News The refurbished residence of Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst in Limburg, Germany

As a concession to belt-tightening, the decision by a sybaritic German bishop to take a budget airline flight to Rome, is looking like too little, too late.

Postcard from... Galicia

Postcard from... Limburg

L’heure espagnole, ****; L’enfant et les sortileges *****, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, East Sussex

Ravel’s small, perfectly-formed oeuvre includes just two short operas, but the second, ‘L’enfant et les sortileges’, is a masterpiece.

British cyclist Mark Cavendish who was runner-up on the second stage of the Ster ZLM Toer

Cycling: Cavendish takes charge

Mark Cavendish finished runner-up on the second stage of the Ster ZLM Toer, but time bonuses meant Team Sky's world champion took the overall lead in his final race before the Tour de France.

Foreign tourist cannabis ban begins in Netherlands

A ban on foreign tourists buying marijuana came into effect in parts of the Netherlands today, with a protest planned in the southern city of Maastricht.

Heston Blumenthal is favourite to cook the £200,000 burger made from 3,000 strips of synthetic meat protein

Would you eat a burger grown in a lab?

A Dutch scientist has made 'meat' from stem cells – and wants Heston Blumenthal to cook the first batch. By Steve Connor

The stem cell burger

Would you eat a burger grown in a laboratory?

A Dutch scientist has created 'meat' from stem cells – and wants Heston Blumenthal to cook the first batch. Steve Connor reports on the ultimate in culinary experimentation

Bank's lorry spills cash into busy road

Drivers scrambled for banknotes on a busy road in the Netherlands yesterday after a package containing euro bills fell from a bank's lorry and broke open.

Massenet Cendrillon, Royal Opera House, London

The words are in French but still familiar - “Once upon a time...” – and the story which follows, Cendrillon (that’s Cinderella to you and me), is writ large across the surfaces of Barbara de Limburg’s set, opening like a pop-up book of fairytales whose sliding panels have our eyes hanging on to every word.

Why British students are choosing to go Dutch

Low fees and better job prospects are behind a tenfold leap in UK applications to Maastricht University

Romelu Lukaku not close to Chelsea move

Teenage Anderlecht striker Romelu Lukaku says he will be at the club for pre-season training, despite reported interest from Chelsea.

Dutch university sees tenfold rise in UK applicants

The number of British teenagers applying to one of Europe's leading universities has risen dramatically this year. Maastricht University in the Netherlands has seen a tenfold increase with more than 400 applications from UK students compared with just 35 at the same time last year.

There's only one rule for spring displays: do tulips en masse

Whoa! It all went right for once! It's not often I get to say that. My horticultural experiments quite often remain dubious, though passers-by do try to be nice about them. But my front garden this year is great: a proper spring picture.

Postgraduate Profile: Maastricht University is experiencing a British invasion

It is known as the most international university in the Netherlands, but until last year there were only 50 UK students enrolled at what is one of the top universities in the country. Now, with more than twice the number of British students than this time last year and with almost four times as many UK graduates signing up to study for a Masters degree, the University of Maastricht is hoping to be the next big benefactor of Britain's cuts to higher education.

A Day That Shook The World: Maastricht Treaty

On 11 December 1991 the Maastricht Treaty was signed - an event which had huge significance for the future of Europe as the treaty laid out plans for a single currency and increased powers for Europe's Parliament.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...