KNMI issues Code Red warning as snow shuts roads, airports and schools

The Netherlands gets its third three Michelin-starred restaurant

Dutch weather bureau KNMI has issued a Code Red alert after heavy snow brought much of the country to a near-standstill by Monday lunchtime. The extreme weather warning applies to everywhere except the three northernmost provinces and Limburg, where orange alerts are still in place. Drivers have been advised to stay off the roads unless their journey is absolutely essential, hundreds of flights have been cancelled and some schools closed early for the day as the wintry conditions closed in from 11am. The snow arrived earlier than morning forecasts which predicted that serious disruption from noon. However, roads were less busy than usual as commuters heeded advice to work from home and cancel appointments if possible. The KNMI said 5 to 10 cm of snow would fall in many places, with up to 15cm in central provinces such as Overijssel. In Limburg the snow is expected to turn to rain later in the day as the temperature rises. Long queues began forming at Schiphol airport as airlines began cancelling outbound flights. KLM alone took nearly 300 planes out of its daily schedule because not all runways could be kept open. Eindhoven Airport was temporarily closed because planes were unable to take off or land. All flights were cancelled or diverted. Train operator NS is running a reduced schedule and has advised passengers to be prepared for delays, packed carriages and longer journeys. Highways operator Rijkswaterstaat sent out its entire fleet of 900 gritter lorries to try to keep the roads clear of ice and snow. The A2 motorway was closed between Eindhoven and Maastricht because of the icy conditions. Some schools in the country cancelled classes for the day, while others sent children home early as the snow began to fall.    More >

Three times three in Dutch Michelin guide

The Netherlands gets its third three Michelin-starred restaurant Restaurant Inter Scaldes in the Zeeland village of Kruiningen has become the third Dutch restaurant to be awarded a prestigious third Michelin star. The Michelin guide group announced the new star ratings for the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Monday. ‘We’ve worked for this for a long, long time,’ said Claudia Brevet of the husband and wife team who run the restaurant. ‘It’s been about blood, sweat and tears… but the result is worth it.’ Inter Scaldes won its first Michelin star in 1978 and has had a second since 1984. Jannis Brevet took over the kitchen in 2001. Michelin international director Michael Ellis praised the Brevet for the ‘way he uses first-class regional products’ and his ‘stunning alliances of taste’. De Leest in Vaassen and De Librije in Zwolle both held on to their three stars. There was no increase in the number of two star restaurants in the Netherlands this year but two, including Bord'eau in Amsterdam, lost one of theirs, taking the total down to 16. Six restaurants won their first star: The Duchess, Le Restaurant and The Whiteroom in Amsterdam, AIRRepublic in Cadzand, Fitzgerald in Rotterdam and Vista in Willemstad. In total, the Netherlands has 108 restaurants with at least one Michelin star. Congratulations to the team @InterScaldes #Kruiningen your exquisite cooking has gained #3MichelinStars #MichelinguideNL18 — The MICHELIN Guide (@MichelinGuideUK) December 11, 2017 Alle drie driesterrenkoppels op n rij vlnr boer, boerma en brevet — Annemart van Rhee (@Annemart) December 11, 2017   More >

Potential breakthrough in MH17 probe

The Netherlands gets its third three Michelin-starred restaurant The Dutch-led team investigating the downing of flight MH17 said it had 'learned with considerable interest' about new claims made by online investigation group Bellingcat. Bellingcat said on Friday it had identified a man heard speaking on a number of intercepted phone calls as Russian general Nikolai Fedorovich Tkachev following voice analysis. The identity of the owner of the voice, known as Delfin, is considered key to the investigation and last year the investigation team (JIT) appealed for help in identifying him and another voice known as Orion. 'There are a number of details surrounding Delfin and Orion that are unclear, including their exact role in the downing of MH17, but the fact that the JIT has specifically requested information on them implies how they are key persons of interest in the criminal investigation of the tragedy,' Bellingcat said. The JIT statement said that reactions to the call for information would be seriously looked at, including the information provided by Bellingcat. However, the JIT declined to give further information in the interests of the investigation and out of privacy considerations. An analysis of the findings by international law professor Marieke de Hoon in Trouw suggests they could be a 'game changer' if correct. This would prove Russia had a presence in Ukraine at the time MH17 was shot down, which has major consequences under the European Convention on Human Rights.  More >

Suspect detained in murder case from 1992

Police arrest murder suspect in 25-year-old cold case breakthrough Police have arrested a man in connection with the rape and murder of a young woman 25 years ago after taking DNA samples from more than 100 men. The breakthrough in the case of 19-year-old Milica van Doorn was announced on Monday morning after the family were informed at the weekend. Milica's body was found dead in a pond in the Kogerveld area of Zaandam in June 1992. A postmortem examination revealed she had been raped and stabbed to death. DNA samples indicated that the killer was almost certainly a man of Turkish origin. This year police asked 133 men from Zaandam's Turkish community to volunteer their DNA for comparison, 126 of whom agreed. Police would not confirm if the DNA exercise had led directly to the arrest. None of the men approached to give samples were suspects in the case, but police hoped to trace the killer through family members. Witnesses at the time said they had seen a man of Turkish appearance cycling near the spot where Milica was found. At a press conference on Monday morning, a spokesman for the family thanked the Turkish community for taking part in the inquiry.    More >

Wildcat killed by car had eaten nine mice

Wildcat that died in Limburg collision had taken nine mice’s lives They say cats have nine lives, but a wildcat that feasted on mice in Limburg ran out of luck when it was knocked down on the N281 in February. The Mammals' Association (Zoogdiervereniging) said the male wildcat was in the prime of health and had the remains of nine mice in its belly when it died: five wood mice, two yellow-necked mice, one field mouse and one harvest mouse. 'His condition shows that southern Limburg is a perfect habitat for wildcats,' Maurice la Haye told the Volkskrant. Wildcats have only recently returned to the Netherlands after they disappeared centuries ago. Around 10 to 15 animals are believed to be roaming the south of the country, having migrated from Belgium and Germany where there are established populations. Experts in Utrecht and Germany studied the dead cat on behalf of the Mammals' Association and confirmed that it was a 100% pure wildcat (Felis silvestris). The animals are larger than domestic cats and have less prominent stripes and rings on their tails. 'I was surprised that he had managed to catch so many mice the night before,' La Haye told the newspaper. 'There were nine half-digested mice in his stomach of four different types - a rich, varied diet.'  More >