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21 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

Thunderstorms and rain are set to move across the Netherlands on Tuesday afternoon, with the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) having issued a code yellow weather warning for many parts of the country. The warnings come just days after the northern parts of the Netherlands were hit by heavy rain and flooding.

Code yellow warning for 8 Dutch provinces

The KNMI has issued a yellow weather warning for storms in eight Dutch provinces. These are active from 4pm to 11pm on May 21, and apply to the regions of Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Zeeland, Flevoland, Utrecht, Noord-Brabant, Gelderland and Limburg. 

In the provinces of Friesland, Overijssel, Drenthe and Groningen, there are no weather warnings in place, but residents should expect some rainy weather throughout the afternoon and evening. 

During thunderstorms, the KNMI warns that up to 30mm of rain can fall in an hour, and those living in the Netherlands could see hailstones of between 1 and 2 cm in diameter. The wind speeds in the Netherlands are also set to rise as the storms set in. 

Wind speeds could reach up to 70 km / h in the Netherlands

Gusts of wind could also pose a risk to those heading out of the office this evening, and could even have an impact on departures and arrivals at Dutch airports. The KNMI website states that during the storms, wind gusts could get up to 70 kilometres per hour, so those outside should take care of the risk of falling objects such as roof tiles or broken branches. 

The KNMI has several key pieces of advice for people outside during thunderstorms in the Netherlands: avoid going out into open areas such as open water or meadows due to the (low) risk of a lightning strike, and take specific precautions if you are caught off-guard by a thunderstorm while you are outside – do not shelter under trees or use an umbrella and stay away from high points.

Instead, crouch down with your feet together, wrap your arms around your legs and do not lie down. Do not sit together as a group.

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In this article, Mike Wallace from Greenback Expat Tax Services simplifies the concept of double taxation and sheds light on its impact on US expats in the Netherlands, offering practical tax solutions to help you navigate these complex waters.

As a US expat living in the Netherlands, you may find yourself struggling to understand the concept of double taxation and how it affects your taxes. Did you know that US citizens living abroad are required to file US taxes on their worldwide income, including on their income earned in the Netherlands?

Understanding double taxationDouble taxation refers to the scenario where the same income or assets are subject to taxation in two different countries. For US expats living in the Netherlands, it means that they are required to pay taxes in both the US and the Netherlands on their worldwide income.

This phenomenon arises due to residency-based taxation in the Netherlands vs the US’ citizenship taxation and the absence of a global tax system coordinated across different countries. However, there are specific tax treaties between countries, such as the US – Netherlands tax treaty, that are specifically designed to prevent US expats from paying double taxes.

The challenges of double taxationNavigating this maze might prove challenging because, on one hand, you need to meet the tax requirements of both countries, a process that can consume a significant amount of time and money.

On the other hand, it can lead to potential overlapping tax liabilities that may reduce your net income or result in penalties. However, a seasoned tax advisor may help you find legal ways to mitigate the impact of double taxation, such as tax-saving strategies that will reduce your tax burden and improve your cash flow.

The role of tax treatiesTax treaties play a significant role in mitigating the impact of double taxation by stipulating which country has the right to tax specific types of income. Tax treaties are agreements between two countries that specify how the tax responsibilities on the income of individuals and businesses operating across borders should be divided.

US expats in the Netherlands can benefit from the tax treaty between the US and the Netherlands, which provides relief from double taxation and reduces the risk of overlapping tax liabilities.

How the US – Netherlands tax treaty worksThe US-Netherlands tax treaty is designed to prevent the double taxation of income earned by residents of either country.

Here are some key mechanisms through which the treaty works:

Residence: The treaty determines which country is considered your residence for tax purposes, based on factors like the permanence of your home, your vital interests and habitual abode. This residency status affects where you are primarily liable to pay tax. Tax credits: One of the primary ways to avoid double taxation is through tax credits. The treaty allows you to deduct the taxes you pay in the Netherlands from your US tax obligations on the same income. This means if you pay a certain amount in Dutch taxes, you can offset this against your US taxes due, potentially reducing your US tax bill substantially. Specific income rules: The treaty outlines specific rules for different types of income such as wages, self-employment earnings, pensions, dividends and interest. For instance, where pensions are concerned, the treaty typically allows taxation in the country where the pension originates, but there are exceptions and specific clauses to consider for each type of income. You’ll want to talk to a tax advisor for dedicated advice. Elimination of double taxation: This is achieved either through the exemption method (where one country agrees to exempt income from taxes if it has been taxed in the other country) or the tax credit method, as mentioned above. Overall, dual residency may cause problems in regards to taxation in both the Netherlands and the US. Based on a number of rules however (such as those mentioned above), the country where you are considered a tax resident can be determined.

Common provisions in tax treatiesBeyond the specific workings of the US-Netherlands treaty, here are common provisions found in many tax treaties that can help US expats:

Permanent establishment: This provision defines what constitutes a taxable presence in a country. As an individual, if you have a permanent home only in one country, then that country is usually considered to be your tax residence. If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, you generally need to have a significant physical presence (like an office or factory) in a country to be considered having a permanent establishment. Without this, the US may still tax your business income. Withholding taxes: Many treaties reduce the rate of withholding tax that one country can apply to dividends, interest and royalties paid to residents of the other country. This can substantially reduce the tax withheld at the source on such types of income. Mutual Agreement Procedures: This provision allows taxpayers to request assistance from one or both of the treaty countries’ tax authorities if they believe that the actions of these authorities have or will lead to taxation not in accordance with the treaty. Non-discrimination: Most treaties include a clause that prevents discrimination against a taxpayer based on their nationality, ensuring equal treatment under the tax laws of both countries. If you are still confused about the US – Netherlands tax treaty, the best thing to do is to contact a tax advisor who specialises in filing US taxes from abroad.

Compliance and reporting requirementsAs a US expat living in the Netherlands, you are still required to comply with the US tax laws even if you are paying taxes in the Netherlands. You must file your annual tax return with the IRS on April 15 every year (automatic two-month extension to June 15 for US expats living abroad) and provide accurate information about your foreign financial accounts. Failure to comply with these reporting obligations can lead to severe consequences, such as penalties, fines and even legal issues.

Navigating expat taxes with Greenback Expat Tax ServicesDouble taxation can have a significant impact on US expats living abroad, including those in the Netherlands. However, by understanding this concept and utilising tax-saving strategies and relief mechanisms provided by tax treaties, you can mitigate the impact of double taxation and avoid overlapping tax liabilities. It’s essential to stay compliant with US tax laws, meet your reporting obligations and seek professional advice when necessary.

Need the help of a professional US tax advisor? Greenback Expat Tax Services is committed to simplifying your tax journey as an expat, so you can focus on what really matters – your life abroad.

20 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

Software developed by a Dutch university in Groningen can now detect sarcastic facial expressions, according to NOS. Researchers Xiyuan Gao, Shekhar Nayak and Matt Coler of the University of Groningen used clips from the TV shows Friends and The Big Bang Theory to train their algorithm to spot sarcasm. 

Different languages have different language patterns when it comes to sarcasm

The researchers spotted a number of patterns when it comes to sarcasm in different languages. In English and German the pitch drops and varies less, while in Italian, French and Cantonese, the pitch actually rises, and the variation also increases.

The researchers concluded that a reliable sarcasm detector will therefore have to be trained per language. “The challenge is to not only look at the sound of the speech but also, for example, at the context in which a statement is made,” speech technologist Matt Coler told NOS. “And facial expressions are also a very accurate predictor of sarcasm.”

Researchers struggled with a lack of available training data

The researchers also struggled with a lack of available data to train their algorithms. “That was a big problem for us,” said Coler. In the end, the team used four hours of TV clips to train their algorithm. 

The results? 74 percent of the time, the algorithm detected sarcasm correctly. The software was also able to indicate with approximately equal success clips that were not sarcasm.

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19 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

Farmer Erik Stegink from Bathmen in Overijssel has been experimenting with a new type of ice cream since Ascension Day. The ice cream, which is made from pig’s milk, “takes some getting used to” but received a positive reception, according to those who have tasted it. 

Pig’s milk ice cream is a first in the Netherlands

According to NOS, the farmer’s pig’s milk ice cream is the first food of its kind in the Netherlands. “We previously sold cheese from our pig’s milk. That was because someone was visiting here and wondered why we didn’t make cheese from the milk,” Stegink told RTVOost . “We have developed that idea, but because it takes so much time and so many litres for one kilo of cheese, it is very expensive. This ice cream also takes time, but we need less milk for it.”

Milking pigs is also more laborious than milking cows since there is no automated way to milk them. “A mother pig gives milk about twelve to fourteen times a day. Then you have a full udder in one go. The piglets are right there, but recently the farmer is also ‘in-between’,” Stegink explained. “We ‘strip’ the teat by hand. We collect the milk in a small container. Ultimately, the milk is processed into the ice cream.”

Tasters describe the ice cream as “greasy”

The ice cream is described as “greasy” by those who have tried it.  “A bit greasy, nice and creamy. It’s delicious ice cream,” a visitor to his farm told RTVOost. “People really like it, we have almost run out of our first stock,” Stegink said.

The farmer also explained the logistics of sharing the milk of a sow with her piglets. “The piglets are not bothered by it, in a stable of 25 sows we use about one or two litres of milk per pig. One pig produces a little more milk than the other. Piglets also drink from the various other sows here, so they lack nothing”, the farmer said.

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17 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

The politician tipped to be the next Dutch Prime Minister has written a public apology letter to the leader of the NSC, Pieter Omtzigt, about an incident that occurred at an earlier stage of the coalition formation process. The politician, Ronald Plasterk, published a letter in a column of De Telegraaf apologising for the incident on May 17. 

Omtzigt could stand in the way of man tipped to be new Dutch PM

The NSC leader is said to be displeased with the idea of Plasterk as the new Dutch Prime Minister, following an incident which took place while he was an informant during the formation process of the next Dutch government. In the newspaper column “R. Plasterk, Amsterdam” writes that he should not have told the House of Representatives that Omtzigt had borrowed his official car during an earlier stage of the negotiations. 

Plasterk previously worked as a writer for De Telegraaf until he took the job as a negotiator. It is believed that Plasterk’s letter is an attempt to clear the air between the two in order to pave the way for his premiership. 

Dispute between Plasterk and Omtzigt dates back several months

The dispute between the pair started when negotiating parties only received information about financial setbacks at a late stage, leading to resentment building up between Omtzigt and the informateur. Omtzigt accused Plasterk of being behind the delay, with Plasterk responding by accusing Omtzigt of having a lack of respect for the “informateur institute”. 

“I have been asked a lot how I look back on the fact that I said in the debate about the first information round that the informant’s official car had been used. I would like to say that I should not have done that. I therefore personally apologized afterwards to Pieter Omtzigt,” Plasterk told NOS.

Thumb image credit: Nancy Beijersbergen / Shutterstock.com

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Aantal passagiers 

In april 2024 reisden er bijna 5,5 miljoen passagiers van, naar of via Schiphol. Daarvan reisden 3,6 miljoen passagiers direct van of naar Schiphol. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol was voor hen de luchthaven van vertrek of aankomst. 1,8 miljoen passagiers hadden een overstap op Schiphol. Dit zijn circa 900.000 unieke passagiers, die in de internationale telwijze tweemaal worden geteld: als passagier bij aankomst en als passagier bij vertrek.

 

Meest populaire bestemmingen 

3,9 miljoen passagiers gingen naar of kwamen van een bestemming in Europa, 1,6 miljoen van of naar een intercontinentale bestemming buiten Europa. Groot-Brittannië was de meest populaire bestemming voor lokaal vertrekkende passagiers. Gevolgd door Spanje, Italië, de Verenigde Staten en Turkije.

 

Vluchten 

Het aantal vluchten van en naar Schiphol was 39.142 in april 2024. Dat is een stijging van 8% vergeleken met 2023. 32.101 vluchten gingen van en naar Europese bestemmingen, 7.041 naar intercontinentale bestemmingen.

 

Vrachtvervoer  

Het aantal volledige vrachtvluchten was 9% lager dan in april 2023. In april 2024 waren er 1.199 vrachtvluchten, in april 2023 waren dat er 1.317. Het totale vervoerde volume was in april 2024 117.657 ton. Dat is een toename van bijna 4% t.o.v. 2023.

 

Klik hier voor het totale overzicht van de verkeer- en vervoercijfers van april 2024.

16 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

Escaping from prison is not a criminal offence in the Netherlands, but could soon become one under proposals announced by the outgoing minister for Legal Protection. Minister Franc Weerwind plans to submit a legislative amendment that could be in effect by summer 2024. 

Escaping from prison could become a crime in the Netherlands

Though not already a crime, legislators in the Netherlands are set to make it a crime to escape a prison or psychiatric prison, bringing the country in line with many other European countries. At present, The Netherlands “recognises the right to try to escape in pursuit of the inmate’s pursuit of his or her fundamental and inalienable right to freedom and liberty” according to official government documents. 

Despite this, there are calls for the government to change the regulations, and there have been several plans in the works to try and get the bill passed for the last five years. In 2019, Legal Protection Minister Franc Weerwind promised to make escaping punishable, with the support of the Dutch parliament. 

Helping an inmate escape is illegal, but escaping as a prisoner is not

One of the key reasons driving the change is the fact that escaping from prison is legal, but anyone found to be assisting an escaping prisoner will be prosecuted for assisting the escapee. Outgoing Minister Weerwind said that he holds the view that “it is illogical that escaping from detention is not punishable while helping another person to flee is.”

Weerwind also acknowledged the fact that the bill has been shelved for a long time until now. “I owe you that answer. I know that it has been picked up and I am working on it,” he said. The bill could be ready by as soon as summer 2024.

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16 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

The four parties that came together to attempt to form the next Dutch government have finally reached an agreement between them. The PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB parties are said to be pleased with the agreements they have made, which will pave the way for the new government to start creating policies following their election in November 2023 – here’s what we know about the agreement so far.

Who will be the next Dutch Prime Minister?

Though we already know who the governing parties will be, the question on everyone’s lips remains – who will be the next Dutch Prime Minister? The short answer is that the decision has not yet been officially made, but there are plenty of hints.

One of the names circulating the most has been former Labour Party politician Ronald Plasterk, who helped the parties to negotiate their agreement as an informateur. Though Plasterk has not commented on the speculation, his name continues to be spoken as a candidate in political circles. 

What have the parties agreed upon? 

So far, it’s not certain what specific policies the four cooperating parties wish to deploy to tackle their manifesto objectives, though according to the 26-page agreement they published on May 15, they have agreed to prioritise several key areas. These are as follows:

  1. Protection of people’s livelihoods and purchasing power
  2. Control over asylum and migration
  3. Housing and social housing, infrastructure, public transport and aviation;
  4. A good future for agriculture and fishing, food security and nature
  5. Energy security, specifically security of energy supplies and climate adaptation
  6. Accessible public facilities, care and education
  7. Good governance and a strong rule of law
  8.  National security
  9. International security
  10. Solid public finances, economy and business climate

Geert Wilders aims for strictest asylum policy ever

PVV leader Geert Wilders has said that the cooperating parties are looking to create the strictest asylum policy ever, featuring measures to curb the number of refugees entering the country, as well as limits on the number of foreign students and a reduction in the number of university courses taught in English

Some of the key points agreed upon by the parties relating to immigration are as follows:

  • It will only be possible to obtain Dutch citizenship after 10 years and if legally possible, people will have to give up their foreign nationality to do so. 
  • Extra rules will be introduced to cover foreign workers and the labour inspectorate will have more powers to check up on the use of non-EU workers.
  • Level B1 Dutch will become the standard language level required for naturalisation.
  • Legislation to distribute refugees between different Dutch regions will be scrapped.
  • Refugees who fail in their asylum applications will be deported as much as possible.
  • Refugees who are granted the right to remain will no longer get priority for social housing.
  • The automatic right to bring family members to the Netherlands will be scrapped.
  • The coalition will ask the European Commission to opt-out of European refugee and migration policy and bring in more border checks.
  • More limits will be imposed on foreign student numbers, including boosting the number of Dutch courses, bringing in caps on foreign students and increasing university fees for non-EU students.
  • Knowledge of the Holocaust will become a compulsory part of the integration process.
  • Refugees will no longer be given permanent residence permits.

Opposition parties are not pleased with the policy plans

Leaders of opposition parties are not pleased with the plans announced by the collaborating parties. GroenLinks-PvdA leader Frans Timmermans told the AD: “This is a black day. I knew it would be bad, but I didn’t think it would be that bad. All four have promised that the minimum wage would increase, but that is not going to happen. And many of the plans are built on quicksand. If you say: I’m going to get money back from Brussels… that’s just not possible. And about asking for exceptions to Brussels rules: it’s all wishful thinking. They let people down. Anyway, I don’t think this shaky construction will last long.” 

D66 leader Rob Jetten told the media that he believes the new coalition’s pledges are made up of “fantasies”.

Thumb image credit: Orange Pictures / Shutterstock.com

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Schiphol is gestart met een proef om ultrafijnstof op het platform van de luchthaven te verminderen. Tijdens de proef wordt de lucht gezuiverd door een innovatieve installatie die naast de D-pier is geplaatst. Het testen van de speciale luchtzuiveringsinstallatie is onderdeel van Schiphols acties om de arbeidsomstandigheden op de luchthaven te verbeteren.

De installatie van Van Wees Innovations laat lucht bewegen zodat ultrafijnstof samenklontert tot grotere deeltjes en gefilterd kan worden. Tijdens deze nieuwe proef op het platform wordt gemeten of de installatie ook in de buitenlucht werkt.

Succesvolle test brandweerkazerne

Schiphol testte hetzelfde apparaat vorig jaar succesvol in een brandweerkazerne, grenzend aan het start- en landingsterrein. Het apparaat maakte de lucht nagenoeg volledig schoon, maar omdat er 24 uur per dag in het gebouw wordt geleefd en er bijvoorbeeld ramen en deuren opengaan, kwam de reductie tijdens deze proef uit op gemiddeld 75%. 

Patricia Vitalis, Executive Director Schiphol Operations: ‘Iedereen heeft recht op een gezonde werkplek. Daarom blijven we ontwikkelen en onderzoeken om de luchtkwaliteit op het platform te verbeteren. Deze toepassing is nieuw voor de luchtvaart. We zoeken buiten de gebaande paden, doen experimenteel onderzoek en willen leren van oplossingen in andere sectoren die potentie hebben voor ons.’

Andere initiatieven

Schiphol wil medewerkers een gezonde werkplek bieden en de leefkwaliteit in de omgeving verbeteren. De hoeveelheid ultrafijnstof op Schiphol moet daarom omlaag. De luchthaven werkt aan de eisen die door de Arbeidsinspectie zijn gesteld. Dit betekent onder meer dat er uiterlijk eind 2027 een groene zone rond de pieren komt waarbinnen motoren van vliegtuigen niet meer opstarten. Ook zet Schiphol in op andere initiatieven. Zo wordt, samen met partners uit de TULIPS-samenwerking, onderzoek gedaan naar het gebruik van waterdruppels om ultrafijnstof uit de lucht te halen en is de luchthaven bij twee gates met hoge concentraties begonnen met aangepaste vertrekprocedures.

15 May 2024, by Emily Proctor

More kids between the ages of 10 and 14 are starting their own businesses in the Netherlands, according to new figures from the Dutch Chamber of Commerce (KvK). Many kids are spending their free time selling items on the internet such as clothes, jewellery and makeup. 

355 child entrepreneurs registered with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce

According to the KvK, there are 355 children between the ages of 10 and 14 registered as running a business – by comparison in 2019, there were just 112. Most of those registered as entrepreneurs with the KvK are aged 14, but the figures include 12 10-year-olds.

Most of the children registered with the Chamber of Commerce are selling fashion items such as clothing, jewellery and makeup online, but some also sell food or sweets at market stalls as well.

Young people have more education around running a business

The KvK thinks that the stronger digital skills of youngsters is helping them have a better understanding of business and the advantages of being self-employed, even at such a young age. The digital skills of young people, coupled with the low barriers to digital activities such as vlogging and blogging and role models such as influencers on social media, help to encourage more young people to set up small businesses. 

It’s not just young people who are keen to become self-employed, though. The number of self-employed people without employees working for them has increased by 85 percent between 2014 and 2024, according to the KvK.

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