Sunday 26 June 2022

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

‘Somehow, Dutch people have this smile built in’

‘Somehow, Dutch people have this smile built in’

Polish national Monika Stępień (40) from IJburg, Amsterdam is the writer and director of the online comedy series Samen.pl which draws on Monika’s experience of living in the Netherlands, poking fun at the differences between Dutch and Polish culture. She has discovered a surprisingly good Latin dance scene here, has embraced the Dutch appointment system, but is less enthusiastic about the litter. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I grew up in Warsaw and I met a Dutch... More >


Russian prima ballerina swaps Bolshoi for Amsterdam due to Ukraine

Russian prima ballerina swaps Bolshoi for Amsterdam due to Ukraine

Russian prima ballerina Olga Smirnova has left the Bolshoi Ballet for the Dutch National Ballet in Amsterdam following her recent denouncement of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Smirnova, who is quarter Ukrainian, says she is against the war ‘with all the fibres of my soul’. ‘We may not be at the epicentre of the military conflict, but we cannot remain indifferent to this global catastrophe,’ Smirnova said in a National Ballet press release. Olga Smirnova will dance her first role... More >


It’s back! After two years, the IamExpat Fair returns to Amsterdam

It’s back! After two years, the IamExpat Fair returns to Amsterdam

After a two year pause, the international community can meet up again in Amsterdam as the IamExpat Fair returns to the city’s Westergas Gashouder venue in Westerpark. Coronavirus led to the last two editions of the fair being cancelled in both Amsterdam and The Hague, but on Saturday, April 9, the doors will open on the biggest expat event in the Netherlands, organised by the IamExpat Media group. ‘We are all so happy with the idea of seeing everyone again,’... More >


Let me speak Dutch! Talencoach’s unique approach helps language learners stand their ground

Let me speak Dutch! Talencoach’s unique approach helps language learners stand their ground

Improving your Dutch can be hard when locals keep switching to English. An intensive course at Talencoach is helping internationals get a word in. Any international resident of the Netherlands has experienced it: you speak to a Dutch person in their own language and the reply comes back in English. Pragmatism ‘It’s the psychology of a small country,’ explains Albert Both, founder of Amsterdam-based Dutch language school Talencoach, whose week-long intensive learning courses see students making rapid progress with their... More >


Dutch-Ukrainian flower exporter torn between her business and war

Dutch-Ukrainian flower exporter torn between her business and war

The Netherlands is the world’s leading flower exporter. Many of its flowers end up in Eastern Europe, particularly around March 8, International Women’s Day, when people in the region traditionally give flowers to the women in their lives. But with war raging in Ukraine and economic sanctions against Russia, this year is very different, writes Lauren Comiteau. Greenhouses dot the landscape as far as the eye can see on the way into the small town of Honselersdijk. This is flower... More >


Self employed or small firm owner? Your 2021 tax return questions answered

Self employed or small firm owner? Your 2021 tax return questions answered

You’ve probably already had more than one blue tax office envelope drop through your door this year. And that can only mean one thing… it is nearly tax return time. Orange Tax expert Arnold Waal has been helping the self employed and small firm owners deal with their tax affairs for more than a decade. Here are the most common questions he gets asked at this time of year.  What is the deadline for a small firm to submit their... More >



Theatres, farmers and flowers: Here are 11 great things to do in March

Theatres, farmers and flowers: Here are 11 great things to do in March

With theatres and museums open again, there are plenty of cultural activities to keep you busy this March. Come and be disenchanted ‘Well, I’m disenchanted, too. We’re all disenchanted’ is a far too little used quote from American comic writer James Thurber. Fortunately, the Cauldron theatre company in Amsterdam has provided an excuse to use it to introduce Disenchanted!, a musical comedy in which fairy tale princesses are stepping out of the roles they have been given and taking charge... More >


March is upon us, so you can file your income tax return for 2021

March is upon us, so you can file your income tax return for 2021

Unlike last year, when there was a week long delay due to system malfunction, the Dutch tax office is back to normal deadlines and – unless you ask for an extension before May 1 – your return is probably due by May 1 2022. ‘It’s a good idea to collect documents together before starting to file your taxes,’ says a spokesperson from Blue Umbrella tax adviser, which advises hundreds of expats, freelancers and small business owners. Even if you are... More >


Library charges for children to be scrapped from July 1

Library charges for children to be scrapped from July 1

Library charges for children across the Netherlands are being scrapped from July 1, the culture ministry has confirmed. The Senate this week approved a change to the law abolishing the charges. Libraries are already free in many towns and cities, but municipalities are allowed to charge up to half the cost of an adult subscription. The charges will no longer apply across the Netherlands, including the Caribbean territories, deputy culture minister Günay Usu said. ‘The cost should not be a... More >


‘I’m a foreigner, basically… I’m definitely not an expat or something like that’

‘I’m a foreigner, basically… I’m definitely not an expat or something like that’

A project assistant for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in The Hague, Ciaran Hickey (34) from Zaandam says he’s wary of terms like ‘expat’ that divide newcomers into groups. The British national loves the Netherlands for its football and fried snacks, but wishes the Dutch could be a bit more spontaneous. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I’d been living outside the UK for a while. When I was a teenager I worked in Italy, then ended... More >


Speaking just one language is not the norm: encouraging bilingualism in NL

Speaking just one language is not the norm: encouraging bilingualism in NL

Monday 21 February is UNESCO International Mother Language Day. With so much emphasis placed on integration in the Netherlands, heritage languages can get neglected. But, say experts, that’s a big mistake.  ‘Monolingualism is not the norm,’ says Dr Sharon Unsworth, a language scientist at Radboud University and the host of Kletsheads, a podcast about raising bilingual children. While in the Netherlands around 25% of the population speak an additional language beyond Dutch at home, globally it’s at least 60%. Heritage... More >


First major European show on Indonesian independence struggle

First major European show on Indonesian independence struggle

A subtle show at the Rijksmuseum is the first in Europe to examine Indonesia’s fight for independence from Dutch colonialism and one shadowy aspect of Dutch history, writes Senay Boztas On the walls and counters, like portraits in blood, are the stylised images of eyewitnesses to four years of horrifying violence in Indonesia. These years – retold in the Rijksmuseum display Revolusi! Indonesia Independent – were not only a time when tens of thousands lost their lives as Indonesia fought... More >


The people exporting Dutch expertise back to their home countries

The people exporting Dutch expertise back to their home countries

Highly skilled migrants who have gained expertise and experience in the Netherlands are a precious resource for the two countries they bridge. One scheme is harnessing the specialist skills of expatriates from developing countries and reconnecting them to their heritage. At 1.91 metres tall, university lecturer Ayalew Kassahun, unusually tall back home in Ethiopia, fitted into Dutch society, he says, in a way he had not anticipated. In 1991, he left behind a rebel coup in Addis Ababa and what... More >



One site fits all – British School of Amsterdam’s new home means smooth transition for seniors

One site fits all – British School of Amsterdam’s new home means smooth transition for seniors

As parents of older children begin shortlisting senior schools, we look at how the British School of Amsterdam’s new shared site is making the transition from primary to secondary education easier for international newcomers. It’s hard to believe that the British School of Amsterdam’s stunning 14,000m² site in Oud Zuid, where over 1000 international students aged 3-18 now enjoy a first-class British education, is the same school that began life in 1977 with one expat family inviting two others to... More >


Consider White River Manor in South Africa for your rehabilitation needs

Consider White River Manor in South Africa for your rehabilitation needs

White River Manor (WRM) is a luxury rehab facility located in the picturesque town of White River, Mpumalanga, South Africa. It is situated on the grounds of a beautiful five-star lodge. You will find yourself at the ultimate recovery destination, where the highest standards of addiction treatment are combined with cutting-edge therapy practices to give you the best chance of living the life of fulfillment and freedom that you have always dreamed of. In order to aid you in restoring balance... More >


Dutch destinations: You should definitely go to Goes

Dutch destinations: You should definitely go to Goes

This 10th-century town in Zeeland gets its name from the nearby river, de Korte Gos and grew rich in the 12th century by extracting salt from peat in local swamps. Despite its small size – Goes is home to just less than 30,000 people – it offers plenty to do for a weekend. The Zeeland tourism board claims that from any place in the province, you can be on the water within fifteen minutes and Goes certainly meets that promise.... More >


New exhibition reveals wartime persecution of Dutch ‘asocials’

New exhibition reveals wartime persecution of Dutch ‘asocials’

At least 2,700 people in the Netherlands were branded as ‘asocial’ during World War II and were transported to concentration camps for being homeless, single mothers and petty thieves, according to a new book and an exhibition at the Groesbeek Vrijheidsmuseum in Limburg. The exhibition shows that the practice of rounding up those who the authorities at the time considered undesirable and transporting them was not confined to Germany but also happened in the Netherlands. The homeless, sex workers, addicts,... More >


From celebrating Christmas (!) to art as an antidote: 11 great things to do in February

From celebrating Christmas (!) to art as an antidote: 11 great things to do in February

It’s still not a happy time for the culture sector with theatres and cinemas having to close at 10pm and restrict visitor numbers while events and night spots linger in lockdown limbo. At the time of writing it is not clear yet if theatres will get creative, as some have, and start earlier or reprogramme, or just say sod it, it’s not worth it. So (mostly) museums it is, but remember, February may be the dullest month it is also... More >