Dutch benefits scandal for Thompson Reuters Foundation

The childcare benefits affair is one of the worst scandals that the Dutch state has been involved in this century. It involves the authorities hounding thousands of parents over non-existent or trivial infringements in an anti-fraud frenzy that got out of control and that was skewed towards the most vulnerable members of society and minorities. My first story for the Thompson Reuters Foundation.

Members of the first parliamentary inquiry into the childcare benefits scandal, December 2020

Dutch colonial amnesia challenged


Brexit blogging in times of crisis

I keep blogging for BCU’s Centre for Brexit Studies, although lately it focuses more on general despair with the direction of Europe and its allies.When BCU’s Centre for Brexit Studies asked me to continue to blog on, even after the UK finally left the building, I agreed. Enjoy!

Amsterdam’s struggle with its sex and drugs image

Amsterdam, sex and drugs – for The New European

Image by Erik Tanghe from Pixabay

Europe and Syria’s refugees

All my stories in the New Europan can be accessed here.

One of the stories that I was most proud of in 2021 was on Syrian refugees. I was lucky to come across the excellent and articulate artist Issam Kourbaj in Amsterdam’s Museum of the Tropics.

And it was fun to look at the Netherlands somewhat from a British media perspective.

Eurovision or bust

Finally, a nice, lighthearted piece, a bit tongue in cheek, about our human need to be entertained, even if it means risking life and limb. Get ready for the summer of love, the whoring twenties, etc. Or so I thought. Alas, it was not to be. Eurovision song contest antics lost out to the serious stuff, like case numbers and vaccine percentages in this article for the New Europan.

The decline of Social democracy

The New European asked me to shed a light on the baffling decline of social democratic parties in Europe, in the wake of Labour’s poor performance on Super Thursday in May. My unsurprising conclusion: it’s complicated…

Dutch elections take

I got this Dutch pre-election analysis for The New European mostly right, but than again it wasn’t rocket science: Long-serving Dutch PM Mark Rutte gained seats, and so did the far-right. I didn’t see the gain for the so-called progressive liberals of D66 coming but don’t think it’s particularly significant. Further fragmentation and the far-right turn are.

Still Brexiting after all these years

Brexit, the gift that keeps on giving, right? For anyone who thought that the EU-UK trade deal was the end of it, think again. Brexit and its consequences are going to be with us for years, potentially until the UK rejoins the EU and then we can start all over again. That’s why, when BCU’s Centre for Brexit Studies asked me to continue to blog on it, even after the UK has finally left the building, I agreed. Enjoy!

Dutchies snackbar in Birmingham vreest de Brexit niet

Twee in Somalièˆ geboren Nederlanders met een snackbar in de Balti-driehoek van Birmingham? Geen probleem, Najib Sufi en Amal Sharif vrezen de Brexit niet.