On the Front Lines of Dutch Minds

It’s time for 2nd Opinion. A newsletter with films, capturing the breadth (or narrowness) of Dutch perspectives in culture, politics and business.

Written without fear or favour, I look for the most insightful, revealing or just quirky stories in print or online — whether the action is local or further afield.

One topic per post, generously defined. Occasional posts.

A note on editorial: I’m Mark, an Englishman in Amsterdam and an ex-foreign correspondent still yoked to the old standard of objectivity. What I report here is de manier waarop de kranten het zeggen, the way the newspapers put it. Then I’ll also stir my own research into the mix. Above all, I try to find what’s pittig: the spicy, sweet or sour. Nutritious or not.

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Each article includes links to the source publications and short excerpts from the original Dutch. Whether you are a capable Dutch speaker or a novice, they'll help you to decipher the contradictions of life in the Netherlands - with all its depths and shallowness.

Insights from 2nd Opinion can help you to lift the lid on this sometimes beguiling, often opaque, open/closed, metropolitan/parochial, direct/indirect, in-your-face/reticent and always many-faceted culture.

These articles might just help you to make friends too. Or just occasionally, to impress colleagues and neighbours with your commitment to cross-cultural understanding. In a small way, 2nd Opinion aspires to make the attributes of living in, or alongside, Dutch culture feel more rewarding.

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Please help this foray in cross-cultural understanding. Feel free to comment, critique and point me in the right direction. When I miss something useful or telling, send it my way.

A paid subscription will sustain this custom brew of entertainment, information and perhaps even a little indulgence during your coffee break. For consistency, the rate is pegged to the asking price for just one Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino — but surely the bigger contribution to cultural diversity.

Or for a flavour of what’s to come, just read on.

Met vriendelijke groeten,

— Mark

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Why subscribe? Subscribers get full access to the newsletter, archive, all our short films and the Opinionated Dutch Almanac, a real-time web app updated throughout the year. Plus bonus material - interviews, galleries and films. Every new post from 2nd Opinion goes directly to your inbox.

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From the front lines of Dutch minds, a candid digest of media comment and opinion in the Netherlands: "Amazingly interesting commentaries on politics, culture, international affairs and much more" - Douwe de Lange, law student.


I’m Mark, an Englishman and ex-foreign correspondent in Amsterdam, still yoked to the old standard of objectivity. I report "de manier waarop de kranten het zeggen" - the way the newspapers put it, and stir in what's "pittig" - spicy, sweet or sour.