August 28, 2019

Dutch government pushes for tax relief for ‘accidental Americans’

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:03 pm

According to DutchNews, The Netherlands has called on EU member states to try and change American tax laws that affect thousands of Dutch people who have the American nationality, but have nothing to do with the United States otherwise.

State Secretary of Finance Menno Snel, who has been slammed in court for illegally stopping child support from Dutch residents and migrants with an ethnic background (in Dutch), mentioned that The Netherlands has raised the issue in a European context, while Prime Minister Mark Rutte also brought it up in a recent visit to the United States.

If more European countries came together to make this demand to the Americans, maybe something could change. If the United States can make money messing up the lives of Americans abroad, they don’t have much of an incentive to stop in this current political climate.

I know Dutch friends born in the United States who are struggling with this ruling, having little or nothing to do with the United States in their lives. And then there’s that one friend who gave up being American altogether and is now a full fledged Dutch citizen, free of nonsense from the American tax office.


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August 7, 2016

Why America doesn’t know its Dutch history

Filed under: History by Orangemaster @ 12:04 pm


Here’s our online version of reading a book on the beach: let’s all learn about the Dutch origins of New York City and more by American author and historian Russell Shorto who sounds like he could talk about it all day.

The first part is a quick introduction called ‘Why don’t Americans know about their own Dutch history?’, which starts by naming all the British things Americans usually know about their country and exposing the blind spot in people’s knowledge about anything Dutch.

Check out the rest, all short videos. Part 2 starts off with an explanation of the Castello Plan that we’ve used as an image.

Part 2. What’s left of New Amsterdam in Lower Manhattan?
Part 3. Meet a forgotten American visionary
Part 4. How New Amsterdam influenced America

Notice the Heineken truck going by as the video starts in Part 1.

(Image: Castello Plan of the tip of Manhattan)

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November 5, 2008

A Dutch account of Obama’s victory in New Orleans

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:14 pm
Election day in New Orleans

A Dutch friend of mine, Bente, who now lives and works in New Orleans (of all places!) and who didn’t sleep much last night, hung out at a few places, and everywhere she went, she watched the results with a full house of serious Obama fans.

Allow me to freely translate some of her thoughts:

It’s a historical day in America. More than we sober Dutch people realise. Today a black president was elected.

That Obama is not a real African-American – his father was a Kenyan student in Hawaii and his mother was a white American – barely makes a difference. The man has coloured skin so he’s black and here this means that you’re “one of us” (at least for African-Americans). For many conservative white people, it’s just as bad: the man is black and therefore evil.

That the colour of one’s skin is so important never ceases to amaze me, but here it’s a fact. Obama’s tint has united many and as of today every black kid can grow up with the idea that they too can become president.

I was never this happy about an election result in the Netherlands, but this really touched me. Not because I think the man is a saint or will bring about worldly changes. No, he’s going to have a tough time, and if he survives this, I’ll be impressed. However, the hope he gives people, especially African-Americans is something no one can take away from them. And who knows, maybe something will really change.

UPDATE: The photo credit is always of who takes the picture, not of who is in it!

(Photo: Bente)

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May 21, 2008

Mark Ho and his robot conquer America

Filed under: Art,Gadgets,Science by Orangemaster @ 9:12 am

Mark Ho is an artist who thought up a bronze robot at a lonely time in his life. Just like in the movies, some rich American now wants to sell his art to the world, after having seen a photo of the robot on the cover of Scientific American.

The Amsterdam student at the Hoge School voor de Kunsten (HKU) has been working almost 12 years alone and in silence on the metal doll that moves like a human. Yesterday, he left for the US to talk to an investor about bringing his product onto the market. “At the HKU, sometime in 1994, we were given the assignment of making an animated figure from aluminium. Everyone knows those wooden dolls on the bookshelves. I wanted to make one from metal, but I had no idea how.”

After figuring out many details and even building his own tools, his first doll is now five years old. It consists of 920 parts and 80 mechanical parts. The creature, that answers to the name Artform No 1, can even move its shoulders. “A person is much simpler than this,” Ho laughs.

(Link and photo

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