Tuesday 26 May 2020

Wynia's Week: Identifying 19 risks to (Dutch) democracy

Democracy is on the wane in many countries, and it is not just populism that is to blame. The traditional parties, both on the left and the right of the spectrum must take responsibility, says Syp Wynia. Our rights and freedom are slowly being eroded. A newspaper article containing comments sceptical about climate change is removed from Facebook,  on the recommendation of the editorial team of NU.nl, the country’s largest news site. Nu.nl  has now apparently been given the job... More >

Brexit and Me: 'Going Dutch makes sense'

How are British nationals in the Netherlands coping with Brexit? In the run-up to October 31 and beyond, we are talking to Brits about how Brexit is affecting them personally, what they are planning to do to regulate their stay, and how they view the UK. Matty Mitford, 42, moved to Amsterdam in 2013 as a campaigns organiser and is currently studying graphic design in The Hague. She plans to take Dutch nationality so she can remain an EU citizen... More >

Art and more art: things to do in October

Serious art, serious spending on art and art to keep you amused at the seaside are among the offerings in October. Find out what do do with your dosh The John Adams Institute in Amsterdam is hosting American author of the book The Purpose of Capital Jed Emerson to discuss ‘impact investing’ i.e. getting your money’s worth but in a nice way. He is billed as outspoken en ‘sometimes cantankerous’ so that should be fun. October 1. Website Come to... More >

Podcast: Great British Bird-Off Edition

In a week literally exploding with news, we examine how the coalition may lose its majority over a building permit, the mayor of Amsterdam got in hot water over a non-smoking gun, ministers faced tough questions about Stints and jihadist passports, and some Dutch political horse-trading left British citizens in an unstable situation. There’s also our usual round-up of the week’s sporting action, ophef about the Battle of Arnhem and the strange but true story of Utrecht’s smallest jailbird. Want... More >

Civilised debate is hallmark of democracy

Democracy isn’t served by taking a leaf out of the Brexit playbook but by conducting a civilised debate, says professor Reinout Wibier, professor of civil law at Tilburg University. The dramatic developments surrounding Brexit show how easy it is for a civilised country to descend into a situation of paralysing polarisation. The divide between Brexiters on the one hand and Remainers on the other has become so wide that a serious dialogue no longer seems possible. The two camps are... More >

Leiden: a great place to own a home

White rolls and herring – they are more than just another quick Dutch meal in Leiden. Every year on the 3rd October, everyone who signs up is entitled to this free fish dinner to celebrate the city’s liberation from a Spanish siege in 1574. Leiden’s sense of community is on full display every October, with a day off for feasting on fish and local stamppot, beer, and partying. This neighbourly spirit, as well as charming old buildings, quiet canals and... More >

'Left alone, I'd eat at the snackbar'

Journalist and UK-native Tony Sheldon has lived in Utrecht since moving to the Netherlands for love more than 20 years ago. He’s written a book about the Battle of Arnhem, says he will never move back to Britain and would like to meet musician Jett Rebel. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I came here to in 1984 to interview the peace activist Mient Jan Faber for a story I was writing. I was living in London at... More >

Indian expats share their experiences

Plugging a knowledge gap in the Dutch workforce, Indian migrants make up one of the fastest-growing expat groups in the Netherlands. So how does this new community experience the Netherlands and its changing cultural landscape? In October 2009, a giant tent went up in the centre of Amstelveen for the town’s first Diwali festival. Inside, the group of organisers – a mix of council officials and Indian residents – turned to each other nervously. Would the 900-person tent dwarf the... More >

Podcast: The Sexy Brexit Muppet Edition

There was only one question on everybody’s lips on Prinsjesdag (aka Budget Day) this year, eclipsing even the speculation about Marianne Thieme’s outfit or whether Wopke or Erik came up with the €50 billion special projects fund: would King Willem-Alexander be the first monarch to deliver his speech through a beard? We also reflect on the shocking murder of a lawyer on his doorstep in Amsterdam, the sad death of Fernando Ricksen at 43, a stunningly candid interview by the... More >

What does the budget mean for your money?

Earlier this week the government announced a package of measures which it plans to implement in 2020, some of which were new, some of which had already been published and some of which had been leaked. Here is a round up of the main tax changes for 2020 and how they will affect your finances. 1 Fewer tax brackets From next year, the tax office will only work with two tax brackets (it is currently four). Earnings up to €68,507... More >

A fairytale castle with a jet set past

You may have never heard of Kasteel de Haar, but it’s the largest castle in the Netherlands, with a long and entertaining history. Today the castle is partly open to the public and photos of the jet set celebrities who visited line the walls in a hallway in the former stables, which house a cafe.  During his first visit to Kasteel de Haar in 1960, Gregory Peck got lost while searching for the bathroom in his bedchamber. To be fair,... More >

A new ‘war on drugs’ is short sighted

When the Dutch government liberalised cannabis policy in 1976, they understood that the legalisation and regulation of cannabis was actually the best solution, or at least the least bad one. They also knew that legalisation would be highly controversial internationally. Fifteen years earlier, in 1961, the international community, with the US at the forefront decided, on rather questionable grounds, that a number of drugs should be banned. Consequently the Netherlands took a half measure, decriminalising the possession and use, and... More >

Podcast: The Royal Flying Flamingo Edition

It’s been a week of courtroom drama in the Netherlands as Geert Wilders calls for his race-baiting trial to be thrown out for political interference, a doctor is cleared of murder in a landmark euthanasia case, a woman seeks redress for having her baby taken away from the state in the 1960s and a key MH17 witness becomes a pawn in a prisoner exchange. We also look back at Oranje’s historic 4-2 win over Germany and try to explain why... More >

Sign up for the 'I am not a tourist' fair

The annual ‘i am not a tourist’ Expat Fair for Internationals returns to the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam, for its 17th edition! Sunday 6th October 2019 will soon be rolling round again and with it the annual ´i am not a tourist´ Expat Fair for Internationals, Amsterdam edition. Now in its 17th year the Expat Fair has more on offer than ever. Whether you are thinking of settling in The Netherlands, in the process of settling in, or have long... More >

'The Dutch are very practical'

Documentary portrait photographer and wild swimmer Sophie Ebrard (42) from Grenoble flitted between London and Amsterdam for four years before settling in the Netherlands in 2017. She quickly made a name for herself with her exhibition ‘It’s Just Love’, shot on the set of a porn film; and, more recently, for an article on being rejected for a job when she inquired about breastfeeding on set. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I was living in London with... More >

Mortgages are cheap, so should you buy?

Anyone who follows developments on the housing market cannot have failed to notice that mortgage interest rates are still going down. But what can you actually get for your money? Check out a mortgage interest rate comparison website and the trend is obvious. There is plenty of choice on a 10-year fixed mortgage for rock-bottom rates – and not just from the providers you may never have heard of. A 10-year mortgage of €600,000 will cost you around 1.7% from... More >

Dutch destinations: An Amsterdam mid-week

Amsterdammers may go on a lot about over-tourism, but there is plenty to see and do in the Dutch capital which does not involve waiting in queues for hours, or fighting your way through the hoards. A couple of years ago Amsterdam launched a deliberate strategy to try and spread tourism by pinpointing the highlights outside the centre, and urging visitors to spend time there. At the same time, it has attempted to hijack attractions well outside the city –... More >

Podcast: The I Know What Otten Did Edition

The podcast team look back over a summer of blistering heat and bristling with ophef: who poisoned the plants in Thierry Baudet’s office? Why does Haarlem have a problem with globetrotters? And was the king wise to come out as a redbeard? We also look at how Amsterdam became a paradise for cocaine dealers, why the Labour party has done a U-turn on student funding and Ronald Koeman’s return to Hamburg 31 years after he wiped the floor with the... More >