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Miscalculations within the Dutch government mean that, in 2023, the child benefits received by parents with jobs, to help cover the costs of childcare, won’t increase in line with rising costs, RTL Nieuws reveals. 

Childcare costs rising by 8,5 percent, benefit rising by just 5,6 percent

The cost of childcare in the Netherlands is set to drop significantly from January 2025, but before those changes come into effect parents will see childcare costs rise. Recent figures revealed that some families could see their rates rise by as much as 40 percent between 2022 and 2023. 

While the government has announced various measures in an attempt to boost purchasing power and help offset the high rate of inflation, documents seen by RTL Nieuws show that the new rates for the government’s childcare benefit (kinderopvangtoeslag) don’t keep up with the higher childcare costs. 

While prices are rising by an average of 8,5 percent in the new year, the childcare benefit will only increase by 5,6 percent, meaning parents will have to cover a larger proportion of the costs. 

Incorrect CPB forecasts led to Dutch government’s mistake

According to RTL Nieuws, this error is down to inaccurate forecasts published by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB). In March, the CPB predicted that wages would rise by 2,3 percent and inflation would reach 5,2 percent, but the website notes that, in reality, “the figures are more than twice as high.” 

As the higher operational costs for childcare facilities are passed on to customers in the form of higher prices, parents will be the ones who have to foot the bill. While the Ministry of Social Affairs has acknowledged the mistake, a spokesperson has said that it’s too late to adjust the benefits rates for 2023: “This can only be done again in the regular process when the maximum hourly rates for 2024 are set.”

Parents in the Netherlands consider quitting jobs to save money

The oversight means many families will struggle to cover their childcare costs in the new year. 39-year-old mother of three Marte Barends told NOS that, with two of her three children attending daycare, she is “looking at whether [she] can continue to work at all.” 

Living in Amsterdam, she and her partner will see their childcare costs rise by 13 percent in 2023, amounting to hundreds of euros every month. “There is a teacher shortage and I want to work and participate in society, but this is not financially possible,” Barends told NOS.

BOinK, the association representing the interests of parents who rely on childcare, says the government should have realised its mistake sooner and needs to do more to support parents. “During the coronavirus pandemic, we saw that aid can be paid quickly. And if it is not possible immediately in January, then increase the reimbursement for parents in July,” chair Gjalt Jellesma says. “The need among parents… is enormous.”

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06 December 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Recent figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS) have revealed that the population of the Netherlands rose sharply in the first three quarters of 2022, largely as a result of increased immigration levels following the outbreak of war in Ukraine.

Dutch population grew by 191.000 in 2022

According to the data, the population of the Netherlands reached 17,8 million at the start of October, marking an increase of 191.000 compared to the beginning of the year. CBS notes that this is more than double the growth recorded in the same period last year.

A large proportion of this growth is down to an increase in the number of people permanently or temporarily relocating to the Netherlands. Preliminary figures for 2022 show that just under 318.000 people immigrated to the Netherlands in the first nine months of the year, around 32 percent of whom came from Ukraine. 

A large proportion of Ukrainian refugees have registered with municipalities in cities such as Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Almere. Overall, the Dutch capital recorded a population increase of 35.290 between January and the end of September. More than 7.000 of Amsterdam’s new inhabitants come from abroad, and a large proportion of them are studying at a university in the city.

The Netherlands records fewer births and more deaths

This increase in migration was also offset by the fact that fewer babies were born this year, and the death rate was higher than in both 2020 and 2021. Similar trends can be observed across Europe, where ageing populations and the end of the coronavirus pandemic have led to declining birth rates in countries like Germany and Switzerland.

In the first half of 2022, the low birth rate and high death rate led to a negative natural growth rate (i.e. there were more deaths than births) in the Netherlands, and according to CBS, the natural population growth recorded in 2022 has only accounted for an increase of 2.500 people. 

According to population projections published in 2021, the population of the Netherlands will reach 18 million by 2026, and 20 million by 2061.

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05 December 2022, by Victoria Séveno

The Dutch government has announced that an NL-alert test message will be sent to mobile phones across the Netherlands at midday on Monday, December 5. 

The Netherlands recognises 10 years of NL-alert

NL-Alert – an alarm system used in the Netherlands to warn members of the public of unexpected emergencies in their local area – was launched back in 2012, with this month marking the 10th anniversary of the system. According to the government, the nationwide text message alert system has been used over 1.100 times for everything from large fires to an escaped poisonous snake. 

The system is tested twice a year, on the first Mondays of June and December. This means that the next test will run at midday on December 5, 2022. After today, the system will be tested again on June 5, 2023. 

Mobile phones to receive alert at noon

In order to receive an NL-alert, all you need to do is make sure that your phone is switched on. The message – which is kind of like a text message, but with an urgent alarm sound as the text tone – is free and anonymous, meaning that your telephone number remains unknown. 

As Monday’s message is just a test, you won’t need to do anything. However, if you were to receive a real NL-alert, the message would also include information about what you need to do and where you can find more information about the potential risk.

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The declaration of shares in a BV (besloten vennootschap), or foreign equivalent of a BV (LTD), depends on the percentage of shares you hold in the business. In this article, Taxsight discusses the tax implications when an individual holds shares in a BV.

First, a quick overview of the Dutch tax system

Tax system in the NetherlandsThe Dutch tax system for individuals is split into boxes. There are three types of boxes:

Box 1: Taxable income from (freelance / employment) work and main residency Box 2: Taxable income from a substantial interest (5% or more shares in a BV or equivalent company) Box 3: Taxable income from savings and investments When you hold shares in a BV as a private individual How does it work when you hold shares in a BV as a private individual?

Less than 5%If you hold less than 5% of the shares as a private individual, the shares are considered Box 3 assets. This means that the value of the shares should be declared in Box 3.

More than 5%If you hold 5% or more of the shares as a private individual, they should be declared in Box 2.

ThresholdThe threshold is 5%. It depends on whether you hold a minimum percentage of 5% in a BV or a foreign equivalent of a BV.

Box 2 taxationA taxpayer is regarded as having a substantial interest in a legal entity (for instance a BV) if they, either alone or together with their partner, directly or indirectly hold at least 5% of the shares in the legal entity.

The value of the shares is not taxed on an annual basis in Box 2. Income from a substantial interest consists of the dividends received on such shares and the profits from the sale of shares. Both are taxed in so-called Box 2 and the total tax rate is 26,9% (2022).

It does not matter whether a person holds the shares in a Dutch or a foreign LTD company. If you hold the minimum percentage of shares in the company, you are considered to have Box 2 shares.

Box 2 dividends from a Dutch BVThe Dutch dividend tax is an advance tax that a Dutch company is obliged to withhold when a dividend is paid to an individual. The withholding dividend tax is in the Netherlands is 15%. The BV should withhold 15% on the outgoing dividends if the payment is made to a an individual. Additionally, dividends are also taxed with 11,9% in Box 2 when the shareholder files their personal income tax return. Therefore, the total tax rate becomes 26,9%.

Dividends in Box 2 from a foreign LTDThe taxation on dividends from a foreign limited company is the same in principle. The Dutch taxpayer pays 26.9% tax in Box 2. However, in the case of foreign withholding tax, a person can get a credit for the withheld foreign dividend tax. A credit for the withheld dividend tax is in most bilateral tax treaties limited to a maximum of 15%.

As a Dutch resident, you therefore pay 26,9% tax in Box 2 and can take a maximum of 15% foreign withholding tax into account, if applicable.

Box 2: 30% ruling application and shares in a foreign LTDThe dividend payments received as a substantial shareholder (5% or more) from a foreign entity could be exempt from Dutch taxes in Box 2 if a person has the 30% ruling application and is considered as a partial non-resident taxpayer, provided that the company which distributes the dividends is, on the basis of international tax residency rules, considered not to be located in the Netherlands.

Box 3 taxationBox 3 taxation applies when a person holds less than 5% of the shares in a BV. The Dutch tax law mandates that Dutch residents with investments, savings, or property with a value of more than 50.650 euros (2022) need to declare these items in Box 3 of their annual personal tax return (Box 3 debts are also included). Tax partners have a double threshold (101.300 euros).

The net assets are valued on the reference date of January 1 of the corresponding tax year. The investment portfolio or shares in a BV / LTD company with a percentage of less than 5% are taxed as an investment in Box 3. The market value is taken for the taxation. The dividends from the shares or sale of the shares are not considered taxable income in Box 3 according to the current rules.

Although the dividend income is not taxed, the Dutch dividend tax that has been withheld can also be taken into account for Box 3. In case you receive dividends from a foreign company, you could get a credit of a maximum of 15% of the withheld dividend tax. Therefore, the withheld dividend tax lowers the Box 3 taxation.

30% ruling and box 3If a person has the 30% ruling, they can opt to be treated as a partial non-resident taxpayer. A partial non-resident taxpayer and their tax partner do not have to declare or pay tax on savings and investments in Box 3. The only exception is Dutch real estate which is not considered your primary residence. This real estate will have to be declared in Box 3 of your personal income tax return.

Box 3 taxation after the court’s decision in December 2021Given the court’s decision in December 2021, the government has introduced taxation on Box 3 assets based on the type of assets for the years 2017 to 2025. On the basis of these regulations, the taxation on savings is much lower than other investments.

Until 2025, the tax on assets in Box 3 will still be levied according to the same principle, but taking the type of asset into account. This leads to a lower tax percentage for people who mainly have savings.

New Box 3 system in the futureThe government’s aim is to have a new Box 3 system based on actual returns starting from 2026. The new Box 3 system will probably be based on capital gains tax, where an annual tax is levied on regular income such as interest, dividend, or rental income.

Box 3 ratesThe Box 3 tax rate for 2022 is set at 31% and calculated on the fictional return on income. The rate will be increased for 2023, 2024 and 2025 by 1% per year, to 34% in 2025.

The Box 3 tax rate for 2021 was 31%. The fictional return of income in Box 3 is set in response to the court law case as follows for 2021:

Type of investment Fictional return of income Savings 0,01% Investments 5,69% Debts 2,46% The fictional return of income on investments is set at 5,53% for 2022 and 6,17% for 2023. The fictional return of income for savings and debts in Box 3 have not yet been published for 2022 and 2023. 

For 2022 to 2025, the rates will be determined separately, but will probably not differ much from the 2021 rates.

Box 3 taxation before the court’s decision in December 2021Below are the Box 3 effective tax rates for 2022 before the court’s decision of December 24, 2021. The same rates were applicable on savings and investments. The type of asset was previously not relevant.

Box 3 value Effective tax rate 0 – 50.650 euros 0,56% 50.650 – 1.013.000 euros 1,35% > 1.013.000 euros 1,71% For the years 2017 to 2022, the taxation can also be based on these rates if that turns out to be more beneficial for a taxpayer. That might be the case for people who hold mainly investments instead of cash.

Do you still have questions about taxes in the Netherlands? If so, do not hesitate to get in touch with Taxsight! Their tax advisors, who have years of experience working with local and international tax matters, can provide expert tax advice and services to the highest professional standard.

04 December 2022, by Victoria Séveno

By the end of this year, anyone travelling via one of the five largest train stations in the Netherlands will no longer have to worry about throwing away their plastic bottles and missing out on their 15-cent deposit. Instead, they’ll be able to return their bottles immediately at one of the machines at the stations and will receive their cash back directly into their bank account via a Tikkie payment. 

Hand in your plastic statiegeldflesjes at train stations in the Netherlands

Last summer, the Dutch government introduced a 15-cent deposit on small plastic bottles, with shoppers being able to claim their money back at supermarkets and petrol stations across the country. At the time, the government said this would eventually be possible at train stations as well – and that Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) had already taken the first steps to make this plan a reality. 

As of earlier this month, machines have been set up at the central station in Utrecht, allowing travellers to collect their deposit back for small and large plastic bottles while still on the go. By the end of 2022, machines will also be set up at stations in Amsterdam, RotterdamThe Hague and Eindhoven

While at supermarkets, customers are able to use their deposit to get a small discount on their shop, NS has set up a system so that travellers receive their deposit via Tikkie by scanning a QR code with their mobile phone. They’ll also have the option to immediately donate the money to charity. 

NS sets up collection points for empty plastic bottles 

According to NS, approximately 11.000 plastic bottles are thrown away every day at Utrecht Centraal, but the company hopes the introduction of these so-called reverse vending machines will encourage travellers to recycle their bottles instead. Within just one week, around 1.500 bottles were handed in at Utrecht Centraal. 

Eventually, NS plans to have collection points at 50 of its train stations, and in time will establish a similar system for cans when the deposit rule comes into effect. “With the arrival of these return machines, NS hopes that these bottles can be used again,” NS says. “We encourage all travellers to make the more sustainable choice and hand in their plastic bottle.”

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04 December 2022, by Victoria Séveno

The zoo in Rotterdam surprised its visitors this week with a rather unique announcement: the standard kroket that they’ve been serving in their cafes and restaurants for the past three years isn’t made with meat – it’s vegetarian!

Diergaarde Blijdorp reveals its kroket is actually meatless

A number of restaurants and businesses across the Netherlands have recently swapped out their menus or dishes for vegetarian and vegan alternatives, and most of the time, customers know that what they’re ordering is veggie or vegan.

This hasn’t been the case at one Dutch zoo, however. For the past three years, anyone ordering a broodje kroket at Diergaarde Blijdorp probably thought they were enjoying a regular kroket made with beef, but the zoo has confirmed that the standard kroket they serve has been vegetarian for three years. And now, they’ve swapped it again, making it vegan. 

Dutch zoo plans for all food served to be veggie or vegan

“With a green check mark next to the word “kroket”, we let customers know that the snack is vegetarian,” a spokesperson for the zoo told the Dutch news programme Editie NL, explaining that they want “visitors’ first choice to be vegetarian.”

According to the spokesperson, visitors didn’t even notice that what they were eating didn’t contain meat: “People really like it and sometimes can’t believe that the kroketten are vegetarian.”

“We want to encourage visitors to make healthier and more animal-friendly choices. A zoo is the perfect place for that,” the spokesperson went on to say, adding that eventually, all foods served at the zoo would be vegetarian.

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While the major wintertime holiday in most countries might be held on December 25, here in the Netherlands there’s another gift-giving celebration that takes precedence over Christmas, and that’s the Dutch holiday called Sinterklaas. 

Curious to learn more about this traditional Dutch celebration? Here’s everything you need to know about Sinterklaas. 

What, who, and when is Sinterklaas? Generally regarded as the Dutch equivalent of Christmas, Sinterklaas is a holiday where people get together with loved ones to exchange gifts, and is especially a big deal for young children who receive sacks of presents from Sinterklaas and his helpers the Pieten. 

Who is Sinterklaas?Like Santa Claus, the figure of Sinterklaas (or Sint) is based on Saint Nicholas, who in turn is believed to have been a bishop in the fourth century in Myra (in modern-day Turkey). Stories say that Bishop Nicholas performed a number of miracles, resurrecting some young schoolchildren and saving sailors from a hurricane. Nicholas was canonised by the Catholic Church following his death on December 6, 342, as the patron saint of children.

Nowadays, the story goes that Sinterklaas lives in Spain, with his helpers the Pieten and his iconic white horse, for 11 months of the year. This aspect of the tale could come from the fact that a large number of Sint Nicholas’ relics were transported to the Spanish Kingdom of Naples in 1087, but others think it’s because of Sinterklaas’ association with mandarin oranges, which led to the belief that he must be from Spain. 

Sint wears a long red cape over the traditional white bishop’s garb, a large red hat, and a large ruby ring, and carries a long shepherd’s staff, as well as a large red book which he uses to keep a record of the behaviour of all the children. 

Who are the Pieten?Since at least the 19th century, Sint has been accompanied by a gang of helpers, known as the Zwarte Pieten (Black Piets), who wear brightly coloured clothing and feathered caps, and entertain the children and give out sweets and presents. 

However, since the traditional Pieten usually put on blackface and wore bright red lipstick and gold earrings, the figures have become increasingly mired in controversy and accusations of racism.  

While some events in the Netherlands will still feature the character of Zwarte Piet, various movements, protests, and discussions over the past few years have resulted in a number of municipalities swapping the racist figure for a more toned-down version, called the roetveegpiet (“Sooty Piet”), who is covered in smudges of soot as a result of his work travelling up and down chimneys to deliver gifts and sweets to children.

The Pieten tend to carry sacks filled with mandarin oranges, sweets and, of course, pepernoten, which they hand out to children. Some naughty children are also warned that they could be snatched by the Pieten and put in sacks to be taken back to Spain as a punishment.

When is Sinterklaas?From the day that Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands, the celebrations can begin! This is when children put a shoe out in the evening, and when they wake up it should be filled with sweets, pepernoten and mandarin oranges (and perhaps even some gifts).

While the name day of Saint Nicholas is on December 6, the real fun happens in the Netherlands on the evening of St Nicholas’ Eve, or December 5, when Sint goes door to door delivering gifts to well-behaved children.

Do other countries celebrate Sinterklaas too? Sinterklaas isn’t just a Dutch tradition – in fact, similar celebrations exist all over Europe, but many of the countries that recognise and celebrate Sinterklaas do so on December 6. Some parts of the Dutch Caribbean also celebrate the holiday.

How do the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas? Every year, as the day of December 5 rolls into evening, families across the Netherlands come together to celebrate the tradition of Sinterklaas. But how?

Intocht: The arrival of SinterklaasSinterklaas celebrations start when the man himself arrives in the Netherlands in mid-November (the first Saturday after November 11, or Sint Maarten). Various arrival events, or intochten, are held all over the country to welcome Sint and his team as they parade through the streets.

While the arrival of Sinterklaas is a big celebration, the man packs up his operations quite quickly after December 5, leaving on December 6 without any fanfare and returning to his base of operations in Spain.

What is pakjesavond?Pakjesavond, which translates to “present night”, is simply what Dutch people call the night of December 5, when friends and families get together to exchange gifts or poems that they’ve written about each other, known as a surprise. They might play games on pakjesavond, and enjoy eating all of the delicious sweets and snacks that are tradition at this time of year.

Want to know more about how to celebrate pakjesavond? Check out our guide!

Is Sinterklaas a public holiday in the Netherlands? While Sinterklaas is definitely a Dutch institution, it sadly is not an official public holiday. Schools stay open and if you have a job you will be expected to work. However, as it’s a pretty special day, schools normally close at midday, and many parents finish work early in order to go home and spend time with their children and families.

Popular Dutch Sinterklaas songsSimilarly to when Dutch children celebrate Sint Maarten, there are a number of well-known songs associated with Sinterklaas and the holiday. Want to get involved in the celebrations this year? Here are some of the most popular Sinterklaas songs (and their lyrics):

Traditional food during SinterklaasThere are various traditional Dutch snacks and sweets that are associated with the Sinterklaas holiday. The most popular ones include:

Chocoladeletters (chocolate letters) Pepernoten and kruidnoten Speculaas and gevulde speculaas Strooigoed  Marzipan Taai Taai Mandarin oranges

Celebrate Sinterklaas like a true Dutchie!And there you have it: now you have all the information you need in order to celebrate Sinterklaas like a local. So what are you waiting for? Grab the kruidnoten and have a very happy Sinterklaas!

This year’s FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been mired in controversy since the country was announced as the host in December 2010. The competition may well be underway, but the debates and discussions about the tournament continue. 

One key topic has been LGBTQ+ rights in Qatar, and the One Love armbands that some football teams had planned to wear in protest. But what are the armbands, why did FIFA ban them, and what action is the Netherlands taking?

What are the One Love armbands? 

The One Love armbands aren’t new; in fact, they were launched by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) back in 2020 in a move to campaign against discrimination within football and as a whole. 

The thick white armbands feature a rainbow heart, and the words “One Love” and “football connects”. They are manufactured here in the Netherlands, at a factory in Utrecht.

In the lead-up to the 2022 World Cup, as both countries and fans considered how they should approach the tournament when there had been so much controversy and debate in the run-up to the first match on November 20, captains from several European teams, including the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and England, announced that they’d be wearing the armbands as a form of protest against Qatar’s poor LGBTQ+ rights record. 

Did Qatar and FIFA ban the One Love armbands?

However, just days before the opening match between Ecuador and Qatar, the football associations from the seven countries who’d planned to wear the armbands issued a joint statement revealing that FIFA had said any player wearing the armband would receive a yellow card. FIFA regulations do state that kits and equipment cannot feature any political or religious imagery or statements.

In response, one by one, football associations announced they wouldn’t be taking the risk. Wales said the countries involved in the plan had been prepared to pay any potential fines incurred, but that action against the players would be unfair to the team and the sport.

In spite of severe reactions from football fans and various LGBTQ+ and human rights groups, FIFA remained silent on the issue, and so the yellow card rule remained unchanged.

The Netherlands and the One Love armbands

Following the news about the yellow cards, the KNVB said it had taken the decision not to wear the armband during matches “with a heavy heart”. Speaking to NU, KNVB secretary-general Gijs de Jong said he believed “FIFA banned the armband under pressure from conservative movements in Qatar,” adding that the association would “continue to put pressure on FIFA.”

The captain of the Dutch team, Virgil van Dijk, was criticised for the decision, but has since defended his actions: “There are people who say we don’t have a backbone, but that’s not how it works. We just want to play football. I would have loved to play with that band, but not at the expense of a yellow card.” he told NOS following the Netherlands’ first game on November 21

The Dutch have taken some action, however. During the Netherlands’ match against Qatar on November 29, Minister for Sport Conny Helder – who was in attendance as a representative for the Dutch government – wore the One Love badge on her lapel, following the advice issued by the KNVB ahead of the game. While some criticised this act for being too small, Helder defended her decision, telling NOS she “fully supports the idea of ​​the OneLove campaign: OneLove stands for equality and connection.” 

Other protests at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

On Tuesday during England’s match against Wales, the British State Secretary for Sport, Stuart Andrew, did wear the armband, as well as a brightly coloured rainbow tie. Andrew, who is openly gay, told the Evening Standard he wasn’t going to “shy away from who I am.” The German national team also took a stand following their match against Japan on November 23. When posing for a photo after the game, all players covered their mouths with their hands. 

During the Netherlands’ match against Qatar, the Qatari Minister of Justice donned a black and white armband in a show of solidarity with Palestine. Meanwhile, ahead of Iran’s match against England on November 21, the Iranian players refused to sing their national anthem as a token of support for the ongoing protests against the Iranian government.

Qatar’s reaction to the One Love armbands and protests

Hassan Al-Thawadi, the head of the Qatar organising committee for the World Cup, has spoken out against the One Love campaign, accusing the seven countries who’d planned to wear the armbands of sending a “divisive message” and failing to respect Islamic culture. 

“If they are coming to make a point or a statement in Qatar, that is something I have an issue with, Al-Thawadi said in an interview with talkSPORT. “For teams to come and preach or make statements, that is fine, but what you’re essentially saying is you’re protesting an Islamic country hosting an event. So where does that end?”

Al-Thawadi went on to say that “mutual respect is fundamental,” adding that organisers have said “from day one” that “everybody is welcome” at the World Cup.

The Netherlands’ next match will see them face off against USA as part of the knockout phase. Kick-off is at 4pm on Saturday, December 3.