Dutch royal palace renovation bill almost doubles to €60m

Dutch royal palace renovation bill almost doubles to €60m

Renovating the royal family’s Huis ten Bosch palace is set to cost almost €60m, well over the original estimate of €35m, according to broadcaster RTL news.RTL bases its claims on sources close to the cabinet.King Willem-Alexander and his family will eventually move to the palace when the work has been completed in 2018. It is the first time substantial work has been carried out on the building since 1981.[banner]When the figure was first announced last year, prime minister Mark Rutte said he understood €35m is a lot of money but that it is a ‘normal’ price for renovating a 17th century villa.MPs are now demanding the government explain the overspend. ‘€35m was ridiculous and this is doubly ridiculous,’ Socialist MP Ronald van Raak told news agency ANP.  More >

New towns out of favour, older cities grow

New towns out of favour as older Dutch cities continue to grow Dutch cities with a large number of old, listed buildings are growing at the expense of new towns, according to the latest local council atlas, which looks at urban trends.Living in cities is becoming increasingly popular and cities are recovering faster than rural areas from the economic crisis, the researchers say. At the same time, older, established cities are out-performing new settlements.'This is a recent trend,' said researcher Gerard Marlet. 'In the mid-1980s, these older towns were being written off. They became run down and their populations shrank. Now the opposite is true. Everyone wants to live in a city with a past.'[banner]Older cities not only have better facilities and provisions, but attract tourists which benefits the local economy, the researchers say. Their populations are also relatively young, which also attracts industry.The research also showed people are prepared to pay a premium of €125,000 to live in an old neighbourhood with historic value.Maastricht, Leiden and Amsterdam have the most listed buildings within their boundaries.  More >

Dutch prison population rose 1.3% in 2014

Opposition parties begin setting out conditions for cabinet support in senate The Dutch prison population rose 1.3% to 43,240 last year, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.At the same time, the average period people spent in jail went down slightly, due to a rise in detention for non-payment of fines, the CBS said.Six in 10 prisoners had a non-Dutch background. Of them, two in 10 were categorised as coming from a western country. Non-Dutch westerners account for 10% of the Dutch population.[banner]Nearly 11% - or 4,600 - had a Moroccan background even though just 2.2% of the population have Moroccan roots. The percentage of Moroccans in the total jail population has remained fairly stable since 2005, the CBS figures show.Almost 10% of prisoners were of Surinamese origin, almost five times the proportion of Surinamese in the population at large. However, people from Suriname and Turkey now make up a smaller percentage of the prison population than they did 10 years ago, the figures show.  More >

Shell, ING, Heineken top Dutch brand list

Opposition parties begin setting out conditions for cabinet support in senate Oil and gas group Shell, ING bank and brewing giant Heineken are the only three Dutch companies to feature in rankings of the world's best brands by branding experts Millward Brown.Shell is in 54th place in Millward Brown's ranking of the top 100 global brands, and ING is 91st, a rise of seven places on 2014.In addition, Shell comes in second place on the ranking of oil and gas firms behind ExxonMobil while ING is fifth in the ranking of banks.Heineken, which does not make the top 100 brands, is third on the list of world's most valuable beer brands, behind Budweiser and Bud Light.[banner]  More >

19 arrested in cross border biker swoop

Opposition parties begin setting out conditions for cabinet support in senate Nineteen people have been arrested in a cross border campaign to tackle motorbike gang crime, police confirmed on Wednesday.Some 400 police and other officials in Limburg, Belgium and Germany carried out raids on 30 locations, looking for weapons and drugs, broadcaster Nos reports.Among those taken from their homes in the early hours of the morning is the leader and deputy leader of the Limburg branch of biker gang Bandidos.[banner]There have been several incidents of gang-related violence since the Bandidos settled in Limburg in 2014, Nos says.Justice minister Ard van der Steur visited the region last weekend and said he was looking into the legal option of banning motorbike gangs altogether.  More >