Tuesday 06 December 2022

Longer articles about living in the Netherlands, Dutch society, culture and travel plus third party content from our partners


Escape the Dutch winter: visit Monchique, almost untouched Algarve

Escape the Dutch winter: visit Monchique, almost untouched Algarve

Looking to escape the Dutch winter for a while? In the far south of Portugal, the Monchique hills reveal an almost untouched Algarve, with plenty of options to relax or enjoy the great outdoors. Known as the ‘garden’ of the Algarve, the Monchique hills spill over with stunning landscapes, hosting a unique biodiversity due to its particular climate. The proximity to the mountain and the Atlantic coastline endow this area with a large number of watercourses and waterfalls as well... More >


From Dickens to dance and a dress: 13 great things to do in December

From Dickens to dance and a dress: 13 great things to do in December

Ho ho ho, and a bottle of bubbly: December is here and we’re of good cheer, rhyming away for Sinterklaas and ordering the turkey for Christmas, or scouring the internet for a cheap break in the Brazilian jungle. From party animals to people a cattle prod couldn’t force into a festive gathering, there’s something for everyone this month. Go to Piet school Sinterklaas is a welcome house guest just about everywhere these days be it a humble hovel or an... More >


All lit up: take a boat tour around the Amsterdam Light Festival art

All lit up: take a boat tour around the Amsterdam Light Festival art

As the dark nights draw in, Amsterdam lights up and this winter is no exception. Bridges are covered in lights, Christmas decorations are everywhere and the Amsterdam Light Festival takes place. This year’s light festival, dubbed Imagine Beyond aims to ‘unleash the power of our imagination’, though 20 different art works dotted around the Plantage neighbourhood of Amsterdam. The festival, now in its 11th edition, has become a fixture on the Dutch capital’s calendar and draws thousands of people every... More >


Freelancing frustrations: The hurdles ZZP’ers face in Holland

Freelancing frustrations: The hurdles ZZP’ers face in Holland

Freelancing is no longer a smooth way to make your money in the Netherlands. New requirements, fewer benefits and a raft of other regulations aim to reduce the popularity of self employment, affecting the working lives of well over one million people. Freelancers are a group that is far more diverse than you might assume. They include everyone from translators and consultants working from their home offices to hairdressers at your local salon, parcel and food delivery workers, and even... More >


Dutch integration policy fails partners: ‘You become so vulnerable’

Dutch integration policy fails partners: ‘You become so vulnerable’

New research undertaken at the Vrije Universiteit highlights the challenges faced by foreign nationals moving to the Netherlands to be with Dutch partners and argues that, for this group, current integration policy misses the mark. ‘I didn’t choose the Netherlands. I chose him,’ said one interviewee. ‘I’d love to say I came here for this great job, but I didn’t,’ responded another. ‘I came here for a man.’ When Ashling Turner, a Master’s student at the Vrije Universiteit, interviewed fifteen... More >


From a bank account to zakgeld: handy financial tips for expat parents

From a bank account to zakgeld: handy financial tips for expat parents

As any parent knows, children are not cheap. In fact, according to the Dutch national statistics agency CBS, two children will cost a family in the Netherlands around 25% of the household income! Here are some of the most important things you should know about children and finances. Pocket money and financial education Children in the Netherlands are given a lot of freedom with money but at the same time, they get less pocket money or zakgeld on average than... More >


Change starts here: Amsterdam mayor pledges new city style

Change starts here: Amsterdam mayor pledges new city style

The mayor of Amsterdam tells Senay Boztas why she wants to ban tourists from coffee shops, move the red light district and create a new model for public service government There is a paradox of tolerance playing out on the streets of Amsterdam. Its internationalism, free spirit, compact size and buzzing city life have brought prosperity…and problems. ‘I think Amsterdam has always been international, a city that has welcomed minorities, cultural opinions, a city keen on tolerance,’ says Femke Halsema,... More >


Changes ahead in the 30% ruling, as government introduces an income cap

Changes ahead in the 30% ruling, as government introduces an income cap

If you are one of the lucky international workers who benefit from the 30% ruling, or if you are an employer with expat staff, there are two changes ahead you need to know about. The 30% ruling makes it possible for expats with specific expertise and salary levels to pay no tax on 30% of their income for a maximum of five years. The government has now decided to cap the maximum benefit in 2024 after earlier reducing the time... More >


Andrij Kurkov: ‘I’ve lived through five Ukraines in the last 30 years’

Andrij Kurkov: ‘I’ve lived through five Ukraines in the last 30 years’

On the eve of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the novelist Andriy Kurkov was cooking borscht in Kyiv for a group of friends. They included two western journalists who were in town to write about the escalating situation in Ukraine. But even then, after 150,000 Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border and Vladimir Putin had signed decrees recognising the Russian-controlled republics in Donbas as independent statelets, most Ukrainians were blasé about the prospect of a full-scale invasion. ‘We were joking... More >


Health insurance premiums soar (+ how much you can save in 2023)

Health insurance premiums soar (+ how much you can save in 2023)

All Dutch health insurance companies have announced their premiums for 2023 so that means the window for changing your insurance plan has officially begun. Premiums may be rising, but this year, switching to another health insurance could be even more financially rewarding, data by Zorgwijzer suggests. About 85% of the population is insured with one of the four biggest insurance companies and their premiums have gone up by the following averages: Zilveren Kruis: + € 8.27 per month VGZ: +... More >


Inburgerings with Dutch News: Sinterklaas and December 5

Inburgerings with Dutch News: Sinterklaas and December 5

Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands this weekend, so if you are a relatively new arrival, here’s a special lesson in the Dutch News inburgering course to bring you up to speed. Lesson 34: Sinterklaas Who is Sinterklaas? The man in the mitre is impersonating Saint Nicholas, a 4th century bishop who lived in Myra, in what is now Turkey. From the 11th century onwards, news of his miracles spread around Western Europe and he became the patron saint of practically... More >


Sim only is pretty simple: here’s what you need to know

Sim only is pretty simple: here’s what you need to know

Are you a package kind of person or do you prefer to keep your choice of phone and data separate? We’ve got the lowdown on sim only subscriptions. What is Sim only? A sim only subscription is exactly what it says it is. In other words a phone subscription without a phone. So whether you’ve bought yourself the newest iPhone or want to keep using your current phone or even a second hand or refurbished option, it’s all possible. You... More >


Cheers: Dutch vineyards benefit from warmer weather

Cheers: Dutch vineyards benefit from warmer weather

The Dutch wine industry is growing, as climate change and heatwaves bring warmer temperatures and drier conditions to help produce top-quality wines. John Grutters is eager to win over skeptical wine lovers who have never had a glass of Dutch wine. ‘It takes three tastes and then we can discuss Dutch wine,’ Grutters says during a recent tour of his De Plack winery in Groesbeek, a village nestled in the rolling hills in Gelderland province near the German border. Grutters... More >


Still holding out? Amsterdam’s toilet troubles continue

Still holding out? Amsterdam’s toilet troubles continue

Finding a public toilet in Amsterdam has been a problem that’s pestered locals and visitors alike for generations. As year-round tourism returns to the nation’s capital, here’s how city officials, businesses, residents, and folks who just need a loo are all dealing with a desperate situation. On a recent sunny afternoon a young tourist walked up to the automated public toilets on the Leidseplein near the Apple Store. She became frustrated and angrily stormed away when its automated pay system... More >


Council controls: Rekenkamers check if policy adds up

Council controls: Rekenkamers check if policy adds up

Think national and local governments can get away with doing what they like with your money? Think again. Senay Boztas finds out about the institutions that check if they are keeping their promises, without over-spending. Unique in the world, the Dutch don’t just trust our governments to do the sums and stick to their promises. The Netherlands has an unusually large number of independent institutions intended to keep an eye on politicians and the executive. While local and national ombudsmen... More >


The Hague museum had a real Rembrandt after all, research shows

The Hague museum had a real Rembrandt after all, research shows

An investigation into a sketch in oils in the collection of the Museum Bredius in The Hague has concluded that the work is by Rembrandt after all, the museum has announced. The Raising of the Cross was bought by art historian and collector Abraham Bredius on the assumption that the painting was by Rembrandt but it was excluded from his oeuvre in 1969. From then it continued life as a 17th century copy by a follower of Rembrandt in the... More >


Photographer Jimmy Nelson pays tribute to Netherlands’ rich heritage

Photographer Jimmy Nelson pays tribute to Netherlands’ rich heritage

The latest work by Amsterdam-based photographer Jimmy Nelson shines a light on the Netherlands’ distinct regional identities and the beauty of their traditional dress. ‘It’s a love story and a gift to the nation that’s saved me,’ says British photographer Jimmy Nelson of his latest photographic series Between the sea & the sky, which tells the stories of 20 Dutch regions through their legends, their landscapes, and their traditional dress, still worn for special events and by some isolated communities.... More >


Dutch words you need to know to get the best health insurance deal

Dutch words you need to know to get the best health insurance deal

Over the next few days, Dutch health insurance companies will start publishing their premiums for 2023. That means it is the start of the season to switch to a better deal. Not all insurance companies publish information in English, so here’s some of the terminology you’ll need to understand to get the insurance that is right for you. Basisverzekering If you live or work in the Netherlands, you are required by law to take out health insurance. This ‘basisverzekering’ covers... More >


From Hockney to Manhattan Masters: 11 great things to do in November

From Hockney to Manhattan Masters: 11 great things to do in November

Look at it his way David Hockney has arrived at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem and this time it is all about perspective. Hockeney’s Eye explores the artist’s own experiments with perspective but also juxtaposes his work with that of Claude Lorrain and Pieter Saenredam and the optical instruments they may have used and which the boffins at the Teylers natural history lab copied for the occasion. Until January 29 2023. Website Stay at home and cross a border The... More >