The Netherlands abandons face masks
As of March 23, the Netherlands abandons face masks on public transport as recorded Covid cases continue to fall.  Face mask is no longer a requirement on ferries or in taxis, but is still required at airports and on planes, although several Dutch airlines have stated that they will no longer demand the measure. Furthermore, people will no longer have to show a negative coronavirus test result when attending an indoor event of more than 500 people, even though the CoronaCheck app will still remain a requirement for foreign travel. Read more
Keukenhof will reopen again
Keukenhof will open its gates to the public again from March 24, until May 15. The park was not allowed to open for two years due to the Covid-19 measures, but finally visitors can experience the floral splendour again. In addition to the millions of tulips, daffodils and hyacinths in the park, the flower shows inside the pavilions have grown larger and more beautiful again. There are more than 600 flower growers that deliver their most beautiful flowers and plants to Keukenhof, so that visitors can see many new varieties. Read more

Today on March 23, it is Nordic Day 2022. On this day, it is the launch of the State of the Nordic Region 2022.   State of the Nordic Region is a biannual report published and produced by Nordregio, an international research centre for regional development and planning established by the Nordic Council of Ministers.   State of the Nordic Region 2022 is the 18th edition and takes a closer look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the Nordic Region from three perspectives: demographics, economics, and the labour market. The report is a valuable tool to secure Nordic goals and ambitions.   The report offers a unique, behind-the-scenes look at the world’s most integrated region, comprising Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Åland.  
Yesterday on March 22, 2022, The Swedish Chamber welcomed other Nordic Interns for a meet-up at the Swedish Chambers office in Amsterdam. We would like to extend a warm thank you to all the interns that came to visit us. It was a great pleasure to have the interns and trainees from the Nordic Chambers and Embassies here to discuss the important work that is performed at the various Nordic Chambers and Embassies.  
How climate transition will be gender-equal in the Nordic Region
What impact does gender gap have on climate emissions in the Nordic Region? How does the green transition affect gender equality in the labour market? According to Nordic ministers for gender equality, we don't have sufficient knowledge to these questions yet, which means that we lack the means to effectively solve the climate crisis. On Mars 15, 2022, the Nordic ministers for gender equality made a serious commitment to a green and gender-equal Nordic Region. On Wednesday, March 16, they held a debate entitled “From Gender-Blind to Gender-Just: Time to Commit to the Nordic Climate Leadership”.  Read more  
Photographer: Pontus Höök
Potato milk – new plant-based drink
The innovation of Almond milk, rice drink and soy milk are already developed. Also, oat drinks and coconut milk are a familiar concept. But a new plant-based drink has now been launched on the market: potato milk. The Swedish company Veg of Lund has developed the potato milk that is marketed under the name of DUG. The potato milk contains 6 % to 9 % of potatoes and it also contains water, rapeseed oil, fructose, pea protein and added vitamins D and B12. According to DUG, one reason for selecting potatoes is the fact that the climate impact is 25% of that of cow's milk. In addition, the harvest per hectare of potatoes is twice that of oats and potatoes need 56 times less water to grow than almonds, the website argues.    Read more
On March 17, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce hosted Cyber Security, which was the first event in our Tech Table series for this year.   In this webinar, experts were brought together to discuss the Prime Cyber Security threats and major trends with respect to threats, threat actors, and attack technologies.   We want to extend a warm thank you to our fantastic speakers Louk Faesen, Strategic Analyst, Cyber Policy and Resilience Program of the HCSS - The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, and Project Manager of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (GCSC), Pernilla Rönn, Head of Cyber Security Combitech Sweden, Daan Keuper, Head of Computest’s Security Research division for Computest Security B.V. Also a warm thank you to our Moderator and speaker Lex Keukens, Lawyer TK Tech at TeekensKarstens, and to everyone that participated in this event.   Cyber Security is a part of the Tech Table series. The next Tech Table event is on May 10, 2022, on the topic of Tech Finance/Venture Capital Investment.   Read more about the

UPDATE DUTCH POLITICS: local parties big winners of municipal elections

National parties lose a bit and PvdA/Social Democrats win Amsterdam.

  • On March 14, 15 and 16, the Netherlands went to vote for the municipal elections. Taking place exactly one year after the last national elections, these elections can be seen as a first benchmark for the newly formed coalition. But have they survived the test?
  • Since the national elections in the beginning of last year, a lot has happened. In addition to the ongoing pandemic we witnessed the longest formation period in Dutch history – which led to a lot of criticism – saw the housing crisis reach new heights, and are now dealing with the situation in Ukraine. All these events might have impacted the election results to some extent.
  • Prior to the elections, voter turnout was expected to be slightly lower than the previous local elections, posibly due to the war in Ukraine. In the past weeks this led to less media coverage than in other election years. On the other hand, the polls were open for three days this year, in order to manage the crowds with regards to COVID. This in turn was expected to have a positive effect on voter turnout. In the end, of the 13,6 million eligible voters, ultimately 50,3% showed up to the polls, which is historically low. During the last local elections in 2018 voter turnout was 54,1%.
  • The conclusion of these municipal elections is that once again, local parties are the big winners. In the last election in 2018, they already received 28.6% of the votes, this year they have secured 36,5%. Coalition parties VVD (Liberal Conservatives) & CDA (Christian Democrats) turned out to be the biggest national-level parties operating at local level, but they've also lost seats to the locals. For example, in 2018 they both got over 13% of the vote, this time it's 11,5% (VVD) and 11,2% (CDA). A minor victory was seen, among others, by PvdA (Labour), which did particularly well in the capital Amsterdam and became the largest party there.
  • The preliminary results of the municipal elections can be found in the table below. In this table, the results of national parties are compared to the results of last national elections (March 2021). It's good to note that although the table does not include local parties – as they cannot be compared to number of seats in parliament – they are still to be considered the “big winners”. The table shows how the national political parties performed in these local elections.
  • Most national parties remain fairly stable. A small gain is visible for the PvdA (Labour), especially in Amsterdam, the PvdD (Animal Party), FVD (Right-wing Eurosceptics), SGP (Christian Conservatives), BIJ1 (Left-wing), Volt (Pro-European), JA21 (Conservatives) and Belang van Nederland of Wybren Haga (Conservatives). A loss is in sight for PVV (Freedom Party), GroenLinks (Green Left), ChristenUnie (Christian), 50PLUS (Elderly party).
Percentage Number of seats
Exitpolls Parliament Difference Exitpolls Parliament Difference
VVD / Liberal Conservatives 18,1 22,7 -4,6 27 34 -7
CDA / Christian Democrats 17,6 9,3 8,3 26 14 12
PVV / Freedom Party 1,4 11,4 -10 2 17 -15
D66 / Liberal Democrats 13,5 16 -2,5 20 24 -4
GroenLinks / Green Left 13,1 5,3 7,8 20 8 12
SP / Socialists 4,3 6 -1,7 6 9 -3
PvdA / Labour 12,1 6 6,1 18 9 9
CU / Christian 6,1 3,3 2,8 9 5 4
PvdD / Animal party 3 4 -1 5 6 -1
SGP / Christian Conservatives 3,6 2 1,6 5 3 2
DENK / Multicultural 1,6 2 -0,4 2 3 -1
FvD / Right-wing Eurosceptics 1,7 3,3 -1,6 3 5 -2
Volt / Pro-European 1,1 2 -0,9 2 3 -1
JA21 / Conservatives 0,4 2 -1,6 1 3 -2
Other 2,4 4,7 -2,3 4 7 -3
Total 100 100 150 150
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