Tuesday 01 December 2020

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


In-company Dutch lessons with Taalthuis are boosting worker morale during Covid

In-company Dutch lessons with Taalthuis are boosting worker morale during Covid

With many offices now empty due to social distancing regulations, company-sponsored Dutch lessons are proving a great way for international recruits to reconnect with colleagues while undertaking professional development. ‘Everyone is complaining that they are missing that social contact with others,’ says Tess Schuurman-Visser of Taalthuis Dutch language school, whose in-company lessons have been more valuable than ever during the pandemic. ‘So many people are working from home and, apart from meetings through Zoom, they don’t see each other. If... More >


How three Dutch bicycle companies are changing the way we pedal

How three Dutch bicycle companies are changing the way we pedal

The Netherlands is home to some of the most innovative bicycle manufacturers on the planet. Here’s how three of them are helping to change the world of cycling as we know it. Dutch bicycles have a reputation for being tough. They have to be in a nation where most of them are parked outdoors year-round. Take a walk on a windy day and you’ll find dozens of them knocked over and blocking your path along the sidewalks. Thankfully, they can... More >


Reasons to be cheerful: Nine things you should do now

Reasons to be cheerful: Nine things you should do now

So coronavirus is back with us for the foreseeable future, and unlike first time round, the ‘let’s make the best of it’ approach seems to have all but disappeared. Winter is drawing in, people no longer stop and let you pass in the street with a smile, and politicians appear to be on the verge of cancelling Christmas. Last week, the extra strict measures were lifted by the government but cafes and restaurants are still shut, and parties are definitely... More >


Coronavirus, companies and the 30% ruling: Dutch tax news update

Coronavirus, companies and the 30% ruling: Dutch tax news update

There has been a flurry of tax related news in recent weeks, as we head towards the end of 2020.  Here is a round-up of the main news you should be aware of. Company coronavirus problems – tax deferral scheme reopened Hot off the presses earlier this month was a decision by the finance ministry to give companies struggling with coronavirus issues more time to pay their tax bills. If you are self employed or are a company owner and... More >


Primed for success: Amity International’s primary school gets IB accreditation

Primed for success: Amity International’s primary school gets IB accreditation

The International Baccalaureate differs from the traditional Dutch curriculum in its approach. We catch up with Amity International School Amsterdam to find out about what children, parents and teachers love about the programme and why full accreditation is cause for celebration.  Since opening its doors in 2018, Amity International School Amsterdam in Amstelveen has been going from strength to strength. Some 250 pupils, aged 3 to 15, now enjoy the campus’s stunning facilities and caring atmosphere and there are still places... More >


Health insurance to rise by €58 a year in 2021 and switching pays off

Health insurance to rise by €58 a year in 2021 and switching pays off

The annual window for changing health insurance is almost upon us, and health insurance companies have been publishing their new premium rates. Here’s what you need to know. The average Dutch health insurance premium will go up by €58 in 2021, according to an overview by health insurance website Zorgwijzer. The premium increase is in line with what the government expected when it presented its annual budget in September. The four largest insurance companies, Zilveren Kruis, VGZ, CZ and Menzis... More >


Full steam ahead: Utrecht train depot is now a hotbed of sustainability

Full steam ahead: Utrecht train depot is now a hotbed of sustainability

Recycling old buildings and industrial heritage, and giving them new life, is a key part of efforts in the Netherlands to make the most of the available space. A former train repair workshop in Utrecht is home to 25 companies focused, appropriately enough, on sustainability. The Utrecht Community (UCo), as the project is known, is home to some 25 companies that employ close to 200 people, all focused on sustainability. Advisors and lawyers specialised in biodiversity, renewable energy, and waste... More >


Settlement agreements and your rights – what you need to know

Settlement agreements and your rights – what you need to know

As more and more companies move towards reorganisations and redundancies, voluntary departure programmes and settlement agreements are becoming a common topic of conversation. So what should you do if you are offered a settlement agreement? Is it worthwhile accepting, and what are the consequences? Here are some essential considerations. When a company reorganises, this generally results in some jobs becoming redundant. As a result, the employer will have to lay off those employees. However, in the Netherlands, an employer cannot... More >


Growing underground: Could the future of fashion be fungal?

Growing underground: Could the future of fashion be fungal?

Fungus has long been a nutritious food source, but soon we may also be wearing it. Shortlisted for this year’s European Commission’s Social Innovation prize, MycoTEX is a sustainable fashion innovation with a mission to explode the conventional supply chain. Once a fashion designer for big-name brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Aniela Hoitink (46) from Soest now spends much of her time in a room full of mould – living her dream. Curious crossovers Aniela has always been drawn to... More >


Good call: the Dutch startup making the mobile phone industry more ethical

Good call: the Dutch startup making the mobile phone industry more ethical

Setting a standard for ethical manufacturing in electronics and promoting the value of electronic waste, award-winning Dutch mobile phone company Fairphone wants to encourage circularity in the technology sector. Ethical smartphone startup Fairphone does not want you to go out and buy a new phone. ‘The most sustainable mobile phone is the one you already have,’ Fairphone spokeswoman Ioiana Luncheon told DutchNews.nl. Nor does the Amsterdam-based startup see other smartphone manufacturers as competitors. ‘Everything we do, including selling the Fairphones,... More >


Protestant church’s declaration of guilt towards the Jews is a historic step

Protestant church’s declaration of guilt towards the Jews is a historic step

The Dutch Protestant Church is to admit that it helped to ‘sow the seeds’ of anti-Semitism and failed to protect the country’s Jewish population before, during and after the Second World War. On Sunday, November 8, René de Reuver, the church’s official scribe, will read out a ‘declaration of guilt’ in the Rav Aron Schuster Synagogue in Amsterdam as part of the commemoration of Kristallnacht, the ‘night of broken glass’ in 1938 seen as the moment when the Nazis’ oppression... More >


Making the most of space: Europe’s biggest rooftop park is in Rotterdam

Making the most of space: Europe’s biggest rooftop park is in Rotterdam

How do you create more space in one of the most densely populated countries in the world? Easy, you put things on top of other things, and then you put those things on top of more things. For example, a kilometre-long park, on top of a shopping centre, on top of a dyke. Maybe it is easier said than done, but that didn’t stop Rotterdam from creating the Dakpark, Europe’s biggest rooftop park. It is a windy autumn day in... More >


Cross-cultural teens have ‘tremendous advantages’ and ‘unique challenges’

Cross-cultural teens have ‘tremendous advantages’ and ‘unique challenges’

For children growing up between cultures or changing country of residence, building a strong sense of self can be challenging. So how can you best support cross-cultural teens and build a healthy foundation for adulthood? The Netherlands may be the best place in the world to be a child, according to Unicef, but the experience of their cross-cultural peers (children who have lived in two or more cultural environments) can vary. Research undertaken in the writing of Raising Global Teens,... More >


What can you tell from a car number plate in the Netherlands?

What can you tell from a car number plate in the Netherlands?

Unlike in many countries, you won’t find car number plates in the Netherlands proclaiming that the driver is the BOSS 1 or a P5Y CHO. So what do Dutch licence plates tell you, and the taxman? The Netherlands was the third country in the world to issue vehicles with licence plates, taking the plunge on April 26, 1898, two years after Germany did so and five years after France. The first licence plate – number 1 – was issued to... More >


‘In 10 years time, pathology departments will be digitised’

‘In 10 years time, pathology departments will be digitised’

Bram van Ginneken, professor of medical image analysis at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, is introducing digitised healthcare solutions to developing countries and believes that in 10 years’ time, all hospital pathology departments will be digitised. Professor van Ginneken’s work is supported by Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative, which aims to ensure nobody is left behind in the digital world by encouraging digital inclusion programmes and empowering technology adoption globally. When did your work in medical imaging begin?  I studied physics... More >


From pixies to the Rolling Stones: 12 great things to do in November

From pixies to the Rolling Stones: 12 great things to do in November

This November you can be entertained by some intimate theatre, look for pixies in the woods at night and check out one of Keith Richard’s guitars at the Groninger museum. Get the lowdown on the American showdown It’s really meant for students but why would not everyone want to learn about how the American political system works? The John Adams Institute is broadcasting a live online talk by assistant professor of American & Atlantic Studies Albertine Bloemendal about the intricacies... More >


Covid won’t snap the Dutch pull on the international community: Rabobank

Covid won’t snap the Dutch pull on the international community: Rabobank

The Netherlands has an enormous pull on expats, who come here to study or work. Some will stay for a number of years, others will settle in the country for good. In fact, the demand for good banking services for international workers was so great that in 2018, Rabobank started an international client team desk of experts and advisers in Amsterdam. Today, the bank offers English-language services to help people orientate themselves, sort out bank accounts and insurance, and raise... More >


Halloween hocus pocus: find out if you are a witch in Oudewater’s weigh house

Halloween hocus pocus: find out if you are a witch in Oudewater’s weigh house

Centuries ago, several people accused of witchcraft fled to the small Dutch town of Oudewater in search of justice. The fates were sealed in what is now one of the oddest museums in the Netherlands. Oudewater is one of the Netherlands’s most charming small towns. It is home to a positively fantastic ice cream shop and a stretch of river that runs past several gorgeous buildings that date back centuries. Point a camera in any direction and you’re liable to... More >


‘The Netherlands is the ideal environment for the international drugs trade’

‘The Netherlands is the ideal environment for the international drugs trade’

Talk of the Netherlands becoming a ‘narco state’ has been rife in some parts of the Dutch media for some time. A new book claims to unveil the real scale of the problem and suggests a new way forward. National policy toward illicit drug use is infamously tolerant and seen by many foreign observers as an example for the world. However, the rise of high-profile murders, kidnappings and bombings has revealed a darker side to the country’s approach. Pieter Tops,... More >