Gunman in NOS Studio

Posted on 30. Jan, 2015 by in News

Yesterday night, around the time of the 20:00 news, an armed gunman went into the NOS studios demanding air time. The young man, identified as Tarik Z, entered the offices with a weapon. He said he was sent to give an important message that concerned the people. Although he was armed, Tarik didn’t hurt anyone, and the police arrived shortly to arrest him. He didn’t resist arrest.

The reasons for Tarik’s actions are unknown. All that has been said is that he had an important message to give, although nothing of the message is known. There are already talks about his mental state, questions if the footage was real, and any links to the Paris shootings. None of the mentioned allegations are true (as far as any reports have been made public), however, in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris this month, people feel on edge.

The NOS website has video coverage of what happened before and during the police intervention, and you can also watch the video from RTL below. All I can say is I am glad no one is hurt.

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Snow day!!!

Posted on 24. Jan, 2015 by in Culture, News

Today was for me the winter morning I have been waiting for since I moved to the Netherlands. I woke up early hoping the weather predictions were finally true, and that today I would finally enjoy a snowy day. To my amazement, our garden was a winter wonderland….white with snow!

Our garden this morning! (personal photograph)

Our garden this morning! (personal photograph)

My first instinct was to bundle up and go out and play…I mean, what else do you do with snow? Riccardo and I walked around the garden and, of course, began a snow ball fight. I learned today that making a snow ball is not as easy as I thought. You don’t just pack the snow together into a ball because the ball can easily break. It is easiest if you roll the snow ball letting more snow adhere to it until you eventually have a big enough snow ball.

Snow ball fight! (personal photograph)

Snow ball fight!
(personal photograph)

I also learned that it isn’t easy to drive in the snow. I had figured that much but I didn’t realize how careful you have to be. You should avoid using the breaks to stop, but rather break with the motor. You should drive slowly and prepare stops and turns with enough time. In short, there is an art to snow driving, and I am glad today was not the day to learn. I took advantage of the passenger’s seat and enjoyed the beautiful scenery!

Beautiful white roads (personal photograph)

Beautiful white roads (personal photograph)

In the news there were many reports of weather accidents or delays in travel. In some areas, particularly in the North and in the West, there were delays with the train because there was too much snow on the cables that provide the trains with energy. There were also accidents on the roads as well as long lines because people had to drive so slow.

I hope all the readers who live in the Netherlands were safe and were able to enjoy the snow (if they like it). Considering the winter of 2013-2014 had no snow, I think today’s snow was not bad at all!

What did you do today to enjoy or avoid the snow? For those that don’t live here, what would you have liked to do?

Useful Vocabulary:

de sneeuw- snow

sneeuwen- to snow

de sneeuwbal- snowball

de sneeuwvlok- snowflake

de sneeuwman of sneeuwpop- snowman

het sneeuwpak- snowsuit

de slee- sled

de sneeuwband- snow tire

Campaigns in NL 4 – “Klein Bedrag, Pinnen mag!”

Posted on 21. Jan, 2015 by in Culture

Pinnen (paying by debit/credit card) is very widespread in the Netherlands. There is even a verb for it! Pinnen comes from the word pinpas, which means debit card.

This kind of payment got the honor of a verb of its own because it is used so much in the country. In many countries, there is an extra charge or minimum amount for pinnen. Not so for the Dutch! Even if you want to pay 5 cents with your bank card, most stores will allow it! Also, places that normally do not have the possibility of pinnen at all, like bars or some market stands.

ING Betaalpas - Debit Card from one of the major Dutch banks. With these, contactloos pinnen is also already possible. (Image by at

ING Betaalpas – Debit Card from one of the major Dutch banks. With these, contactloos pinnen is also already possible. (Image by at

Normally, you pay by putting your card in the paying device and entering your 4-digit code. However, new technology allows for contactloos pinnen (contact free pinnen), where you merely hold your bank card to the paying device in order to pay! There are limits to this much more efficient way of paying, though. You can only spend up to 25 euros, after which you need to enter your code again. Also, if your card is stolen, you can get those 25 euros refunded from the bank. These rules were made as to make it safe.

What is also new, is paying with your phone. It is on the rise, and coming up quickly!

Why is pinnen so popular in the Netherlands? There are several reasons for this. Shops like it, because there is less cash in store – which is much safer. They are willing to pay the added price for it. Customers like it because it is safer, as they do not have to carry around so much money, and it is much faster.

I myself like pinnen very much too!

How did it get so popular? There is an ad campaign behind it…

The campaign

Klein Bedrag? Pinnen mag! (small amount? pinnen allowed!) is part of the campaign Pinnen, ja graag (pinnen, yes please). This was an initiative by  the company PIN B.V., which is a sub-sector of Currence B.V., the company that manages all payment methods in the Netherlands. It consists of banks to ensure a smooth payment system throughout the country.

For the same reasons, they wanted to encourage pinnen - and, of course, because it is their business. They get paid for every transaction made, and at the same time, the costs for transactions are reduced. So it is very lucrative!

Below a commercial for Klein Bedrag? Pinnen mag!

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And a commercial for Pinnen, ja graag.


And, as you can imagine, the campaign was successful!