If you’re looking for a way to kick back and relax, why not treat yourself to a day or weekend at a spa in the Netherlands! Whether you want to lounge in a sauna or hot tub, take a dip in a thermal bath, or get a massage or spa treatment, there are many different spas, hotels, wellness retreats, resorts, and saunas to choose from. 

Going to the spa in the NetherlandsThe Dutch know how to relax in style, and so you’ll be pleased to hear that there are hundreds of high-quality wellness facilities all over the Netherlands – both in major Dutch cities and in the countryside – offering different relaxing options at cheaper prices than you might expect. 

Before you visit a Dutch sauna, thermal bath or spa, it’s worth bearing in mind that wellness is usually done in the nude in the Netherlands. The feeling of being completely naked in the presence of strangers might take a bit of getting used to – but it’s completely normal for the Dutch! If you’re not comfortable with that, some facilities offer certain days where swimwear is required, so make sure to check the official website of the wellness centre to see which days are swimwear days or nude days.

Additionally, the bathrobe and towel are usually not included in the price, so bring your own, or be prepared to pay a little extra to hire one. For hygiene reasons, you are usually required to sit on a towel in saunas, for example. 

As for talking, groups of friends usually have quiet conversations with each other, but as the experience is meant to be relaxing and low-key, it is not encouraged to be very loud. 

The best spas in the NetherlandsThere are many different options for wellness centres in the Netherlands, including spas, spa hotels, saunas, and more. Here are some of the best ones out there. 

Spas in AmsterdamLooking for a spa in Amsterdam? The Dutch capital offers up a great selection of wellness centres to choose from! 

Spa Zuiver Amsterdam Escape the hustle of everyday life at the lovely Spa Zuiver Amsterdam, where you can immerse all your senses in a relaxing atmosphere. Pamper yourself with a heavenly day of tranquillity with one of their many packages or beauty treatments, before eating a delicious meal at their restaurant.  

Sauna Deco The spa and wellness centre Sauna Deco is in the heart of Amsterdam and has incredibly chic, 1920s Parisian decor. Relax in style in one of their many rest areas with a great book or take a dip in their steam eucalyptus bath that will relieve all your tension.

Hotel Okura Hotel Okura is an opulent hotel in Amsterdam that combines traditional Dutch wellness with unique Japanese service and rituals. Spoil yourself with their spacious and comfortable rooms and dining at one of their three Michelin-star restaurants. The experience is complete with a tea lounge, treatment rooms, Japanese stone garden, facial treatments, saunas, baths, massages, and a relaxation area.

Best places for a spa day Of course, there are plenty of wellness options outside of Amsterdam. If you’re looking for a spa day in the Netherlands, all of these places offer day or evening passes: 

ElysiumElysium is a wellness resort near Delft that has an extensive number of saunas and baths – each with its own unique theme or feature – perfect for warming up from the cold winter weather!

Spa Nova Spa Nova is a luxurious spa in Hoofddorp that offers an immensely tranquil and cool environment for anyone to relax in. Entry includes use of the swimming pools, steam cabins, spacious Finnish saunas, whirlpool tubs, lounge areas, mini-bar, and much more! 

Sanadome Take a dip in the incredible thermal baths at the Sanadome in Nijmegen! You can also choose to add on one of their signature wellness treatments such as a hot oil massage or a revitalising facial. Don’t forget to grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. 

Wine & Wellness UtrechtNothing beats the perfect combination of wine and wellness, which is done the best at Wine & Wellness Utrecht. Experience this unique wellness package in the heart of Utrecht with its many massage treatments, steam baths, swimming pools, saunas, infrared cabins, and of course, extensive wine bar. 

A Thermen Zeeland Equipped with countless saunas, swimming pools, relaxation areas, amazing restaurants, and even a sun terrace, A Thermen Zeeland has everything you need for a great spa day. Located right next to the North Sea, the thermal waters are absolutely divine. 

Blue Wellness Boot Ever had a spa day on a yacht? Indulge in this luxury at the Blue Wellness Boot for a spa day to remember with its many unique saunas, hot tubs, hammams, tanning beds, sun deck, cocoon rest areas, beauty centre, terrace, lounge, and scrumptious restaurant. 

Veluwesbron Enjoy a full day of relaxation at the Veluwesbron near Apeldoorn. As you would expect, they also have a variety of saunas, pools and hot baths for anyone to relax in, as well as a restaurant. 

Spa hotels in the Netherlands If you’re looking for more than just a day of relaxation, a weekend away at a spa hotel might be the best option for you. Here are some of our suggestions. 

Thermen Bad NieuweschansThe Thermen Bad Nieuweschans is a unique wellness hotel near Groningen that offers an extensive number of treatments with everything from thermal baths to meditation to cryotherapy. The wellness hotel utilises the mineral-rich waters from the first thermal spring to be discovered in the Netherlands.

Conservatorium HotelThe Conservatorium Hotel is a regal hotel located in Amsterdam that implements holistic healing in their spa and fitness aspect. There are many packages and treatments to choose from, but their most well-known is the seven-chakra experience which combines massage and energy movement.

Thermae 2000Located near Limburg, the Thermae 2000 is a wellness centre that has classic wellness treatments such as thermal baths, massage, and saunas, but also some more exclusive treatments such as Wine Therapy or Hypnotherapy, to leave you feeling rejuvenated. 

Hotel the Nobleman This eccentric hotel is where history meets wellness. Packed with antiques related to the Dutch Golden Age, the Hotel the Noblemen creates a distinctive, luxurious atmosphere. Aside from the rich interiors, the hotel has all the essential spa facilities that can be booked for private sessions. 

Spa resorts for a wellness retreat If you’re looking for a longer stay or for something more exclusive, a spa resort can be the perfect vacation without having to leave the Netherlands. While there are many, here are two that we would recommend:

Fort Resort BeemsterThe Fort Resort Beemster is a luxurious wellness resort located just under an hour north of Amsterdam in the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Fort aan de Nekkerweg. The resort consists of baths, saunas, kelosaunas, a hotel, restaurants, party locations, and a wedding location with an emphasis on sustainability.

Themen Bussloo Wellness and Hotel The Thermen Bussloo Wellness and Hotel has everything anyone needs to relax for a wellness retreat. Complete with spacious rooms, amazing food at their restaurants, massage treatments, saunas with rituals, baths and springs with thermal waters, you’re bound to feel energised after a stay here. 

Cure the winter blues with one of these wellness retreatsThere are a variety of fantastic wellness and spa options in the Netherlands. Find the one that’s best for you and relax after a busy holiday season!

Visiting some of Europe’s most popular sights can make for a stressful experience, what with all the crowds. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle, why not check out some of these alternative destinations, which are just as beautiful?

The lesser-known stars of EuropeThe super-famous places are obviously popular for a reason, but some gems often overlooked. Here are some of our favourites. 

1. Marken, the NetherlandsFamous for its quirky wooden houses, white drawbridges and bustling sea port, the village of Marken is located on a beautiful peninsula in North-Holland in the Netherlands, with a population of under 2.000. Join a walking tour led by guides in traditional Dutch clothes, sample the local grain wine, or even pop into the old wooden shoe factory. The village is easily accessible via public transportation from Amsterdam.

2. Alcala del Jucar, SpainNot far from Spain’s eastern coast, approximately midway between Valencia and Murcia, the striking village of Alcala del Jucar perches on a steep hillside above the Jucar River. It is home to the Alcala del Jucar Castle (a mediaeval Arab fortress that has an unbelievable view of the countryside), the 15th-century Church of San Andreas, and the Cuevas del Diablo, a series of caves carved into the face of the cliff. Soak up some historical buildings with incredible architecture, breathtaking natural beauty, and the vibe of Spain, away from the crowds. 

3. The Ore Mountains, GermanyStetching for over 160 kilometres and considered one of the most stunning mountain ranges in either country, the Ore Mountains separate the historical regions of Bohemia in Czechia and Saxony in Germany. The highest peak is the Fichtelberg Mountain with an elevation of 1.250 metres. In the summer, people come to hike in the breathtaking scenery, while in winter it is a location for skiing, snowboarding and bobsledding. 

4. Baleal, PortugalA short hop, skip and jump away from Portugal’s capital city of Lisbon, Baleal is a pretty island with a fascinating history that offers a chance to enjoy the country’s culture, traditions, food and pastimes in a more secluded fashion. As well as promising beautiful sea coasts and pristine beaches, it’s known to be a surfer’s heaven with amazing weather year-round and great swells.

5. Bachalpsee, SwitzerlandJust a short hike from First or Grindelwald takes you to Bachalpsee; an iconic Swiss lake and one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Known in Switzerland as the “blue jewel,”  it is surrounded by rolling green pastures, blankets of wildflowers and gorgeous views of the mountains. The glacial waters reflecting the sensational mountains look like something straight out of a painting and are something every nature lover must see.

6. Monemvasia, GreeceKnown for its impressive mediaeval castles that were carved directly into the rock, Monemvasia is a small island located off the coast of Peloponnese in Greece. It was originally only accessible by boat to ward off enemies, but there is now a single pathway that connects the castle to the mainland. Wandering around this interesting town lets you travel back in time while taking in unforgettable views of the pristine sea.  

7. Rye, EnglandSun, sand and fish and chips are on the menu in Rye, a pretty town near the East Sussex coast. The town’s varied history is preserved in sites like the Ypres Tower, St. Mary’s Church, and Mermaid Street. Wander along the cobblestone pathways between half-timbered houses, and then relax and have a drink at a local pub or stop for a lunch of fresh seafood. Soak up the sunshine at Camber Sands, one of the best beaches in England, and watch seals pop their heads out of the waves. Rye is around an hour and half from London, and is accessible by train or bus.

8. Mdina, MaltaHistory and class ooze from every pore of Mdina, a former capital city in the northern region of Malta. The influence of Maltese nobility and religious authorities still remains throughout this fortified city, present in the regal architecture and intricate designs. A cool place to visit in Mdina is the Fontanella Tearooms which offer incredible views of the city and a relaxing cup of tea and homemade cakes. Visit the many cathedrals, museums, and catacombs that retell the ancient stories of this unique city.

Discover Europe from a different angleGet out of Europe’s cities and discover a new side to the continent! Have we missed any hidden gems in Europe? Let us know in the comments below!

This article originally appeared on IamExpat in Switzerland.

14 March 2022, by Arnold Waal

Dentist costs are not company costs, as you can obviously imagine. Well, one tax advisor did not get the memo and tried to claim his dentist costs as a company expense. Was he right? Arnold Waal from Tax is Exciting takes a look at what can be claimed as business costs, and what might be crossing the line.

What are company costs?Company costs are costs made to run a company. Office rent, stationary, a desk, and a computer are cost aspects not under debate by the Dutch tax office. Other aspects such as ships or boats, guns, animals, and fines are excluded as company expenses.

Entrepreneurs have the freedom to allocate costs they think are necessary for the running of their company. For instance, if an entrepreneur prefers to drive a Rolls Royce on his five-kilometre commute every day, the Dutch tax office cannot deny these costs based on the fact a bicycle is cheaper.

However, this is up to a certain line. The line is grey, but one dentist pushed the limits in the past: the dentist purchased an aeroplane to visit his clients within the Dutch borders. For the Dutch tax office, this was the line being crossed and these excessive aeroplane costs were not accepted.

Looking good is not a company expenseOur clients often provide receipts of a suit, shoes, hairdressers and the like. These costs are not business costs. The client might argue that these costs were specifically made to look good for the client; they would not wear the suit at home or would have visited the hair salon weekly if it was not for their clients.

For these costs, article 3,14 in the income tax act states that costs made to support a certain flair in life as a result of which more business is done, are not accepted as such.

Dentist costs are not company costsA tax advisor claimed 2.308 euros in dental costs as company costs in their 2016 income tax return. The Dutch tax office denied the costs and the tax advisor went to court. In court, the tax advisor could not substantiate why dental costs were business costs instead of personal costs. As the personal use of the teeth by far outweighed their business purpose, the deduction was denied.

As previously stated, these costs can be denied based on article 3,14 of the income tax act.

A business relation that takes care of their teeth is very much appreciated by Tax is Exciting during a conversation, but bear in mind that a conversation with your tax advisor does not make the toothbrush tax-deductible. If you have any more questions about what you can claim as business expenses or any queries about tax in general, get in touch with the experts at Tax is Exciting.

Let me ask you a question: would you prefer to search LinkedIn for days, weeks or even months to find the right job, or would you prefer to wake up in the morning, check your LinkedIn inbox and find a message from a recruiter who found you via their own search, offering you an interview?

Well, I bet you answered the second one, right? The second option is called a “passive job offer,” as you haven’t actively searched for one, and can also be called a “pull job search strategy.” Passive job offers from recruiters save you time, energy and a lot of disappointment.

LinkedIn as a recruiting machineIn recent years, LinkedIn has become not only an amazing platform for connecting professionals with each other, but a huge recruiting machine. To cut down recruiting costs of advertising the job offers in traditional ways, recruiters now use LinkedIn as their top recruitment tool. And to look for talent, they not only rely on posting the jobs on LinkedIn and waiting for the people to apply, but also actively use it to search LinkedIn to scout for talent that hasn’t applied for the jobs yet.

How to build an attractive LinkedIn profileSo, how do you build a LinkedIn profile that will work as a magnet for recruiters? You will need to make sure you’ve taken care of the following steps:

1. Keywords, keywords, keywordsBefore you actually start doing anything on your LinkedIn profile, I would invite you to do some proper “market” research for your own job, profile, industry, etc. Why do I say that? Because whether you are working on your headline, summary, skills or experience section, the most important thing you need to keep in mind are the keywords. Recruiters will use those keywords to scout the talent they are looking for. If you want to be chased by recruiters rather than chasing them yourself, this point is crucial.

What is the best way to find relevant keywords? I suggest doing the following:

Find five recent job offers that are similar to the position you have now Find five recent job offers that you are interested in now – they represent the job you are after Find five (great!) LinkedIn profiles of people with similar jobs to your current one Find five (great!) LinkedIn profiles of people who are your career role models Once you have gathered those, the fun part starts. Scan all of them and find all relevant keywords, key phrases and key sentences that represent your skills, talents, experience, etc. One of the easy ways to do this is by using word cloud software to scan for the most common keywords. Put these keywords in a separate document. This document will be your keywords treasure chest that you can use not only for your LinkedIn profile but also for writing your CV and cover letter.

Remember that keywords and phrases coming from job offers were written by recruiters, so they will be used to search for people like you, provided you did your homework and included them.

2. Profile photoThe chances are close to zero that any recruiter will have a look at your profile if you do not have a photo. But I assume you are a professional, and you have one. I would strongly recommend having one taken by a professional photographer. There are many budget-friendly professional photographers out there, if you are on a tighter budget.

Please make sure your photo showcases you as a professional. After all, LinkedIn is not meant for your family and friends but for professional use. This doesn’t mean you have to look very serious, on the contrary, smiling and friendly faces attract more attention than very serious ones.

3. Background photoHaving a background photo (the one behind you that looks pretty grey if you do not upload your own picture) might not make or break your whole profile, but it makes it complete, and it makes it look like you care – like you have put in an effort. When selecting one, I suggest you think about the message you want to convey with it. If you are in a sustainability sector, put up something that represents that. If you are in finance, put up something that reflects that.

There are plenty of professional websites that offer free photos – I use Unsplash myself.

4. HeadlineHaving the right headline is key to making your profile a magnet for recruiters and hiring managers. Next to the photo, it is the first thing the recruiter will lay their eyes on. Even more importantly, the headline and keywords you put there play a big part in whether your profile will be included in the search results of a recruiter or not.

As mentioned in point one, the way you build your headline will be based on the keyword search document you have created. So, find out what the most relevant keyword is and make sure you include it in your headline. It can be your title, but it can also be a certain hard skill, experience or market you operate in.

5. SummaryThe summary is the place to show who you are as a person and professional, and to make a connection that immediately hooks the reader (the recruiter). Please do not write it in the third person – it is meant to make a human connection, so simply write in ‘I’ form.

Again, think of the keywords you want to include here and, as you want to make your next career step, make sure to not only include the keywords from your current job but also from your future one. Make sure you highlight your top skills and experience, but also show that you are a human being, and are passionate about the things you are doing.

6. Open to workIn the past, people who were looking for a new job were putting it in the headline: “Open to new opportunities.” If you are still doing this, please STOP immediately. A while ago, LinkedIn launched a feature that allows you to show you are open to work and make it either visible to the whole LinkedIn network (the sign around your profile photo) or visible only to recruiters. So, please use this feature instead.

7. ExperienceLast but not least, the experience section. Please be aware that recruiters will mainly look at the last three years of your professional experience, so make sure you put an effort into completing this section. Of course, make sure to include your core responsibilities looking beyond these three years, but the main emphasis should be on your current experience. And again, open your treasure chest document and make sure you sprinkle around the relevant keywords.

Whatever you do, always ask yourself: “How relevant is this to my next career step?”

I am curious, when you look at your LinkedIn profile, do you feel proud, or do you want to hide? Keep in mind you have the power to create a great LinkedIn profile that will work like a magnet for recruiters! Good luck and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments below!