Crafty

It has all gone rather quiet on the formation talks – he’s a sensible man, that Hans Wijffels who is in charge. Move the negotiations out of that hotbed of gossip, The Hague, and the rumour stream immediately dies down. Nevertheless, there is a little news around today: this time on the thorny issue of pensions. (more…)  More >


Spell-check

Mind-boggling. There is no better word to describe the current controversy over college students who can't spell or do simple maths. The latest figures show that almost two-thirds of vocational college students would fail the language test held in the final year of primary school! (more…)  More >


Country

The government and city authorities spend a great deal of time and energy improving the lot of urban youth. Unemployment, poverty, violent crime, under-age drinking, poor education and racism all tend to be seen as inner-city problems. But, if a string of recent reports are to be believed, it might in fact be time to switch tack. (more…)  More >


For profit

Margreeth De Boer, who chaired the investigation into the construction failures at the Bos en Lommer shopping centre, says she was ‘shocked’ by the disregard for human safety shown by those involved in the project. She shouldn’t be. (more…)  More >


Sense

Every January, Amsterdam’s Parool newspaper publishes a handy guide to the city’s secondary schools. It includes straightforward information about exam results and drop-out rates as well as a more controversial calculations on how black, white or mixed the school is. (more…)  More >


Reality

Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. Certainly if the reality is the high security prison in Vught. The media is awash today with stories about how Willem Holleeder, who is awaiting trial on charges of extortion and ordering gangland killings, managed to give an interview to the Telegraaf and a tv programme without the knowledge (let alone permission) of the prison authorities. (more…)  More >


Communications

Big, big important news from the prime minister’s office late yesterday: apparently the government has managed to cut the amount it spends on communicating with the general public by €6m a year - while at the same time improving the quality of communication. (more…)  More >


Native

The national statistics office CBS tells us today that one-third of Dutch nationals will be ‘non-native’ or allochtoon by 2050. (more…)  More >


Whitewash

Ninety-three-year-old Gerda Bekker is not the only person to fall foul of the Wid - the acronym given to the law which apparently requires everyone with a bank account to hand over a copy of their passport and signature. (more…)  More >


Crime pays

Who better than to help you launder your illegally-gotten gains than someone who used to be out to catch you at it? Today's Volkskrant carries an interview with Ton Apeldoorn, an ex-tax office investigator who has set up his own company to help people clean up their illicit finances. (more…)  More >


Mission

Politicians love of style over substance is now so deeply ingrained that it's apparently unthinkable for the three parties trying to form a new government to proceed without a handy little mission statement to guide their way. (more…)  More >


Insured

The Netherlands never ceases to amaze in the way it manages to find solutions for the strangest of problems. Until today, Sidelines had no clue that there were some 11,000 people in the country who refuse to pay towards state-run insurance schemes because they believe so passionately that God will provide. (more…)  More >


Belgian bosses

Today’s Volkskrant has answers for anyone who wondered why the AEX blue chip stock market index has done so well and tipped 500 points. (more…)  More >


Public hanging

The Volkskrant publishes four graphic photos of the last moments of Saddam Hussein on its front page. The amateur video of his death is prominently displayed on the paper’s website, complete with the warning that it contains shocking images. (more…)  More >


Predictions

The Telegraaf this morning has a long list of all the legal changes that came into effect yesterday. We will all have to spend more this year because of increases in child, unemployment and invalidity benefit payments plus higher pensions. (more…)  More >


Peace

Once again, the New Year celebrations - officially described as 'relatively peaceful' - have been marred by death, destruction, wanton vandalism, running battles with riot police and the stoning of fire fighters trying to put out a blaze that was deliberately started. (more…)  More >


Kerst

So the jolly fat Anglo-American Santa Claus is catching up with the more serious Dutch Sinterklaas in the popularity stakes in Holland is he? (more…)  More >


Royal friends

Amsterdam’s Parool carried an intriguing story yesterday claiming that Queen Beatrix had intervened directly in the current cabinet formation process. (more…)  More >


Friends

In these days of conflict and strife it’s nice to see two diametrically opposed political parties join together for the good of mankind. And that’s mankind literally - because one of the parties is the extremely orthodox Christian SGP which has very strange ideas about women. (more…)  More >


Pink ceilings

Holland’s international reputation for tolerance has taken another knock, says today’s Volkskrant. The paper reports that only one Dutch company fares well in a survey to establish how gay-friendly America’s top 500 firms are. And it’s the US subsidiary of Dutch bank insurer ING that can hang out the pink flag in Atlanta. (more…)  More >