Alphen aan den Rijn crane crash: homes evacuated

Alphen aan den Rijn crane crash: homes evacuated

It is still unclear how many people were injured on Monday’s accident involving two cranes on a pontoon in Alphen an den Rijn, town officials said on Monday evening. Earlier, officials said 20 people had been injured when the cranes, which were carrying part of a new bridge, toppled over, hitting the buildings in the town centre. That total now appears to have been an over-estimation, news agency ANP said. So far one man has been freed from under the rubble and emergency service workers are searching for other victims. In total, the residents of 51 properties have been told they cannot sleep at home on Monday night, broadcaster Nos said. In addition, a number of properties are without gas supplies because the gas has been switched off following a leak. [banner] Alphen aan den Rijn mayor Liesbeth Spies has returned from holiday to deal with the crisis. The accident happened at the Juliana bridge, which is undergoing extensive renovation, broadcaster Nos said. The piece of bridge and the cranes hit a shop selling second hand goods and a shop selling artists supplies as well as other properties.   More >

Dutch beaches are again safe

Alphen aan den Rijn crane crash: homes evacuated Red flags along some of the Netherlands most popular North Sea beaches were taken down on Monday afternoon after government officials said the algae bloom had disappeared. A stretch of beach between Scheveningen and Katwijk was closed on Sunday while experts tried to determine what had caused the red clouds in the sea. Long jams developed on some Dutch coastal roads in Zeeland and Noord-Holland on Monday as holidaymakers tried to avoid beaches where swimming had been banned. [banner] The algae was later identified as Noctiluca scintillans, commonly known as the sea sparkle. Although not toxic, this large single cell plankton can cause skin irritations. Monday was one of the hottest days of the year, with temperatures expected to reach 28 degrees on the coast.  More >

Police industrial action continues

Alphen aan den Rijn crane crash: homes evacuated Dutch police unions on Monday began a new round of industrial action in support of their pay claim, this time by only dealing with emergency calls. This means officers will respond to calls involving serious physical violence, armed robberies and murder but not less urgent cases such as vandalism and noise nuisance, news agency ANP says. The new campaign will last seven weeks, unless justice minister Ard van der Steur comes up with what the unions say is a ‘reasonable offer’. The unions are taking action on Monday this week and Monday and Tuesday next week, adding a full day until the entire seven days are covered. [banner] The government has reached a deal with civil service unions for an offer which it says is worth 5.05% plus a €500 bonus. The police unions, however, say the deal is made up of a 2.85% rise over two years plus 2.2% from changes in the pension policy which may affect eventual pension payouts. The police unions said last week they also plan to disrupt the start of the Dutch football season by striking during the coming weekend’s matches. The only match which will not be affected is the Feyenoord-Utrecht tie in Rotterdam on August 8. However, on Monday The Hague city council said it was cancelling Saturday’s match between ADO Den Haag and PSV because of the lack of policing and risk to public order.  More >

UN criticises Dutch detention monitoring

Alphen aan den Rijn crane crash: homes evacuated The Netherlands needs to do more to make the official body that monitors prisons and detention centres fully independent, effective and in line with the country’s international obligations, UN experts said at the end of an official visit. The NPM was set up in 2011 following the approval of a UN charter on detainee rights. The Dutch ombudsman left the NPM last year, saying he feared inspectors were too close to ministers and that this was threatening their independence. That warning triggered the UN visit, news agency ANP says. [banner] ‘The fight against inhuman or degrading treatment is a continuous process and the designation of a national monitoring body is not the end but the beginning,’ said Mari Amos, head of a three-member delegation from the UN which visited the Netherlands at the end of July. The delegation said more work needs to be done to make the NPM fully independent and effective in line with the UN anti-torture convention and other relevant international standards. In particular, there needs to be more political support and a solid legal base for the monitoring body, Amos said. The delegates will now submit separate, confidential reports to the Dutch government and the NPM with observations and recommendations.  More >

Perfect conditions to watch the Perseids

Perfect conditions to watch the Perseids meteor shower ahead The coming days will offer great conditions to watch the Perseids meteor shower, the Dutch astronomers' association said on Monday. The best night to see the shower will be on Thursday, August 13, when up to 60 shooting stars will be seen an hour, the astronomers said. The meteors are best seen in a dark sky and a new moon on August 14 will create perfect conditions for watching. The Perseids meteor shower occurs every year between July 17 and August 24. The Perseids are made up of tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle. [banner]  More >