Monday 08 March 2021

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

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 >


Rabobank: serving the international community with more than just bank accounts

Rabobank: serving the international community with more than just bank accounts

For some new arrivals in the Netherlands, it is like opening the pages of a novel by Kafka. You arrive here, you need to transfer a deposit for a house, you desperately need a bank account, but you can’t get a bank account until you’ve registered your address with the city. This is just one of the dilemmas that the Rabobank’s international client team desk helps international residents in the Netherlands solve. Such has been the demand from the tens... More >


Food for thought: cultured meat maker brings in $55m in funding

Food for thought: cultured meat maker brings in $55m in funding

It has been over seven years since Dutch researcher Mark Post unveiled the world’s first ‘cultured meat’ burger. Grown in a laboratory at Maastricht University, the single beef patty took several years and several hundred thousand euros to produce. Now Post’s company Mosa Meats has just raised $55m in a second round of funding. As costly as it was to develop, Post’s innovation offered proof that real meat – not a meat tasting alternative – could be produced without the... More >


What the government’s 2021 spending plans mean for your taxes

What the government’s 2021 spending plans mean for your taxes

Last month, the Dutch government announced a set of measures aimed at creating ‘a better, fairer and greener tax system’, and many of the changes will make a difference especially to those at the lower end of the income scale. ‘This was an important budget for various reasons,’ said a spokesperson from tax and benefits expert Blue Umbrella. ‘The government wants to stimulate the economy again, keep people in work or at least retraining for their future career, and make... More >


Thinking about buying a house? Don’t forget you’ll need a home office

Thinking about buying a house? Don’t forget you’ll need a home office

Will we go back to the office full time, once the coronavirus crisis is finally over? Labour market experts and behavioural specialists are following developments closely. However, there are signs that the switch to home working is beginning to have an impact on the housing market. ‘I have definitely noticed a change in the way people are approaching buying a house since the start of the coronavirus pandemic,’ says real estate agent Mie-Lan Kok, who specialises in helping international workers... More >


Playing around with social robots in healthcare

Playing around with social robots in healthcare

Huawei’s TECH4ALL initiative aims to ensure nobody is left behind in the digital world by encouraging digital inclusion programmes and empowering technology adoption globally. The project is similar to some of the work happening within academia across Europe, where research projects are focused on harnessing technology for societal good. Professor Andrea Bonarini has spent 10 years investigating this cause at the laboratory of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics of Politecnico di Milano (AIRLab), through the development of games involving robots and... More >


New arrival Lemonade: making insurance easy, transparent and paper-free

New arrival Lemonade: making insurance easy, transparent and paper-free

A bubbly new personality might not be what you expect in the insurance world – but the data-driven company Lemonade likes to look for the upside. Lemonade, an American company with EU headquarters in the Netherlands, has just launched its contents and liability insurance on the Dutch market. Its tagline is that it’s built ‘for the 21st century’. Instead of dealing with brokers, and lots of ‘hold the line’ moments, it aims for instant everything and zero paperwork, offering a... More >