Useful website for strange missed calls in the Netherlands

I hate telemarketing with a passion.  In Australia, I used the “Do Not Call Register“:

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Now that I’m living in the Netherlands, I’m not sure if there is an equivalent, but rarely give out my number and thankfully don’t get many calls (yet).

* Update – thanks to Tim, who commented on this post on the Dutch Australian Facebook page – here’s the Dutch equivalent :

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However I did recently discover this useful website, so sharing for those in the Netherlands:

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You can type a number in here and then, if that number is in the database, you can read other comments (usually in Dutch but a few comments here and there though the site in English I noticed).  You can add your own comments and rank calls with a colour as to how “dangerous” you think they are (e.g. it seems a trick some spammers use is that they call you and hang up, then you call back as you have a missed call and it costs a fortune).

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It’s helped me twice in the last few weeks.  The first time, I kept missing an 020 number, which I knew was Amsterdam, and found out via this site it was Albert Heijn calling me – so the next time they called I didn’t mind answering (I often don’t answer unknown numbers), it was something to do with my supermarket delivery service.

The number that called me today seems to be “telephone spam” and thanks to this site I simply blocked it (which you can do via an iPhone by clicking on the “information” and then selecting “block this number”).

Hope that’s useful to some of you!  Comments welcome about telemarketing in either the Netherlands or Australia.



Down Under – The Festival, Eindhoven The Netherlands

This website covers anything related to the Netherlands and Australia (and the link between the two), so when I saw there is a Down Under Festival coming up, I thought it must be a celebration of Australian music in Eindhoven.   Their horizontal banner certainly screams “Australia”:


This one though is a slightly more strange mix of images, not many of which reflect Australia to me – you?


It looks a little more “Aztec” to me but I should be wrong – how many Aussie (and non Aussie) items can you spot?

Advertising for the previous years is also very Australian-image focussed:



Their website: shows that it’s a house/trance dance festival, but it’s not clear where the DJ’s are from.  I’ve done a bit of Googling:

  • Billy the Kit: Dutch
  • Fox Stevenson: British
  • Shermanology: Carribean/Dutch
  • La Fuente: Dutch
  • RAM: Dutch

I’ll give up there, maybe there is an Aussie DJ hidden in the lineup but if it’s a “Down Under” Festival I would have thought you’d make a point of this?

Their promo video is interesting too:

It’s in English, I guess tying in the with Australian theme, and with “vast sweeping plains” – but which could, to me, just as easily be as African as Australian to me – would you agree?  The voiceover is: “Be prepared, in a world where earth as we know it, does not exist.  To save his people, the world is no longer as you remember it?” Um, what?   Any interpretations?!

I’m not aiming to diss the festival, it looks like fun, I’m just a bit confused!  At 40 years old, with two kids, I’m a little past the target market for this outdoor festival, so maybe I’m missing something.  Have messaged them on Facebook to ask.  Perhaps as I’m both an Australian in the Netherlands and a marketing lecturer, I’m just really curious why they market it this way?  Maybe as Australia has the “cool factor”?  Maybe the team behind it are Australian?  What’s your guess?

I wonder if anyone has turned up kind of wondering where the didgeridoos, kangaroos and meat pies are?

If it looks like your thing, you can buy tickets here: 

Groupon also has a special on tickets for the next few days here 




Remember Me. Stories in Print Exhibition at the AAMU Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art, Utrecht


Exhibition about graphic art marks 15th anniversary of the AAMU in Utrecht
Remember Me. Stories in print. The exhibition can be seen from 17 January until 19 June 2016.

The AAMU Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art in Utrecht is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the new exhibition Remember Me. Stories in print. In this exhibition the museum presents compelling stories in distinctive and thought-provoking graphic art works. For Remember Me. Stories in print 60 art works were brought specially from Australia to the Netherlands. 

Stories of the present and the past

Graphic art was an important component of the oeuvres of the great masters of art history – think of Rembrandt, Picasso and Warhol. The same is true of many Aboriginal artists. In the graphic oeuvre of the Aboriginal artists on display in Remember Me in which mainly etching and lithographic techniques are used, stories unfold that criss-cross the entire Australian continent.

Stories of the present and the past and of the often unwritten history of this immense country come to life in the various series of art works by thirty Indigenous artists. Vernon Ah Kee can be seen with a striking series of anonymous portraits titled Unwritten. In the works of Michael Nelson Jagamarra and Doris Bush powerful symbols and patterns are included, traditionally used to pass on stories and knowledge. For Reko Rennie the dynamic patterns of his Kamilaroi ancestors are incorporated into his art works. One of his works on display is Big Red (2013).

Duyfken portfolio

The story of the first contacts between the Dutch and the original inhabitants of Australia in 1606 is told in the superb prints of the Duyfken portfolio which was donated to the AAMU in 2006 by (then) Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima.

The exhibition is set up in collaboration with Cicada Press, part of the University of New South Wales Australia, Art & Design in Sydney and is supported by the Pacific Fund managed by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.

Museum of contemporary Aboriginal art
Oudegracht 176
3511 NP Utrecht
the Netherlands


Reko Rennie 'Big Red' 2013 etching
Reko Rennie
represented by Black Art Project, Melbourne
Big Red, 2013
Photo etching, aquatint and viscosity roll
paper size 49.5 x 30.5 cm / image size 68 x 45 cm

Laurel Nannup, Yellow Taxi 2012 (Medium)

Laurel Nannup
Old Spirit of the Sea, 2006
etching on paper
from the Duyfken portfolio
60 x 40 cm
(Collection AAMU)

VernonahKee-Unwritten (Black)2012

Vernon Ah Kee
represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane
Unwritten (unbecoming), 2012
etching and aquatint
image size – 20 x 15.5 cm / paper size – 40 x 30 cm

Special house for sale in The Hague

This house (not ours!) may be just right for someone who would like to move to The Hague.  I’ve been here several times and it’s a gorgeous property, with a lot of living space right in the central city.  Please feel free to share with anyone you may think is interested.  -Renee

For sale: a spacious canal side herenhuis with garage and garden, a stone’s throw from the shops and restaurants of central Den Haag.


Veenkade 59-60 is a light-filled spacious four floor town house (295m2) with garage and a large back garden (18m x 6.4m). The house dates back to 1865 but has been thoroughly modernised while maintaining the airy feel of the high ceilings and classical decorations.

The house is located at the edge of the Zeeheldenkwartier on one of the oldest canals in town and just a couple of minutes walk away from the city centre. The Veenkade is still a busy and thriving community of residents and businesses, including cafés, crêches and artisan services. Recently considerable efforts have been put into rejuvenating and beautifying the feel of the canal by opening the canal out in front of the Palace gardens and building a sub-terrainian carpark. Continued works are on-going to rebuild and improve the look of the rest of the Veenkade and its canal walls. The number 17 tram stops at the end of the road and the present owner cycles to work in Rijswijk in 20 minutes.

The entry to the house, through the double doors, takes one into the wide marble floored hallway with doors leading off to the large garage, Further down the hallway more rooms appear. One is presently being used as an office and home cinema. A garden room was being used as a guest bed room. There is also a utilities room, another small storage room and a WC is located under the stairs.


The stairs lead up to the huge open living room – dining room with recently restored beautiful parquet floor. Light streams in through the three large windows from which one gets a delightful view of the swans and ducks on the canal.


The eye is drawn to the large fireplace which has a red marble mantel. The conservatory-like glass roofed kitchen area has a balcony and outside stairs lead down to the garden.


The kitchen features a huge black stone sink and matching stone-topped island work station. It is fully equipped with a large conventional oven and a second smaller combi oven, dishwasher and american style double door fridge-freezer with ice maker. There is also a WC and another small office on this level.


Upstairs again takes you to two large bedrooms, one with en-suite bathroom and another balcony overlooking the garden. The final set of stairs takes you to the huge attic room presently used as the master bedroom, with a walk in wardrobe and another en-suite bathroom featuring a giant sized jaczuzzi bathtub.


The walled garden has been laid out into three distinct areas with a wooden deck in front of the back doors separated by a unique water feature from a raised middle section with apple and pear trees and treehouse.

The a rear tree lined paved over section leads one to a door at the back of the garden which gives access to a covered car park area owned by Q-Park in which the present owner rents a space. Discrete spot lights are dotted around the garden to enhance the night-time enjoyment of this space.

The whole house is double glazed and benefits from relatively new wiring and plumbing with ethernet, telephone and television sockets in most rooms. A satellite dish is installed on the roof.

If you fancy living in a city centre peaceful haven, a short walk to all that The Hague has to offer or you have that special car or motorbike(s) that needs some tlc in the centrally heated garage, or if you have green fingers and like the idea of a larger garden in the centre of town, or all of the above, this could be the house for you.

Asking Price € 890.000,00 k.k.

For further information or a viewing of this property, contact:

Ron Timmermans

06 54 90 09 11

Doen Makelaars

Dr. Lelykade 60

2583 CM Den Haag

T: 070 – 44 000 55

see also the funda website page:

Paying to receive a parcel in the Netherlands from Australia

I was shocked last year to receive a parcel of gifts in the Netherlands for my daughters from my mother in Australia – and be asked to pay EUR35 to pick it up!  It was just a few clothes and stickers. When she was writing the value of the gifts she sent the girls from Australia to the Netherlands, she was calculating full ticket prices for the clothing she bought, thinking this would assist in replacing them with postal insurance if they were lost in transit.   However with this additional customs charge and BTW (plus what she originally paid for the items and the postage from Australia), this made it an unintentionally expensive gift.

I’ve been meaning to look into this for some time for the official information ,so here is is for others who are considering sending gifts between Australia and the Netherlands.

Today I received this in a Twitter chat from Post NL:

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Here is the link they sent me to:

It’s called “Inklaringskosten” and as the information is all in Dutch, I’ve made a (rough) translation here in English for those of you who may find it helpful.  Information can change though, and I am not an authority on this, I’m simply aiming to help others with this blog post, so for the official stance, please always refer back to the relevant organisations (in this case PostNL and Customs).  Here’s my translation with some screenshots and a table from their site (and links back to these)


Receiving goods from outside the EU?

Are you receiving goods from outside of the European Union?  Then you may need to deal with customs duty, BTW (VAT tax) and import charges.  We (Post NL) will organise the customs clearance for you and relevant paperwork.  That saves you a lot of time.  You need to pay clearance fees for this.

The invoice will be on your parcel.  You can pay this in cash to the postman. If you don’t have enough cash to pay the amount, then they can deliver the package at a different time. Or you can pick up the package at the nearest post office.

What does it cost?

You pay BTW and customs clearance charges on any package coming from outside the EU for:

  • Commercial packages with a value above 22 euro.
  • On gifts with a value above 45 euro.


Where are the goods coming from? Value* Customs charge *1

(collected by Post NL for Douane)

Btw 21% *2

(Collected by Post NL for the Belastingdienst)

Customs Clearance Charge*3

(Processing charge by Post NL)

From an EU-country Unlimited No No No
From outside the EU – Up to € 22

– From € 22 tot € 150

– Above € 150










Land buiten de EU / geschenk van particulier naar particulier Up to € 45 No No No

*Not including postage charges

*1 Customs Charge (to find out more about this you’d need to visit the Douane site, click on image below)

*2 BTW 21% on the value of the package (I’m not sure at which rate this is calculated i.e. if in USD it is probably calculated at a standard daily exchange rate)

*3 For EMS shipments (Express Mail Service), you pay the customs clearance charge of 17.50 euros. For other post, you pay 13 euros.

For full information about the Customs, they refer to the website below (click on the screenshot).  This also gives information about what you are allowed to post.

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Screenshot from:


My personal understanding and summary is:

  • The value is declared by the sender, and is usually shown on the front of the packet
  • If it’s a gift (and this is ticked on the customs form on the front of the packet), up to 45 euros value, coming from outside the EU, there is no charge to receive this
  • If it’s coming from outside the EU and is under 22 euros value, you also don’t have to pay anything
  • Once you go over these thresholds, you will have to pay up to three different charges:
    • 1.  To customs themselves (for anything over 150 value)
    • 2.  BTW (for anything over 22 euros).  So this is 21% and no doubt calculated on the value.
    • 3.  Customs clearance charges to Post NL for processing (13 euros for a regular package and 17.50 for express)
  • I have noticed and heard from friends that you can sometimes receive a packet that is within the amount you are meant to be paying a charge for, but it does seem some packages slip through.

Hope this is helpful to some readers!  Have you ever been charged to receive a package in the Netherlands?  I’ll also need to look into how it works the other way around, when sending a package from the Netherlands to Australia.

**Update 1 March 2016**  Yesterday I spoke to a company with an office in the UK but where the products are coming from the US.  My last order with them was EUR55 and this time was EUR20.  I rang to make sure that they only put the value of the products and NOT the additional 5 euros postage (as they did the first time).  They told me that they take care of the customs & taxes, which is why I didn’t get asked to pay the first time.  So now I’m not clear and how and when the company pays for these charges.  I would like to order a few things online from overseas – but it would be easy for the company to say they would pay the charges, and then for me to discover they hadn’t, or to be charged (again?) on delivery.  I believe you can reject the parcel, but if you’ve paid for the goods, then it may be difficult to get a refund.  And if you reject the goods, I wonder if the company on the other end would have to pay both the postage to send and then again to have it returned? In which case, they would not likely refund.



Celebrating the long and enduring relationship between the Netherlands and Australia

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On Thursday 28th January, 2016, I was fortunate to receive an invitation to the Australian Residence in The Hague, the Netherlands.  The Ambassador, The Hon Dr Brett Mason, hosted us with grace in his beautiful home.

From the invitation: “This celebration is timed to coincide with Australia Day on 26 January and the date 400 years ago, on 23 January 1616, when Dutch Explorer, Dirk Hartog, set sail with his ship Eendracht on the historic voyage that took him to the west coast of Australia. Ambassador Mason takes this opportunity to celebrate our deep and time-honoured bilateral relationship with a display of Aboriginal artworks, a short musical performance, and Australian food and wine.”

It was a lovely evening.  I asked if I could share some photos, for this blog post, which he said was fine – however unfortunately my camera was not working well that evening!  You can still get an idea below.

We were treated to a wonderful performance of an upcoming production by ODD Continent.  Some information from their website:

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I had the pleasure of meeting Artistic director, Malcolm Rock (an Australian), and we were the first to ever hear some beautiful songs from something special they are planning for later this year – I’ll share more information soon!


We also had the chance to look at some fascinating historic maps:


…and gorgeous Aboriginal Art, on loan from the AAMU: Museum of contemporary Aboriginal Art in Utrecht.  I plan on taking my children there soon.

IMG_3976-001 IMG_3977-001 IMG_3978-001    IMG_3990 IMG_3991 IMG_3992 IMG_3993 IMG_3994

Finally, a photo with the Ambassador, and Fabian – an intern working at the Embassy at the moment, via where I teach at The Hague University.   I do social media strategy and consulting via my business Zestee Social Media and have had the pleasure of working with the Australian Embassy recently.


Make sure you check out the Facebook page for the Australian Embassy in the Netherlands: and you can also follow Ambassador Brett Mason on Twitter:

A memorable evening and I look forward to sharing more about the Dirk Hartog commemorations this year, full details here: