doubled in size and in 2017 it was bigger still. More interesting though was that the size and scope of technology’s effect on us - not just our businesses but the way we live our lives, in fact our very notions of reality - was up for discussion too. Esther O’Toole took a look. 'They failed to take into account...man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions,' Aldous Huxley When Aldous Huxley wrote his classic dystopian novel, Brave New World, he suggested that the comfort of a technologically enhanced life, and the distractions it provides us, may pose a risk to individual freedoms. Weird, you'd think, to hear that quoted at the start of a massive tech conference. But James Williams is a philosophy PHD at Oxford. He kickstarted day one with a thoughtful break down of how distracting our current tech has become and his ideas on how to avoid that distraction becoming all consuming. 'I think something profound...  More >


Podcast: The Moonlighting Monarch Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Moonlighting Monarch Edition – Week 20 In this week's podcast we debate the likely shape of the next government after the coalition talks broke down, find out about  look at why Amsterdam wants to let Muslim police officers wear headscarves, fight over who gets the tickets to see the pandas and jibe Molly for knowing nothing about football. Top Story King Willem-Alexander confesses to being a secret KLM pilot News Amsterdam police consider including headscarves in uniform Policeman chases own tail in pursuit of decoy bike Ede is the happiest place in the Netherlands, Rotterdam the most miserable Feyenoord win first title in 18 years Rush of demand for tickets to see pandas Discussion: Where now for the Dutch coalition talks? Schippers calls a pause for self-reflection Formation dilemmas: D66 not keen on coalition with ChristenUnie Dutch MPs debate coalition formation as process begins all over again Party leaders to meet to discuss next steps after Dutch coalition talks flop Talks...  More >


I appreciate how individualism works here

‘I appreciate how individualism works here, I find it very productive’ Theatre designer Vasilis Apostolatos (44) came to The Hague from Athens for love, and found an outlet for his creativity here. Vasilis teaches at a theatre academy in Maastricht and works with STET, an English language theatre in The Hague. He took time out of his schedule to talk about expat life, love, and oliebollen. How did you end up in the Netherlands? Love. This is the only thing that can move me. It’s quite simple, I met a wonderful Dutch guy online, and we met in Athens and fell in love. We met right after I finished with eight months of chemotherapy, and after something like that you’re more open to try new things. You value life in a different way. It was the right moment to move. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? All of those. There are moments when you feel like an expat, and a lot of moments when you feel like an immigrant, especially in northern Europe. After I left Greece, hundreds of Greek friends of mine were desperate...  More >


Analysis: why the coalition talks failed

Analysis: GroenLinks lacked the muscle to force a radical change of course The three issues that the parties were unable to agree on were the same areas where Jesse Klaver was most keen to make his mark – but the Greens could still have a say in the outcome, says Gordon Darroch The announcement on Monday evening that talks to form a new Dutch government had broken down came as a shock, but no great surprise. There had been indications towards the end of last week that the four parties – the Liberals (VVD), Christian Democrats (CDA), progressive liberals D66 and left-wing green party GroenLinks – were starting to grow tired of each other's company. The first major breach came from the CDA, whose more progressive wing lamented that leader Sybrand Buma had parked the bus squarely in front of GroenLinks's energy reforms. Party veteran Herman Wijffels went so far as to compare his leader unfavourably with Donald Trump on the issue of climate change. Then came a poll at the weekend by Maurice de Hond which revealed growing scepticism among the VVD's...  More >


No such thing as 'typical volunteer'

Would you volunteer with refugees? These 14 Dutch people did What is a typical volunteer? This is what international photographer Marcus Valance and his partner writer Daan Posthouwer asked themselves after spending most of 2016 volunteering in Greece and Lebanon during the refugee crisis. The project 'Portraits of Dutch Volunteers' grew out of a desire to find out more about what makes a volunteer tick and to show that 'volunteers aren't all hippies wearing homespun socks’, says Marcus. They chose their subjects randomly from a large cross-section of willing and eager volunteers, travelling all over the country to meet them and talk about their experiences. ‘Portraits of Dutch Volunteers’ shows how diverse this group really is. 'This project has a strong message - that there is no such thing as a typical volunteer,' says Daan. 'The motivations for volunteering are as diverse as the people themselves. These people, who have put their lives on hold to help others during the refugee-crisis, deserve to be honoured for what they do.' Ansje...  More >


Video: Dutch tv on Trump's Russian links

Video: Dutch tv documentary claims Trump has ties to Russia mobsters Dutch television current affairs show Zembla is claiming that US president Donald Trump has extensive connections to Russian oligarchs and even to convicted gangsters. The 45-minute documentary looks at Trumps alleged relationship with Russian mobster Felix Slater and agreements he has with rich Russians. 'The Russians are alleged to be in possession of sensitive information about Trump. And that exposes Trump to blackmail,' the programme makers say.  'Fake news, tweets Trump: “I have nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, no nothing!” Trump swears he has no ties with the Russians. But is that actually the case?' the programme asks.   More >


Podcast: The Crashing Boars Edition

Dutch News Podcast – The Crashing Boars Edition – Week 19 In this week's podcast we catch up with the latest news from the coalition talks, Dutch success in the Europa League and Eurovision Song Contest, and hear about some runaway pigs in Gelderland. Unfortunately technical gremlins have deprived us of the discussion section of the programme, but normal service will hopefully be resumed next week. Top story Still no government in sight after 58 days News Schiphol tries to cut waiting times Criminals cutting off electronic tags ProRail issues warning about train track selfies Wild boars rampage through campsite (Telegraaf) Video from De Telegraaf Sport Feyenoord miss chance to clinch Eredivisie title Ajax reach final of Europa League Advocaat unveiled as national team manager in heated press conference    More >


Six ways to cut down on food waste

Stop wasting food: six initiatives to change the way we eat In the Netherlands, we throw away €2.5bn worth of edible food a year - but it doesn’t have to be this way. Deborah Nicholls-Lee reports on six initiatives which were set up to reduce our food waste. The United Nations has pledged to reduce our planet’s food waste by 50% by 2030  and each country must play its part. Here in the Netherlands, we discard over a third of our food output yet 2.5 million people live below the poverty line and struggle to feed themselves. The following schemes are challenging this paradox, helping the Netherlands to meet its food waste goals and rethink the way it uses food. NoFoodWasted  Who doesn’t love those 35% off stickers? NoFoodWasted have developed a free app that alerts you when items on your shopping list are marked down in your local supermarket. The app currently has around 40,000 users and scooped this year’s NRC award for the most impactful Start Up. Founded by August de Vocht in December 2014, NoFoodWasted was inspired...  More >


The hunt for international talent is on

Have you got what it takes? The hunt for international talent is on The war for talent is on in the Netherlands and international companies are hunting for highly-skilled, well-travelled employees.  Like many expats, Phil Mander came to the Netherlands for a fantastic job opportunity and stayed for the quality of life ‘I moved to Amsterdam from London six years ago and haven't looked back. In that time, I've bought an apartment here, started a family and began working freelance. Amsterdam has one of the best tech scenes in Europe and as a web developer it's a great place to work,’ says  Mander, a tech specialist at Versatile.nl. In its most recent Index of Globalisation the KOF Swiss Economic Institute places the Netherlands right at the top; the most globalised country in the world. It makes sense of course. Holland’s key location within Europe has given The Netherlands a rich history of international trading. Combine this with a winning attitude to inclusion and multiculturalism; its topping UNICEF’s recent report into child...  More >


The hidden history of Sorghvliet

Sorghvliet park in The Hague is a peaceful place for those in the know Tucked away behind an imposing wall on the route from The Hague to Scheveningen is a little-known park with an eventful history. Moira Holden has been to visit. A sea-like carpet of bluebells stretches deep into the woodland in Sorghvliet Park as spring coaxes out the wildflowers. Secluded by a high wall as the traffic thunders up the road towards the seaside, this peaceful Dutch scene replaces the sound of the cars with a relaxing, calm mood. Sorghvliet translates into ‘free of cares’ and it is easy to see why this leafy oasis has become a place for quiet solitude. It isn’t a busy park, but it’s definitely a special spot for those in the know. At this time of the year, the floor of the parkland becomes a platform for the season’s wood anemones and lily of the valley, but it’s the breath-taking swathes of bluebells that dominate the lie of the parkland. Today, the towering trees and the wildflowers don’t give a hint of the major role played by the park in the...  More >


Museums open up to Dutch language learners

Master class: museums open doors to Dutch language learners Groups learning Dutch as a second language have been crossing the entrances of a range of museums after the Stad en Taal (city and language) initiative was launched to teach Dutch culture in an accessible way. Julia Corbett joined a tour at the Rijksmuseum. The daunting task of speaking Dutch has just become a lot easier thanks to the Rijksmuseum’s new initiative, which immerses learners into the language and culture of the Netherlands during intimate Dutch speaking tours. Under the title Stad en Taal, six museums in Amsterdam together with the city council are providing the educational programme after research showed that a museum setting was the perfect location for boosting language learning. The researchers found that after learning more about the country’s history in an interactive way, people also began to feel more at home. Friendships Among our group taking the Stad en Taal guided tour were people from Russia, China and Syria. Although many had never been...  More >


Universities should become unsafe again

‘Students should hear more opinions which are not their own’ Universities must become unsafe places again, in which students are not protected from hearing opinions different from their own, writes Leiden law professor Paul Cliteur. 'Berkeley cancels speech by extreme right commentator Ann Coulter, the Volkskrant wrote on April 20. Coulter had been invited by Republican students to come to Berkeley on April 27 to talk about her take on immigration. Swayed by a storm of protest the famously left-leaning university decided the safety of students and staff would be compromised and the event was cancelled. ‘We were unable to find a secure and suitable location,’ the university said in a statement. It’s starting to become a trend. Controversial speaker. Protests. Authorities: ‘Sorry, the event has to be cancelled for safety reasons. Ayaan Hirsi Ali Ayaan Hirsi Ali couldn’t go to Australia because her safety couldn’t be guaranteed. A meeting by the Forum voor Democratie with Thierry Baudet in Dordrecht also generated protest....  More >


Bikepacking in Noord Holland

May the fiets be with you: a bikepacking trip in Noord Holland Bikepacking is a new cycling trend. It's basically lightweight touring/camping on a mountain bike or racing bike using the latest generation of bags which don't need carriers or racks.  Mike Cooper went on a bikepacking trip through Noord Holland and Friesland The great whites were following me. There were eight of them. They were big. I wasn't nervous, I was enjoying their company. One thing about long-distance solo bikepacking: alone is the default. Great white egrets, herons more common to the Ukraine than to the Netherlands, are welcome company along the endless Houtribdijk, heading north out of Lelystad into an icy headwind towards Enkhuizen and fietsknooppunt 12. It was day two and I was fast running out of fuel. Three day tour My brief journey in early spring took three days and two nights. North from Haarlem to Den Oever, over the Afsluitdijk, south around the Frisian coast from Zurich to Lelystad, over the Houtribdijk, around the coast to Hoorn and across back to...  More >


11 tips to help buy your dream Dutch home

11 insider tips to help you buy your dream Dutch home Buying a house in the Netherlands may be the right option if you are fed up with trying to find the perfect place to rent or planning to really put down roots. We asked estate agent Mie-Lan Kok for some key tips to think about before deciding to take the plunge. 1 Be realistic You might love the idea of living in Amsterdam but unless you have a high-paying job, the city centre is probably going to be out of reach - even though it is cheaper than places like London and Berlin. Decide which is more important to you - location or price - and tailor your property search accordingly. Will it be a small apartment in a nice area or a bigger place in a less desirable part of the city? 2 Think about the future You need to think of buying a home as an investment that will last for years to come so take your future needs into account as well. Do you work in Amsterdam and are you considering having a family? Then you might be better checking out the pretty town of Weesp or more centrally-located...  More >


'I feel more Dutch since I naturalised'

‘Since taking citizenship I say “we” a lot more when referring to the Dutch’ Originally from Hampshire in the UK, Paul Oram moved to the Netherlands after meeting his future wife while scuba diving in Egypt. He now lives in The Hague, where he works as a graphic designer and volunteers for Stichting Present, an organisation that helps vulnerable individuals.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was working in London in 1997 and I was getting fed up, so I decided to do something completely different and booked a week's diving holiday in Egypt, on my own. It was shortly after a terrorist attack at a tourist site, but I decided to go because I'd already paid and couldn’t get my money back. My Dutch wife to be was there, doing exactly the same thing. We literally met underwater. I remember thinking at the time ‘she’s the one for me’ and we went from there. A few years later I sold my place in London a few years later and moved over here to be with her. How do you describe yourself – an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international? I’d say I’m...  More >


Just how Dutch is AkzoNobel?

As the takeover battle for AkzoNobel heats up, just how ‘Dutch’ is it really Dutch paint maker AkzoNobel is being hotly pursued by American peer PPG. The potential takeover has prompted economic affairs minister Henk Kamp to say it is  in the Netherlands’ interests to make sure Dutch multinationals continue to be led from the Netherlands.’ So just how Dutch is AkzoNobel? True, the company is headquartered in the Zuidas business district in Amterdam. True, its shares are traded on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange. And AkzoNobel operates in more than 80 countries around the world. Its main operations are paints and coatings and specialty chemicals. AkzoNobel is truly a multinational. So how much money does it make in the Netherlands? In 2016, the group turned over €14.2bn. About one-third of this was generated in Europe, of which €1.4bn, or 10%, in the Netherlands. And what about its local workforce? AkzoNobel has a global payroll of 46,000, and 4,900 of them are in the Netherlands - so around 10% then. Share ownership in the Netherlands, however,...  More >


Podcast: The 50 Shades of Orange Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Fifty Shades of Orange Edition – Week 17 As the king turns 50 we look at the enduring popularity of the Dutch royal family. Meanwhile the other great orange institution – the national football team – finally finds a new coach, firefighters rescue a dog from a rabbit hole, Jeroen Dijsselbloem rescues himself from a Greek tragedy and a building in Amersfoort has a very modern facade. Top story TV interview marks king's 50th birthday Full interview on NOS website News Dick Advocaat expected to be appointed national football coach for third time Court to rule on whether 12-year-old boy should undergo cancer treatment Emojis used on building facade Firefighters free dog from rabbit hole Discussion Seven in 10 Dutch support royal family  More >