The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII

The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII

The Netherlands celebrates Liberation Day on Friday, marking 72 years since Germany surrendered at the end of World War II. The celebrations started in Wageningen around midnight where the Liberation flame was lit and torches then taken by 1,300 runners in relay to other fires all over the country. Germany signed the capitulation documents in Wageningen on May 5, 1945. The south of the country had been liberated months earlier. The focus of this year’s events is Haarlem where actor and campaigner Nasrdin Dchar will give the traditional May 5 reading. This year's freedom ambassadors, attending freedom festivals all over the country by helicopter, are De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig and De Staat. In total 14 formal Liberation Day festivals are being staged: in Zwolle, Leeuwarden, Assen, Almere, Utrecht, Rotterdam, The Hague, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Wageningen, The Hague, Roermond and Vlissingen. The celebrations end with the traditional May 5 concert on the Amstel river in Amsterdam, which is broadcast live on television and will be attended by king Willem-Alexander and queen Máxima. This article was amended to reflect Liberation Day was on Friday, not Thursday. Bevrijdingsvuur in Wageningen ontstoken: — (@NUnl) May 4, 2017 Det bevrijdingsvuur is overgebracht van Wageningen naar #Heemstede #topprestatie — Jacqueline Vrolijk (@JacqVrolijk) May 5, 2017 Gisteravond, #bevrijdingsvuur van het herdenkingsmonument op het Sint Bernhardplein in #Utrecht #Zuilen #Bevrijdingsdag — Olivier Beens (@olivierbeens) May 5, 2017   More >

Commercial property investment soars by 40

The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII Commercial property sales in the Netherlands soared 40% year-on-year to €2.7bn in the first quarter of 2017, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday. Figures supplied by  property consultant JLL reveal that sales of commercial property - office buildings, shops, business premises and the like - continued to rise. JLL said investors used borrowed money at low interest rates to make their property investments. Returns can be high and there is less volatility than in shares. There were two large retail stores transactions in the first quarter. Zurich Insurance Group paid €200m for the premises on Amsterdam's Rokin where the Canadian department store chain Hudson's Bay is to open an outlet later this year.  And the 100-store Rosada Fashion Outlet in Roosendaal changed hands for €100m. Dré van Leeuwen, JLL's head of capital markets, said the focus was switching away from office buildings to retail space. 'Retail property in the Netherlands is now attractively priced,' he said.   More >

New gov't Boeing €18m dearer than Airbus

The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII The new government aircraft is costing the Dutch taxpayer €18m more from US plane maker Boeing than from cheaper - and in  EU terms more logical - rival  Airbus, the NRC said on Tuesday. The new government aircraft, a Boeing737 Business Jet carries a price tag of €92.7m but given that the old government plane, a Fokker 70, was sold for €3.7m brings the replacement cost to €89m, just under the €90m cap imposed on the order. The Boeing is scheduled for delivery in early 2019. However European aerospace group Airbus has two similar aircraft, which use newer technology and could be delivered sooner, on the market for about €75m, the NRC said. The new government plane provides seating for 24 passengers and seven crew. It is capable of flying non-stop between the Netherlands and Aruba, a constituent country of the Netherlands in the Caribbean. It is unclear why the government opted for Boeing. But the NRC suggests that king Willem-Alexander, who holds a Boeing pilot's license, may have have played a role in the decision. The aircraft is flown for the royal family about 12% of the time, the rest of its air hours are spent on government business.  More >

Far-right website lists 'Dutch Jews'

The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII The Jewish information centre CIDI is demanding a list of Jewish Dutch people be taken off an extreme right-wing website immediately. The website includes a list of 'Jews and part-Jews' and a page which 'attempts to quantify the influence of Jews in the Netherlands and Belgium. CIDI says the website is extremely worrying. 'We don't have to explain what violent anti-semites can dowith such a list,' the organisation says on its website. It is unclear who is behind the website which is registered via a Panama server with identity protection. The website, which was offline on Friday afternoon because of a system overload, describes Jews as 'alien organisms'. Another website section lists 'enemies of the people' which it describes as 'Marxists, feminists and homosexuals'. The list also claims to include the names of people who signed a petition calling for the abolition of Zwarte Piet. Internet discrimination hotline MIND told the NRC it has received several complaints about the website and that the public prosecution department is also investigating.  More >

'NL seen as best alternative to Britain'

The Liberation flame is lit as Dutch celebrate the end of WWII The Netherlands was named the favourite country in which to settle in a survey of companies considering moving their activities out of Britain, the Financieele Dagblad said on Wednesday. Brexit has made Britain less attractive for new investment by foreign companies, the paper said. The popularity of the Netherlands was seen in nearly all sectors, according to the report by accountancy group KPMG. The main exception was the banking and related sectors which opted for Ireland and Germany as an alternative to London. Luxembourg was favoured by private equity firms. Banks and other financial institutions are steering clear of the Netherlands due to its cap on bonuses, the paper said. While bonuses of up to 100% of annual salary are permitted throughout the EU, the Netherlands imposed a maximum of 20% for bonuses in the financial sector, although this does not apply to foreign firms.   More >