Medical marijuana: Dutch not straight

Medical marijuana – high time the Dutch got their message straight The Netherlands is a major exporter of medical marijuana, even though it has never been formally approved here as a treatment for Dutch patients. And this year, the majority of Dutch health insurance companies stopped paying for it as well. Esther O’Toole investigates. Guus de Lange from Amsterdam has endured severe migraines for over 10 years: ‘Nothing else worked. The migraines were very frequent and extremely painful and medical cannabis is the only thing that alleviated them. All the other drugs came with dreadful side effects too.’ De Lange is one of an increasing number of patients in the Netherlands who have found mediwiet the best relief from conditions as varied as chronic pain, nausea associated with cancer treatment, and muscle spasms associated with MS. Medical cannabis has been allowed on prescription in the Netherlands since 2003 and until recently was often covered by health insurers, if patients could show no other medication gave adequate relief of symptoms. Cannabis...  More >


Podcast: The Crooks and Crocs Edition

Hear all about it: Dutch News podcast – The Crooks and Crocs Edition – Week 12 This week's podcast features a cat burglar who stole two Van Goghs, a vintage map found up a chimney, an American donut invasion and some fully accredited guard crocodiles. We also look at the latest developments in the attempts to forming a new four-party government. Top Story Latest coalition talks News New Parliament sworn in The return of Dunkin Donuts Map recovered from Scottish chimney Crocodile Gang in court Stolen Van Goghs back in Amsterdam Brandpunt documentary: How this man stole two Van Goghs (Dutch) Sport FIFA World Cup qualifier: Bulgaria v Netherlands (Saturday, 20:45) Australian Grand Prix Discussion Coalition talks Budget surplus  More >


'I enjoy the diaries, they're organised'

‘I enjoy the diaries, they make everything so organised’ Colombian native Elvira Mendoza met the man who would become her husband during a diplomatic project in Amsterdam. Now her six-year-old son is helping her learn Dutch, but she still has issues with Dutch coffee. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I grew up in Bogota and I studied political science and international relations at both Rosario University and Externado University. During my studies, there was an economic crisis and unemployment reached over 30%. There were hardly any jobs but I ended up teaching English for 12 years. My father is also the co-founder of the Colombian YMCA and I had been involved in the organisation since I was young. I joined the executive committee of the world alliance in 1994 and, because of this in 2003, I received an email about a project over here to promote development awareness and the help given by Netherlands to other countries. I came here a few times a year for the next five years to help at events and be interviewed during press conferences....  More >


Bright sparks: female entrepreneurs

Sparking your interest: boosting female start-up entrepreneurs In a city as entrepreneurial as Amsterdam some may find it unusual that a community focused on female entrepreneurs would be needed, let alone that it would be growing and thriving year on year. Amsterdam offers many opportunities for entrepreneurs, a culture which allows for flexible working and a creative vibe which encourages innovation irrespective of gender. Isn’t that enough? Look a little closer though, and you will find a different story, because if women make up 52 % of the total European population then doesn’t it seem incongruous that only 34.4 % of the women in the European Union are self-employed or that they represent a mere 30 % of EU start-up entrepreneurs? In a female dominant society, why is entrepreneurship still considered a male vocation? It shouldn’t be, but it is. Research shows that: Women and men demonstrate different motivations when choosing entrepreneurial careers. Women choose different business formations when starting in business ...  More >


Anti-rights rhetoric goes mainstream in NL

Dutch election: anti-rights rhetoric goes mainstream despite Wilders’ defeat Last week's general election in the Netherlands was one of the most closely watched in years. But the fact that Geert Wilders' radical right party failed to make major gains does not mean he has not had an impact, writes Anna Timmerman of Human Rights Watch. While most of the world was focused only on one party, the radical right populist Party for Freedom (PVV) and its leader Geert Wilders, the Dutch cast their votes widely across 13 parties, two of them winning seats for the first time. No party got more than 22% of the vote. For the rest of the world, the fact that the PVV fared less well than many polls had predicted and was soundly beaten by the centre-right Liberal party (VVD, 21.3% of the vote and 33 seats) is an understandable cause for celebration. Populism failed its first big test since Trump’s election and Brexit. While its share of the vote (13.1%) and seats (20) are an increase from 2012, they are lower than the party garnered in 2010, when this brand of...  More >


Podcast: The Panda to Populism Edition

Hear all about it: Dutch News Podcast – The Panda to Populism Edition – Week 11 In this week's election podcast we analyse the results of the vote and look ahead to the business of forming the next government. There's also some news on the giant pandas and a businessman who's been ordered to remove 280 goldfish from a canal. Note: this episode was recorded on Friday morning before it was known that PvdA MP Lilianne Ploumen had retained her seat on preference votes. Top Story Election results News Goldfish Pandas Discussion Election 2017: http://www.rtlnieuws.nl/verkiezingen http://nos.nl/artikel/2163516-winst-en-verlies-op-de-kaart-hoe-deden-partijen-het-in-het-land.html http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/03/elections-2017-what-the-dutch-papers-say/ Cabinet formation: http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2017/03/dutch-election-aftermath-coalition-options-and-the-influence-of-alt-right/ https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2017/03/16/stratego-begint-meteen-op-dag-1-7416404-a1550747 And since we had a go at the foreign media...  More >


10 dead animals with a story

From a hedgehog with a sweet tooth to a rapist duck: 10 dead animals The Natuurhistorisch Museum  in Rotterdam is home to an extraordinary collection called ‘Dead animals with a story’. The stories of how the animals came to their sticky ends are told, very entertainingly, by curator Kees Moeliker who, as the following selection shows, has a particularly good nose for sniffing out a carcass. The domino sparrow Just when the organisers of an attempt to break the world domino toppling record had painstakingly placed four million tiles in the right place, a sparrow (Passer domesticus) decided to knock down some 23,000 to help them on their way. The sparrow, which was soon dubbed the Dominomus, was shot dead for its pains and became world famous. The parliamentary mouse Moeliker, reading about a plague of mice in Dutch parliamentary complex, started a quest for a dead mouse with a background in politics which, he said, would be just the thing for his collection. No-one would help him. Then, a package arrived. In it was a dead mouse still in...  More >


From careers to childcare: IamExpat Fair

From careers to childcare, the Amsterdam IamExpat Fair has it covered The IamExpat Fair - Amsterdam, 2017, takes place on Saturday, March 25 at Amsterdam’s Westergasfabriek. The IamExpat Fair is designed to support internationals in the Netherlands, and connect them with local businesses and service providers. This landmark event is an exciting opportunity for internationals to find everything they need in one location, on one day. From companies and services in careers, housing, education and expat services, to family, health and leisure - the IamExpat Fair has it covered! Running from 10am to 5pm in the Zuiveringshal West at Westergasfabriek, this free single-day event will host stands from dozens of companies and organisations. Free workshops and presentations will be happening throughout the day at Het Ketelhuis, the Westergastheater and the Werkkamer. Visitors to the IamExpat Fair can: Get assistance to find the right rental property or understand the mortgage process Learn how to advance their career through professional development ...  More >


12 reasons to be cheerful about life in NL

On election day, 12 reasons to be cheerful about life in the Netherlands If you listen too much to the politicians, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Netherlands is on the verge of collapse. Integration has failed, refugees are running riot, pensioners are impoverished and everyone supports Geert Wilders. Nonsense! The economy is on the up, crime is down and 80% of people don't vote for the PVV. Politicians may be waxing lyrical about the way the Netherlands used to be, but nostalgia for the 1950s is largely misplaced. Women were stuck at home, it was perfectly legal to discriminate against gay people, we were less well educated and even though there were far fewer cars, we were more likely to die in a traffic accident. So as 12 million people in the Netherlands cast their votes for the next government, here's a list of 12 reasons for optimism. 1 Women are working more and earning more Seven in 10 women now have a job. They might only work part-time but hey, it was not until 1956 that a law requiring married women to have their husband's...  More >


Seven ways of cutting your Dutch tax bill

The annual tax return: seven ways of cutting your Dutch tax bill It's that time of year again... the deadline for filing your annual tax return (May 1) is fast approaching. But don't be fooled by the Dutch tax office advertising slogan -  ‘we can’t make it nicer, but we can make it easier’. Anyone with anything but the standard situation will know that ‘easy’ is not the best word to describe the stress of filling in a Dutch tax return. Take heart, however, from the fact that as a foreign resident, you are more likely to be paying too much tax rather than not enough. But before you seek specialist help or decide to give it a go yourself, check out these seven basic tax breaks which might apply to you. 1 Personal deductions Have you had high medical bills not covered by insurance, or are you a generous giver to charity? There are all sorts of personal expenses which you can deduct from tax. It makes sense to cluster them into one year as much as possible so that you meet the threshold for the tax break. Items which can be entirely...  More >


Dutch normen en waarden - what are they?

Normen en waarden – everyone talks about them, but what are they? Normen en waarden - when the Dutch aren't arguing or worrying about them, they're telling everyone else to observe them. Everyone agrees they're important and they have become a key election theme, but nobody seems to be quite sure what distinguishes the normen from the waarden. Here's our attempt to lead you through the moral maze. Who started the discussion? It goes back to Christian Democrat prime minister Jan-Peter Balkenende (CDA) who first put norms and values on the agenda in 2002. Balkenende was worried that society was becoming more brutish (hufterig) and said the government should encourage citizens to treat each other with respect. It may or may not have been related to the frequent mocking that Balkenende endured in the media. Various projects were set up to promote good citizenship, from combating racism to encouraging motorists to be more polite behind the wheel. Where are we now? Nowadays no self-respecting politician is without an opinion about...  More >


The perfect PVV antidote: baba ganoush

The perfect PVV antidote: hummus, baba ganoush and couscous Where would Amsterdam be without the cuisine of all those countries under fire from the current wave of anti-immigration politicians? Food writer Vicky Hampton picks her favourite restaurants run by North African and Middle Eastern immigrants - the perfect antidote to PVV populism. As a British immigrant (just about – I’ve applied for Dutch citizenship in this post-Brexit world), I don’t merit a vote in the upcoming general election in the Netherlands. But all the polls are pointing to one scary reality: yet more blonde-mopped craziness, this time in the form of Geert Wilders. Fearful of the 'Islamification' of the country, his solution is to stop Muslim immigrants – partly in the form of a Trump-style blanket ban on migrants from Islamic countries. As a food writer for over a decade in Amsterdam, I’m more than a little grateful for the Moroccan, Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian (the list goes on) restaurants that spice up the cuisine of the Dutch capital. The same is undoubtedly...  More >


The office is just a 10 minute cycle away

‘The office is just a 10 minute cycle away, it’s priceless’ Lior Bornshtain, 43, is an Israeli entrepreneur who moved to the Netherlands in 1998 with his dog and his wife. He has learnt to skate, speak Dutch, and eat Stamppot, and never visit a neighbour without an appointment. He loves the village way of life in Amsterdam and has no plans to return to Tel Aviv. How did you end up in the Netherlands? We decided that we wanted to move from Tel Aviv to Europe. It was me, my wife and the dog. There were two cities at the top of our list: London and Amsterdam. Dogs had to be quarantined for six months in the UK so we said, ‘OK, let’s go for Amsterdam’. London was our first choice because of the language but, when I look back, I’m really happy we ended up in Amsterdam. How do you describe yourself - an expat, lovepat, immigrant, international etc? My wife and I came together so I would say immigrant. How would you make the distinction between expat and immigrant? I think it’s the same. We moved here just to try it out - and we stayed...  More >


'Populism has swamped long-term issues'

Election interview: ‘Long-term issues are swamped by populism’ The election in March presents Dutch voters with an unprecedented choice, says former Labour minister and economics professor Rick van der Ploeg. This is, he says, is a choice not just between parties or policy platforms, but between irreconcilable forms of reality, as Gordon Darroch reports. Welcome to democracy in the age of post-truth politics and alternative facts. 'The Netherlands used to be very rational with scientifically oriented, evidence-based policy, but that's now shifting towards being just an opinion,' says Van der Ploeg. 'You might have researched something for 20 years, but now people say I'm sorry, but I have a different opinion.' That difference is fundamental in the Netherlands, where parties faithfully submit their election manifestos to be evaluated by the government's economic planning bureau CPB. The agency crunches the numbers and forecasts the effect of their plans on the economy to within a tenth of a percentage point, and the figures are influential...  More >


The newbies of the Dutch election

The newbies of the Dutch election: six first time parties More than half the parties taking part in the upcoming Dutch election will present themselves to voters for the first time. Yörük Bahçeli takes a look at six which might just make it into parliament. The new parties on this year's ballot box have been the focus of much attention on social media. A recent study calculating the number of seats they would win based on the number of times they have been mentioned on Twitter put the number at 15. However, reality is far from that, with polls showing only Denk, Forum voor Democratie and VNL likely to win a mere two to five seats between them. Paul Lucardie, researcher at the political party documentation centre at Groningen University sees Denk as the most likely to succeed. ‘You have to own an issue that’s quite distinctive, not really represented by established parties,’ he told DutchNews.nl. Muslim voters ‘Their distinctive issue is non-discrimination. Even though that issue has been mentioned by parties like...  More >


Podcast - Week 9

Hear all about it: Dutch News Podcast – The Lock Her Up Edition – Week 9 We talk police diversity, polls and arresting grandma in the latest Dutch News podcast. For the discussion, it's all election updates. Top Story Groningen Gas News Police Diversity Russian Election Interference Oversubscription Granny Beavers Polls Discussion www.parool.nl/binnenland/jan-roo…mij-niet~a4450045/ www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/20…income-tax-call/ www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/20…the-netherlands/  More >


The essential guide to Dutch gezelligheid

Forget hygge, here’s 11 essential steps to Dutch gezelligheid You can hardly move at the moment for books and articles singing the praises of hygge – the Danish art of getting snug and cosy at home. But we think the Dutch version – gezelligheid – is unfairly overlooked, easier on your pocket and less of a nightmare to pronounce. Like hygge (or so we've been told), it's a blend of simple pleasures: cosiness, togetherness, conviviality, jolliness, contentedness. Here's our 11-step guide to the essentials of chilling out, Dutch style. 1 Firstly, make sure your home has the right look and feel. That means sitting in semi-darkness with a lot of flickering little candles in glass holders. It's impossible to read and you can barely see each other but it’s gezellig. The Dutch have a verb for it too: ‘schemeren’, or sitting contentedly in the twilight. 2 Use lekker and diminutives. The Dutch often use the word lekker to intensify a pleasurable experience: lekker een bakkie doen (have a coffee)’, or lekker shoppen. It makes it...  More >


Nyenrode MBA moves to Amsterdam

Nyenrode moves full-time MBA programme to heart of Amsterdam Nyenrode Business Universiteit is moving its full-time MBA programme into the heart of Amsterdam to to better integrate students with the European business community. From September, the university’s flagship programme will be located at De Vijf Keijzers on the Keizersgracht. The relocation is part of a wider initiative to further immerse the programme within the European business landscape. Nyenrode already connects students with the Dutch labour market through activities such as 'Meet the CEO' sessions, careers events held through the school’s career & personal development centre. In 2016 Nyenrode launched its European immersion modules within the full-time MBA, through which students can visit companies operating in a variety of sectors in key European capitals including Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Milan and Paris. Moving closer to opportunities in the Netherlands Increased interest from the school’s international students to become better connected with the...  More >


Net broadcaster helps refugees connect

The net broadcaster helping refugees connect in the Netherlands In a modern office complex in Hilversum, all sleek elevators and glass walkways, are four journalists who know the value of free speech. Deborah Nicholls-Lee went to meet Arash, Basel, Besan and Kowfurow - refugees who were denied the right to speak their mind in their home countries. It is a far cry from fleeing your homeland to working in the heart of the Dutch media landscape, but Arash, Basel, Besan and Kowfurow have been lucky. In November 2016 they were selected to be part of an expanding editorial team at Net in Nederland (NiN)  a new website that uses subtitled Dutch television to help refugees improve their Dutch and to integrate into their new lives in the Netherlands. Kowfurow Ali (31), a Somalian who came to the Netherlands in 2009, explains how their work at NiN office mirrors its mission: ‘It is a learning process for us as well, as we are learning about the Dutch samenleving in depth [and] we’re learning the Dutch language because we speak, read and write...  More >