Highly Educated? Don’t Bother Coming to the Netherlands

The Dutch economy needs highly qualified and highly educated workers and the Kennismigrantenregeling (“knowledge-migrants-measure”) is an important tool to get them. The Netherlands is a frontrunner in Europe in this matter, according to the Dutch government. It’s all one, big lie.

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The Odds of Breaking Temperature Records: Not Extreme After All

Today authorities announced that the day before yesterday was the coldest 11 March ever recorded in the Netherlands. This newsflash may not be very remarkable, if only these same authorities, weeronline.nl, hadn’t announced on 5 March that it was the warmest day ever recorded in the Netherlands!

The last few days were bitterly cold in the Netherlands

So, what’s going on here? A maximum and a minimum temperature record within 7 days?! Is the weather turning sick?

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Clouds Cover the Netherlands Exactly

Some argue that the Dutch are obsessed with the weather, or that they at least like to discuss it. Well, let me throw in some little discussion of my own, then!

From September 2011 onwards I lived for about a year in London, a city known for a lot, but not for good weather. I guess I have been very lucky, since I liked the weather in London just fine. London weather is said to be “hugely unpredictable, oscillating between heavy rain and scorching sunshine within the space of minutes.”

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Polling Hypocrisy

Today, Maurice de Hond (the most famous Dutch ‘pollster’) said that as of now the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders is the biggest party in the Netherlands. Question: How can a party have become smaller or larger, without any kind of formal elections? Answer: Because a tiny fraction of the population has said so.

I am surprised how much attention polls get in media, in many countries. Every week, a new poll is published and treated as some kind of reliable, trustworthy, perhaps even (quasi-)scientic source of information. A certain politician may have made a public appearance, or made a mistake, or whatever, after which the next polls are used to see what the consequences have been by comparing them to earlier polling results. Continue reading

The True Winner of the London 2012 Summer Olympics

Last summer in London I experienced the 2012 Summer Olympics. Many were preoccupied with the ‘total medal count’, which counts the number of golden, silver, bronze, and total medals per country (pick that category in which your country is performing best). Of course, the total medal count is not a ‘fair competition’. Some countries have a larger population, which gives them a bigger pool of athletes to fish from. Other countries are richer, which gives them more resources to facilitate the searching and training of potential medal-winners. I wanted to put the achievements of countries into perspective, and more specifically, to be able to say things like “given its population size and wealth, [insert country of interest] performed well during London 2012” with a bit more confidence. As for my motivation: indeed, I come from a small country,  whereas my girlfriend comes from the U.S. – last summer I heard “The Star-Spangled Banner” way more often than “Het Wilhelmus“. Continue reading

Our Hero, Zwarte Piet (“Black Pete”)

At December 5th, Siji Jabbar published an article in the online Guardian on the Dutch (and Belgian) phenomenon of Zwarte Piet, which literally translates to “Black Pete”. Zwarte Piet is an important, indispensable part of the feast of Sinterklaas, which is celebrated in the Netherlands every year around 5 December, and from which many Christmas traditions, most notably Santa Claus (observe the etymology), have evolved. Mr Jabbar’s article is despicable, generalising, offending, uninformed – utterly ridiculous. Continue reading