Follow young Rembrandt in Leiden

The adventures of young Rembrandt; follow in his footsteps in Leiden Centuries before The Night Watch would go on to become one of the most iconic tourist attractions in Amsterdam, Rembrandt was just another struggling artist living down in Leiden. Here is Brandon Hartley’s rundown on his time in the city and various local attractions you can visit if you’d like to learn more about his early days. A stroll through the centre of Leiden can lead you past the historic Beestenmarkt, several picturesque canals, and more than a few friendly ducks that will happily relieve you of any unwanted bread you’ve brought along. If you point yourself in the right direction, you may also find yourself in a small square dominated by a solitary, enigmatic figure. It’s a boy standing in front of a bronze portrait of Rembrandt, perhaps contemplating his own ambitions and potential future as an artist. A few steps from the statue is the spot where his childhood home once stood. These are just two of the landmarks and other attractions devoted to the Golden Age...  More >

Eindhoven has a lot to offer home owners

Eindhoven offers great opportunities for would-be home owners If you are looking to put down roots in Eindhoven, buying a house could be the perfect investment. The city is proving so popular with internationals that the experts behind the Expat Housing Seminars are holding an event in the city on May 29. Just last month, the Eindhoven region was revealed to have the sharpest increase in economic growth in the country, thanks to its numerous high tech industries, many of which have sprung up around Eindhoven University of Technology. The city is surrounded by rolling countryside, its football team PSV Eindhoven has just taken the league title for the 10th time this century, it has its own airport and you snap up a big new family home in a nice area for under €500,000. Hardly surprising then, that more and more international workers are opting to stay on and settle down in this Noord Brabant city of 230,000. Settling down Olivia van den Broek-Neri, the project coordinator for communications and events at the Holland Expat Center...  More >

A packet of baby killers please

Some chewing gum and a packet of baby killers please Cigarettes kill. But so do lots of things. What is a shareholder to do? asks economist Mathijs Bouman. I only had a couple of items in my shopping basket which entitled me to pay at the service desk. As my shopping was being scanned I gazed at the display of cigarettes against the wall. There was none of the brightly coloured packaging as in the days when I too thought smoking was cool. In its place had come grisly pictures of trench mouth, puss-oozing abscesses and murky pupils. I even spotted the occasional dead baby. If this stuff is so dangerous why is this shop selling it? I thought. Bankers who sell dodgy financial products are hounded unto the third generation by supervisors shouting ‘consumer interest’ but a supermarket can sell a packet of baby killers with impunity. Why? I admit I’m not the first person to ask the question. In 2016 the Dutch doctors’ organisation KNMG lobbied for a ban on the sale of cigarettes in supermarkets, as well as petrol stations, bookshops...  More >

Podcast: The Ophefgeddon Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Ophefgeddon Edition – Week 20 The podcast returns after a two-week break with a round-up of the minor outrages that have been swirling round social media, from the French family who cheated death at a safari park to Hema's protracted protractors and Thierry Baudet's unsettling ode to a baguette. Elsewhere, find out why Mark Rutte had some unlikely guests on his flight back from the Caribbean, how Amsterdam is planning to turn back the tourist tide and why universities are concerned about the growth of English-language classes. And in sport, we catch up with Tom Dumoulin's bid for a second Giro title and attempt to untangle the Byzantine permutations of the end-of-season Eredivisie play-offs.  Top story Rutte visits Sint-Maarten to discuss hurricane funding, comes back with iguanas News Blunder meant police ignored tip-off about man who stabbed three in The Hague Universities call for cap on English-language tuition First 'new' Rembrandt discovered for 44 years Amsterdam takes steps to...  More >

The Dutch are being converted to rugby

The Dutch are being converted to rugby, on the pitch, beach and in prison The season is winding down, but Dutch rugby is making great strides, winning both players and fans. So forget the hockey sticks and the ice-skates, it’s time to grab your boots and turn your focus towards the Dutch rugby pitches, says Rachel Kilbee. This weekend sees the last rugby matches played in the national championships just before the local players should be taking their foot off the gas for a short summer break. But in reality, the Dutch players don’t have too much time to rest with new rugby challenges lining up in the Netherlands. On the professional field it has been confirmed that Brazil will visit Amsterdam on 16th June in an exciting game against the Dutch, a result which if positive, will raise the Rugby NL team to 26th in the IRB ranking. ‘It’s been a long season for us, but since hearing the news last week, we’re making a game plan and we want to win. It will mean more funding and more sponsorship for us,’ says team captain, Dirk Danen. With...  More >

Eindhoven to host expat fair and festival

The ‘I am not a Tourist’ expat fair and festival return to Eindhoven Want to learn Dutch? Find a house? Experience Dutch culture, find a job, make connections, or solve immigration and tax issues? Or do you just want to have a fun day out? It’s all possible at the 'I am not a Tourist' Expat Fair & Festival which takes place on Sunday June 10 in Eindhoven. Check out an impression of the day here and get your free ticket now online! If you’re not yet familiar with it, Expatica’s 'I am not a Tourist' Expat Fair is the biggest expat-oriented event in the Netherlands. And this year, for the third time, it’s coming to Eindhoven! 'I am not a tourist' Expat Fair Eindhoven, organised with the Holland Expat Center South, is a prime opportunity for the international community in the south of the Netherlands to get the low-down on life in the ‘low countries’. On June 10 the historical VDMA area in Eindhoven’s city centre will see 50 specialist exhibitors and more than 1,500 internationals come together to exchange information, find opportunities,...  More >

‘An expat feels like an outsider and I don’t feel like one. I feel like I’m home’

‘An expat feels like an outsider and I don’t feel like one. I feel like I’m home’ American national Jessica Taylor Piotrowski is an associate professor at the University of Amsterdam. Happily settled here for six years with her husband John, she’s had little sleep in recent days. As spokeswoman for the United Expats of the Netherlands movement, she is busy campaigning against plans stop the 30% ruling tax break for current beneficiaries and hopes their petition will hit 25,000 by the time they present it to MPs later this month. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I moved here for work, of course. There was a position that opened at the University of Amsterdam focusing on children and the media; I did my PhD studies in communication science, with a focus on children and media. And the funny part was that, when that position came out, I must’ve had 10 different people send it to me. And I kept saying: ‘I’m not going to move to Europe, I live in Philadelphia!’ Eventually I applied and next thing you know we accepted a position here. It was definitely fate. I...  More >

Your worldwide assets and the 30% ruling

Tax matters: your worldwide assets and the 30% tax ruling It's a hot topic in the news at the moment, so what are the advantages of having the 30% ruling and what are the consequences for you when your 30% ruling period is over? As well as cutting your tax bill, the ruling does have another very important tax advantage, which often gets forgotten. If you are able to benefit from the 30%-ruling, it can have a large impact on your assets as well as your salary. This is because you can opt to be considered for partial non-domestic taxation, which means that you don’t need to state your assets in your Dutch tax return - with the exception of Dutch investment property. To qualify for partial non-domestic taxation, you need to make sure your tax return is completed properly and if you mention you have a Dutch bank account, you do not qualify. In that case, you will be treated as a full resident tax payer and you will need to state all your worldwide assets instead. ‘All the more reason why it is crucial to get proper advice,’ says...  More >

Holleeder trial is hottest ticket in town

The hottest ticket in Amsterdam is a seat at the Holleeder trial This week hearings resume in the trial of Willem Holleeder, accused of ordering six gangland killings. His sister Astrid is a key witness for the prosecution. The hottest ticket in Amsterdam right now is not for the Rijksmuseum or some Dutch dj, but a battened-down brick courthouse on an industrial estate on the city's western fringe. On a damp, cold morning in mid-March dozens of silhouettes were discernible in the gloom, dancing on their feet to keep warm, in a queue that stretched back towards a bed centre, a car parts dealer and a drive-through KFC. They had set out in the early hours from Brabant or Rotterdam, camped out on the doorstep, taken days off work, skipped school and college to catch a glimpse of the Netherlands' most infamous gangster through a bulletproof-glass screen. Willem Holleeder, 59, is the central figure in the finale of a real-life family saga of revenge and betrayal. He has rarely been out of the news since his gang kidnapped Alfred Heineken, the...  More >

10 things about Dutch windmills

It’s windmill weekend: 10 things you should know about Dutch windmills This Saturday and Sunday (May 12 and 13) have been designated National Mill Day when some 900 windmills all over the country open their doors to the public. To get you in the mood, here are some facts and figures about the Netherlands’ most enduring industrial monuments. The oldest windmill The oldest remaining mill in the Netherlands is the Zeddam tower mill in the province of Gelderland. It is one of four remaining mills of its type. Built before 1451, it belonged to the ducal Van den Bergh family. Local farmers had no choice but to bring their grain to the mill, hence the name ‘dwangmolen’, or forced mill. During World War II, the mill was used by friend and foe alike: the Wehrmacht used it as a look-out post but it also sheltered local people who needed a safe house. Canadian soldiers left a radio transmitter in the attic which can still be seen today. The highest mill Molen de Noord in Schiedam is the highest classic windmill in the world. It stretches 33.3 metres...  More >

Off for a run? Don’t forget your eye mask

Off for a run? Don’t forget your rubber gloves and eye mask! With summer on its way, the streets of the Netherlands have reawakened with the sight of dusted-off trainers and lycra-clad runners but, as Rachel Kilbee has been finding out, there are some new necessities for the everyday runner to consider before lacing-up. By Rachel Kilbee Plogging - No, it’s not a typo — it’s definitely ‘Plogging' and it’s the latest craze that is spreading it’s environmental arms across over 40 countries, with the Netherlands taking up the baton with fervour. ‘Find a group of people to do it with. The more of you there are, the more fun you will have, you’ll clean up a bigger area and feel more productive pushing each other,’ says Erik Ahlström, founder of Plogga in Sweden where it all began. So what exactly does Erik want us to do? ‘It’s a treasure hunt!’ he said. The concept is simple — you run around your local area, collecting rubbish in a bag as you go. It’s cardio exercise with an added bonus of complimentary squats...  More >

Rabbi Lody van de Kamp: ‘I won't be used

Rabbi Lody van de Kamp: ‘I refuse to let myself be used to exclude other groups’ Attacks on a Jewish restaurant in Amsterdam, political parties signing a ‘Jewish Pact’ to protect the Jewish community, and a new report with shocking findings about increasing antisemitism in the Netherlands - amid all of the noise and hysteria, rabbi Lody van de Kamp has a different way of dealing with hate and discrimination. Laura Vrijsen went to meet him. Lody Van de Kamp (69) is an Orthodox Jewish rabbi living in Amsterdam. Being the son of two Holocaust survivors, he is very much aware of the dangers of discrimination and the exclusion of certain groups in society. He wrote several books about the Holocaust, and he regularly visits schools to teach children about World War II. More than this, the rabbi is involved in many projects aiming at building bridges between people from different backgrounds. He has particularly good connections within the Muslim community, and whenever he senses discrimination towards them, he is the first one to show his support. I...  More >

Podcast: The Shortbread and Chill Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Shortbread and Chill Edition – Week 18 It's an especially taxing edition of the podcast this week as we ask if the government has left expats high and dry with its changes to the 30% rule. Elsewhere, the Prime Minister fires a warning shot over the EU's plans to raise its budget after Brexit, passengers at Schiphol are stranded by a power cut, FC Twente crash out of the Eredivisie, Max Verstappen crashes out of another Grand Prix and an eight-year-old girl has an uplifting experience while waiting to cross a bridge. Top story Rutte calls EU plans to expand budget and scrap rebates 'unacceptable' News Dutch scientists create embryos without fertilisation Flights delayed and cancelled at Schiphol after power failure Websites selling fake goods taken offline Eight-year-old girl left dangling in mid-air from bridge barrier (NOS, Dutch) Sport Red Bull boss orders Verstappen and Ricciardo to apologise to team for crash FC Twente relegated after 34 years following 5-0 thrashing by Vitesse Ophef...  More >

Remembering the dead, celebrating freedom

May 4 and 5, remembering the dead and celebrating freedom Five years of occupation during WWII left an indelible imprint on the Netherlands, and the tangible memory of the war means National Remembrance Day is marked at a grand scale, with events and activities in villages, towns, cities and museums up and down the country.  In fact, it’s not just one day, but two. A day to remember the fallen on the May 4, and then a day to celebrate and cherish the freedom that they fought to protect, on the May 5. By Esther o'Toole Every year at 8pm on May 4, a formal Remembrance Day ceremony, headed by the king and queen, takes place in the Nieuwe Kerk followed by a wreath laying and two minutes of silence by the peace monument on the Dam. Around 20,000 members of the public attend the event on the Dam annually. It’s a poignant spot for the service, being the site of one of the last shootings of WWII when German soldiers holed up in the Groote Club shot at Amsterdammers celebrating the German surrender.  The two-minute silence is...  More >

'The Dutch should be proud of their food'

‘I wish, I really wish, my Dutch friends would be more proud of their food’ Ebere Akadiri rebels against the stereotypes of being a ‘trailing spouse’. Before she moved to the Netherlands from Nigeria, with five children in tow, she was running a successful catering business. The boredom she felt after selling her company spurred her on to open up Ataro Food and Spices in The Hague and release a cookbook to raise money for her charity. Oh, and she’s about to complete a Masters degree.  How did you end up in the Netherlands? I followed my husband. He works for Shell... at the time he was working in Port Harcourt, and then they transferred him to The Hague. That was in 2013. So I had to follow him with the children—all five of them. We had to literally pack the whole household and come to the Netherlands. Initially my restaurant business continued for another two years, but when it wasn’t going the way it should I had to let it go. We had two restaurants, and we did catering on the side. We cooked a lot of different foods - did curries and French...  More >

Blogwatching: The 30% ruling row

Blogwatching: What’s all the fuss about the 30% ruling? Molly Quell is an American journalist living in the Netherlands. She blogs at Neamhspleachas about anything that strikes her fancy and today turns her attention to the small bombshell which hit the international community last week. Internationals in the Netherlands have been up in arms recently about the government's planned changes to the 30% ruling. A petition has garnered over 10,000 signatures. So what's all the ophef about? Some people who are classed as highly-skilled migrants are eligible for the so-called 30% ruling which means, basically, you do not pay income tax on the first 30% of your earnings. There are a number of requirements. For example, you must earn a certain amount of money and you can’t have lived within 150 km of the Dutch border before you moved. Dutch citizens are also eligible - if they haven’t lived in the Netherlands for ten years. Essentially, the 30% rule is supposed to offset the costs of living abroad for the traditional expat....  More >

14 great things to do in May

From harps to glass blowing: 14 great things to do in May Celebrate freedom May 5 is Liberation Day and a day of national celebration, with 14 music festivals taking place across the country. Find out who will be performing at a festival near you on this website. Amsterdam is the scene of the traditional Liberation Day open air concert on the Amstel river in the presence of the royals and city dignitaries. You're invited too but it will be a bit of a squeeze. From 8.30pm  Website Come to Planet Harp If you think the harp is about ladies in floaty dresses playing the sort of dreamy music that used to introduce flashbacks in films you are only partly right. The harp is hip and used in pop and jazz as well as classical music. Apart from the annual harp contest the Dutch Harp festival offers a variety of events such as Concerts in the Dark, a concert by Spinvis and a performance by the National Ballet. It even features Harp yoga (cue some dreamy harp music)!  May 12 and13 at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht. Website Have a spoonful...  More >

Podcast: Missing Gordon Is Taxing

Dutch News Podcast – The Missing Gordon Is Taxing Edition – Week 17 It's a special King's Day podcast this week as the team examine the Dutch tradition of donning inflatable headgear and flogging your unwanted Dire Straits CDs to unsuspecting neighbours. We also find out why the prime minister was caught out by some unmemorable memos, why Turkey was upset about Menno and why expats are up in arms about the 30% ruling. Plus how a Dutch city gave a ringing endorsement to the late Swedish DJ Avicii. Dividend Tax Memos 30% Ruling Armenian...  More >

Are you ready for King's Day?

One in three adults buy something orange for King’s Day – are you one of them? If you are in the Netherlands at the moment, you cannot fail to have noticed it. Yes, King’s Day is about to hit and the orange tat is everywhere. This year, according to ING, three in 10 adults will buy something orange to wear - with the average bill reaching €26! This year too, the Friday weather forecast is not as bad as it could be. The day will start out sunny but there will be showers, particularly inland, although the temperature could be as high as 17 degrees in the south, the KNMI says optimistically. Here at opinion about King’s Day is divided. Some of us have been collecting our clutter to sell for months, some of us have a 24-hour feest ahead of us and some of us are even leaving the country to get away from it all. All you need is a plan. Here’s an updated version of ours. 1. If you are a party animal, you need to know that the best parties all take place the night before King’s Day and run until breakfast. This means you will not be up...  More >

Bike measures air pollution hotspots

Red light: air pollution measurement bike shows traffic hotspots Cycling might be a healthy way to get around, but what about all the fumes you breathe in while stuck behind a lorry or a moped? Senay Boztas has been finding out about efforts to quantify exactly what cyclists are inhaling. Laden with solar panels, video camera, batteries and three air-pollution measuring devices, the ‘soot’ bike is no easy ride. Not only does the €30,000 electric vehicle weigh a ton. But a spin on this bicycle will also weigh on your mind. The whole point of the air pollution measuring bike is to record the nitrogen dioxide, soot and ultrafine particles that you have just breathed in en route. A study last year suggested that the Dutch live, on average, four months less due to nitrogen dioxide in the air, and even though estimates for future air pollution levels are falling, last autumn a court in The Hague ordered the government to do more to improve air quality. Traffic fumes Some believe that mobile measurement systems could...  More >