Rabobank misleading on world hunger claims, says ad standards body

Bankruptcies edge up in October, against the  on falling trend

Rabobank has been told to re-edit a television advert in which the bank claims it is solving the world food shortages, website De Limburger said on Thursday. The advertising standards authority has reprimanded the bank for asking viewers to 'imagine that we could solve the world's food problems together, and that you can hold us to that promise'. The complaint was made by Maastricht man Mat Matheij who accused the bank of making false promises. Now the advertising standards authority has said the claim is 'misleading and therefore dishonest'. The bank has now agreed to chop the offending sentence out of the advert, De Limburger said.   More >

A'dam hotel room priced like corner house

Bankruptcies edge up in October, against the  on falling trend The prices being paid for hotel premises in Amsterdam have exploded in the past year, with costs per room soaring by 150%, the Financieele Dagblad said on Friday. Investors are paying an average of €427,000 for a room in the Dutch capital, slightly more than the price of an entire corner house. The Chinese conglomerate Anbang recently spent €350m on the 557-room Amsterdam DoubleTree Hilton. Prices for hotels are rising elsewhere in the country as well. The average room price is now 70% higher, at €225,000, according to the latest figures provided by property adviser Colliers. Due to the sharp rise in the number of tourists, hotel rooms are full more frequently and hoteliers can ask more for an overnight stay. In the Amsterdam/Schiphol area, the average room price rose by more than 5% to €131, according to consultancy Horwath HTL. 'Tremendous,' said Dirk Bakker, CEO of Colliers Nederland, referring to the prices investors are paying in Amsterdam. The prices now are close to those in London. Until recently, investors regarded hotels as a relatively risky property segment with justified high returns. But risks regarding hotel investments have fallen as tourism grows, Bakker said. 'People are willingly paying more money for experience instead of goods.' The increase in the number of hotel rooms cannot keep up with the rise in tourism. The number of tourists in Amsterdam went up by more than 6% this year while the increase in the growth of the number of rooms fell back. The city declared a halt to construction of central hotels this year in an effort to divert tourists elsewhere.  More >

Advertising code for YouTube vloggers

Bankruptcies edge up in October, against the  on falling trend A group of Dutch YouTube vloggers will now report clearly when content is advertised, as part of a voluntary code they launched on Friday. De Social Code – developed ‘for and by YouTubers’ – has four simple guidelines on making it clear when videos are sponsored, involve product placement or free samples, or are entirely independent content. Last year the Dutch Media Authority announced that it wanted to ban illicit advertising in vlogs, especially when aimed at children, reported RTL broadcaster at the time. Laws regulating online content in the same way as television and radio are being developed, according to the vloggers who developed the new code in coordination with the Dutch Media Authority. People who have signed up already include Teske de Schepper (Teske), Dylan Haegens, Djamila (Meisje Djamila), Rutger Vink (Furtjuh) and Christiaan Heinen (Prankster), according to ANP. 'These YouTubers are demonstrating through this form of self-regulation that they feel a sense of responsibility to their viewers', Dutch Media Authority chairman Madeleine de Cock Buning told ANP.  More >

Recovery 'largely bypasses small business'

Bankruptcies edge up in October, against the  on falling trend There is a sharp divide in the vital small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector in the Netherlands, according to new figures. While there is a small group of fast-growing firms, there is also a far bigger group that never or rarely moves forward, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday. The new data came from the state of the SME sector, an annual publication from the MKB committee for entrepreneurship and financing, and the CBS national statistics office. Taken together, SME companies booked 2016 turnover 3.4% or €30bn higher and created 92,000 jobs, an increase of 2.9% on 2015. But growth was registered at only 10% of the companies. Business was more or less static at the remaining 90%. In the meantime, a shortage of workers combined with lack of finance threatened to put a brake on further growth. In a foreword to the study, junior economic affairs minister Mona Keijzer said there were plans to help the SME sector in the future with 'financial support, a reduction in taxes and through more transparent rules and regulations to stimulate fair competition'. There were more than 4.2 million people employed in the SME sector in 2016, the annual report stated. A group of 18,565 businesses in the sector grew so quickly that they were forced to expand their workforce substantially, creating 262,000 new jobs. The CBS said the SME included 756,190 independent contractors (zzp-ers), 202,380 so-called micro-companies (employing between 1 and 10 FTEs), 39,595 small companies (10 to 50 FTEs) and 8,365 medium-sized companies with up to 250 FTEs. The entire SME sector accounts for 60% of the business community's contribution to the Dutch economy. In 2016, these companies booked turnover of €903bn and employed 3.3 million people. An infographic explaining the findings (in Dutch) is here.  More >

Siemens cuts 600 jobs in the Netherlands

Siemens closes Hengelo factory with the loss of 600 jobs German industrial conglomerate Siemens is closing its plant in Hengelo in Overijssel with the loss of 600 jobs, local broadcaster RTV Oost reported on Thursday. The company makes compressors and gas turbines at the factory, which is a major local employer. The closure is part of a worldwide reorganisation which is costing 6,900 jobs, mostly in the company's energy and gas operations. Siemens has a workforce of some 3,000 in the Netherlands. The company's Hengelo personnel are being briefed about the closure on Friday morning after the news leaked out via a company email, RTV Oost said. The CNV union says the job losses are a heavy blow for the region. In addition, many of the workers are older and will find it hard to get new jobs, spokesman Gerard van der Molen said.   More >