Democracy in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy. Normally once every four years the Dutch citizens entitled to vote (Dutch nationals aged 18 or over) elect the people who will represent them in Parliament, so the elections are the basis of democracy.

Parliament’s duties include scrutinising the work of the Government and making new laws in cooperation with the Government. The Dutch Parliament is called “the States General”. It is bicameral, which means it consists of two chambers: the Senate (Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal) and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal).

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Thomas Ansell ~ Flying Frisians: the curious sport of Fierljeppen

If you’re passing through Friesland (or a couple of other regions in the Netherlands) this summer and see someone flying through the air on a pole, don’t worry: you’re just seeing Fierljeppen.

Following up from our recent piece on the Frisian sport of Kaatsen– handball – we felt it was only right to turn our attention to another distinctly Frisian activity, namely the sport that sees hundreds of people floating gracefully through the air on top of a pole: Fierljeppen.

The game can be quite well summarised by breaking down its name: in West Frisian, “fier”means “far”, and “ljeppen” means “leaping”. In essence, it is a bit like the Pole Vault, but instead of jumping over a bar and on to a large crash mat, you jump over waterways in Friesland.

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The history of the Netherlands, every year

See the history of the Netherlands, from 2000 BC to now.
Please note that the coastline from 500BC to 1000AD is not entirely correct. Locations of tribes before 500AD are mostly estimates.
-Lyria Mapping

Pauline Montanus ~ How to File for Divorce in the Netherlands – Part 1

As an expat living in the Netherlands it is, in most cases, possible to get a legal divorce in the Netherlands that will also be recognized in your own country. International and family law expert, Pauline Montanus, explains how to file for divorce in the Netherlands and what to expect during negotiations and divorce proceedings. You can find the second part of this series here.

Contact a Specialized Family Lawyer
If you are legally married and want to divorce, your marriage must be formally dissolved by the District Court. The filing can be done by one spouse or on behalf of both spouses. To be able to file for divorce in the Netherlands you will need a lawyer. It is not possible to contact and file your divorce with the District Court yourself. You may find good family lawyers specialized in international family on the Amsterdam Mamas website.

Court Proceedings
It first needs to be determined whether the Dutch judge has jurisdiction to rule on the divorce. This will be the case when at least one spouse still has habitual residence in the Netherlands. Dutch law does not require the spouses to live physically apart for a certain period before they file for divorce.

On the day the lawyer sends the divorce papers on behalf of one spouse to the District Court, the case is ‘pending’. The lawyer will, as instructed by law, contact a bailiff to serve the divorce papers to the other spouse so this spouse is officially informed and can contact a lawyer.

In general, divorce proceedings will consist of a written petition, a written defense (term to file is six to ten weeks) and a court hearing (couple of months, depending on how busy the District Court is). After that, the judge will rule (six to eight weeks) and the verdict will be sent to your lawyer. After the District Court has ruled, there is a three-month period to appeal.

Legal Grounds for Divorce
In the Netherlands, divorce (echtscheiding) is always on the legal grounds of ‘irretrievable breakdown of the marriage’. There is generally no requirement to define or prove this. It will not be to your (financial) advantage or disadvantage if you are the person filing for divorce.

It is, however, possible for the other spouse to contest the divorce claim in the proceedings before the District Court or the Court of Appeal. Although, in general, the Dutch judge will grant the divorce request since it is typically not accepted to force marriage without possible dissolution.

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Radboud Universiteit ~ 2in1 project: Meer weten over meertaligheid in het onderwijs

Er is veel informatie over meertaligheid en (taal)onderwijs te vinden in een aantal recentelijk verschenen documenten: een rapport over Language teaching and learning in multilingual classrooms van 2015 van de Europese Commissie, de in 2018 verschenen verkenning Talen voor Nederland van de KNAW (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie der Wetenschappen), het door de PO-raad gepubliceerd rapport Ruimte voor nieuw talenten van 2017, en een in 2018 verschenen rapport Meertaligheid in primair en voortgezet onderwijs van het SLO. Daarnaast is er veel informatie over meertaligheid te vinden op de webpagina van het SLO. De ene bron is wat toegankelijker geschreven dan de andere maar wat deze documenten allemaal gemeen hebben is dat ze allemaal het belang van meertaligheid in het onderwijs benadrukken en het nut van een veeltalige aanpak in het onderwijs onderkennen. Deze boodschap is ook terug te lezen in verschillende (opinie)stukken die de afgelopen jaren zijn verschenen, waaronder dit stuk in Trouw over thuistalen van de hand van Gerrit Jan en collega Karijn Helsloot (Studio Taalwetenschap), en twee artikelen in Tijdschrift Taal over het omgaan met verschillende talen in de klas: Talensensibilisering in het basisonderwijs – Op een positieve manier omgaan met talen in de klas door Sofie Jonckheere, en Meertaligheid: een oordeel of vooroordeel? door Carla van Engel-van Esch. Zie ook een artikel van Piet van Avermaet in Levende Talen Magazine: (download direct) Waarom zijn we bang voor meertaligheid? 

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Bridges of Amsterdam

With its network of more than 100km of canals, it’s no surprise that Amsterdam has become renowned as the City of Bridges. Linking the city’s distinct neighbourhoods through an intricate, slowly evolving web, these structures – some of which date back more than 350 years – help bicycles, scooters, locals, tourists, cars, horses, cats and dogs across its roads and over its waters.

This website is a celebration of the hundreds of bridges that help define street-level Amsterdam. It’s intended to be a useful source of information that relates not only to the bridges themselves, but also one that shows how a simple bridge can be inseparably tied to a city’s past, present and future.

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Dutch Docu Channel ~ Dutch Golden Age 1588-1702

The Dutch Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military, and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterized by the Eighty Years’ War till 1648. The Golden Age went on in peace time during the Dutch Republic until the end of the century.