Christmas is already over, and another year has passed us by. With only a few days left until the Netherlands welcomes in 2022, let’s take a look back on the highs and lows of the last 12 months.
Once again, headlines this year were dominated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – but what else did you read about this year? These are IamExpat’s top news stories from 2021.
1. Coronavirus press conference: Hard lockdown announced for the Netherlands
It’s been a long two years of pandemic news, and unsurprisingly the top story for IamExpat in 2021 was coronavirus related. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Hugo de Jonge did what many had hoped would never happen again: they announced another Christmas lockdown.
2. Coronavirus press conference: 20.30 to 4.30 curfew introduced
Cast your mind back to almost one whole year ago, when the Netherlands was once again facing rising infection numbers, and Rutte and De Jonge announced what was possibly one of the most shocking and drastic restrictions since the intelligent lockdown in March 2020: a national curfew. It took a while before it came into effect, but the rule proved seriously controversial, sparking riots across the country.
3. Dutch government to introduce mandatory coronavirus certificate
Other big coronavirus-related news this year was the introduction of the coronavirus certificate – now known more commonly as the 3G rule. At the time, it seemed as though this controversial measure would play a large role in allowing the country to reopen and gradually return to some sense of normalcy. Since then, however, the Netherlands has seen the re-introduction of various COVID-19 restrictions.
4. Is snow finally on the way to the Netherlands? (yes it is!)
Of course, there were other big news stories this year that didn’t relate to the pandemic. In January, after what was a fairly mild Christmas, everyone started to hope that the Netherlands would indeed see some snow. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your point of view), the Netherlands ended up getting quite a lot of it, as the canals froze over and everyone partook in some classic wintertime fun.
5. The Netherlands one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world
Yes, the Netherlands did slip slightly in the 2020 World Happiness Report, but managed to cling on to a spot in the top 10, being named the sixth-happiest country in the world!
6. Dutch union calls for standard 30-hour workweek in the Netherlands
Loads of people in the Netherlands already have part-time contracts, but more and more experts and unions are advocating for a switch to the 30-hour workweek. They highlight the fact that a standard four-day workweek improves productivity as well as work-life balance – what do you think?
7. The Netherlands’ most popular baby names in 2020
When you’re about to become a parent, choosing the right name can be a pretty tough decision. It makes sense! Whatever name you pick, your child will have to live with forever (no pressure). But what names did the Netherlands favour in 2020?
8. Energy prices in the Netherlands are set to reach unaffordable levels
The rising price of gas and electricity has had knock-on effects for countries and industries around the world. Here in the Netherlands, it has meant families have faced significantly higher energy bills, and has pushed the national inflation rate to its highest point in 40 years.
9. The Netherlands ranked as a great place to work, but not necessarily to live
The Netherlands might be a fairly popular choice amongst expats and international companies, but life in the Low Lands may not be all it’s cracked up to be after all. The latest Expat Insider Survey revealed that the Netherlands is a pretty great place to work, but not the best country to live in.
10. Dutch cabinet resigns in wake of childcare benefit scandal
Last but not least, some of the biggest news of the year has to be the resignation of Mark Rutte and the rest of his cabinet – dubbed Rutte III – as a result of the childcare benefit scandal (toeslagenaffaire) at the end of January, just a couple of weeks before the next general election.