12 pigs' heads dumped next to Dutch refugee centre site

12 pigs’ heads dumped next to Dutch refugee centre site

12 pigs heads have been dumped at a field near Enschede earmarked as a new asylum seekers' reception centre.The pigs heads, which appear to have come from an abattoir, were placed on a gate to the field and scattered around the entrance.Photos of the pigs heads, taken when it was dark, were published on a Twitter feed early on Wednesday morning headlined 'welcome to the hell that is Eschmarkerveld'.[banner]A spokesman for the city council told RTL news the same text has also been used by local protest group AZC Alert Enschede. It is campaigning against plans to locate temporary accommodation for 600 asylum seekers in the field.A police spokesman said the illegal dumping is considered an 'environmental crime' and an investigation has been started.'There is little doubt that the pigs heads are connected with the arrival of the refugees,' a spokesman for the city council said.  More >

OECD warns NL on green challenges

Being a miller should be on Unesco traditions list, say Dutch The Netherlands has a very fossil fuel-intensive energy mix and traffic congestion and intensive farming leave little room for complacency in meeting environmental challenges, according to a new OECD report.The OECD’s review of the Netherlands praises efforts to reduce dependency on carbon, a drop in air pollution and extensive use of environmental taxes as well as its high rates of recycling.However, fossil fuels still make up more than 90% of the country’s energy supply and renewables still only accounted for 4.2% of energy supply in 2013, the Paris based organisation said. This is the third lowest figure in the OECD.[banner]Intensive farming, is another area that has long posed a serious challenge to improving the quality of ecosystems and water, the organisation said.‘Around a third of the country’s territory is used for agricultural purposes, and the quantity of nitrogen fertiliser and pesticides used per square kilometre of farmland is well above the OECD average.’The OECD says that as well as taking steps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the Netherlands should also look again at the introduction of road pricing as a way to reduce the impact of motoring on the environment and congestion.Plans to introduce a kilometre tax in the Netherlands collapsed in 2010 when the cabinet fell.  More >

Being a miller should be on Unesco list

Being a miller should be on Unesco traditions list, say Dutch The Netherlands is nominating the tradition of being a miller for inclusion on Unesco’s cultural heritage list.This is the first time the Netherlands has nominated a Dutch tradition for inclusion in the list of social practices, rituals, festive events and skills which Unesco considers worth preserving.The Dutch arts and culture council recommending nominating the profession because of the way millers work together to keep traditions alive in the 21st century.[banner]The Netherlands has some 50 professional millers and more than 1,000 volunteers. The Millers’ Guild has offered formal training to become a miller since 1972 and has 2,100 members.There are 72 items on the Netherlands' own immaterial heritage list, including Sinterklaas, flower parades and decorative painting as well as more folksy traditions such as making milk churns explode at New Year.10 things you should know about windmills  More >

Plug pulled on coal-fired power station

Being a miller should be on Unesco traditions list, say Dutch A Dutch coal-fired power station has been closed down permanently following a string of accidents, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.The Borssele power plant was due to shut at the end of the year along with four other coal-fired power stations which no longer meet environmental standards.However, an accident last week in which a 52-year-old man died has triggered an earlier closure, the Volkskrant says.[banner]There have been three serious accidents at the Borssele plant in the past five months and this has had such an impact on the staff that director Carlo Wolters decided to bring forward the closure, the paper says.'I do not think it sensible to continue production until the end of the year,' Wolters is quoted as saying by local newspaper PZC.Earlier this week a group of 64 professors wrote an open letter urging the government to close all the country’s coal-fired power stations by 2020.Although a narrow majority of MPs back total closure, prime minister Mark Rutte has said he is opposed because the Netherlands would have to import energy from more polluting sources.Borssele in Zeeland is also home to the Netherlands only nuclear power plant.  More >

Tax office digitalisation drive under fire

Being a miller should be on Unesco traditions list, say Dutch The national ombudsman is starting a major inquiry into the tax office's plans to stop communicating with people by traditional mail.Junior finance minister Eric Wiebes announced at the beginning of this month that the tax office's blue envelopes are to disappear for all communications apart from 'exceptional cases'.A flood of complaints to the ombudsman have prompted the investigation. In particular, groups representing the elderly are worried about having to fill in tax returns and apply for housing and healthcare subsidies online.[banner]A spokesman for the ombudsman's office said the inquiry would look at the preparations being made for the changeover in the light of problems with other government and tax office IT projects.In addition, there is a sense of compulsion about the plans,' the spokesman said. 'But there should be attention for people who do not want to be forced to participate in the digitalisation trend for whatever reason, as well as for the exceptional cases.'  More >