In spite of regularly being spoken to in English by some Dutch people, for example, “It’s a really nice bar, just round the corner from Leidsesqaure.” The Shallow Man can speak Dutch. Anyone who watches NOS journal 24 will know that not too much happens in this country on a daily basis. NOS seem to run out of Dutch news material after about ten minutes, then goes into an endless loop of the same items.

The Shallow Man recently received the following message from a Tsvetelina Novakova. “Shallow Man, I don’t speak Dutch, and wouldn’t mind having an idea of what’s happening in Dutch news. As you’ve lived here so long, and I know you speak Dutch, why not do a summary on your site from time to time?”

Being as ever, a butler, to the needs of my readers, I’ve decided to produce my first ever summary of news events, based on my own views. A couple of the topics might be controversial and upset some people. If as a result I’m rounded up by a group of angry PVV voters and put on the first plane back to London, I’ll shout “doe maar, jullie onwetend sukkels.” The things I do for my readers!

Geert Wilders should not be compared to Hitler

Last week I wrote about RTL climbing into the gutter for ratings. Well, alongside them, is Geert Wilders, who is happy to exploit racial tensions for publicity and to win votes for his party the PVV. Wilders made a statement that Den Haag could do with less Moroccans. This led to another politician, Fouad Sidali comparing him to Hitler. This caused a huge furor, and led to the withdrawal of the comparison and an apology to Wilders.

It’s interesting how Geert Wilders, who has made some pretty provocative, and some would say outright racist statements in the past, always cites the right of freedom of speech, and yet this is not allowed when making comparisons with his statements and some of those made by Hitler. A lot of the media, including naturally de Telegraaf, (tabloid press for the dumb)  jumped to Wilders defense.

There is a lot of casual anti-Morrocan sentiment in the Netherlands, which Wilders knows and is happy to exploit to win votes in the municipal elections taking place tomorrow. Expats that have lived in the Netherlands longer than three years are entitled to vote, please exercise that privilege and do so. Especially as one of the lowest voter turnouts in Dutch political history is expected tomorrow. The best way to deal with people like Wilders is to vote, for anyone but him and his party.

The king of weasel words

The king of weasel words

In the Dutch News More women should work full time

In the news this week is a report from the OECD that states that more Dutch women should work full-time.  

From the report.

“From 1860 to 1960 female labour force participation in the Netherlands hardly changed but the female employment rates increased from 30% in 1975 to almost 70% in 2011 (and is now above the OECD average of 60%). But many women, especially mothers, work part-time: 75% of women (age 25-54) with dependent children work part-time compared with only 26% in France. Women spend on average two hours more per day on household work than men.”

I’ve written about this in the past. I’m aware that it’s a complex and sensitive subject. The cost of nursery care in the Netherlands is outrageous, bordering on outright criminally expensive. That the Government recently cut some tax breaks relating to this hasn’t helped the situation either. There’s also a vicious cycle in place here as well, as men typically earn more than women, so it’s usually the female partner that works part time to reduce the money spent on childcare.  The report goes on to state that many women end up with lower pensions than men as a result of years of working part-time. So in spite of Dutch women being very liberated in many areas, a gender gap, and a financial dependency on the income of a male partner is still a big problem here.


Amsterdam Police using tracking chips in bikes

As someone who had three bikes stolen in Amsterdam in the space of less than four months, (and yes I used multiple locks) I was pleased to read over the weekend that the use of tracking devices in so-called lokfietsen, bikes fitted with a GPS tracker, has led to over 100 arrests in the last year. It’s been such a success that the police plan to deploy many more throughout the city. All I can say is goed zo! The scumbags that steal bikes rarely take just one, and often have multiple stolen bikes when the police catch up with them. I got so fed up with the bike thefts that I no longer own one. I might reconsider.

In other Dutch news

According to posters that I’ve seen today a cat by the name of Minka has gone missing in the Pijp. She’s a black and white cat and needs medication. For what, the poster didn’t say, but if you see a cat that looks like it’s suffering from withdrawal symptoms, go up and ask it, “Sorry to bother you, but is your name Minka?” The next hurdle will be how to get it to follow you back to the owners address, I for one wouldn’t risk attempting to keep a cat in one place until its owner arrives, I suppose I could always tell it about visaandeschelde, my favorite fish restaurant in Amsterdam. Tales of how good their Lobster and Sea Bass is might keep the cat distracted.

Minka, let me tell you about a meal I had

Minka, let me tell you about a meal I had

So ends the Shallow Man news roundup. No PVV voters were hurt during the writing of this post.