The Hague news


For Americans living in the Netherlands, a new year means a new tax season. In 2022, this involves filing both Dutch and US taxes. While this might sound like an arduous task, Brittany Lally, CPA at Bright!Tax, has put together a handy guide to filing US taxes for American expats living in the Netherlands to help make things easier.

In the Netherlands, tax is based on residence, while US taxes are based on citizenship. There is a US-Netherlands international tax treaty, however, it unfortunately doesn’t prevent Americans living in the Netherlands from having to file both countries’ tax returns.

The good news is that while Americans in the Netherlands have to file their US taxes, the vast majority won’t end up having to pay any US tax.

Filing strategyAll American citizens (or Green Card Holders) whose total, global income was over 12.550 USD in 2021, or just 5 USD if they’re married but file separately, or 400 dollars of self-employment income, have to report their worldwide income in US dollars on Form 1040.

Americans living in the Netherlands employed by a Dutch firm have their Dutch income tax deducted at the source, and they don’t have to file a Dutch tax return. It can be beneficial to file though, to claim credits for example, and you have to file Dutch taxes anyway if you have other income sources. The Dutch tax day is May 1.

As Americans living abroad receive an automatic filing extension until June 15, most Americans in the Netherlands normally file their Dutch taxes first (if they need to), and then file their US return.

The best way forwardAs Dutch income tax rates are generally higher than US rates, the best strategy for most Americans in the Netherlands who pay Dutch income tax is to claim the US Foreign Tax Credit by filing IRS Form 1116 when they file their US taxes. This provides them with US tax credits to the value of the dollar equivalent of the Dutch taxes they’ve paid, which will often not only wipe out their US tax liability but also leave them with excess US tax credits that they can carry forward.

An alternative for some American expats is to claim the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion on IRS Form 2555, which lets you exclude up to 108.700 USD of earned income (in the 2021 tax year) from US tax if you can meet one of two IRS tests to prove that you live abroad.

That said, the Foreign Tax Credit is often more beneficial for Americans living in the Netherlands. As an example, expat parents with dependent children (who have US social security numbers) that claim the Foreign Tax Credit can also claim the US Child Tax Credit. This often results in no US tax bill, plus an IRS tax refund of 1.400 USD per child when you file in 2022.

Note that if you need extra time to file beyond June 15, you can request an extension until October 15 using IRS Form 4868.

Self-employment taxesAmericans who have self-employment income, or who work for an American company, have to pay US social security and Medicare taxes. These can’t be mitigated by claiming either the Foreign Tax Credit or the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion.

However, there’s a treaty called the Totalization Agreement that prevents Americans living in the Netherlands from paying both US and Dutch social security taxes. Which country you pay depends on how long you expect to be living in the Netherlands.

Account, business, and asset reportingAmericans who have financial accounts in the Netherlands such as Dutch bank, investment or pension accounts may have to report them in the US.

There’s no tax implication of reporting, but if you had over 10.000 USD in total in accounts outside the US in 2021, you have to report all your foreign-registered accounts by filing an FBAR (Foreign Bank Account Report) with the US Treasury. The US receives your account information directly from the bank too, so it’s an important requirement.

If you had over 300.000 USD in total at any time in non-US bank and investment accounts, or over 200.000 USD at the end of 2021, you also have to report them on IRS Form 8938.

If you have a business registered in the Netherlands, you have to report it to the IRS, and there may be a US tax implication

Seek adviceEveryone’s situation is slightly different, and seeking advice from an expat tax specialist normally means keeping more of your money in your pocket thanks to their knowledge of which credits and exclusions you can claim when you file.

If you’ve missed one or more years of filing US taxes from the Netherlands, then definitely seek advice and get caught up, as you may well qualify for an IRS amnesty programme such as the Streamlined Procedure, as long as you take steps to catch up before the IRS writes to you about it.

Brittany Lally is a Managing CPA at Bright!Tax, and an expert in US taxes for Americans living abroad. Bright!Tax is an award-winning US tax services provider for Americans overseas.

24 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno   |  Updated: 24 January 2022

With the latest advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) recommending the reopening of the cultural and hospitality sectors, Dutch cabinet ministers are meeting on Monday to discuss the upcoming coronavirus press conference and potential relaxations of the current restrictions. 

Dutch government and OMT optimistic about COVID-19 situation

The government’s decision to leave a number of lockdown measures in place at the last press conference was met with much controversy and various protests and demonstrations across the Netherlands. Now, however, less than two weeks later, the outlook appears to be more positive and Prime Minister Mark Rutte is optimistic about lifting various COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday. 

The OMT is also feeling more hopeful, with the latest report from medical experts advising the Dutch government to reopen the hospitality and cultural industries, albeit with an enforced closing time of 8pm. 

Sources in The Hague have suggested that Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will opt to open restaurants, museums, theatres, and cinemas, with an enforced closing time of 10pm. With these venues reopening, the government will also reintroduce the use of coronavirus certificates.

Hospital admissions continue to fall, infection rate on the rise

As of Sunday, a total of 1.093 COVID-19 patients were being treated in Dutch hospitals, 275 of which were in intensive care. Before the last press conference, this figure stood at 1.289. While the hospitalisation and death rates continue to fall, the national infection rate is on the rise, with over 65.000 cases of coronavirus reported on Sunday. 

The final decisions regarding the national coronavirus restrictions will be made clear at the next coronavirus press conference, which is scheduled for 7pm on January 25.

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23 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno

The coronavirus pandemic has had a severe impact on the travel and tourism industry, and while things are most certainly not yet back to normal, Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport did see a 20 percent increase in passenger numbers in 2021 compared to the year before.

Schiphol Airport welcomed over 25 million travellers last year

International travel was brought to a complete standstill when COVID-19 first broke out in the spring of 2020, and while the introduction of systems such as the EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate and the relaxation of various travel restrictions has opened things up, passenger numbers remain low. 

Pre-pandemic, Schiphol Airport – one of the most important travel hubs in Europe – welcomed over 70 million passengers per year. This figure dropped significantly in 2020, when passenger numbers were under 21 million. In comparison to 2019, passenger numbers remain seriously low, but in 2021 Schiphol experienced a 20 percent increase, welcoming 25,5 million passengers last year.

Major Dutch airports see increase in traffic in 2021

Last year, there were almost 267.000 flights going in and out of Schiphol Aiport – an increase of 17 percent compared to 2020, but a drop of almost 50 percent compared to 2019. 

Schiphol wasn’t the only airport in the Netherlands to see an increase in travellers in 2021; airports in Rotterdam and Eindhoven also saw a notable increase in the number of travellers compared with 2020. Last year, Rotterdam The Hague Airport served approximately 800.000 passengers, while Eindhoven Airport served 2,7 million.

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23 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno

A new digital system called InMijnBus will fully replace the “NEE-NEE” and “NEE-JA” letterbox stickers in the Netherlands from January 2023.

Dutch stickers preventing unwanted post to disappear

Walk through any Dutch city or residential area and you’ll come across a number of black rectangular stickers on letterboxes, reading either “NEE-NEE” or “NEE-JA” to indicate whether the resident is willing to receive advertising content in the post

For 30 years, these stickers have been available to collect from municipalities, free of charge. But, from next year, people living in the Netherlands will register their preferences via a new website, InMijnBus.nl

InMijnBus should hopefully reduce paper waste

MailDB, the company responsible for the distribution of advertising brochures and flyers, hopes the ease of the new system will encourage more people to register their preferences with their municipality, thereby significantly reducing the amount of paper wasted. 

Furthermore, as InMijnBus operates solely using addresses, residents will not be required to share any personal data in order to register their choices. MailDB says the first trials of the digital platform will start in April of this year, before the new system is officially launched on January 1, 2023.

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22 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Major American newspaper The New York Times has published its list of 52 sustainable travel destinations around the world, and has named Gouda an ideal spot for travellers who want to be “part of the solution.”

52 Places for a Changed World

Looking into the future of travel, as more and more people consider their carbon footprint and attempt to live a more sustainable lifestyle, The New York Times has compiled a list of 52 travel destinations “for a changed world,” highlighting places that embody more sustainable practices and are working to encourage environmentally-friendly lifestyles.

There are a couple of big names on the list – everywhere from Naples to Northumberland, from Mexico to Morocco – the newspaper features national parks, cities, attractions and countries that should be added to the bucket lists of any traveller, whether they be ecologically minded or not. 

Gouda: A charming Dutch city for sustainable travel

There are of course a number of European entries, but a notable one for anyone who lives in the Netherlands would have to be Gouda, a city known for its quaint streets and delicious cheese. 

The New York Times notes the issue of overtourism in Amsterdam and the country’s push to encourage visitors to look outside of the Dutch capital – emphasising Gouda as a “charming” alternative for those looking to explore the Netherlands. 

“Gouda is an ideal base for a car-free visit to the Netherlands,” the paper writes. “An extensive system of well-marked bicycle routes (with charging stations for e-bikes) makes it easy to explore the city and surrounding region.” The Dutch city was overjoyed to be featured, Thierry van Vugt, alderman for city marketing and tourism in Gouda, telling De Telegraaf it was “nice to see that Gouda is also on the international map and that the city’s rich cultural history is being seen.”

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22 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno

Ever dreamed of having dozens of pets but know that you don’t realistically have the space or resources to care for them? This opportunity might be for you; a zoo in Brabant is currently looking for a new owner!

Looking for a career change? Why not buy a zoo!

On the hunt for your next big business venture and like the idea of running your own company? Well, if you happen to have 5 million euros lying around, you could invest it in an animal park that comes fully equipped with 150 different species and 2.000 inhabitants – most of which are parrots, parakeets, cranes, birds of prey and owls.

Located not too far from the city of Eindhoven, Zoo Veldhoven has suffered major financial losses as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and the current owners are looking to slow down a little – but they’re in no real rush to sell. “If a good candidate came forward, that wouldn’t be bad. But that may well take another 10 to 15 years,” explained owner Richard Loomans.

Take a look at what’s on offer in the video below.

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The Voice of Holland, one of the country’s most prominent entertainment shows and undoubtedly one of the biggest exports of Dutch media tycoon John de Mol, has been a staple on TVs across the Netherlands for 12 years. While the show’s influence isn’t quite as big as it once was, it continues to draw in millions of viewers per episode, and is one of RTL 4’s biggest shows. 

However, recently the programme and its creators have come under fire as news emerged of several of those involved in the show abusing their position and taking advantage of young female contestants and colleagues. 

Reports of sexual assault at The Voice of Holland

In August 2020, presenter of the BNNVARA web series BOOS, Tim Hofman, issued a request to members of the public who had either worked on or taken part in The Voice and who knew about or had experienced (sexual) misconduct from senior members of staff.

The past few weeks have seen various reports of sexual misconduct surface surrounding the show, with Jeroen Rietbergen – the show’s bandleader and brother-in-law of De Mol – announcing his resignation on January 15, saying in a statement that he had had “contact of a sexual nature” with women involved in the show.

In addition to Rietbergen’s resignation, allegations had been made against two other employees involved in the making of The Voice, one of which was celebrity coach Ali B. 

BOOS: This is The Voice

While some information had already leaked, much was left unclear ahead of the airing of the most recent episode of BOOS. After Hofman’s public request last summer, the programme carried out an investigation into the allegations, spanning several months. The findings were presented in an 80-minute long episode that aired on Thursday afternoon.

BOOS reports that dozens of women experienced sexual assault at the hands of four staff members on The Voice: Rietbergen, Ali B, Marco Borsato, and one of the show’s directors. 

Jeroen Rietbergen

19 women – both (former) employees and contestants – have come forward with allegations against Rietbergen, who ahead of his resignation had worked on The Voice for over 10 years. The allegations include inappropriate text messages in which Rietbergen sent young women unsolicited nude photos, or suggested booking hotel rooms for them to meet.

Rietbergen is also reported to have made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to one 18-year-old contestant. Former candidate Nienke Wijnhoven has also said Rietbergen sexually assaulted her, touching her inappropriately in his studio. Rietbergen denies the allegations. 

Ali B

Ali B, who has been a coach on the show since 2016, has also come under fire. He has been accused of rape and of groping young women. Several women have explained how the rapper promised to help them make a success of their music careers, making plans to meet them late at night or outside of the television studio. 

Two charges have been filed against Ali B, one of which is for rape. Ali B denies the allegations, saying he had consensual sex with one former candidate.

Marco Borsato

At the end of last year, reports emerged that Marco Borsato had inappropriately touched a woman when she was just 15 years old. Now, six women have accused Borsato of sexual abuse, three of whom were underage at the time of the incident. 

Borsato has been involved in The Voice since 2011, and has been a coach on The Voice Kids since the show’s inception in 2012. The singer is yet to respond to the allegations.

The Voice director

BOOS also mentioned at least 15 reports of sexual misconduct against one of The Voice’s directors, who remains unnamed. Various women say he made inappropriate comments and would touch them inappropriately. He has denied the allegations.

BOOS interview: John de Mol’s response

The final part of the BOOS episode included a lengthy interview with John de Mol himself, in which the media tycoon reacted to the allegations presented in the episode. 

De Mol was quick to express his shock at all that he had heard and was adamant that, in spite of Rietbergen’s family connections to De Mol and his role in the show, he held no power over any of the contestants on The Voice, and appeared unable to understand how he could be perceived as having any real power: “I know what his role is. If he pretends to be more important and someone is not able to distinguish between them, it is out of my sight.”

De Mol said that in his years at the helm of The Voice, only one allegation had been brought to his attention, when in April 2019 a candidate said she had been harassed by Rietbergen. De Mol explained how Rietbergen was issued his first and final warning, but that no investigation was carried out into the bandleader’s behaviour. De Mol also said that no protocol was in place to monitor the behaviour of coaches or prevent any misconduct: “I never thought that could happen at all.”

Since the episode aired, De Mol has come under fire for his response to the various allegations. “Make sure you open your mouth,” he said to those who experience sexual abuse. “I hope it doesn’t have a big impact on their lives,” De Mol said to the victims. “If this happens again [I hope] they have learned, they have learned to report it immediately.”

What happens next?

Ahead of Thursday’s episode, RTL had already announced the decision to shelf all remaining episodes of the current series of The Voice until further notice. The show has also lost a number of big-name sponsors, including T-Mobile and Lidl. RTL has also suspended all collaboration with Ali B, and the publishing company responsible for the rapper’s book De Ali B-methode has suspended all sales.

On Thursday, RTL chief Sven Sauvé announced in a statement that the channel had asked the Public Prosecution Service (OM) to actively investigate all allegations of abuse: “All parties involved must actively map out which concrete measures can be taken to prevent future abuses.” Sauvé said. “RTL has asked the OM this week to actively investigate the reported abuses. In addition, the producer of The Voice (ITV) has commissioned an external investigation. RTL has urged ITV to conduct this investigation with the greatest possible care and impartiality.” 

Meanwhile, female employees at De Mol’s media company Talpa took out a full-page advertisement in the AD on Friday which read “Dear John, it isn’t up to women.” Many Dutch celebrities and journalists have also expressed shock at De Mol’s reaction to the allegations.

The Dutch police and the OM are calling on all victims and witnesses to report any cases of unwanted sexual behaviour.

While searching for a new topic to write on, I thought why not try something new in the new year? Since I have been coaching people who have successfully changed their careers for more than 10 years already, I thought who would give me better advice on a career jump than them? They’ve been there, done that and with success.

So, I went through stories in my book “Career Jump!”, testimonials and reviews and distilled the most common AND most interesting pieces of advice.

If you feel stuck in your career, maybe this year it is finally the time to do something about your professional life – otherwise, you’ll go nuts.

What do you really want from your life and career?“When you feel stuck, that’s when you know it’s time to re-evaluate your situation and think about what is it that you really want from life and your career.”

That’s the most common thing that I, as a coach, hear from my clients. At the end of coaching, I always ask my clients what piece of advice they would give to others who are at the beginning of their coaching journey, and this piece of advice is by far the most common. Acknowledge you feel stuck, take time to ask yourself what it is that you want from your career and use the input to move forward.

This advice was given by my client who changed career from project officer in an NGO to a doctoral researcher in academia. Moreover, she also decided to leave the career she built for herself in the Netherlands and move back to her home country.

Push yourself out of your comfort zone“Pushing yourself into that uncomfortable space where you doubt your abilities is where the magic happens.”

This advice was given by a client who transitioned from her career as an HR manager in the healthcare industry to a director of participation in C-suite educational organisation. “Life is too short to not have some aspects of what you love present in your professional career,” she said. “Your job doesn’t have to finally define you, but it should make you feel that you are a valued team member, and that the purpose of the organisation is aligned with your values and beliefs.”

Find the right support“Ask for help – different people need different types of support at different moments in their life, so don’t be afraid to ask until you feel you knocked on the right door.”

I truly believe that the more people who support you in your journey, and the more people (given that they are positive ones) that know about your plans, the better. But, as my client writes, we need different types of support at different times. Sometimes we need professional support from a coach or a mentor, sometimes we need the support of our family or friends. The message however is clear – “keep on knocking!”

Learn how to deal with setbacks“Build mechanisms to deal with setbacks so that you won’t get discouraged quickly.”

This advice comes from my client who made a spectacular career jump from strategy and business development manager to managing director in a sustainability scale-up. “There will be setbacks: for every two steps forward, you’ll take one step backwards,” she said. “Real change takes time. Do not get discouraged.”

But if you are serious about the change, the best thing to do is to anticipate when setbacks come, so if and when they arrive you will be fully prepared. She also mentions that “if you apply for a new job, always have 3 applications in the pipeline. If one opportunity falls away, you are still left with hope for the other two.”

Learn to use your frustration to your advantage“It is ok to feel frustrated. Frustration can be a powerful tool that helps to motivate you. Use your frustration to come up with new ideas and new direction.”

I love this piece of advice as our society often pressures us to quickly soothe uncomfortable feelings. And of course, there is no point in feeling frustrated endlessly, but if you use your frustration as a tool it can give you lots of insights and ideas.

This piece of advice was given by my client who left the NGO world in order to follow the entrepreneurial path and with time started his own chocolate factory, how cool is that? He further says “follow your natural curiosity to experiment with different ideas. You can’t process everything simply by thinking it through. But by following your curiosity, in time, you might just discover what motivates you.”

So, now I am curious to find out which piece of advice did YOU find the most valuable or the most surprising? Share in the comments below! And if you did your own career jump, share with others what would your advice be!

With data from other European countries suggesting that the Omicron wave does little to increase pressure felt by the healthcare system, the Dutch government is facing growing pressure from all sides to lift the remaining lockdown restrictions and reopen the hospitality and cultural industries. 

Dutch cultural industry protests lockdown rules

To protest the continued closure of museums and theatres, various cultural institutions across the Netherlands opened their doors on Wednesday – not for musical performances or art exhibitions though, but as temporary hairdressers or sports centres. 

In Amsterdam, renowned venues including the Concertgebouw, De Kleine Komedie, the Van Gogh Museum, and Koninklijk Theater Tuschinski opened their doors to the public. While getting a haircut on stage at De Kleine Komedie, customers could enjoy performances by famous Dutch comedians including Youp van ‘t Hek and Claudia de Briej. At Kapsalon Het Concertgebouw, customers received haircuts to the soundtrack of the Concertgebouw Orchestra

Those involved in the protest were warned by mayor Femke Halsema that the restrictions would be enforced: “We understand your disappointment and also the financial need for perspective. At the same time, we are still in a pandemic and the national corona measures apply. The council has to enforce that.” Participating venues in Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague and Eindhoven also faced fines and official warnings, while those in Nijmegen had the support of the municipality and mayor Hubert Bruls.

Restaurants in the Netherlands hope to reopen next week

Meanwhile, Koninklijke Horeca Nederland (KHN), the largest union representing hospitality businesses in the Netherlands, has outlined a plan for partially lifting restrictions for bars, cafes, nightclubs, and restaurants, and will present it to the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) on Thursday. 

KHN’s proposal involves gradually allowing the hospitality industry to return to normal, with the first relaxations coming into effect on January 26. The outline suggests reopening businesses under 3G rules from next week, with mandatory seating and refusing entry to new customers after 10pm. 

From February 9, KHN proposes lifting all restrictions on terraces and getting rid of mandatory seating rules for indoor venues, as well as pushing the closing time back to midnight. From February 23, the union hopes only the 3G rules would still be in place, with all remaining restrictions abolished from as early as mid-March.

COVID-19 infection rate falls, relaxations looking likely

Businesses aren’t the only ones calling for change. Mayors across 30 different municipalities, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Breda, and The Hague, have demanded the cabinet “fundamentally review” the current COVID-19 policy, and ensure the removal of the current “ad hoc measures,” replacing them instead with “predictable, logical, and reasonable” restrictions.

A recent survey conducted by I&O Research on behalf of NOS found that support for the government’s approach was declining. Amongst the 2.230 people surveyed, 45 percent felt further relaxations could be announced, and 19 percent said all restrictions should be lifted. “This costs way too much, financially, mentally, health,” one respondent said.

The weekly report published by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM) on Tuesday revealed that, while the number of coronavirus infections in the Netherlands was still rising, the number of people being treated in Dutch hospitals continued to fall. Insiders expect Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Health Minister Ernst Kuipers will therefore announce further relaxations at the next coronavirus press conference on January 25.

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20 January 2022, by Victoria Séveno

It’s common knowledge that petrol prices in the Netherlands have broken records over the last few months, rising to above the two euro mark for the first time ever in June 2022. Now, diesel prices are also reaching record highs, rising to above 1,80 euros for the first time this week.

Price of diesel reaches 1,80 euros per litre

After a dip in petrol prices following the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, last summer saw petrol and diesel prices rise across the country. Now, data from consumer collective UnitedConsumers reveals diesel prices have reached a new milestone, breaking Dutch records and now costing 1,813 euros per litre. 

According to UnitedConsumers director Paul van Selms, it’s possible that rising inflation rates could mean drivers see the price of diesel rise to above two euros a litre this year: “That is not the expectation, but anything is possible.”

Rising petrol prices in the Netherlands

Currently, in the Netherlands, the average suggested retail price for E10 (Euro95) petrol is 2,134 euros a litre. LPG costs 1,139 euros per litre. On Tuesday, oil prices also reached their highest level since October 2014, with a barrel of North Sea oil now costing almost 77 euros. Experts are already speculating that prices could soon exceed 100 euros a barrel.

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