Dutch homicide rate falls to lowest level in 20 years

Sales of holiday homes almost doubled in 2015

The homicide rate has reached its lowest level on record with a fall of more than 15 per cent in 2015, according to the latest official statistics. Across the Netherlands 120 people were victims of murder or manslaughter, compared to 144 the year before, according to data published by Statistics Netherlands. The national records agency started compiling homicide figures in 1996. Curiously, the number of women who met violent deaths increased from 31 to 43, but this was offset by a fall in the number of male victims from 113 to 77. More than half the female victims died at the hands of their current or former partner, while men were more likely to be killed by an acquaintance. Men are also more likely to be killed with a gun or a blade. Amsterdam was the most dangerous place in the Netherlands, with 13 deaths by murder or manslaughter, followed closely by Rotterdam on 12. Assassinations within the criminal underworld accounted for 13 per cent of the total. People living in the major cities are around twice as likely to meet a violent death: the murder rate in Amsterdam was 2.3 per 100,000 people, compared to a national average of 0.9.  More >

'Black Saturday' on French roads has begun

Sales of holiday homes almost doubled in 2015 Dutch holidaymakers have been warned that 'black Saturday' – the busiest weekend on France's motorways – is expected to start on Friday afternoon this year. Motoring organisation ANWB said the Dutch habit of travelling by night, or even setting off a day earlier, would not save drivers from the long queues that bring the French network to a standstill every August. Switzerland and Germany are also likely to be affected by the traffic jams, which stretch to around 800 kilometres in total and are heaviest on southbound routes. The longest tailbacks are expected to be around Paris and through the Gotthard tunnel in Switzerland on Friday morning. Drivers are advised that the best way to avoid the misery is to delay their departure until after 10am on Saturday. Local bottlenecks are also expected around weekend events in the Netherlands, including the Truckstar Festival in Assen and Rotterdam's Zomercarnaval.  More >

Holiday home sales almost doubled in 2015

Sales of holiday homes almost doubled in 2015 Sales of holiday homes have risen sharply in the last two years, according to figures published by the estate agents' association NVM. The Dutch land registry (Kadaster) recorded 3,130 sales in 2015, almost double the previous year's total of 1,750. The holiday home market took a dip during the financial crisis, but has been growing strongly since 2012. The dash for holiday homes, driven partly by low interest rates as well as the general economic recovery, is reflected in an 8 per cent increase in purchase prices. However, the average price of €120,000 is still far below the pre-crisis peak of €180,000. The most popular locations for second homes are in the Veluwe and Utrechtse Heuvelrug, where sales have doubled, followed by coastal resorts in North Holland and Zeeland. The NVM said around 20 per cent of holiday home owners saw their purchase purely as an investment and did not plan to use them properties for recreational use. The remaining 80 per cent expected to use their second homes themselves or share them with friends and family.  More >

Dutch Turks demand prosecution for Umar

Sales of holiday homes almost doubled in 2015 More than 20 members of the Dutch Turkish community, as well as a cultural organisations, have filed official complaints against controversial columnist Ebru Umar. The complainants claim Umar has repeatedly used 'extremely insulting' language to demean her fellow Dutch Turks, such as comparing them to members of the Nazi-supporting NSB party and calling them 'goat f***ers'. Umar was arrested in April while on holiday in Turkey and accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Twitter. She was banned from leaving the country for three weeks and the charges against her have not been formally dropped. A lawyer for the Turkish Islamic Cultural Federation has asked the public prosecution service to bring charges against Umar for insulting a section of society, NOS reported. A total of 22 private individuals have also asked police to investigate. Community tension Umar responded in typically belligerent fashion on Twitter, arguing that people who expressed supported President Erdogan and flew the Turkish flag on the streets of Rotterdam were not entitled to call themselves Dutch. Turken die beledigd zijn dat ik ze geen Nederlander noem. Je kunt me wegdragen. https://t.co/WHLXRR2anP — Ebru Umar (@umarebru) July 28, 2016 Tensions have increased within the Dutch Turkish community in the two weeks since an attempted military coup failed to remove Erdogan's government. 'Boycott lists' of companies allegedly supporting opposition leader Fethullah Gülen have circulated on social media and business owners have reported being threatened or intimidated by Erdogan's supporters. The Dutch government has called on Turkish nationals in the Netherlands to report threatening behaviour to the police.  More >

'Drowned' teenager revived in hospital

Sales of holiday homes almost doubled in 2015 Medics and rescue workers have described how a 15-year-old boy was brought back from the dead after he was feared drowned at sea. The teenager got into difficulty while he was swimming with his brother and a friend in Egmond aan Zee, RTL Nieuws reported. Ambulance crews dashed to the scene but were unable to restart his heart and declared him dead at the scene. His lifeless body was taken to hospital in Alkmaar, where staff made a final, seemingly hopeless attempt to revive him. A spokesman for the emergency services said the boy's parents had been told he was dead. 'The police also received official notification, at which point we confirmed his death publicly, on Twitter among other places. But a remarkable last attempt brought the boy back to life.' Privacy rules prevent the hospital specifying what staff did to revive the boy, who remains critically ill in hospital in Amsterdam. Rescue worker Shannon van Beek, who was on the scene, said the incident was 'a miracle'. 'We've never seen anything like this before,' she told RTL Nieuws. 'Two of the three boys managed to swim back to shore unaided, but the 15-year-old couldn't manage it. We brought him to the beach and started trying to resuscitate him straight away. He was taken to the hospital in Alkmaar by ambulance while staff continually tried to resuscitate him.'  More >