'Holiday pay is spent more often, less often spared'

Millions of Dutch people get a lot of extra money into their account this week. It is May, holiday pay month. In previous years, that was often stuck. “That will only be less,” says Marieke Blom, chief economist at ING Netherlands

“There are fewer and fewer people with problematic debts and the housing market is doing well, so fewer and fewer houses are under water.” To save money as a precaution to avoid problems is no longer necessary, thinks the economist. The money buffer is large enough for more and more people now that the crisis is over. Holiday pay is going to roll, it is expected.

“Consumption has already risen sharply during the first three months of this year,” says Blom. She thinks that this trend also continues with the spending of holiday pay. What people spend on the extra is different.

The majority of people usually spend their holiday allowance on what they were originally intended for: vacation. Cindy Taphoorn, sales assistant of a social media company, also wants to use her holiday allowance for this. Until recently she worked full-time. “I'll go back to 32 hours, because I just got a son, three months back.”

Where she wants to go on vacation, she does not know exactly. “We are looking at Spain, Italy, Croatia, a little bit of that corner.” But nothing has been booked yet. “We are planning to go away, but we always decide that last minute”, she says. “That also depends on whether my husband can get free or not.”

Not enough

“We hope it's all right, because it's not very cheap.” The holiday allowance from Cindy and her husband is not enough for a family holiday in high season. “It is not 100% opaque,” says Cindy. “Then you will soon lose 6,000 to 7,000 euros.” And that's where 'the nice things' come in. “We look at what is beneficial, because we are with a large family and together we have four children.” She is considering going into the low season.

Where Cindy and her family are now slowly but surely going to book a holiday, ice maker Jacco Ruben Gasper (21) is busy with very different things. “The holiday allowance comes at a good time,” he says. The young ice maker is getting married in June and has just bought a house. Jacco Ruben has now been working full-time in the ice cream parlor for half a year and has, according to her own estimate, built up a few thousand euros of holiday allowance.

That extra goes to the house and the wedding. “I prefer a house rather than a nice holiday,” he says. And that wedding also costs a lot of money. “We are already almost 15 to 20,000 euros and we have not done any crazy things.”

Incidentally, not everyone receives holiday allowance. Self-employed workers must arrange their holiday allowance themselves. “That's part of it”, says independent aid worker Ivonne Lek. She mainly accompanies people who are becoming demented. She now works for eight years as a self-employed person without staff. “I did not like the work I did then, and I was in the situation that it was safe to quit my job.”

She no longer receives holiday pay, but saves holiday allowance. “If you do not save, you are not doing well.” Now she can go on vacation without a May extra. Next week she leaves with her sister. “Eight days of walking on Madeira.”

The customer does not have to pay 600 euros fine for gas

Anyone who wants to get rid of their gas connection does not simply have to accept the bill for closing it. The national Disputes Committee has won an Amsterdam citizen who wished to terminate his contract with Liander. The ruling can have consequences for other customers who want to get rid of the gas.

The man wants to get off contract because otherwise he has to continue to pay fixed costs for the connection while he is not buying gas. That removal costs 687 euros, but the Amsterdammer does not want to pay for those costs. According to the customer, he can easily be disconnected from the gas without the connection being removed from his house.

But Liander thinks that the connection must be completely removed for safety and that the customer must pay for it. The Disputes Committee does not agree with this. Liander and the customer now have to figure out what is a reasonable amount. According to a customer's own calculation, this is 138 euros, ie 1 year of fixed costs.

There are now more than 7 million gas connections in the Netherlands. The government wants to have all houses in the Netherlands off the gas by 2050.