Friday 07 May 2021

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

PlusPlus: helping small food firms to grow via crowdfunding

PlusPlus: helping small food firms to grow via crowdfunding

In a small chocolate production facility in Bali, the pandemic wasn’t just a health crisis. For Pod Chocolate, which works with local farmers to produce all-vegetable, artisanal chocolate, production almost ground to a halt. ‘It was a time of huge uncertainty as the government rationed essential foods which included sugar, our second largest raw material,’ recalls chief executive Toby Garritt. ‘Suddenly we could not get sugar to produce chocolate! This threatened to stop our production, which would also impact our... More >


The Flower Bike Man bringing smiles to a city in crisis

The Flower Bike Man bringing smiles to a city in crisis

Spring is bringing welcome cheer to the Netherlands, but Amsterdam now blooms whatever the season thanks to the public art created by its sunniest resident, the Flower Bike Man. The pandemic has infected over 1 in 10 Amsterdam residents, driven up unemployment to almost three times the national average, and driven out the tourists. But weaving through the capital’s muted streets and creating a welcome distraction from the gloom, is a bearded figure on a bike bedecked bumper-to-basket in synthetic... More >


Childcare news: BSOs reopen, May holiday plans and bilingual care

Childcare news: BSOs reopen, May holiday plans and bilingual care

A round up of the latest Dutch childcare news, brought to you by Zein International Childcare. After school care (BSO) is open again The government announced last week it would reopen after school childcare and holiday care facilities (BSO) from Monday for primary school pupils, as long as strict hygiene and other protocols are observed. The move is the next step in the slow return to normality in the Netherlands, and one which has been widely welcomed by parents and... More >


Three things to consider when taking out a credit card in the Netherlands

Three things to consider when taking out a credit card in the Netherlands

The demand for new credit cards has plunged during the coronavirus pandemic. The same goes for card spending, which went down considerably in the first wave as people played safe with their finances and postponed big purchases. Nevertheless, demand for credit cards are set to rise again soon, as more and more people get vaccinated and countries open up their borders for tourists once again. If you have been thinking about getting a new Dutch credit card, perhaps as part... More >


Party of 4: an app that hopes to help couples make friends even during lockdown

Party of 4: an app that hopes to help couples make friends even during lockdown

When Megan Valverde, a nurse from Boston, arrived in Amsterdam with her husband and two young boys, she was delighted to explore a new city but faced with a challenge. ‘For years, my husband and I have talked about how as we’ve gotten older, it’s harder to make friends, especially when you have young children,’ she says. ‘You quickly realise you have to find friends with kids because your interests and ability to stay out late don’t really align any... More >


The secrets the Dutch language reveals about the Dutch

The secrets the Dutch language reveals about the Dutch

Can you really understand a culture without speaking the language? Students at Dutch language school Talencoach have been surprised how much fun it is to learn a language when you understand the culture that shapes it. Both Dutch and English use an insect idiom to communicate pedantic behaviour. The English have ‘nitpick’, taking tiny louse eggs from hair. The Dutch, however, have mierenneuken: ant-f*cking. Open, direct, blunt, pragmatic – it’s all there. Almost everything newcomers need to know about Dutch... More >


House buying heats up during the coronavirus pandemic

House buying heats up during the coronavirus pandemic

If there’s one lesson from the past year of the pandemic, it’s how important it is to have a good home. Working in the same space as home schooling children can be difficult while the lack of an outdoor space can make the lockdown feel even more oppressive. At the same time, however, shortages on the supply side are helping to push up prices, and, as the cities become more expensive, more rural areas are also in the spotlight. Mortgage... More >


Child’s play: The lowdown on nannies in the Netherlands

Child’s play: The lowdown on nannies in the Netherlands

If coping with children, home schooling and doing your job all at the same time is getting too much, you might have been thinking about bringing in the professionals. Here’s what you need to know! ‘I’ve been a nanny for most of my working life, and people are often curious and ask me questions about aspects of the job,’ says Darla Duggan, who has been a live-out nanny for 20 years. ‘Prospective nannies want to know what the job and... More >


From Easter to Eid al-Fitr: Nine significant events in two months

From Easter to Eid al-Fitr: Nine significant events in two months

This year April and May include no less than nine significant events on the Dutch calendar – and in normal years, a lot of excuses for a party.  Schools are also closed for a week or two around the end of April for their spring break but if you are crafty with the public holidays, you hardly need eat into your official holiday entitlement. Pasen This year, Easter (Goede vrijdag, 1e and 2e Paasdag) take place over the first weekend... More >


Dutch recycling strategy needs a rethink: ‘we don’t know what is going on’

Dutch recycling strategy needs a rethink: ‘we don’t know what is going on’

The Netherlands claims to be a leading light when it comes to recycling, but walk along any Amsterdam street, and you have to wonder who is recycling what. Piles of cardboard and old furniture stack up alongside the underground paper and glass containers, next to full plastic bags of household waste. Zuza Nazaruk spoke to Rob Buurman of Recycling Network Benelux to find out what is going wrong. ‘We have almost no idea what is going on with Dutch recycling,’... More >


Returning colonial-era artefacts is not as easy as it seems, say experts

Returning colonial-era artefacts is not as easy as it seems, say experts

This weekend Trouw revealed that Dutch museums have over 100 items in their collections which form part of the fabled Benin Bronzes collection, stolen by British soldiers from the king’s palace nearly 125 years ago. The report again focuses attention on how the Netherlands is dealing with returning stolen art. ‘It’s new, it’s groundbreaking and it’s progressive,’ says Jos van Beurden of the new guidelines introduced by the Dutch government to facilitate the return of colonial-era artefacts to their nations... More >


Four Dutch museums have 114 Benin City items in their collections

Four Dutch museums have 114 Benin City items in their collections

Dutch museums have at least 114 items stolen by British soldiers from the king’s palace in Benin City in 1897 in their collections, Trouw reported at the weekend. The objects, known as the Benin Bronzes and including reliefs, statues and ivory artefacts, are now scattered around the world. Some are at the British Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, others are in private collections. In the Netherlands, they are found in the Museum Volkenkunde... More >


What do you do when your husband dies and leaves you hundreds of unseen masterpieces?

What do you do when your husband dies and leaves you hundreds of unseen masterpieces?

When Willem Barbieri died in 2019, he left his wife with an unusual legacy: over 1000 extraordinary paintings, collages and sketches, created during their life together. Poet Pauline Barbieri (78) has spent most of lockdown trying to catalogue and photograph the immense body of surrealist-inspired artwork left behind by her late husband Willem (1948-2019) which fills the UK home they once shared. ‘You couldn’t get into bed for the pictures,’ she says. ‘When one painting was finished, he just got... More >


How to cut the cost of your car insurance, and make sure it stays low

How to cut the cost of your car insurance, and make sure it stays low

Shopping around for car insurance can save you up to €200 a year, so it is well worth checking out the options. So, you’ve finally got a car of your own, or are thinking about buying a nifty little sports number for the summer? Buying a car can be one of the most expensive purchases you will make but the insurance need not cost an arm and a leg. For the first time in years, the cost of car insurance... More >



Learning outdoors is more important than ever, says Amity International School Amsterdam

Learning outdoors is more important than ever, says Amity International School Amsterdam

With so much time spent indoors this past year, the value of nature-based learning is more apparent than ever. We learn how Amity International School Amsterdam’s new Forest School is enriching their IB curriculum. A notice reading ‘no picking or licking’ is probably a helpful reminder in any classroom. But at Amity International School Amsterdam, this sign is about nature not noses. Penned on a piece of wood hooked to a tree, it is one of five safety rules helping... More >


Balcony beauty: Here’s an easy way to enjoy tulips in the city this spring

Balcony beauty: Here’s an easy way to enjoy tulips in the city this spring

Spring is drawing near and with it comes something synonymous with Dutch culture: tulips. Tulip season in the Netherlands runs from the end of March until mid-May and is an annual joy for both locals and tourists alike. But with lockdown still looming large, the usual trip to the Keukenhof Gardens won’t be possible this year. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to enjoy tulips from your home. Being surrounded by flowers and plants in your home holds many benefits. A... More >


Who will rule the roads? Making sense of Dutch street design

Who will rule the roads? Making sense of Dutch street design

Urban planners from all across the globe often look to the Netherlands for ways to make the streets of their cities safer and more bike-friendly, but to the outsider, what the Dutch are doing can often seem downright bizarre and even dangerous. On a Saturday last summer, a father and his young daughter got onto a cargo bike after grocery shopping in the centre of Leiden. They proceeded to ride down the sidewalk and over a nearby bridge…where they nearly... More >


The Feel at Home International Community Fair goes online in 2021

The Feel at Home International Community Fair goes online in 2021

Coronavirus has put paid to many of the traditional events which take place within the international community but the annual Feel at Home International Community Fair is still going ahead on March 14 – with an online spectacular. Billy Allwood, who started the fair over a decade ago, says he feels it is more important than ever that the international community continues to connect – particularly as new arrivals have been struggling to develop networks and a social life. ‘Our... More >


It’s time to think about your tax return, and this is what you should look out for

It’s time to think about your tax return, and this is what you should look out for

    The 2021 tax season officially began on March 1 and 8.3 million people will have to file their tax return in the next two months. This year, the tax office is warning people to be extra careful, thanks to the impact of coronavirus. This year, millions of people will get a tax return which the tax office has already partly filled in. After all, details about your salary, childcare benefits and other regular payments are already in the... More >