Dutch king, foreign minister in Saudi Arabia to pay respects (update)

King Willem-Alexander and foreign minister Bert Koenders are in Saudi Arabia on Saturday to take pay their respects following the death of king Abdullah last week. The Dutch government send its condolences to the Saudi government on Friday. The king died on Thursday night at the age of 90 from a lung infection and was buried in a simple ceremony on Friday. Several MPs have criticised Willem-Alexander...  More >

Google shifts €10bn royalties through NL

Jewish groups furious over SS name for world’s biggest ship American internet giant Google shifted nearly €10bn in royalties to the tax haven of Bermuda via the Netherlands in 2013, the Telegraaf said on Saturday. That is almost €1bn up on 2012, the paper said. It bases its claims on an analysis of the annual reports of Dutch registered Google Netherlands Holdings BV. Over €9bn came from Google Ireland Ltd, the Irish company which sells Google advertising worldwide. That company pays a royalty for the use of the name and technology to its parent company. The money is pumped through the Netherlands to Google Ireland Holdings, the Bermuda-based company which owns Google’s intellectual property outside the US. Royalties are not taxed in the Netherlands. The rest of the money - €767m – comes from an Asian Google company, the Telegraaf said. Google is liable for tax on its foreign income but only has to do this once the money reaches America. In total, Google has some €35bn offshore, the Telegraaf said. Google is currently...  More >

Dutch to experiment with self-driving cars

Jewish groups furious over SS name for world’s biggest ship Ministers have approved the large-scale testing of self-driving cars and trucks on public roads in the Netherlands arguing the technology could cut jams, improve road safety and reduce pollution. The cabinet wants the Netherlands to take a ‘leading role’ in the development of self-driving cars and systems to allow vehicles to communicate with each other, the infrastructure ministry said in a statement. Large scale testing is planned to start in the summer, if parliament approves changes to current legislation, a ministry spokeswoman told news agency AFP. Last November, infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz kicked off the first Dutch test on a public road. Testing is currently largely confined to private roads because of legal restrictions. The Dutch system does not involve doing away with drivers altogether, but with getting cars to work together instead. ‘Vehicles which communicate with each other and accelerate or break in unison will contribute to smoother...  More >

Jewish groups furious at ship's Nazi name

Jewish groups furious over SS name for world’s biggest ship Jewish groups in the Netherlands and Britain are furious at the decision to name what is claimed to be the world’s biggest ship after a Dutchman who joined the Waffen SS, the Guardian reported at the weekend. The Pieter Schelte arrived at Rotterdam port for fitting two weeks ago, just prior to the attack on a Jewish supermarket in Paris and ahead of commemorations to mark 70 years since the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp, the Guardian said. Esther Voet, director of the Dutch Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, was ‘a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.’ Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is ‘an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis’. The...  More >

Roads, railways disrupted by black ice

There were around 100 accidents on Dutch roads on Saturday morning because of the slippery conditions, and widespread disruption on the trains. The KNMI weather bureau had issued a code orange weather warning for the entire country up to 10.00 hours because of risk of black ice on the roads. This was later downgraded in many parts to code yellow. Train services to and from Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Utrecht and Amersfoort were severely disrupted because of overhead cables icing up in places. In other parts of the country there were reduced services and long delays. ‘There are thick layers of ice on the overhead cables, so the trains don’t get any power and cannot run,’ a spokesman for rail operator ProRail told news agency ANP. Travellers are being advised to allow extra time to make their journeys. Gritting lorries were out in force but there were dozens of accidents on the roads, mainly in the north and west, traffic information service VID said. In total, some 45...  More >