Wednesday 21 August 2019

Shaking things up: can dance reduce social isolation in Leiden?

Shaking things up: can dance reduce social isolation in Leiden?

In Leiden, residents of all ages and abilities are feeling the benefits of dance thanks to stichting Dans Voor Mij, which aims to build connections between people and reduce social isolation. Deborah Nicholls-Lee reports. At the soft, melancholic sound of Nana Mouskouri’s ‘Only Love’ (1985), residents at the Topaz Overrhyn residential nursing home, day centre and rehabilitation centre in Leiden – most elderly and with severe dementia – begin swaying their arms and singing along. Slowly, the circle formed by... More >

From low countries to the Scottish hills

After 16 years working with the international community, Delft MaMa founder Lucie Herraïz Cunningham is moving from the flat lands of the Netherlands to Scotland. So how does it feel to be packing up a Dutch life? How do you feel about leaving? Excited, sad? After living in Delft for 16 years and having to say goodbye to very neat friends every year, it is finally my turn to be on the go. I am so lucky to have met... More >

12 notorious Dutch murder cases

The Dutch murder rate is pretty low in global terms – just two a week in the entire country in 2018. That is not say we have not had our share of nasty murders in the past. Here’s a selection of headline makers. Elsje Christians kills her landlady and is hung for the murder Elsje Christians came to Amsterdam from Denmark in 1664 to look for a job as a maid and rented a room in a hostel. When two... More >

Wynia's Week: Four lessons for the cabinet

The Dutch government will publish its 2020 spending plans next month. Syp Wynia has four lessons for the cabinet as they finalise their strategy. As politicians were dipping their toes in the sea, civil servants in The Hague are busy drawing up next year’s budget memorandum. Ministers may tweak a few figures here and there in the final weeks of August but their most important contribution regarding spending was made in spring. Now it’s the effects on people’s incomes that... More >

A male sex worker in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s red light district is famous all over the world, but represents just a small and visible part of the city’s sex industry. City officials have embarked on a clean-up campaign, closing windows and buying out brothel owners and are now considering moving the windows altogether. And, spurred by a petition signed by 40,000 people, the legality of sex work is now under discussion as well. A lot is said and written about female prostitution – hardly surprising seeing as... More >

The 'VOC mentality' needs a revision

The VOC is part of the Dutch heritage but its rise went hand in hand with structural violence against native populations, writes Leo Lucassen, a professor of global labour and migration history. Two, seemingly disparate, studies made headlines recently. One was a large-scale survey by the SCP on Dutch identity, the other a wide-ranging analysis of the role of slavery in the development of the Dutch economy by the IISG. Where many of the respondents in the SCP survey emphasised... More >

Dutch Destinations: Amersfoort

Home of monastic miracles and medieval architecture, but also birthplace of Mondrian, icon of Dutch Modernism, Amersfoort, in Utrecht province, is a rich blend of the new and the old with plenty to discover. An unexpected guide accompanies us on our 15-minute walk from the station to Amersfoort’s historic centre. ‘Sofie’ – as she is known – steers us through the city’s trafficky outskirts, her iconic swishing ponytail and stout mini-skirted form illuminated in red and green on the traffic... More >

The Netherlands is in for the cull

In the Netherlands, rabbits, hare, wild duck, wood pigeons and pheasants are the only types of wildlife which can be shot ‘for pleasure’. There is, however, a lot of hunting of other species going on.  For a little country, the Netherlands has a lot of animals that it wants rid of. Here’s a list. Doomed deer To eat or to be eaten, that is the question for the red deer in nature reserve the Oostvaardersplassen. There is not enough food... More >

Summer and smoke in the city

When you are a former smoker and a current insomniac there is nothing worse than being woken up by people on their balconies, smoking and having a laugh in the wee small hours. What is it with today’s young folk who smoke? If you are going to take up smoking in 2019, when everyone knows it will probably kill you, do it properly or not at all. Chain smoke during dinner, drop ash into your laptop keyboard, and couple it... More >

Eight Dutch places to host Eurovision

The celebratory cheers over Duncan Laurence’s win at Eurovision had barely died down before the entire country of the Netherlands started to wonder: Where will the next one be held? Eurovision, the annual sort-of-European song competition, is always held in the home country of the previous year’s winner. So the 2020 song festival will be here, in the Netherlands. The organisation has, of course, lots of rules and regulations about what sort of cities and venues are eligible. Five Dutch... More >

'The Dutch panick about the weather'

Danish national Lasse Schöne has played midfield for Ajax since 2012 but is now off to Genoa on a two-year contract. In a 10 Questions interview before the move had been finalised, he told that the Netherlands will always be his home. How did you end up in the Netherlands? The short and boring answer is that I got scouted when I was 16. There was a tournament in Denmark with all the best players of a certain age... More >

Blogwatching: Vakantiekaas

On Turning Dutch, Amanda van Mulligen writes about life as an expat mother, expat wife and an expat writer.   Holiday plans outside of the Netherlands this summer? How will you cope without Dutch cheese during your vacation? Luckily, you don’t have to because there’s vakantiekaas available just for you! Dutch are cheese mad One of the stereotypical icons for the Netherlands is undoubtedly, alongside clogs and windmills, cheese. And where there’s smoke there’s probably fire. The Dutch produce a... More >

The new tourist map of Amsterdam

It’s komkommertijd here in the Netherlands, but rather than making up Dutch cultural traditions, we’re encouraging tourists to see more of Amsterdam. Yes, journalist Jelmer Visser, fed up with the constant expansion that the city of Amsterdam seems to grant itself, created a tourist map of the Netherlands – from the perspective of the Amsterdam tourism board. You think it’s bad that Amsterdam has claimed a castle that will take nearly an hour to get to with public transport as... More >

Wynia's Week: ignoring the law this summer

Passing laws but failing to uphold them is counterproductive, writes Syp Wynia. The ban on a burqa in public buildings threatens to go the same way as the ban on street harrassment and other laws. Shortly before Christmas 2005, a motion devised by Geert Wilders, who was still a parliamentary one-man band at the time, was passed in parliament. Burqas were to be banned outside the home. Now, over 13 years later, the ban, which applies to all face covering... More >

'I don't speak Dutch but I bike like them'

American national Joe Fletcher has lived in the Netherlands for eight years. He works for design consultancy Argo and says Dutch history has made him a more rounded person, but he can’t cope with the three kisses thing. How did you end up in the Netherlands? I wanted to live outside the US for a long time and I tried for years to do it. I tried to go to Korea and my work visa got rejected. I’d worked for... More >

13 great things to do in August

Many of the locals may be away on holiday this month, but that does not mean there is nothing to do for those left behind. From a special tour of the Rijksmuseum for the Pride celebrations, to sending kids into space, there is a lot going on this August. Go an a gay tour The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam hooked up with Pride and devised a Roze Rijks (pink Rijks) guided tour of the history of homosexuality seen through works of... More >

Wynia's Week: the green coup has started

Brussels is becoming ever more radical where climate is concerned, says journalist Syp Wynia. But is this what we want? he asks. The European elections in May made the German Green party the second biggest party after the Christian Democrats. In early June the polls put them ahead of Angela Merkel and her party: the Greens were virtually the biggest party in the most populous EU member state. That was quite a blow, not in the least because Angela Merkel... More >

Nix it: stop reaching and drop it

It’s that time of year. The sun is shining. Dutch people are complaining it’s too warm. Everyone in your office is on vacation so you’re sitting around, cleaning up your inbox and watching videos about #VanLife. What to do if you’re a journalist and there’s nothing to write about? Do some serious investigative work, digging through microfilm? Hit the streets with your notebook and talk to people? Convince your editor to let you make a trip to the Netherlands and... More >

Visit the 11 cities of Friesland

The 11 cities of Friesland very occasionally host a gruelling 200 kilometre skating race – if temperatures dip below zero for long enough, and just recently a swimming marathon. But you can also travel the famous route by bike, by boat, on horseback, on foot… however you like. Fansels! (That’s Friesian for ‘of course’). 1 Dokkum (the only one of the 11 without a different name in Friesian) In olden times Dutch school children were taught that ‘Bonifacius was killed... More >