Thursday 08 December 2022

Opinion pieces, columns and insights into Dutch news and current affairs from key commentators. The views expressed in these columns are the writers’ own. To contribute or request our guidelines, contact editor@dutchnews.nl.

A totally unbiased and wholly objective deep dive into the season’s best treat

A totally unbiased and wholly objective deep dive into the season’s best treat

Our regular columnist Molly Quell has done a deep dive into a very important and topical subject. Which kruidnoten are the best? I have written about my love for kruidnoten before. (And expressed my outrage that these delicious snacks are only available in the winter months.) But this year, I wanted to do some investigative work and determine, once and for all, which brand of kruidnoten is the most delicious. (Look, honestly, there is a lot less of ‘Santa’s elves... More >


Part-time a problem? A 40-hour week was not ordained by god

Part-time a problem? A 40-hour week was not ordained by god

Our regular columnist Molly Quell is tired of hearing all the discourse about part-time work in the Netherlands. She says 40 hours a week is not ordained by god and pay isn’t the only reason people aren’t working full-time.  Against all of my better judgment, I’ve repeatedly allowed myself to get dragged into debates about the ‘part-time’ work crisis in the country. In group chats, on Twitter, at the dinner table. The argument goes like this: The Netherlands has a... More >


There is no such thing as the standard mortgage for expats

There is no such thing as the standard mortgage for expats

Rising interest rates and changes in the official regulations may have an impact on whether or not you can get a mortgage. Financial advisor José de Boer has the lowdown. There was little new in last month’s budget for home buyers – although the government is increasing the transfer tax on buy to let properties from 8% to 10.4%. It has also decided that first time buyers up to the age of 35 will not have to pay transfer tax... More >


Booked in? How one mum got her teenagers to read

Booked in? How one mum got her teenagers to read

With herfstvakantie (autumn vacation) upon us, looking for ways to get your t(w)eens to read more? Or at all? Lauren Comiteau looks at how #Booktok changed her—and her daughters’—lives. As a lifelong reader, I always found it disheartening that my daughters didn’t take to the written word. They inherited other, less desirable behavioral traits, but despite years of bedtime Shel Silverstein poems and Judy Blume books, reading seemed as alien as doing the dishes. So, when I started working with... More >


Soaring energy prices exposed the government’s low-watt crisis management

Soaring energy prices exposed the government’s low-watt crisis management

Been there, done that. The Dutch energy crisis brings with it a sense of deja vu, writes Gordon Darroch. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. For weeks the government ignored the impending crisis and the experts imploring it to take preventive action. Other experts warned that we should wait and see rather than act in haste and disrupt the economy: the cure should not be worse than the disease. As the true scale of the problem became clear,... More >


I’m really sorry about all the sun

I’m really sorry about all the sun

Want someone to blame for the unending waves of heat this summer, even though it has now turned cooler? Our regular columnist Molly Quell has a confession to make. I have to apologise. I cursed us. In May, I wrote that I had been so deeply assimilated by the Dutch that I had started enjoying the sun. Not just enjoying it, but basking in it. ‘Considering how little sunshine the Netherlands gets on average, it’s no surprise that every place... More >


Be direct, it’s better

Be direct, it’s better

Our regular columnist Molly Quell has experienced some of that stereotypical Dutch directness lately and thinks that the Dutch are really onto something. A few weeks ago, I leashed up my dog and made it mere steps from my front door before I ran into my next-door neighbor. He’s an older guy, retired now, and spends most of his time taking care of his grandkids and listening to André Hazes. He clearly wants to ask me something. After briefly petting... More >


You can pry the handlebars from my cold dead hands

You can pry the handlebars from my cold dead hands

Our regular columnist Molly Quell annoyed Dutch cycling enthusiasts when she mentioned Amsterdam cycling culture on Twitter, and she sees some parallels with politics in her homeland.  I made the mistake recently of tweeting about cycling in Amsterdam. Specifically, an off-handed joke about how absolutely unhinged cyclists in the country’s capital are, after I watched a young woman career through an intersection against the red light, cutting off an Albert Heijn delivery truck, while balancing a beer crate on her... More >


Street life in Leiden: The big, bad, bureaucratic bench battle

Street life in Leiden: The big, bad, bureaucratic bench battle

It may look harmless and perfectly benign, but this bench has tormented dozens of residents in the centre of Leiden for over a decade. It was 11:30am on a sunny morning last July when a woman dropped her pants and attempted to use one of our front windows as a toilet. She had been drinking on a nearby public bench for at least an hour. My partner and I stood in our living room a few feet away, aghast, as... More >


Wait and see or take the plunge: Is now the right time to buy a house?

Wait and see or take the plunge: Is now the right time to buy a house?

With interest rates and inflation rising, some people now expect house prices to start coming down and are adopting a wait and see attitude before they buy. But mortgage advisor José de Boer says there is no time like the present to take the plunge. I am often asked at the moment if it is still the right time to buy a house, given that mortgage rates continue to rise and inflation is mounting too. My answer is always the... More >


Give everyone the option of becoming a dual national

Give everyone the option of becoming a dual national

Last month 102-year-old Canadian resident André Hissink hit the headlines. ‘WWII veteran, 102, gets back Dutch nationality after 70 years‘, Dutch News reported at the time. But what is great news for Mr Hissink only highlights the injustice done to so many people who wish to combine being Dutch with another nationality, says  Eelco Keij. Some among us might have shed a tear when we saw André Hissink’s delight at becoming Dutch again. How wonderful! Who would not be happy... More >


This is the summer of waiting in line, so let’s bring back Covid queueing

This is the summer of waiting in line, so let’s bring back Covid queueing

With long lines everywhere this summer, our regular columnist Molly Quell thinks we should bring back the Covid-proof queues. I watched with fascination and horror on Friday night as a near-riot broke out on my plane as passengers attempted to disembark. The flight was more than an hour delayed and numerous people were late for connecting flights. Stress levels were already running high, as lines in security had been long and airport cafes shut, all due of course to personnel... More >


Long live my ancient Nokia and its limited message storage

Long live my ancient Nokia and its limited message storage

Like Mark Rutte, Senay Boztas has for many years deleted text messages from her ancient Nokia. She wouldn’t have it any other way. Reader, I have an ancient Nokia. I regularly delete text messages. This is because it runs out of memory and then when some cranky security system is texting me with an access code, it doesn’t arrive unless I have deleted most things from the system. I’d like to say that it’s a Nokia 301, in excellent company... More >


Help! It is summer in the Netherlands and I’m being assimilated

Help! It is summer in the Netherlands and I’m being assimilated

As someone who comes from a place where there’s sunlight in abundance, regular columnist Molly Quell used to be unimpressed with the annual Dutch migration outside as soon as the sun shines. But then something changed.  It’s that time of year. The sun is shining, the birds are singing and the Dutch have decamped to the gardens, terraces and parks of the Netherlands. The people of the Netherlands feel the need to soak up a year’s worth of Vitamin D... More >


Why UK lenders are looking to deploy capital in the Netherlands

Why UK lenders are looking to deploy capital in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is poised to experience strong growth in the coming period, and that is making it extra attractive to UK lenders, says Charlie Armstrong, the director of real estate advisory group LEXI Finance. The UK commercial real estate funding market is at a highly competitive point in the cycle. Traditional British-based lenders – who largely hoarded cash during the height of the pandemic – have returned to market with a tangible eagerness for new opportunities. And they are not... More >


The new government’s housing strategy must be more than gesture politics

The new government’s housing strategy must be more than gesture politics

The government’s decision to reduce the role of property values in determining rents is a symbolic gesture which will not help tenants and will hurt individual landlords, says Jasper de Groot, director of rental housing platform Pararius. In the Netherlands, housing rents – in the social housing sector – are determined by using a complicated system based on points. So a property gets points for having outside space, for having a modern kitchen and central heating, as well as its... More >


It’s wedding season and Dutch marriages are based on fairytales

It’s wedding season and Dutch marriages are based on fairytales

Wedding season is upon us and, with the pandemic having wrecked many big days, this summer is seeing an explosion in couples celebrating their nuptials. Before you head off to a Dutch wedding, Molly Quell wants you to prepare yourself to be lied to by the official overseeing this very important and legally binding ceremony.  Dutch wedding traditions are ripe for comedic fodder. The multi-tiered invitation structure. The exhausting all-day celebration (if you’re a top-tier invite.) And let’s not even... More >


The Dutch medical system is terrible in new and creative ways

The Dutch medical system is terrible in new and creative ways

Our regular columnist Molly Quell just wanted to refill a prescription and ended up in a circle of hell even Dante could not have envisioned.  The trouble started over a year ago. I attempted to log into the patient portal to request a repeat prescription. The website informed me that I had no profile. I called the office and, after being on hold for 20 minutes, I was rudely informed I wasn’t a patient at the practice. ‘I’ve been a... More >


The Perfect Protest: Lessons from the frontline

The Perfect Protest: Lessons from the frontline

From recent anti-lockdown protests to artful demonstrations in the country’s cultural venues, Lauren Comiteau learned these lessons from Amsterdam’s Museumplein protests. No. Not the ones on the Museumplein, silly. The ones in it.  You know—the Van Gogh Museum turned barbershop and nail salon and the Royal Concertgebouw-cum-hairdressers. I’d been to all three. And what I learned at the 15,000-strong anti-lockdown, anti-vax, anti-Big Pharma, anti-even-bigger-government and anti-everything protest on the Museumplein a couple Sundays ago was that I should maybe be... More >


Start inquiry into excess deaths now to make better decisions later

Start inquiry into excess deaths now to make better decisions later

The government is inexplicably slow to give the green light to an investigation into the high number of excess deaths in the Netherlands, say probability expert Ronald Meester and health economist Eline van den Broek-Altenburg. On December 1 MPs voted unanimously in favour  of a motion tabled by Pieter Omtzigt requesting an independent scientific inquiry into the current excess mortality figures. So far the cabinet has done nothing to initiate such an inquiry, a remarkable and irresponsible omission in a... More >