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Ageing Dutch, ageing well 2017


In this issue | Bird watching with the pros | Saving for retirement | “Rent-an-Oma” | Love for the Lumière theatre | Earthy, delicious pasta | Preparing to retire in the Netherlands | Open Monument Days are here |

Setting the Standard

Zein Day Care & Pre-School Laying the foundations As a trusted partner to many international schools Zein offers a specially designed Early Childhood Curriculum, providing an internationally-oriented learning environment, with an integrated programme that allows for the individual development of each child to be properly catered for. Our teachers nurture the progress of your child, developing their individuality and self-confidence to the fullest - ensuring a smooth transition into junior or primary school when the time comes...



3 months - 4 years

2.5 years - 4 years

With a high staff:child ratio, our day care provides a loving, safe and home-like environment for your child.

Our pre-school provides the perfect option if you want your child to socialise, develop and learn - but do not need full-time care.

Monday to Friday (1 day minimum) Full day sessions 08:00 - 18:30 Open year round, closed on public holidays only

Monday to Friday (1 session minimum) Morning & afternoon sessions Follows relevant international school holidays

Zein Day Care and Pre-School is offered across multiple locations in The Hague. The quality of the physical surroundings and facilities are outstanding, providing a luxury home-like environment for your child. Step outside, and the picture is completed by the presence of a beautiful natural playground. To ensure your child’s nutritional needs are also met, our on-site chefs serve fresh & organic warm meals and healthy snacks.

Contact our friendly team for more information or to arrange a visit 070 326 8263 info@zeinchildcare.nl zeinchildcare.nl

Letter from the editor


Inspired by the international success story of De Hogeweyk, a model “dementia village” in Weesp, ACCESS wanted to learn more about innovations in care for the ageing happening in the Netherlands. For example, did you know there is a company dedicated to opplakdeuren — “Stick-on Doors”? True Doors’ aim is to help people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease feel more at home by personalising the doors they use, no matter where they live. What a creative contribution!

Kelly Merks ACCESS Editor editor@access-nl.org

There are many great initiatives we could fill the pages of this magazine with. In fact, ­several of this issue’s articles are on the topic of growing older. In the cover story, Alice Burke shares inspired stories of care for the ageing from around the Netherlands and informs readers about related policies and government initiatives. Olivia van den BroekNeri explores the role of grandparents in Dutch family dynamics, and Carolyn van Es-Vines shares her experiences and talks with a counsellor about how to care for ageing parents while living abroad. For the more money-savvy among us — but especially for those who are less so — Mandie van der Meer-Danielski has the best ways people with a mobile lifestyle should save for retirement. Check out her article in the Education pages to see what you’re doing well and what you can learn. Lorre Luther’s International Community article is for those who are seriously considering retirement in the Netherlands, no matter what stage of life you’re in now.

ACCESS wanted to learn more about innovations in care for the ageing happening in the Netherlands.

Get outdoors with Anne Pinto-Rodrigues in her Travel article about bird watching in the Netherlands. Anuja Tipnis-Randive dives into the cultural significance of Open Monuments Day in Arts & Entertainment. Magdalini Zografou returns to our Food pages with a simple, mouth-watering pasta recipe. And Tracey Taylor takes us on a visit to her favourite film theatre for this issue’s Reviews article. Finally, a very big and warm congratulations to fellow ACCESS Magazine editor Mandie van der Meer-Danielski on the arrival of a happy, healthy baby boy in August! Despite being eight months pregnant, she still made time to write for ACCESS. Such admirable dedication to this wonderful community of ours! ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 3



For 30 years ACCESS has been an independent


not-for-profit organisation serving

Stichting ACCESS

internationals so they may settle successfully

Editorial content

in the Netherlands. Our mission is to provide


essential, comprehensive and unique services


nationally, through the expertise and

070 345 1700

experience of our dedicated volunteers from


the expatriate community.

Editor Kelly Merks

Our magazine complements the services we provide through our Helpdesk, FAQ Guides, Counselling Service Network and Trainers Network. Our intention is to further facilitate our readers’ settlement process in your new home, by providing content which helps you better understand the country; discover things about it you may not have been aware of; encourage connection with your Dutch neighbours and colleagues; and offer contributors a platform to share your skills.

ACCESS Magazine aims to be: • welcoming • informative • educational • entertaining • original

Assistant Editors Nancy Kroonenberg Design & Layout M-space - Marek Moggré Printer Edauw en Johannissen Drukkerij Cover image Alex Proimos

Have feedback for us? Interested in contributing to the magazine? Please contact the Editor at ­editor@access-nl.org. We love to hear from our community!

Contents images (clockwise)

Executive Board: Chairman: Gary Hays, Valshebnik Consulting . Members: Koosje Ploegmakers, ABN AMRO - Godelijn Boonman, GMW Advocaten - Lowri van der Linden, the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency, Pauline O'Brien, Council of International Schools.

Sheila Sund

BoerenBlij, Magdalini Zografou, Arjan Dwarshuis, Vinita Salomé,

Contributors Alice Burke, Lorre Luther, Anne Pinto-Rodrigues, Tracey Taylor,

0900 2 ACCESS (0900 2 222 377) local rate 20c per minute


Anuja Tipnis-Randive, Deborah Valentine, Carolyn van Es-Vines,

helpdesk@access-nl.org www.access-nl.org Laan van Meerdervoort 70 - 1st Floor 2517 AN The Hague

4 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

Olivia van den Broek-Neri, Mandie van der Meer, Magdalini Zografou

Join ACCESS on


Autumn 2017 Vol. 30 No. 3 Circulation: 4,500 Also available online at: magazine.access-nl.org

Contents 7 ACCESS News Statistics at ACCESS 9 What’s On for Autumn


12 Cover Story Dutch trends and innovations in elder care


20 Food Fettuccine with porcini mushrooms 23 Health & Wellbeing Caring for ageing parents from a distance 26 International Community Dreaming of retirement in


the Netherlands? 29 Travel For the Dutch love of birds! 33 Dutch Lifestyle Happy kids, happy grandparents, happy families 35 Arts & Entertainment A monumental view of Dutch heritage 39 Education How to climb


the pension mountain 43 Review Lumière in the limelight 45 Our View Photo Contest Copyright ACCESS 2017 All rights reserved. No part of the ACCESS Magazine may be used in any form without explicit permission in writing from the Publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information in this publication was correct at the time of going to press. However, ACCESS and its writers cannot accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information included.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 5


Statistics at ACCESS Behind the scenes, and following every contact moment with the public, ACCESS Helpdesks in The Hague, Amsterdam, Leiden, and Utrecht, and from our back office is logged. No, we do not collect emails or private data from those we serve. We do, however, record the nature of the query of each encounter. This is how we establish what the most frequently asked questions are, how we determine what information to include in our Guides, and how we determine which areas we need to research to better respond to inquiries.

There are additional numbers that should Q u a r te rl y M a g also not be azine re t u r n to p r i n forgotten: t ; 14 k issues distribu the 76 te d during The data also allow us to Partners, th e ye a s r ail look back and be reminded Associates and nd em Calls a d and of the value of our work: in Trainers who proe re c e i v y b o t 2016, we could personally vide us with the finand de re s p o n p d e s k s attend to—by email, cial support and expertise required to run l our He 0 phone, and faceACCESS; the 14 Media Partners 3 , 50 to-face—11,000 who help share the work we inquiries! And do, and with whom we work that does not even closely to keep the inter­ include the many more people national community we personally connect informed; the 25 with at fairs—such Counsellors who take es FAQ G uid as I Am Not a turns being on-call cts) Tourist, I Am throughout the year to (13 subje ded a lo n w Expat and guide people to the support o d s e im t Feel at Home they require; the 30 or so 31k in The Hague— ­professionals in our “Pool of or the more intimate Talents” who make the production of M o re t h a n 17 in-house information sesour Magazine possible; the five members of 0 vol u t t h ro u g e e r s h o u t th sions at international schools the ACCESS Board, of course, for keeping an eye on e f ro m   4 4 n a t i o ye a r and organisations. Not to the bigger picture and providing guidance to our nalities making mention the more than 170 leadership; and, more recently, our Patrons—two it happ en. ­volunteers who work with us to date—who invest in us because they value and in any given year. believe in the service we provide. «

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 7

Settling in, simply. We’re here to make it easier for internationals to work and register in the Amsterdam area. Qualifying companies can start the paperwork before arrival and a single visit to International Newcomers Amsterdam (IN Amsterdam, formerly called the Expatcenter Amsterdam) will complete the process. What’s more, our website has loads of valuable information on a wide range of topics including education,taxes, healthcare and housing. The cities of Amsterdam, Amstelveen, Almere, Diemen, Haarlem, Haarlemmermeer, Hilversum and Velsen are working with the Immigration and Naturalisation Services (IND) to bring you the IN Amsterdam services. To learn more please visit: www.inamsterdam.com

What’s On

Special events in September GOGBOT

Cyber Security Week



7-10 September – Enschede

25-29 September – The Hague

Join 20,000 other festival-goers at this future-facing festival of technology, electronic music, and contemporary art. This showcase of digital creativity is put on by Planetart, a group of local artists, and serves as a platform for visionaries in these fields, with a special focus on new graduates from the Dutch Art Academy. The showcase theme for 2017 is Intergalactic.

International Kite Festival 2017

World Living Statues Festival

scheveningen.com/en/event/230/ international-kite-festival.html


23-24 September – Scheveningen

29 September-1 October Arnhem

This annual international event takes advantage of the North Sea’s prevailing winds. Kite creators and enthusiasts gather from around the world for competitions and demonstrations. You’re a novice? Don’t worry, you can buy your own kite on the boulevard and join a stunt kiting workshop. Stick around until sunset for a light-studded night show.

The streets of Arnhem become a theatre during this unique event, where performers come from all over the world for this semi-official competition. Wander among more than 200 imaginative statues, which may surprise you by unexpectedly coming to life! The event kicks off 29 September in the city of Ede with a focus on local artists and musicians.

Netherlands Film Festival www.filmfestival.nl/profs_en

20-29 September – Utrecht Fifteen venues. Four hundred films. More than 150,000 film lovers. This festival is the most important annual event for the Dutch film industry, boasting an array of short and long films, documentaries, seminars, and TV productions. Rub shoulders with some of the industry greats and stick around to see who wins the Gouden Kalveren – the festival’s grand prizes!



The increasingly critical issue of cyber security should not be the concern of only cyber professionals. Here, students and adults of all ages can attend free seminars, lectures, workshops, challenges and showcases. A Hacklab ­promoting cyber security to primary students and the finals of the 2017 Cyberlympics are among many event highlights.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 9

What’s On

Special events in October Want to post a community event in this magazine? Contact ACCESS Magazine at editor@access-nl.org subject: ‘What’s On’.

Alkmaar Ontzet

Faces of Delft



30 September - 8 October – Alkmaar

1 October – Delft

Alkmaar was the first Dutch city to be victorious over the Spaniards in the 16th century. The Ontzet celebrates this event with concerts, performances, a historical fair, parades, demonstrations, chowing down on sauerkraut, a laser show, and children’s events – including 10- and 11-year-olds as cheese carriers!

You know Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” as a painting, book and film. Now take a walk with her, William of Orange, the scientist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek and other characters of the Golden Age. Join a leisurely tour with historic characters through the quaint old village, or book your own costumed photoshoot.

The Patron and the ‘Ververbaas’

Cinekid Festival

Dutch Design Week



14-27 October Amsterdam and other locations

21-29 October – Eindhoven

This unique event covers all aspects of the media industry. Young audiences can attend workshops and master classes, and have the chance to vote for their favourite media in the Cinekid Lion awards. More than 150 films and TV ­programmes, interactive installations, and the MediaLab – a huge digital ­playground – will keep you and your children engaged for hours.

10 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

This internationally renowned design event manages to squeeze cutting-edge industrial, concept, graphic, fashion, food, and spatial design trends into nine days. More than 100 locations throughout the city host 2,500 event participants and well over 150,000 visitors at 300 events. Design lovers should make the trek to this extraordinary event – but book your lodging ASAP!

14 October 2017 - 2 April 2018 Otterloo The international year “Mondrian to Dutch Design” is nearing its end. The Kröller-Müller Museum presents a special exhibition of works by Bart van der Leck, one of the De Stijl movement founders. In addition to this special ­exhibition is the museum’s extensive collection by other De Stijl artists Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, and Gerrit Rietveld. 




What’s On

Special events in November Want to post a community event in this magazine? Contact ACCESS Magazine at editor@access-nl.org subject: ‘What’s On’.

Crossing Border Festival

Le Guess Who?



2-4 November – The Hague

9-12 November – Utrecht

Crossing Border is an interdisciplinary cultural festival combining literature, music, film screenings and visual arts. Apart from renowned national and international names from the literary and musical industries, the festival also shines a light on artists yet to be discovered.

Fashioned on the Montreal Indie scene, this pop music festival hosts Canadian and other international performers at a variety of venues. Grab a four-day pass or opt for some of the creative initiatives around the festival along the “Utrecht Indie Route.” One funky part of the festival is Le Mini Who?, which presents contemporary Dutch underground music in collaboration with local shops and bars.




15-26 November – Amsterdam The IDFA, dating back to 1988, is the largest event of its kind. The event will see hoards of film-hungry viewers catch one or more of some 300 creative documentaries and interactive documentary projects, some of which are accompanied by “filmmakers, protagonists and special guests.”

International Whisky Festival www.whiskyfestival.nl/

Global artists take over the central city by lighting up the streets with dazzling light installations. Experience the event for free by walking through the city at night, or participate in the 5.5-km GLOW Run on the festival’s closing night. If you want more context to your walk through the lights, make a reservation for a guided tour to learn about the artists and their works.

17-19 November – The Hague Importers and distributors present hundreds of whisky brands for you to taste in The Hague's beautiful Grote Kerk. In addition, you can participate in informative master classes, such as the aging and the colouring of whisky and the influence of wood on the flavour among other topics. Rare whiskies are on offer for a little extra – a luxury for discerning tasters. Book your tickets in advance!


The International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)

11-18 November – Eindhoven

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 11

Cover story

Dutch trends and innovations in elder care Ageing is something — if we’re lucky enough — we will all face. Our experiences of ageing, though, can alter dramatically depending on where we happen to spend our later years.

12 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

The Netherlands is developing a strong reputation as an international leader in best practices for elder care. And despite the growth in diseases related to ageing, such as dementia, there is a huge range of care options for older people here to ensure that later years can be ones of joy, hope, and comfort. The importance of continued and integrated physical activity in the Netherlands is a wonderful benefit for many as they grow older. It’s not unusual to see an elderly person overtaking you in a bike lane on their omafiets, with years of cycling through the Dutch wind and rain proving beneficial to their stamina and flexibility, unlike those of some newly arrived expats. The international perspective


A large-scale 2013 study published in Oxford Academic’s Gerontologist journal found that Dutch society was in transition from a demographically young welfare state to an ageing society with increasing individual responsibility. “New generations of older adults are well educated, financially well off, and accustomed to personal choice in matters of life, care, and death. Those elderly persons with lower income, however, may have fewer options and must rely more on relatives and the government,” predicted the study. In 2015, the Netherlands was ranked sixth overall in the most recent Global AgeWatch Index as one of the best countries to grow old in. The country has dropped a few places from previous years, but performed strongly in the categories of Income Security and Enabling Environment. Switzerland topped the list, followed by Norway and Sweden. The results of the Netherlands survey showed that 91 percent of people over 50 said that they had relatives and friends they could count on when in trouble. Ninety-five percent of people over 50 were satisfied with the freedom of choice in their lives. In 2016, the Netherlands Institute for Social Research and the University of Utrecht conducted a survey to gain insight into attitudes toward care for the young

and the elderly. The report showed that senior citizens here are likely to reside with their adult children, which means more effort is needed from the family to be with them and meet their needs. Men and women taking care of old or ill family members or friends, known as mantelzorgers, are cited as having more frequent cases of absenteeism from work. Men in particular say their health suffers by being a carer. The percentage of working Dutch who care for an elder family member increased from 13 to 19 percent between 2004 and 2014. Dementia: a hidden struggle

Dementia is a growing concern that many do not realise the magnitude of. A Statistics Netherlands report released in July 2017 showed that dementia is the leading cause of death in the Netherlands, with over 15,000 cases in 2016. Mortality related to dementia rose last year relative to the previous year among men, but the disorder is more prevalent among women. New strategies and treatments focusing on the emotional wellbeing of patients are showing signs of ­success and are receiving more support, something in which the Netherlands is leading the way. A recent report by the US media organisation NPR discussed an international conference centred around the ­creation of environments that are optimised to meet patients’ “psychological and emotional needs through strategies other than medication.” »

The Netherlands' global rankings


Income security


Health status Capability Enabling societies and environment


Value: 85.9/100


Value: 74.8/100


Value: 59.6/100


Value: 79.6/100

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 13



Cover Story | Dutch trends and innovations in elder care

people in their local communities — no matter what their level of frailties,” said Krebs. “However, when they get dementia, the idea is to introduce them into social models in the community, such as group homes, whereas in Australia you wind up in a nursing home.”


Through implementing some of the ageing and dementia care strategies widely used in the Netherlands, Krebs said positive differences can be made to older people and how they live within the community.

The ethos that drives Active Cues and Tovertafel is that everyone has the right to play, and that play can contribute to everyone’s health and quality of life. “Researchers from the US, the UK, and Israel presented data from four trials demonstrating that such interventions significantly improve residents’ mood and quality of life,” says the report. The research also found that this type of treatment can reduce patients’ use of antipsychotic drugs and improve their ability to care for themselves. Dutch innovations in care and social interaction

An industry publication in Australia, Aged Care Guide, recently followed an Australian elderly care expert, Tamar Krebs, on a trip here to investigate elderly and dementia care. “In the Netherlands, they try and keep 14 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

A home that Krebs studied is part of Humanitas, one of the main social services and community building organisations of the Netherlands. Humanitas is a non-profit association that aims to support people who, for a range of different reasons, cannot manage on their own. Part of the care Humanitas offers to older people is an arrangement where students are offered a rent-free living space in exchange for spending 30 volunteer hours a month with the elderly residents of their Deventer care home. There are ­currently six woonstudenten (students) living at the care home as part of the community. They come and go as they please with no curfew, but usually eat meals with the older residents and generally hang out and have fun with them. The programme has received global media attention, and has reflected the positive experience of both the students and the older residents. Active Cues is a care innovation group in the Netherlands that seeks to provide outlets for older people in a refreshing, holistic way. They developed the Tovertafel, a little box that can be attached to the ceiling. Inside the box is a projector, infrared sensors, a speaker, and a processor that work together to project light games onto a table. The Tovertafel is the result of PhD research by Hester Le Riche, the founder and CEO of Active Cues. The ethos that drives Active Cues and Tovertafel is that everyone has the right to play, and that play can contribute to everyone’s health and quality of life.

Groen’s Paradijs is a great example of a care home that keeps its patient-centred focus and provides care and freedom for residents. Brother and sister Jouri and Tara Schoemaker are entrepreneurs who, with Eline Boezelman, set up this care home run by students and professional care staff. “In current care homes there is steadfastness and stagnation,” says Tara on the Groen’s Paradijs website. “There are too many budgets being watched and too few people. There is too little of what can be possible… this causes the residents to mess up. That’s not the way you want to spend the rest of your life.” Case study: BoerenBlij care farm

BoerenBlij is one of many zorgboerderijen (care farms) in the Netherlands. Care farms are where people can be cared for in natural surroundings and use the features of the farm as part of their care and therapy. BoerenBlij calls the people who spend time there as “visitors,” and the farm welcomes up to 18 visitors per day.

The visitors are people in their 50s up to people in their 90s. People who worked as farmers, mechanics, teachers, and painters. On a walk with the visitors, we stopped by a local garage. One of the visitors who »


Cassy van den Bosch, the owner of BoerenBlij, opened the farm seven years ago after the death of her father, a farmer, from Alzheimer’s disease. Van den Bosch saw how difficult it was to care for an Alzheimer’s patient. She identified a real need to provide patients with a safe place to be while their caregivers rest in the knowledge their loved ones were well looked after.


The farm is situated in Haskerhorne in Friesland province. It’s a beautiful part of the country, and the farm itself sits nestled among fields, forests, and lakes. It is a sanctuary for the visitors who attend ­several times a week, and a means of respite for the many caregivers who very often are responsible for their full-time care at home.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 15



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Cover Story | Dutch trends and innovations in elder care

used to be a mechanic talked with the owner of the shop. They discussed engines, and their bond is wonderful to witness. For a while this visitor is in a place of comfort, familiarity and purpose, something that is often absent for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Van den Bosch and the team at BoerenBlij are deeply committed to patient-centred care that allows the person to retain a sense of importance and who they are. She constantly affirms that people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease have emotional needs and wants in the same way as anybody else, which must be met to allow them to live well. “The people who attend BoerenBlij want to do their best at what they’re good at, they have a need to be good at something. We give them the opportunity to be good at something. We tell the volunteers and the interns that if something isn’t possible anymore, we don’t focus on that. We make anything possible for them with a little help here and there. We assist them in finding purpose,” says van den Bosch.

More info Learn more about the Dutch initiatives mentioned in this article on their websites. Humanitas Deventer: www.humanitasdeventer.nl (Dutch only) Tovertafel: www.tovertafel.nl Groen’s Paradijs: groensparadijs.nl (Dutch only) BoerenBlij: www.boerenblij.nl (Dutch only) Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands: www.hannn.eu StadsdorpZuid: www.stadsdorpzuid.nl (Dutch only)

most places that support active ageing and help older people to connect with others nearby. The Healthy Ageing Network Northern Netherlands (HANNN) is an excellent initiative that

Did you k now.. .­ On

e-thir d of etherla nds’ p lation opuwill be 60 or older by 20 50.

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“We don’t institutionalise them here,” she continues. “We make them responsible for helping to cook, or make coffee for each other, or top up the sugar bowls. Everything we do, we bring the visitor with us, because they can do these things with a little help from a friend. They have meaning; it’s meaningful that they are here. If one of the visitors can’t make it one day, we discuss it with the group in the morning and ask them who’s missing. Sometimes one of them will notice who’s missing, and then we say, ‘It’s a pity he isn’t here because he’s so good at his job,’ and we remind the visitors that each person has their role and they are important. That’s what we all want, isn’t it? We want to be important, and they want to be important. We want to be missed, and they want to be missed.” Healthy ageing in the community

There are many ways for older people to stay active in the Netherlands. Community networks exist in ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 17

• Expat mortgages • Also for non residents and foreign currency income clients T T E info@fvbdeboer.nl


Cover Story | Dutch trends and innovations in elder care

Netherlands by the numbers



17.8 100

Life expectancy at 60 How many more years a 60-year-old can expect to live

Healthy life expectancy aged 60 The average number of years a person can expect to live in good health

Pension coverage % people over 65 receiving a pension

National policy on ageing? Yes

The percentage of working Dutch who care for an elder family member increased from 13 to 19 percent. offers older people a range of exciting opportunities. This group facilitates an exchange of information about activities in the north of the Netherlands that contribute to healthy and active ageing. HANNN connects companies, knowledge institutions, care groups, and government­­representatives in ways that benefit older people. Current projects include ageing awareness promotion programmes, dementia care mapping, health hackathons, and the development of games and play for older people. Cooperatives like StadsdorpZuid in Amsterdam also do a wonderful job of supporting people who stay ­living at home. The group is comprised of about 50 members promoting independent living and active ageing as well as fostering social inclusion and solidarity within the Amsterdam Zuid community. Local governments all over the country have programmes that support people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The aim is to keep people at home and out of full-time care for as long as is beneficial to them.

The Deltaplan programme: a national approach

One of the key strengths in facing dementia in the Netherlands is the establishment of the Deltaplan for Dementia. The programme has more than 60 members including large and small organisations from healthcare, education, science, public and professional services. The aim of the Deltaplan group is to make the Netherlands more “dementia friendly,” to help people understand more about the disease, and to improve infrastructure for patients and carers. Alongside their national strategy, Deltaplan aims to focus on international collaboration. The eight-year programme started in 2013, and has so far spent 85 million euro on investment in dementia. The programme also has a specialised dementia research and innovation section, which is currently focused on more than 90 different research projects. Another aim focuses on healthcare improvement to ensure that patients can continue living at home for as long as possible, supported by appropriate professional and informal care. Living a full, healthy, and independent life is a real probability for older people in the Netherlands. Supports are in place in many areas to help people age with dignity and in comfort. The development of Deltaplan and the wonderful facilities being d­eveloped to support the elderly and their families throughout the country are welcome. But the unknowns of getting older can still be daunting for some, particularly if they’re on their own. With so many in the community who care, and new initiatives growing all the time, there is hope, support — and fun to be found for our treasured ageing loved ones. «

About the author Alice Burke is a writer based in The Hague. Find her on Twitter @auroraborealice.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 19


Fettuccine with fresh porcini mushrooms and crème fraîche


The first signs of autumn are all around us, signaling the beginning of a new season. There’s a chill in the air, light clothing have been replaced by sweaters and jackets, leaves are turning to shades of copper and gold, and strolling around the city you can smell that familiar, sweet, smoky aroma of the slow burning wood coming from lit fireplaces.

Appetites are changing as well, and the craving for carbs and warming foods is overpowering. There are few dishes that can satisfy this craving more efficiently than pasta, and this one of fettuccine with fresh porcini mushrooms and crème fraîche is a shining example. The crème fraîche adds acidity to the dish without masking the deep, umami flavor of the mushrooms. The woodsy thyme adds freshness, whereas the salty parmesan takes away the sharp edge from the tangy crème fraîche. It’s a scrumptious, filling, yet delicate pasta dish that is also easy and quick to prepare. Served with a glass of semi-sweet wine, I guarantee you won’t be able to stop eating it. Enjoy! 20 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

Useful tips about porcini mushrooms:

• Porcini, the king of mushrooms, are

I n g re d i e n


Yield: eno ugh for 2 h ungry people

Lay the porcini in one layer in the pan and cook them on each side until they release their juices and those juices evaporate. This will take a few minutes per side, and you need to be careful not to burn them. Moderate the heat if you think it’s too high.

in season right now, so this is the • 250-300 g dri ed fettuccine time to savour them. Search for (you could al so use papardel them at good delicatessens and le or tagliatelle ) • 4 Tbsp extra open food markets. If you can’t find virgin olive o il • 1 shallot, min fresh porcini, use fresh chanteced • 200 g fresh p relles, girolles, or any other wild orcini mushrooms, brushed and mushrooms you can find. sliced thickly le ngthwise • Don’t wash or rinse the mush• 1 garlic clove , minced rooms because they will soak up • 100 ml semisweet white wine 150 g crèm • all the water and lose their flavor; e fraîche, full fa t 2 • fresh thyme just scrub them lightly with a sprigs, leaves picked soft brush all over to get rid of • Salt, to taste the dirt. There are special mushSeason the porcini • Freshly grou nd black pep per room brushes that you can use, with salt and black • Parmesan, g rated but if you don’t have one, you pepper, add the garlic can use a very soft, unused and 1 Tbsp of olive oil, toothbrush. and continue to fry on You don’t want to cook the porcini to oblivion medium-high heat for • as you want them to retain their springy and deliabout one minute. Return the shallots and oil to the cate texture. Their meaty yet subtle flavor will shine pan and mix well. Then add the wine and deglaze through, but you must not overwhelm them with the pan by scraping any bits that have stuck to it. too many ingredients. You want to complement their flavor, not overpower it. Add the crème fraîche and some fresh thyme leaves, stir gently and leave to incorporate into the sauce Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil over over low heat. Add a little pasta water to thin the high heat and add the fettuccine. Cook until al dente sauce out a bit if it’s too thick, and add one last (firm but not very hard) or cook to your liking. Tbsp of olive oil. Reserve about 60 ml (¼ cup) of the pasta water and drain the fettuccine in a colander (but don’t shake When the pasta is ready, add it to the pan and mix the pasta), discarding the rest of the water. with the sauce. While the water is boiling and the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large, wide frying pan (one that will fit the pasta as well) over medium heat and add the shallots. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until they become translucent and very soft. Empty the shallots and oil into a bowl, wipe the pan with some kitchen paper and heat the pan again over medium-high heat.

Sprinkle with some more black pepper, the rest of the fresh thyme leaves, lots of grated parmesan and serve immediately. «

About the author Magdalini Zografou is a Greek girl cooking in her little expat kitchen in the Netherlands. Follow her cooking blog, My Little Expat Kitchen: ­mylittleexpatkitchen.blogspot.com

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 21

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Health & Wellbeing

Caring for ageing parents from a distance Although ageing is a natural part of life, it’s not until our parents become physically or mentally incapacitated that adult children are confronted with arranging for their care. With more governments making cuts in funding healthcare for the elderly, families will be paying more out of pocket for rocketing m ­ edical costs.


The growing body of media that focus on expats who care for their ageing parents from abroad tout the necessity of open communication with parents about how they want to be cared for when the time comes. Adult children are urged to create a plan while it’s still a discussion point instead of an e­motional trauma, preferably before ever taking on that first international assignment. The reality for many expats, myself included, is that our parents, who were relatively young and healthy when we left home, get sick and/or become incapa­ citated while we’re on the road. And while we jump in with both feet and arrange for their care from abroad, we rarely take the time to deal with the toll it all takes on our own emotional wellbeing. How do we deal with the emotional impact of c­ aring from a distance? Designate a point person

A point person back home can be an effective way to alleviate our emotional suffering. Whether a family member, a friend or a trusted neighbour who regularly checks on our parents, a point person can do anything from helping with light chores and running errands to liaising with social workers and even ­visiting parents who are in living in nursing homes. When I came to the Netherlands in 1999 from the United States, my plan was to stay a maximum of three years. For 13 years both my parents were in ­reasonable health, so I was caught completely off guard five years ago when my father passed away unexpectedly. Later that same year my mother underwent hip replacement surgery after a nasty fall. During her reha- » ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 23

Health & Wellbeing | Caring for ageing parents from a distance

bilitation, she was diagnosed with dementia. The last few years have seen a rapid decline in her health mainly due to diabetes. I’ve long since harboured guilt about leaving my mother and depriving her contact of her only grandchildren. According to Amsterdam-based psychotherapist Robin Roberts, this is a natural reaction. Yet adding to my guilt is the fact that my point person is my older sister who struggles to recover from ­alcohol addiction. She moved in with my mother to care for her around the clock. But the burden has been too heavy. She has not been managing her own diabetes and has begun drinking after many years of

"It is crucial for adult children to identify what’s in our control and let go by delegating what is not."

sobriety. My mother has since been admitted into residential care. And while my sister does her best to visit regularly and see to my mother’s comfort, I’ve had to learn how to deal with my own guilt. According to Roberts, it is crucial for adult children to identify what’s in our control and let go by dele­ gating what is not. “What we can do,” she explains, “is make an effort to build a relationship with our parent’s physicians. Know who their power of attorney is. Ask who they’ve designated to make medical decisions.” A point person can alleviate some of the stress as she or he takes on some of the day-to-day responsibilities. Get emotional support

Roberts has specialised in caregiver stress and elder abuse for over 12 years and has witnessed the emotional toll that caring for incapacitated parents can take. She has seen many marriages dissolve as a result. More distressing is that caregivers are more likely to become sick themselves or die before their parents, though this depends on the caregiver’s age, mental and physical condition, and other factors. The caregiver’s risk of heart attack or stroke increases because of stress and self-neglect. A reversal of the oxygen mask model comes to mind: adult children must first secure their own well-being to ensure they’re stable enough to offer the best care to their ageing parents. “When caregivers come for emotional support,” Roberts explains, “first and foremost, I help them minimize their own symptoms. I help them identify and deal with their fears. Together we develop a plan

24 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

that helps them cope with the situation then regularly evaluate the plan, making adjustments where necessary.” Cut yourself some slack

More info Visit the ACCESS CSN website to learn more about the network and find this month’s on-call counsellor’s contact info: www.access-nl.org/about-access/what-we-do/counselling-service-network

The day after they married, Liz and Hugh (names changed for privacy) left the UK for the Middle East. Liz can still remember the look of fear and emptiness on her parents’ faces as they drove away from her Lincolnshire home village. For Liz, it wasn’t until they had children that the guilt of being so far away kicked in. They’ve recently returned to Europe, relieved to be so much closer to home now that their parents are in their 80s and 90s.

Check out a book review on our website of Ana McGinley’s Parental Guidance: Long Distance Caring for Aging Parents: access-nl.org/about-access/features/reviews/book-review-parental-guidance-longdistance-care-for-aging-parents.aspx

“I thought the empty nest years would be just for Hugh and me,” says Liz, “but no. Hugh’s mother has dementia, and now one weekend a month will be spent driving over 10 hours to visit them and see what we can do to help. While we’re lucky to have all our parents alive, we are under no illusion that things are about to get much more difficult.”

He’s confident that once the logistics and the practicalities — like scheduling time off from work or working from home — are taken care of, he will feel better because he’ll be able to take on more responsibility. At the end of our interview, he felt relieved just from talking about his situation to a third party.

Hugh feels lucky that he has two brothers back home to care for his 94-year-old mother, who has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. One brother is a doctor and the other lives close enough to be the ­designated point person. For Hugh, the hardest part is feeling bad that he’s letting down his brothers and father because he’s not

there: “It’s ­difficult because every visit has to be planned. We can’t just jump in a car at the drop of a hat because we haven’t had a chance to buy one!”

Counselling Service Network

Many of us have already experienced ACCESS as a phenomenal resource for internationals. The Counselling Service Network (CSN) has 24 licensed professionals from all over the world who offer an array of specialisations and languages. Two counsellors are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to offer support and provide referrals. Whether you need on-the-spot advice about how to cope with ­caring for an ageing parent, a sounding board, or a point person who can help with the practicalities, the CSN can help you find support. “The better you’re able to cope, the more you can offer your parent without having to pack up and go back home,” says Roberts. «

About the author Carolyn Vines is an author and Certified Professional Coach. She is a member of the ACCESS Training Network. Find her online profile at etimy.com/coaches/life-coaching/carolyn-van-es-vines

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 25

International Community

Most adults understand the importance of planning for retirement, but internationals planning to remain in the Netherlands face specific challenges. Some spend decades — most of their adult lives — living here, but this is no guarantee for a smooth, easy retirement.

Dreaming of retirement in the Netherlands?


Immigration and integration

Silvia Calles, an ACCESS volunteer, left Mexico for Amsterdam at the age of 19. She considered Spain and Mexico before deciding that the Netherlands would be the best place to live as she aged. Dutch ­culture felt more comfortable for her. She notes the Netherlands’ public transportation system and walkable terrain make it an ideal place to deal with mobility challenges posed by growing older, too. Citizens of the European Union like Calles do not face restrictions regarding living in the Netherlands, according to Jeremy Bierbach, an immigration attorney with Franssen Advocaten in Amsterdam. Obtaining permanent residency, however, is the only way for non-EU citizens to From . ­ retire here. Non-EU citizens may apply 2022 the ag of reti e remen for permanent residency after living in t will be lin ked to the Netherlands for five uninterrupted life expec tancy years. Most applicants must pass all portions of the civic integration exam, demonstrate proficiency in Dutch, and ­provide evidence of long-term financial support. More info However, people of Dutch legal retirement age, or For more information on financial planning for retirement, AOW leeftijd, may be exempt from these requirements. check out the Education ­article in this issue on pg. 39. Did you k now..

See also our Partner Feature, from Legal Expat Desk on pg 38. Calculate when you are eligible to receive your first AOW pension: www.svb.nl/int/nl/aow/wat_is_de_aow/wanneer_aow/

26 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

Bierbach suggests non-EU citizens meet with an immigration attorney approximately one year before planning to apply for permanent residency.

To learn Dutch or not?

When a new client from a non-EU country comes to Bierbach’s office to discuss permanent residency, he asks them, “How’s your Dutch?” In his experience, lack of Dutch proficiency creates the biggest obstacle for these clients. Canadian citizen and long-term Netherlands resident Katherine Fortier does not speak fluent Dutch. Yet she doesn’t believe this will be an obstacle to growing older in the Netherlands. She has deep social ties in the international community and trusts the strong English-language skills of Dutch health care providers. “Once you’ve lived here for 21 years, you realise that you really do get by,” says Fortier. ACCESS volunteer and American retiree John Fields has a different perspective. “I see the language barrier as the most significant problem,” he says. Upon moving here a few years ago, he took a Dutch course at the British School of the Netherlands and meets regularly with a language exchange partner. Housing and pensions

Qualifying for a mortgage can be difficult, even for internationals with sufficient resources. Henk Jansen, a mortgage specialist with Expat Mortgages, says that “Dutch banks look at three things when determining whether to loan money: how was the money earned, what currency was the income earned in, and which tax system will be applicable to the income that is being used to qualify for the mortgage.” The variability of these factors adds a layer of difficulty to the mortgage application process for inter­national applicants. A pension paid in a foreign currency has the potential to drastically fall in value with respect to the Euro and may become insufficient to repay the debt. The AOW is the Dutch state pension, so check with a professional to determine if you are eligible to receive it. “Pensions in the Netherlands are lifelong.

"Pension systems abroad vary. How do you prove how much money you will get after your partner dies?"

After a partner dies, 70% goes to the surviving partner. Dutch banks know this,” Jansen says. However, “pension systems abroad vary. How do you prove how much money you will get after your partner dies?” Determining how much money will be received from a pension if an international chooses to retire in the Netherlands is a complex yet critical step in the retirement planning process. Treaties negotiated between the Netherlands and various countries govern how pensions based abroad will be taxed, says Eelco Zweerts de Jong, a pension expert with ZJHT Risk & Insurance Specialists BV in Wassenaar. “First, you should think about what your options are,” he says. “Then think about what you want... If you have a lot of assets then your pension doesn’t really matter. Your pension might not be as important as they think it is.” Financial planning for retirement should begin at least five years before individuals plan to leave work, and Jansen suggests potential mortgage borrowers begin the process of applying for mortgages at least one to two years before they stop working. Retiring in the Netherlands is not impossible for internationals who want to make this land on the North Sea their permanent home. The process will take planning and patience, but with persistence this dream can come true! «

About the author Lorre Luther is a writer who lives in the Netherlands.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 27

Education | Partner feature

Across Generations

Children and the elderly sharing joy Kindergarten and preschool children from the German International School The Hague are reaching out to a neighbouring home for senior citizens. The visits have become a welcome activity among the residents, who look forward to their young guests filled with innocence and laughter and who bring refreshing variety into their daily routine.

070 354 9494 www.disdh.nl

Typically, 15 children and two teachers set out on foot, where they are greeted by a group of seniors and volunteers. While some of the residents are in wheelchairs, others are mobile and active. While some suffer from the onset of dementia, others hardly show signs of old age. Children observe and interact with the aged. Young children growing up in expat families often miss out on regular contact with grandparents. Thanks to the visits, the children observe how we change with age and learn to accept and respect the elderly.

Organised activities are always part of the agenda. Contact between the children and the residents has many forms, such as ball and parachute games. They work on arts and crafts projects together at tables, colouring and painting or creating seasonal accessories like Easter baskets or Christmas deco­ rations. All of the art objects made during the visits are left as gifts for the residents. Music helps bring young and old together. The children prepare songs with their teachers to sing to the elderly, often learning classic Dutch favourites or ­typical holiday tunes that bring back memories for the senior citizens. The singing is accompanied by a teacher with a guitar and the seniors clap and move to the music in their seats, delighted by the entertainment prepared especially for them. The two groups have a good time simply chatting with each other. The elderly love to hear about the different countries in which the children have lived and share their own stories and adventures. The ­children often speak Dutch to the elderly and the s­eniors appreciate the chance to practise their own (sometimes rusty) language skills. Be it in German, English, Spanish, or a multitude of other languages, the interaction between young and old brings joy to both groups and helps broaden the experience and understanding between the generations bridging the circle of life. «

28 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017


For the Dutch love of birds!

The Dutch passion for bird watching is known across the world in birding communities. This love of birds is not surprising as a multitude of avian species roost in the polders, dunes, and parks of the Netherlands. Bird watching is a great way to explore and experience the stunning natural landscapes of this country.


Moving to the Netherlands in early 2017 meant I had to find new locations to pursue my interest in bird watching. Thankfully our apartment in Amsterdam is a short walk from Vondelpark, and I was thrilled to observe many bird species there, most of which I had never seen before: the Eurasian Magpie, the Great Spotted Woodpecker, the European robin, and the Eurasian Jay, among others. Subsequent trips to the heritage area of Zaanse Schans, the dunes of Scheveningen, and the UNESCO Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea gave me the opportunity to spot several waders (shorebirds) and migratory birds. Wanting to know more about the history of bird watching in the Netherlands, I dug deeper. History of Dutch birding

Rotterdam resident and current chairman of the Dutch Birding Association, Remco Hofland, provided some great insights into the recent history of bird watching in the Netherlands. »



ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 29

Travel | For the Dutch love of birds!

“Forty dedicated bird watchers came together in 1979 to form the Dutch Birding Association,” says Hofland. “In those days, bird watching used to be a different experience. One had to use reference books to identify the species they had observed. Today, with smart phone apps to identify birds, sophisticated binoculars and superzoom cameras, bird watching has been redefined. Bird watching events like the national Garden Bird Counting Weekend or Big Days organised at the local level in the Netherlands have created a legion of passionate Dutch bird watchers. In fact, the 2016 Global Big Year winner, Arjan Dwarshuis, is Dutch and lives in Amsterdam.” A Big Day is an informal competition among birders to see who can identify by sight or sound the largest number of bird species in a single day and within a specific geographical area. In the Netherlands, any

Peak migration occurs in September to October, making it the best time to observe a large variety of birds.


30 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017


time of the year is good for bird watching, but peak migration occurs in September to October, making it the best time to observe a large variety of birds. While broadly similar in definition to a Big Day, a Global Big Year spans one entire calendar year and the geographical area stretches across the seven continents. Dwarshuis traveled to 40 countries in 2016, and, in a span of 366 days, observed 6,852 ­different bird species — almost two-thirds of all bird species known to man. The making of a champion

Dwarshuis conducts regular bird watching tours in Amsterdam’s Vondelpark. Joining some of his “bird walks” gave me a chance to learn more about his evolution into a champion birder. On my first bird walk, I asked how he got interested in bird watching. He narrated some delightful anecdotes from his childhood. “I’m told my fascination with birds began when I was a few months old. As I grew older, I began to observe the birds that came to feed at the bird table in our



backyard. As soon as I could read, my parents bought me my first bird book. Using my grandfather’s old binoculars, I started identifying the birds in our garden,” he says. During his school days, Dwarshuis became a fanatic birder, counting migratory birds on the pier of Scheveningen. “After finishing secondary school, I travelled and birded for seven months through Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Peru. Twenty years later, I’ve observed over 7,000 of the 10,672 recorded bird species in the world!” A few weeks later, on another bird walk, I quizzed him about his 2016 Big Year and the inspiration behind it. He recounted, “I had read about an American ornithologist, the late James Clements, who had observed 3,662 species in a single year (1989). Since then, I became obsessed with the idea of doing a Big Year. In 2014, I decided to go for it

and started planning. I connected with Jim Lawrence of the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme (PEP) and together we came up with the idea of using my Big Year to raise funds for this critical conservation program.” Impact of the Global Big Year

Sensing my curiosity to know more about the impact that his Global Big Year has had, Dwarshuis elaborated: “The Big Year has allowed me to raise more »

Dwarshuis Recommends…

• Binoculars - For beginners: reasonably priced ones via the website of Vogelbescherming

Nederland (Bird Protection Netherlands). www.vogelbescherming.nl For serious birders: Swarovski binoculars, which are top of the line. Camera - Canon: Plenty of choice depending on your preferences, from an affordable PowerShot model all the way to a 600mm bird-photographing telephoto lens Bird guide - Birds of Europe by Lars Svensson Bird watching groups - Anyone with an interest in bird watching can become a member of Vogelbescherming Nederland. www.vogelbescherming.nl Children and young adults can join the Jeugdbond voor Natuur- en Milieustudie, or Youth in Nature. www.jnm.nl Professionals can join the Dutch Birding Association. www.dutchbirding.nl

• • • • •

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 31

Travel | For the Dutch love of birds!

Dwarshuis made it his mission to get everybody interested in bird watching, even if it is just to identify the bird species in and around the person’s home city. He exhorts, “Go to your nearest local park, and start looking at and listening to birds. No stroll will ever be the same! Of course, all are welcome to join one of my tours.”

Did .­ now.. you k ed Godwit

ail lack-t rutto The B osa), g m li a s ed (Limo as vot tch, w of in Du d l Bir ationa N e h t nds etherla the N 5. in 201

Where to bird watch

Nearly 520 avian species have been recorded in the Netherlands! Here, Dwarshuis shares with ACCESS readers his favourite places to catch glimpses of birds in flight and at rest. 1. The Wadden Islands

One of the most spectacular landscapes in the Netherlands, the Wadden Sea is the largest continuous mud flat in the world, and is shared by three countries: the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. The Dutch part of this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site includes five islands. The landscape on each island is diverse, consisting of dunes, tidal marshes, polders, and woods. Texel, the largest of the islands, boasts the largest spoonbill colony in Europe. Since 2015, Texel has been hosting the Wadden Sea Bird Festival, the next edition of which is scheduled for 12 and 13 May 2018. The other four islands — Vlieland, Terschelling, Ameland, and Schiermonnikoog — also attract a large variety of shorebirds and songbirds. 32 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017


than €32,000 for BirdLife PEP and I don’t intend to stop till I reach €100,000. And via the year-long media coverage during my Big Year, I’ve been able to reach out to a large audience, especially kids. Hopefully I’ve inspired them to take up bird watching as a hobby. There were many media interviews after I completed the Big Year, which gave me an opportunity to emphasise the conservation message while continuing to draw attention to my fundraiser.”

2. The Lauwersmeer National Park

This national park, located in the provinces of Friesland and Groningen, is an ideal location for year-round bird watching. As a part of the Wadden Sea area, its grasslands, reed beds, and mudflats attract many small passerine birds and waders. 3. The Biesbosch National Park

A mesh of small rivers and creeks, this national park is one of the few remaining freshwater tidal areas in Europe. Its varied landscape makes it a good habitat for a wide array of birds, including birds of prey. 4. In and around Amsterdam

For those looking to get started with bird watching, the best place to observe birds is the local park. Other locations include the polder IJdoorn, the Landje van Geijsel on the outskirts of the city, and the dunes between Zandvoort and IJmuiden, located a little ­further away from Amsterdam. «

About the author Anne Pinto-Rodrigues is an Amsterdam-based writer and blogger and bird watching enthusiast. She chronicles her experiences of interesting places and people on her blog No Roads Barred: www.noroadbarred.wordpress.com

Dutch Lifestyle

In the Netherlands, senior citizens tend to lead active lifestyles, and many are also active participants in their grandchildren’s upbringing. How are they involved? And what happens when they don’t live near their grandchildren?

Happy kids, happy grandparents, happy families BY OLIVIA VAN DEN BROEK-NERI

Many women in the Netherlands do not work full time, which is especially true amongst working mothers. Additionally, mothers and fathers can arrange with their employer to work fewer days so that they can care for their young children.

Despite the government offering a child care allowance (kinderopvangtoeslag), the cost of child care is increasing. Grandparents can help minimize the number of days the child must be in child care by ­giving children the precious gift of spending time with them on a regular basis. It also helps the parents to achieve a healthy life-work balance that can result in a happier household! Happy kids and happy moms

Co-author of the book The Happiest Kids in the World, Rina Mae Acosta, has researched why Dutch children are the happiest. Along the way, she also found that Dutch mothers are happy, too. » ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 33

Your Business Your Net work Your Success

www.w b i i . n l

Jo i n t h i s v i b ra n t c o m mu n i t y o f e n t re p re n e u r i a l wo m e n a n d wa t c h yo u r bu s i n e s s ta ke fl i g h t ! Based in The Hague, the WBII is a network of international and Dutch women entrepreneurs striving to succeed. The WBII has two main goals: 1. To empower women entrepreneurs through a network of like-minded members, and to provide opportunities for professional development. 2.To assist aspiring English-speaking entrepreneurs (men and women) with setting up business in the Netherlands through its Start Your Own Business seminars and Entrepreneurship Readiness programme.

START YOUR OWN BUSINESS IN THE NETHERLANDS 16 November 2017 17.30-20.30 @ WTC Den Haag D e s i g n e d by e n t re p re n e u rs fo r e n t re p re n e u rs • Es s e n t i a l S e m i n a r fo r s e tt i n g u p yo u r ow n bu s i n e s s • O p e n to a l l m e m b e rs o f t h e i n te r n a t i o n a l c o m mu n i t y

The Expatriate Archive Centre collects and preserves the life stories of expatriates worldwide for future research. Have you been an expat? We would love to preserve your memories. Interested in academic research? We welcome researchers from all disciplines. Love history? We offer volunteer opportunities in an international work environment.


· welcome@xpatarchive.com · Paramaribostraat 20, 2585 GN The Hague · +31 (0)70 427 2014

Dutch Lifestyle | Happy kids, happy grandparents, happy families

More info Interested in “renting” an oma or opa? Here are some tips to find the best person for your family:

• Get references • Discuss with your

­ artner what you p are looking for Use intuition when interviewing Ask them about their experiences with children How do they describe their former employer? Do not make assumptions about people and ask as many questions as you can!

• • • •

“One of the general ideas is that the parents have an honest relationship with their children and themselves,” says Acosta. “The parents — especially mothers — cannot do all of the childrearing on their own.” Dutch parents embrace the idea of support networks. “When they say it takes a village to raise a child, the Dutch children really do have that in their model!” says Acosta. The idea is that childcare in the Netherlands is ­provided by multiple persons throughout that network, including mom, dad, and one or both sets of grandparents. This means the child is only in ­formal daycare for one or two days a week. Joys and challenges of grandparenting

Barbara van den Broek-Traa loves when her three grandchildren visit. “It’s nice to be able to teach them things,” she says. But she decided that taking care of them when they were babies and toddlers was too big of a job for her. However, several of van den BroekTraa’s siblings have a larger role in the raising of their grandchildren. She speaks about her brother and sister-in-law, and their two teenage grandsons: “They have gone to their house several times a week, every week, since they were young,” she said. “They are very good to their grandsons, and of course their grandsons also help them out.” In the Netherlands, there are people who would like to be an oma (grandma) or opa (grandpa). Perhaps they live far from their own grandchildren or do not have any of their own, but would appreciate the opportunity to spend time with children as a grandparent would. “Rent-an-Oma”

Acosta and her Dutch husband are raising their two young boys with the help of a woman who is not their children’s biological grandmother, but more of an oma figure. When searching for a babysitter, Acosta had an idea: Instead of having a young girl to look after her children, why not find someone older who has more experience?

Acosta describes her children's oma as the Dutch version of Mary Poppins. While searching a Dutch babysitting website, she found there are many retired teachers and educators and experienced childcare providers interested in becoming babysitters or nannies. In October 2016, Acosta wrote about her experience on her blog Finding Dutchland in an entry titled “Rentan-Oma.” Acosta’s parents live in San Francisco, and, she explains, “If I didn’t have this oma figure, my children would only understand that oma and opa are behind the screen or phone.” Acosta describes her children’s oma as the Dutch ­version of Mary Poppins. “I actually think I won the lottery!” Oma sings and bakes homemade apple pies, and gives the children love that only a grandma could provide. “She is basically their surrogate grandmother.” Their oma is with them four hours a day, four days a week. “She actively engages with them. She takes them to the park, takes them grocery shopping, does arts and crafts,” said Acosta. Another added benefit is that their oma speaks only Dutch with the children, which makes Acosta happy. “I’m really able to raise my children bilingual following the ‘one parent, one language’ philosophy,” she said. “I could not live without her!” «

About the author Olivia van den Broek-Neri has lived in the Netherlands for 10 years and is currently Project Coordinator for Communications & Events at Holland Expat Center South.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 35

Arts & Entertainment

A monumental view of Dutch heritage BY ANUJA TIPNIS-RANDIVE

The 31st annual Open Monument Days will be held this year on 9 and 10 September. During Open Monument Days thousands of historic sites across the Netherlands and other European countries open their doors to the public free of charge.


The European Heritage Days (EHD) programme organises the larger Europe-wide network of Open Monument Days and determines a new theme for each year. The Netherlands was one of the first c­ountries to participate in this annual event, ­beginning in 1987, and has played an important role in establishing the 48-country-rich European Heritage Days. Open Monument Days — known as Open Monumentendag in Dutch — aims to acquaint ­citizens, internationals, and tourists with Dutch ­cultural heritage.

36 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

“The most important feature of the Open Monumenten­ dag is the fact that it raises awareness, both among the public and at a political level,” says European Heritage Days coordinator Edith den Hartigh on the programme website. “Special stories of this built heritage are told on this day, and these stories help familiarise the public with its values.”

Open Monument Days, held every year in the Netherlands on the second weekend of September, is coordinated by the Stichting Open Monumentendag in Amsterdam. Each year 80 to 85 percent of Dutch municipalities participate in the event. Nearly one million people are expected to take part in the event across the country. Farmers, citizens, and country folks

The EHD programme theme for 2017 is Heritage and Nature, and the Netherlands adapted this theme to organise its own: Boeren, burgers, en buitenlui — roughly translated, Farmers, citizens, and country folks. This year, farms, mills, family homes and ­villas, community buildings, and other structures are open to the public. The focus is not entirely on the hinterland, though. Other places where these people traditionally met, such as city markets, churches, and inns, are also involved. As host to the opening event, Drenthe province gets extra time to celebrate. The national kick-off will take place 7 September at Estate Overcinge in the municipality of Westerveld, deep in pastoral northern Netherlands. Drenthe National Park, which lies within Westerveld, will have its own ­special activities 7–10 September as well. Developing community ties

Open Monument Days prove an excellent way of learning about Dutch culture and heritage for internationals, especially for those new to the country. Not only can visitors see buildings usually closed to the public, but many sites organise additional ­lectures, demonstrations, games, concerts, and other activities. The possibilities for interaction and ­entertainment are endless! Some may find it tough to determine the places they want to visit. However, each site has an abundance of knowledge to offer about their cultural significance and history. The weekend provides a unique opportunity for internationals to dive deep into the heritage of this country.

Itching to see somewhere new?

• These UNESCO World Heritage sites are part of a unique World Heritage Programme • • • • • • • •

during Open Monument Days. All are worthy of a daytrip, but check if you need a reservation before showing up. Amsterdam canal district (N. Holland) Beemster polder (N. Holland) Rietveld Schröderhuis (Utrecht) D.F. Wouda steam pumping station (Friesland) Schokland and its surroundings (Flevoland) Kinderdijk-Elshout mill complex (S. Holland) Defence line of Amsterdam (N. Holland, Utrecht) Wadden Sea (N. Holland, Friesland, Groningen)

ACCESS volunteer Genoveva Geppaart shares her experience about living in a 17th-century almshouse (hofje in Dutch) in The Hague called Hofje van Nieuwkoop, which has participated in Open Monument Days in previous years. “I have been living in the Hofje van Nieuwkoop since August 1989,” Geppaart says. “When I first visited this hofje, it seemed to me that I stepped into history. Open Monumentendag was the reason [I got] to know this almshouse and eventually could live here. Now, 28 years later, I am still very happy with my house and never want to move… It is an oasis of peace and quiet in the centre of The Hague.” Geppaart includes that, as in every year, the Hofje van Nieuwkoop will be open for Open Monument Days in 2017. “We have coffee and tea available and we have some brochures (in Dutch). This is all provided by residents of the Hofje who are willing to explain some more about past and present of the Hofje,” she says. Check your municipality’s website or visit the VVV to find out which places in your area are participating in this year’s Open Monument Days. «

About the author Anuja Tipnis-Randive is a freelance writer and blogger. You can check her writings at www.wordsandimaginations.wordpress.com or contact her at anujatipnis@gmail.com

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 37

Law | Partner feature

The stereotype of an expat is someone who works for a few years in a foreign country before returning home or moving on to their next posting.

Termination and ageing But as globalisation increases and traditional work situations change, internationals of all stripes are making different choices. For some, that may mean working for longer in one place. If you choose to continue working in the Netherlands after the age when you’re officially eligible for your pension, the rules governing your employment con­ ditions change, especially if you’re terminated. BY LAURA ZUYDGEEST

070 361 5048 www.legalexpatdesk.nl

Nearly everyone who has lived or worked in the Netherlands is entitled to a state pension, as written in the National Old Age Pensions Act (Algemene ouderdomswet), or AOW. The AOW pen­ sion age has increased in recent years. Currently, it is at the age of 65. In 2018, that will increase to 66 and to 67 in 2021. In 2022, making it more complicated, the AOW pension age will be tied to life expectancy. So, if you were born after September 30, 1955, your exact AOW pension age is unknown. You can check the age you become eligible on the website of the SVB (Social Insurance Scheme or Sociale Verzekeringsban.) You can continue to work after you become eligible for your AOW pension.

38 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

In the Netherlands, anyone who is terminated from a permanent contract or a temporary contract that lasts for 24 months is entitled to a transitional allow­ ance. The purpose of the transitional allowance is to cover the employee’s costs while they are between jobs. However, anyone who has reached the AOW pension age is not entitled to this allowance. The ­justification has been that those employees are not truly active in the labour market and thus don’t need assistance with their living expenses while they are searching for another job. However, this is currently under review by the Dutch Supreme Court. According to the European Union’s Equality Framework Directive, discrimi­ nation based on age is not permissible unless it is ­justifiable. A court in the Netherlands has asked the Dutch Supreme Court to review if the exclusion from the transitional allowance meets the criteria set out under this directive. If you’ve been terminated without a transitional allowance or for any other reason, the specialised lawyers at the Legal Expat Desk may be able to assist you. «


How to climb the pension mountain Expats generally live in the now, if only because they must. Moving to new countries every few years means expats are inundated daily with immediate challenges: learning their new workplace culture, adjusting to new schedules, navigating peculiar local customs, and more.


While mastering the foreign landscape, how can expats also evaluate and manage the long-term goal of a healthy pension plan for their future? To help us better understand the options, best practices and pitfalls of such savings plans, ACCESS spoke to three finance professionals, each experienced in working with our community of internationals who will, someday, need a cushiony nest for retirement, even if that’s decades away.

Smart start

Jose de Boer, a mortgage broker with FVB De Boer, offers sound advice when it comes to savings in ­general: “Every household should have some savings to cater for a broken-down car or washing machine. But expats… should have some additional savings to be able to fly home to sick parents or other family emergencies,” she says. Sarah Myles, a business developer with Blacktower Financial Management, says a best practice is to have “a flexible regular savings plan combining a choice of currency with quality global funds to either s­upplement income in retirement or to provide a substantial build-up of cash for future use.” Keeping some cash in a regular savings account will certainly help on those unexpected “rainy days.” Besides maintaining such savings, expats should also start their pension savings as soon as possible. Clare Summerfield, Senior Financial Advisor at Elliot Lloyd, compares pension savings with climbing a mountain: “If you start ­[contributing to your pension] in your 20s, it’s a nice gradual walk up the mountain,” she says, “but if you’re climbing in your late 40s, you’ll need rope, a pick axe, a harness… It’s a very steep climb.” Big company advantage

If you currently work for an international company, it’s likely that you’re already benefitting from a pension scheme you can take with you no matter where you move (so long as you stay with that company). » ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 39

Education | How to climb the pension mountain

Summerfield says, “If you’ve got a good scheme that’s well managed and you’re getting it on your gross [salary], take it!” Taking advantage of tax-free company pension schemes, where the employer is paying into your account, is simply in your best interest.

However, for those nearing retirement age in the Netherlands, there is a downside to collecting your pension here. “The pension will come out as an annuity,” says Summerfield, paid as annual income for the rest of your life, and “these are linked to government bond rates, which currently are low.” Dutch pension versus international retirement plan

If you contribute to a Dutch pension plan, you’ll be bound by Dutch pension laws. Note that “if you enjoy the 30% ruling, you will not build up pension on 30% of your income,” warns De Boer. There is also a salary cap in the Netherlands allowing you to only build up pension on an annual salary of up to €100,000 per year. “Should you have a salary higher than €100,000, [these factors] will also add to your pension deficit.” If you contribute to a Dutch pension, know it’s possible to take that pension with you once you move away. However, moving the money, known as “international pension value transfer,” is possible only under certain conditions, for example, moving it to another recognised pension institution or international organisation. There is limited information available in English on the Dutch Belastingdienst (tax authorities) website; you can also check Did with your financial advisor you k now.. Dutch . ­ about the conditions. retire ment age is ted to rise fr 65 to om 67 ov er the next fe w yea rs.


De Boer says that since “Dutch pension funds are not very flexible nor portable, I strongly suggest that any additional funds you would like to save for your old age, you do not add to your Dutch pension plan, but invest prudently with a renowned international asset management company.” Summerfield agrees: “Many expats

40 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

don’t want pots of money all over the place.” Choosing an international retirement plan means you’ll have a central pot for your savings, one that “gives flexibility to the client, where the client is involved in how they invest,” she says. Internet pros and cons

The future of banking and investments is looking increasingly mobile and internet-based, which can be attractive for people moving around every few years. These may be “borderless bank accounts” or “robo-investing”: financial technology applications for investment management available directly to ­consumers via the internet.

"A very common mistake expats make with their pension is thinking they’ll be okay and they’re not" While Myles says the pros to such tools are ease of access and low costs, the big negative to online roboadvisors is they lack expert advice. “Robo advice doesn’t take into account a holistic view of someone’s financial situation or tax implications,” she says. “Self-administration lacks the expert advice to deliver the correct solution to any given financial situation.” De Boer adds, “Whether [these investments] are taxed or not (the most frequently asked question) will depend on where you are, where you work, what nationality you hold, etc.” As these online accounts are relatively new territory for expats, it may be too soon to fully understand the disadvantages to them. One thing is for sure: it’s best to consult with the professionals about the tax implications for any pension scheme.

More investment tips

• De Boer: “Buy a home [here]. We have a housing shortage in the Netherlands, so ultimately this property will be worth substantially more than you paid for it.”

• Myles: Keep “a flexible regular savings plan combining a choice of currency with quality •

global funds to either supplement income in retirement or to provide a substantial build-up of cash for future use.” Summerfield: For spouses running their own businesses as independent contractors, “Make sure you pay yourself first, then save for retirement.”

One thing that’s for sure for any pension plan: you can’t make a choice about pensions without understanding the taxes involved, and when and how much you’ll pay them. Best to consult with the professionals about the tax implications for any pension scheme. Don’t make these mistakes

According to Summerfield, a very common mistake expats make with their pension is “thinking they’ll be okay and they’re not. Sometimes they don’t even know where their money is, have no idea what they have or what that will translate to in terms of monthly income” upon retirement. Some clients are surprised to find they had been paying into pensions in previous jobs from years ago. For others, unfortunately, as Summerfield has found with several UK clients, their pensions turn out to be underfunded as com­ panies increasingly distance themselves from the pension, failing to pay into it. In short, says Summerfield, “Don’t take it for granted. Know what you’ve got and get advice. Those who have professionals actively managing your account will always come out better than those who don’t.” «

About the author Mandie van der Meer-Danielski is an American writer, editor, and volunteer with ACCESS who has little idea of how to save for her future as a citizen in the Netherlands. www.zeggen.eu

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 41


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American School of The Hague nurtures and inspires character, commitment, creativity, and learning.

“Learning is the Heart of The International School of The Hague” www.ash.nl • admissions@ash.nl • +31 (0)70 512 1060 •

E: ish.admissions@ishthehague.nl

I: www.ishthehague.nl

T +31(0)70 328 1450


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More information? Please contact Mrs. Regina Stork tel: 06-29409644 or e-mail rstork@truecolorschildcare.eu


Accommodation is key: facilities are wheelchair accessible, with parking for patrons with disabilities. PHOTO: ROBERT CHRISTIAN

Coming Attractions

Lumière in the limelight In these times of Netflix and Videoland, one may wonder if cinemas can still lure audiences. I was delighted to discover the magic of film is still thriving at Maastricht’s iconic Lumière Cinema! BY TRACEY TAYLOR

The buildings of the former Sphinx Factory in Maastricht date from 1910. Today an innovative project is regenerating the time-worn structures, and one striking example is the new home of the Lumière Cinema. Lumière relocated from its old premises in September 2016, and is now in an old boiler house that generated steam and electricity for the factory. Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, the theatre’s new aesthetic is industrial elegance, with a dusting of nostalgic charm. Here, patrons immerse themselves in inspiring, high-quality films. With around 300 annual screenings of classic movies, world cinema, arthouse releases, and documentaries, their philosophy is to find the right audience for the right film.

Cultures and flavours intertwine in this vibrant corner of Limburg. The expat and student communities are key demographics for Lumière. There are regular screenings of English and other foreign language films, and they also organise a monthly evening for the popular “Movies that Matter” film series. I asked expat and movie buff Monica Kurl why this cinema is her favourite. “I love that it’s like walking onto a movie set!” she says. “The seats are so comfy, plus large enough that your personal space is not invaded.” A bar at ground level spills onto the waterfront, and the in-house restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, has plenty of veggie options (the gnocchi is good) and some “street food” choices (get the tacos!). The Fault Line pinot noir from New Zealand is well worth a taste. The restaurant space is vast yet intimate, lending itself to both contemplation and social interaction. Good food. Good wine. Good spot. That’s a wrap!

As one of the Netherlands’ largest cinemas, Lumière appeals to locals, expats, and international students by offering a diverse program and stunning setting. It is at the forefront of movie-going expertise. « Vive le cinéma! www.lumiere.nl/en/

About the author Tracey Taylor loves food, wine, and life in Limburg. Originally from Ireland, she now lives in Maastricht with Dave and their fancy cat, Tubbs.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 43

Education | Partner feature

ISH grows from strength to strength Director of Stichting Rijnlands Lyceum, Dr. Maarten Knoester. One of 184 schools nationwide, ISH Primary will enjoy the status for three years and is the first International School in the country to receive the award. New year, new wing

Continuing in Primary, after what has seemingly appeared a marathon at times, the new Primary Wing was officially opened on 4 July at the school. The wing will be a bespoke area for primary edu­ cation for children up to 10 years old with 20 new ­classrooms, and will also include facilities such as a Gym, an Aula, and office areas.

As we approach a new academic year, it is mindful to reflect on ISH over the past five years. In that time, we have seen exponential growth: from 1,300 students in Primary and Secondary to over 1,900 as we start school this August 2017.

Throughout this period, a key driver has been to improve the quality of education and match that with the retention and recruitment of new staff, as well as ensure that the facilities can match the growth.

070 328 1450 www.ishthehague.nl

In January, the Primary School was awarded the status of “Excellente School” from the Dutch Ministry of Education. Anke Buiteveld, Director of International Policy, presented the flag and plaque to Juliette van Eerdewijk, Principal of Primary and the Executive

44 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017

The Secondary School once again produced a wonderful set of IB Diploma Programme (DP) results with the largest cohort of students ever to graduate from the school (153 students). We have received authorization to implement the IB Careers-related Programme (IBCP) concurrently with our IBDP this August. This is a more vocational course for students and gives them multiple opportunities to study here in the Netherlands and in the UK and US. Again, ISH is the first Dutch International in the country to offer such a programme. Aside from that, ISH Secondary students had a busy year with an orchestra trip to New York and Washington, D.C.; a geography trip to Iceland; assisting refugees in our city; organizing the Walk of Hope to the Peace Palace; a tremendous stage ­performance of Cats; and continued success on the football pitch and basketball court, to name but a few… everything augurs well for this year. «

Photo Contest

Our view

We’re proud to present the winners of the ACCESS Magazine Our view Photo Contest. This edition’s photo contest theme was Generations.


2nd Lei Yang. Photo taken in Haarlem.

By Maria Tyutneva. Photo taken in Scheveningen.

Your picture here? The deadline for entries for the Winter contest is Friday, 27 October, 2017, 23.59 Central European Time. The theme is Glass.

How to enter Find full contest rules on the ACCESS website. Enter “photo contest rules” in the search bar or go directly to access-nl.org/about-access/access-publications/our-view-photo-contest-general-rules-instructions.aspx

Thanks to our sponsors ACCESS is grateful to our supporters for donating the prizes.

ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017 | 45

ACCESS Partners & Associates

Thank you for helping ACCESS! Platinum ****

Gold ***

Banking, taxation and personal finance ABN AMRO


Bronze *


Associates A

BSN Language Centre

IN Amsterdam *


Expat Centre Leiden


Direct Dutch A

FVB De Boer *

Xpat Media (Xpat Journal)

International Health Centre The Hague *

Legal matters ***



Taal Taal A

The Community

Media Partners M

City of Wassenaar *

Learning Dutch Kickstart School

J.C.Suurmond & zn.

The Hague Online

Silver **

GMW Advocaten


Loonzorg *


Your child

Expatica * "I am not a tourist” Fairs and Events * M-space graphic designers


Check-NL A

Housing and relocation Tulip Expats Services


Zein Childcare

Agent4Property A

FIGT (Families in Global ­Transition) A Amsterdam Mamas M


International School of The Hague **

In-Lease A MVA Certified Expat Brokers A

American International School of Rotterdam *

Utility Provider A

Broadcast Amsterdam M


De Boezemvriend

Book a Tiger A

Expat Events A

British School in the Netherlands ***

American School of The Hague *

AngloINFO SouthHolland M

Big Ben Kids


DutchBuzz M

Partner support

Dutch News M

CIYS (A Career in Your Suitcase)

Expatriate Archive Centre M

AWC (American Women's Club) M

German International School The Hague *

Here in Holland M

Connecting Women M

HSV (The Hague School ­Association) *

I am Expat M

Women’s Business Initiative International M

InTouch Rotterdam M


True Colors


Teddy Kids International ­Daycare A

Government support

Volunteer The Hague M

The Hague International Centre ****


Expat Center Utrecht


STET The English Theatre A

City of Delft



City of Leidschendam-Voorburg City of Rijswijk

46 | ACCESS | AUTUMN 2017


2Samen Kinderopvang A

Stichting Present M

Bloom House of Health

British School of Amsterdam



Think Global School A Triple C au pair A There are many ways in which you can support the work ACCESS does: as a Partner, Associate and Advertiser. Contact our Relationship Management Team at fnd@access-nl.org for our Helping ACCESS 2017 Media Pack for opportunities.

In need of support? We ca

n help



Service Network

ACCESS always has two counsellors on call to provide a FREE referral to the member of the ACCESS Counselling Service Network best placed to assist you. Your international choice - for expats, by expats.

on-call.access-nl.org ACCESS Helpdesk: Phone 0900 2 ACCESS (0900 2 222 377) • Mail helpdesk@access-nl.org

How to buy a house in the Netherlands..

Save time and trouble. Buying a house can be a smart move for expats. Interested in knowing more about tax benefits, mortgage types and monthly costs? We’ll be happy to help. Read more on abnamro.nl/house and schedule a free orientation meeting with one of our mortgage advisers. At our International Client Desk we can help you in English. Or 25 other languages. So you feel at home in the Netherlands. Contact us any time. We’re here for you 24/7.

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