Gláucio, 13 and born in the Netherlands, faces deportation to Angola

Gláucio, 13 and born in the Netherlands, faces deportation to Angola

MPs and child rights advocates have launched a last-ditch campaign to win residency rights for two children who are threatened with deportation to Angola, even though one was born in the Netherlands 13 years ago.The justice ministry wants to deport Gláucio (13) and Márcia (18) because their father was in the army during the Angolan civil war. This makes him a potential war criminal and ineligible for refugee status.Because their father, who has never faced any charges, is not an official refugee, the children do not fall under the amnesty for children who have lived in the Netherlands for at least six years.[banner]The family was picked up at their home last week in the early hours of the morning and are set to be deported in the next few days.GroenLinks, Socialist and ChristenUnie MPs are have called on the government to reconsider. The children do not speak Portuguese and Glaucio has lived in the Netherlands his entire life, they point out. Marcia was also about to start studying for a law degree at Erasmus University.Aid group Defence for Children has also said it does not understand why the teenagers are being deported and has called for a mass demonstration at the Zeist deportation centre on Monday. Supporters have also launched an online petition.MPs from the ruling Labour party have declined to comment on the case, broadcaster Nos said.  More >

Security to be beefed up at Dutch stations

First Norwegian prisoners due in Veenhuizen jail this week Security is being beefed up at Dutch stations and on international trains following the foiled attack on a Thalys high speed train travelling from Amsterdam to Paris, justice minister Ard van der Steur announced at the weekend.The decision followed a meeting of eight European justice ministers in Paris about combating train-based terrorism. The Netherlands and Belgium will also step up joint controls of passengers and all eight countries will improve the way they exchange information.Security had also increased directly after the Thalys incident but will be stepped up  still further, Van der Steur said after the meeting.[banner]Officials are also investigating if names can be included on train tickets so that passengers can be checked against lists of suspects. They are also considering the introduction of baggage controls, Dutch news agency ANP said. This will be further discussed in October.Not everyone if pleased with the new measures. ‘They won’t help combat security at all,’ Labour parliamentarian Jeroen Recourt is quoted as saying. ‘But in this way, we begin closing off our open society and that is a victory for terrorists.’  More >

First Norwegian prisoners due this week

First Norwegian prisoners due in Veenhuizen jail this week The first of 240 Norwegian prisoners are due to arrive in the Netherlands this week to serve out their sentences in a Dutch prison.The prisoners are being moved to the Norgerhaven jail in Veenhuizen, a remote Drenthe village which was originally built as a labour camp and workhouse for ‘anti-social families’ in the 1820s and later became a penal colony.Dutch prisoners have been moved out of the Norgerhaven jail to free up space for the Norwegians, who will be treated according to Norwegian prison rules. A Norwegian prison director is in charge but the guards will be Dutch. They have been given English language lessons so they can communicate with the new arrivals.[banner]The controversial three-year deal with Norway was signed with by former junior justice minister Fred Teeven earlier this year. Norway has a shortage of prison cells and the Netherlands a surplus.The deal also guaranteed 239 full-time jobs in Veenhuizen, which has two other prisons and a secure hostel for young refugees.This week, 25 Norwegians will arrive in Groningen’s Eelde airport and will be then taken to Veenhuizen. All are serving long sentences and will not be allowed outside the prison, news website said.FamiliesThe Guardian wrote earlier this year that Norwegian prisoners organisations and the wardens’ union are opposed to the move.‘We’re very sceptical about the agreement because it violates several fundamental principles, primarily family proximity to the prisoner during detention,’ said Hanne Hamsund, who heads an organisation representing Norwegian prisoners’ families, at the time.The Norwegian authorities have pointed out that the distance from Oslo to the north of the country is greater than to the Netherlands but ‘not everyone lives in Oslo’, Hamsund said.TrainsThere are no trains to Veenhuizen and no flights from Norway to Groningen airport. Travelling from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport to Veenhuizen by public transport takes almost three hours.Norgerhaven is not the first Dutch jail to be used by foreign prisoners. The Willem II prison in Tilburg is currently housing several hundred Belgians.According to the Dagblad van het Noorden, Norway is paying the Netherlands €25.5m a year to rent the prison.  More >

Pricey Amsterdam homes in foreign demand

Grand Amsterdam houses a target for wealthy Chinese, warns mayor Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan is worried that wealthy Chinese and Russians are going to start buying up properties in the city's 17th century city centre, the Financieele Dagblad said on Saturday.The mayor told the paper that this is a 'major risk' and that the entire city council shares his fears. 'This is really something to be worried about,' Van der Laan said. 'We think Amsterdam should remain a city for all Amsterdammers.'The fears have been prompted by the situation in parts of London, where wealthy foreigners have invested heavily in properties which they rarely live in. If Amsterdam properties are bought en masse, this will threaten the city's social balance and livability,' Van der Laan told the paper.[banner]The FD points out that this summer a listed building on the Herengracht was bought by a Turkish millionaire for €6.7m. He is currently involved in bidding for construction group Ballast Nedam.In addition, a waterfront house in Vinkeveen was recently sold to a Chinese businessman for €10m, the paper says. However, it was the government itself which sold the former Prinsengracht law courts to a Chinese hotel group, the paper points out.According to the Parool earlier this month, 15 'expensive' Amsterdam houses were sold to Chinese and Russians last year. Other rich 'foreigners' bought many times that, the paper said, quoting figures from Amsterdam real estate agent association MVA.There are currently 18 homes on real estate website Funda which cost more than €3m. And broker Pieter Joep van den Brink told the paper 90% of the houses sold in Amsterdam change hands for less than €350,000.While Amsterdam is attractive to rich foreigners, there is no question of large numbers of houses being bought as investments, he said.  More >

Dutch men take European hockey title

Dutch men take European hockey title, women lose to England The Dutch men’s hockey team hammered reigning champions Germany 6-1 in London on Saturday to take the European championship title.It is the first time in eight years Oranje have laid claim to major prize. They were world title holders in 1990, and European champions in 2007. The Dutch had met Germany in the previous six European finals.The Dutch women’s hockey team failed to take the European title on Sunday, losing to England 3-1 on shoot outs. The match had ended at 2-2.Oranje, currently world champions, have been in nine of the 11 previous European title finals and won eight times.[banner]  More >