DutchNews podcast – The Spekkoek and Straciatella Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Spekkoek and Straciatella Edition

It's an election results special in this week's podcast, as we discuss why local parties rule the roost, how D66 lost out in the cities, whether it can get any worse for Labour and who fared best of the newcomers, including Denk, the PVV and the Animal Rights Party. There's also news of the 'dragnet' referendum, technological advances in football and death in the Oostvaardersplassen. Local election special GroenLinks and local parties are big election winners How the parties fared in the DutchNews focus cities Coalition challenges for GroenLinks after topping poll in Amsterdam Groep De Mos pull off surprise win in The Hague News Referendum set for narrow 'no' vote Dead sea eagle was hit by wind turbine Sport KNVB approves video referees for next league season Discussion: Local elections The votes have been counted, now the coalition building can begin What the papers said about the local election results Wilders breaks through with a whimper, not a bang  More >

Farewell Facebook, we're through!

Farewell Facebook, you and I are through! Economist Mathijs Bouman has said goodbye and good riddance to Facebook and he won't be back (he hopes). I would like to start this column by offering my sincere apologies to all my friends. Bart Stoffels, Rineke Gieske-Mastenbroek: my apologies. A hearfelt sorry is also due to Witdietma Narain from Arnhem, Willem-Aart Hop from Spakenburg and of course Fokke Obbema from Amsterdam. Apologies too to Remco Dijkstra and Annette van Trigt. And even to Thierry Baudet who, to my surprise, is also a friend. Sorry one and all, I really regret to inform you that we are no longer friends and that goes for the friends of friends as well. I hope you have a good life. I’m quitting, pulling the plug. I have deleted my Facebook account. Which is not as easy as it sounds. Facebook doesn’t like final goodbyes and at first it only agrees to deactivate my account. It will only remove the account permanently in two weeks’ time. Unless I log in between now and then, because then it will be reactivated...  More >

Nine things to know about tulips

It’s spring, so to celebrate here are nine things to know about tulips Spring is officially here and that means the Keukenhof bulb gardens in Lisse are now open. It is the 69th time that the gardens will have opened to the public and they are expecting over a million visitors in eight short weeks. This year's theme is romance and so among the special gardens in 2018 are Cupid's Garden, with a kissing gate, a Holiday Romance garden, with a tropical atmosphere under the palms and Rob's Oriental Romance. For those of you who are a little less soppy about your flowers, the Hipster Garden could be a good alternative, with such no-nonsense pastimes as chopping wood, throwing some meat on the barbecue and knocking back a beer or two! The Keukenhof - first designed in 1957 as a garden for the Keukenhof castle - might be open for business for just eight weeks, but you'll still need a little patience before the tulip fields are in full bloom - as you can see from this report. In the meantime here are some facts and figures about the Netherlands' eponymous...  More >

Brexit boom for Dutch clinical trials

Brexit boom ahead for Dutch clinical trials and human test subjects The arrival of the European Medicines Agency in Amsterdam next year will be a major boost for the Netherlands' own drugs testing sector, and moves are already being made to make the most of the opportunities, writes Max Opray. Amsterdam was announced as the new home for the EU regulatory body in November when the Dutch city’s name was effectively drawn out of a hat after tying with Milan in the final round of voting. The announcement prompted a wave of concern from British experts such as John Hardy, professor of Neuroscience at UCL, who predicted the move of the EMA would extend beyond the regulatory body’s 900 employees and ‘be a magnet to Holland and Flanders (which already have strong pharma industries) for inward drug company investment and for divestment from the UK.’ Drugs testing firms and other pharmaceutical industry players are already jostling for position. After all, the Netherlands is in prime position to poach Britain’s lucrative clinical trials industry...  More >

Podcast: The Disaster Tourism Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Disaster Tourism Edition – Week 11 With a week to go until the local elections, we bring you up to speed on the soap opera that is Rotterdam's campaign and explain how and where you can cast your vote. Elsewhere, was ING's about-turn on its CEO's pay rise a victory for people power, and did Unilever's decision to close its London headquarters really have nothing to do with Brexit or the Dutch government's abolition of dividend tax? There's also the remarkable story of the Paralympic athlete who won two gold medals amid an ongoing 18-year battle against cancer. In the discussion we pick out our favourites from the growing crop of books about the Netherlands. Top story Rotterdam 'left alliance' folds amid outcry over Islamic party's tweet News ING backtracks on plan to raise CEO's salary by 50% Unilever moves headquarters to Rotterdam MPs back overhaul of 'patronising' integration exams Rotterdam museum takes in kingfisher frozen in ice (AD, Dutch) Sport Bibian Mentel wins second Paralympic...  More >

The best Mexican food in the Netherlands

From tacos to tiras a la Mexicana – the best Mexican food in the Netherlands Many people from North America often bemoan the lack of quality Mexican food here in the Lowlands. Fortunately, things have been steadily improving on this particular culinary front in recent years. Whether your gut demands fajitas cooked to near perfection or you simply can’t shake your cravings for Grilled Stuft Burritos, here’s a few of Brandon Hartley’s picks that will help you get your fix. KUA - The Hague and Rotterdam What’s the best authentic Mexican restaurant in the Netherlands? It’s open to debate but these two cafes owned by Monterrey, Mexico native Daniel Muñoz and his colleague Rass Butt are both a safe bet. Their menus are packed with dishes from all over Mexico and many of their tacos are among the best you’ll find anywhere in Europe. Doubt it? Reserve judgement until you give their slow-cooked taco de barbacoa a shot or try a mouthwatering taco estilo al pastor before you wash it down with a margarita at their taco bar in Rotterdam. The menu at their...  More >

A year without money: finding happiness

A year without money: one Dutchman’s journey to find human happiness When Mundo Resink (35) realised that money was holding him back in life, he chose a drastic solution: to live without it. Deborah Nicholls-Lee finds out more about his life-changing experiment. On the evening of January 6 2013, Mundo Resink couldn’t sleep. Something had been growing inside of him: a resounding truth which this night refused to be silenced. ‘It was like something from my belly just came up and it was unstoppable,’ he says. That night Mundo realised that the path he had chosen - the startup he was working on, the money he was trying to make - was unnatural, joyless and at odds with his inner voice. The more he chased money, the more it eluded him. ‘Every time I allowed myself to be talked into things I didn’t want to do, that didn’t feel right... we would end up throwing money into a bottomless pit, working with clients that were not happy, making ourselves unhappy and just not living,’ he says, five years on. The reverse was also true: ‘Every...  More >

Your worldwide assets and the 30% ruling

Tax matters: your worldwide assets and the 30% tax ruling People lucky enough to be able to claim the 30% ruling are well aware of the financial advantages it brings. And who would not like having up to 30% of their salary untaxed? But the ruling does have another very important tax advantage, which often gets forgotten. The new Dutch government is planning to reduce the duration of the 30% ruling from eight to five years – although nothing has yet been set in motion. Nevertheless, the start of a new tax year is always a good time to have a look at ways to make the most of your Dutch income, whether or not you still benefit from the tax deduction. If you are able to benefit from the 30%-ruling, it can have a large impact on your assets as well as your salary. This is because you can opt to be considered for partial non-domestic taxation, which means that you don’t need to state your assets in your Dutch tax return - with the exception of Dutch investment property. To qualify for partial non-domestic taxation, you need to make...  More >

Dutch agriculture is not a beacon

Dutch agriculture is not a beacon of good farming practice to the world Dutch agriculture has to become a lot less efficient or the environment will suffer even more, say agro-environmental scientists. Greater awareness among consumers and voters may make it happen. In an opinion piece in January, Volkskrant columnist Bert Wagendorp claimed most farmers simply can’t help being fraudsters when it comes to manure: it’s a national sport to hoodwink the authorities. We are not trying to make excuses but isn’t it also true that we are all responsible for the mess agriculture is in today? ‘This tiny country feeds the world’ National Geographic headed one of its articles in November 2017. It’s because of articles like these the Netherlands is seen as a beacon of good agricultural practice around the world. But over the last 50 years that agricultural practice has wiped out over 70% of partridges, godwits and skylarks. Large-scale expansion not only swallowed up small farmers but traditional landscapes as well, all in the name of efficiency. But...  More >

An allround experience with Sven and Ireen

An allround experience: watching Sven and Ireen skate in front of their home crowd There are some things you just can’t avoid to really understand the Dutch and speed skating is one of them. Robin Pascoe went to see Sven (Kramer) and Ireen (Wüst) in action at the world allround championships. Many years ago, when my children were small, we did the obligatory skating lessons at the Jaap Edenbaan ice rink in Amsterdam. This usually involved spending all day of the one-week autumn holiday at the rink, watching small boys and girls strap skates to their boots, don waterproofs and set off round the ice at breakneck speed. After a year of watching little Svens and Ireens, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and sign up for the adult class which took place at the same time. I bought a pair of ‘hoge noren’ speed skates and signed up for lessons. Eventually my years of Saturday mornings at the Silver Blades ice rink in Bradford attempting to learn how to do a half lutz were converted into something vaguely resembling the Dutch long glide – if you put...  More >

Podcast: The Uber Dull Blok Edition

DutchNews podcast – The Uber Dull Blok Edition – Week 10 In the week when the most boring man in politics returned to the cabinet, a plot by taxi drivers to storm Uber's offices with fireworks and molotov cocktails was foiled Dutch cyclists won a clutch of medals at the indoor track world championships, we dig deep to find some more riveting news – like the car abandoned in the middle of the sea and the homeless man who was fined for cooking heron's legs. We also have the second part of our discussion on referendums and the so-called 'dragnet' law that will give AIVD agents more powers to tap your internet traffic. TOP STORY Stef Blok, the grey man of Dutch politics, returns to cabinet NEWS Wilders and Baudet pull out of radio debate Police investigating alleged taxi drivers' plot to storm Uber HQ Afghan refugees tell court they are too westernised to be sent home Teenager apologises for parking car in Waddenzee Roasted heron joins museum of fascinating dead animals SPORT Dutch cyclists sweep the boards...  More >