Fewer children in the Netherlands vaccinated for the third year in a row

Fewer children in the Netherlands vaccinated for the third year in a row

The number of babies and children in the Netherlands being given the standard childhood vaccinations has fallen by 0.5% for the third year in a row, health minister Edith Schippers has told MPs. Schippers said she has commissioned the public health institute RIVM to investigate the cause of the decline. The drop in the vaccination rate means the risk of an outbreak of measles in the Netherlands has increased, the RIVM says. The World Health Organisation says a vaccination rate of 95% is needed to eradicate measles and the Netherlands dipped under that figure last year. The number of 13-year-old girls being vaccinated against the HPV virus which can cause cervical cancer has also plummeted from 61% to 53%. The RIVM says this may be due to reports that some girls developed extreme fatigue after the injection. No link has so far been established, the RIVM says. Schippers has also asked the RIVM to investigate the 'best way to remove unfounded fears about vaccinations and their side effects'.  More >

'Old' news media still popular

Traditional news outlets not dead yet but online is growing: report Young adults are the first to leave behind traditional news media in favour of online news outlets but a large part of the population is still reading newspapers and watching the television news, according to government social policy think tank SCP. In a report out today, the SCP presents an analysis of the use of old and new news media among 3,000 people during the year 2015. Over half of the population (61%) uses at least one news medium a day and spends five consecutive minutes taking in the news. The largest group, 39%, watches the news as it is broadcast and 27% reads a physical paper. Online news sites and apps have to make do with 11 % ‘in spite of the ubiquitous presence of the new media’, the SCP said in a press release. Young adults (aged 20 to 34) are the greatest consumers of online news, a clear sign, the SCP says, that this group has definitely made the changeover. The over 65s, men and people with a higher than average education comprise the most avid users of news media. Traditional Older people still relate more to the traditional news outlets. The over 50s are also more thorough when it comes to reading the newspaper. They spend an hour on average compared to other age groups who spend some 45 minutes. People with a lower than average education tend to get their news from television. Although the difference is small more men than women use online news media. A small group of people have no idea what is going on in the world: according to the SCP figures some 5% of people over the age of 13 do not use news media at all.  More >

Amstelveen to get new international school

Indian international school group Amity to open in Amstelveen Indian international school group Amity is opening a branch in Amstelveen and hopes to have 100 pupils by the start of the next academic year, the Parool said on Thursday. The Amity International School Amsterdam will start off as a primary school but hopes to expand to 500 pupils across all age groups by 2021. The school will be located in the former Van Leer headquarters on the Amsterdamseweg. The Parool says Amity, which has schools in 12 countries, plans to invest €6m in rebuilding the property, which is a listed building. Amstelveen and Amsterdam city councils have pledged to invest €2.5m while a similar amount will come from national government. Earlier this year, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said €10.7m had been earmarked to boost the number of international school places in Amsterdam and The Hague. The waiting lists for existing international schools are said to be disadvantaging Amsterdam in attracting new foreign investment.   More >

Madurodam plans to grow

The Netherlands’ smallest city lets in the developers Miniature metropolis Madurodam is gearing up for some urban development in the face of increased competition. On July 6 The Hague city council will decide on plans to extend the tourist attraction on its doorstep, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Thursday. Madurodam, which is privately owned, needs to innovate, according to director Joris van Dijk. ‘The number of amusement parks is growing and we have to keep up with the competition in order to survive,’ Van Dijk told the paper. ‘All parks have to come up with something new every so often or people stop coming. We had a million visitors a year once upon a time but that is now down to 650,000 to 700,000.’ The average visiting time to the park is also too short and visitors are not likely to come again, he says. More covered attractions will make sure people will also come when it rains. By extending the park by some 20% and investing in covered theme pavilions Van Dijk thinks visitor numbers can grow to a steady 750,000. That would also mean ticket prices can go up. An online ticket to Madurodam is now €14.50. The plans will cost around €45m, none of which will be provided by the council. Madurodam is a foundation funded by the wealthy parents of George Maduro to honour the memory of their son, a resistance fighter who was active around The Hague and who died in concentration camp Dachau. The Madurodam Foundation has financial assets worth €22m and a turnover of around €11m of which an annual €700,000 goes to children’s charities in the region. The park employs 90 people on a permanent basis. ‘We want to be able to build and manage everything ourselves,’ Van Dijk told the FD. Iconic buildings Madurodam traditionally showcases the iconic buildings of the Netherlands, such as the Binnenhof, Schiphol and the Delta works. That will not change, according to Van Dijk. At the moment work is being completed on a pavilion telling the story of New Amsterdam when it was governed by Peter Stuyvesant. Additional pavilions will highlight other important people and events from Dutch history, such as Hugo de Groot, Spinoza and the flood of 1953. ‘Education and interactivity are key. Young people don’t want to just look at a display, they want to do something with it,’ the FD quotes Van Dijk as saying. 65th anniversary Madurodam, which was opened by a young princess Beatrix who was also made the city’s mayor, is celebrating its 65th anniversary on July 2. The decision by the council will come a week later. The extension has been controversial as locals voiced concerns about the loss of woodland. According to Van Dijk the present plan will take up 0.7 hectares of woodland and the park has pledged to plant more trees around the pavilions and build green roofs by way of compensation. Moving Madurodam is not an option should the council decide against the plans. ‘That is not on the agenda. We want to stay here, and besides, Madurodam is good for the economy of The Hague,’ Van Dijk said  More >

Seaport throughput slightly lower in 2016

Fewer children in the Netherlands vaccinated for the third year in a row The throughput of ocean-going goods in Dutch seaports eased off by 1% in 2016, its first decline since the 2009 crisis and following  a record set in 2015. Nevertheless nearly 600 million tonnes of goods was moved through Dutch ports last year, the national statistics office CBS reported on Thursday. The agency said imports fell by 2% to 398 million tonnes, while exports were 1.5% higher at 190 million tonnes. The CBS said its figures were based on the most recent transhipment data obtained from the seaports and other authorities. Dry bulk cargoes (coal, iron ore) fell back by 2% due to the closure of several coal-powered electricity plants. Nearly half of all goods moving through the ports last year was liquid bulk (petroleum and chemicals) which declined 2%. Container throughput was nearly 3.6% higher. Nearly all the container traffic was moved through Rotterdam, Europe's largest container port. Throughput was flat in the first nine months before surging ahead by 10% in the final quarter. Figures from Rotterdam port authority suggest this trend is continuing with a 9% gain year-on-year in the first three months of 2017. Nearly half of all containers arriving in Rotterdam are inbound from Asia, with 6.5% growth in 2017. And 33% come from other European ports, the CBS said.  More >