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May 2007

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Thursday 31 May 2007

Graveyards enter digital age
In recent years the rise of weblogs and online photo albums has been changing the way we share our lives, points out the Financieele Dagblad on Thursday - and increasingly, our deaths too.

Bring back national service: mayor (update)
Amsterdam’s mayor Job Cohen called for the reintroduction of national service (dienstplicht) and greater powers to intervene in problem families in an interview in Thursday’s Telegraaf.

New blow to Maastricht airport
Royal Jordanian Cargo is to pull out of Maastricht airport and switch its operations to Brussels. Last year, budget passenger airlines EasyJet and Blue Air also left MAA.

IT staff shortage hits all-time high
The shortage of IT workers in the Netherlands has hit an all-time high, according to the latest ICT Barometer from Ernst & Young.

Airline Transavia hit by tough competition
Strong pressure from competitors will hit earnings this year, airline Transavia said on Thursday. Transavia booked turnover up 15% at €684.2m last year.

Albert Heijn deliveries hit by problems
Supermarket chain Albert Heijn is finding it hard to keep its shelves filled but says it intends to solve the problem within the next six weeks, NOS tv reports.

Groningen hiv suspect is a nurse (update)
One of the men suspected of deliberately injecting gay men with HIV-infected blood is a 48-year-old nurse from a residential care home, it emerged on Thursday.

Market forces in public sector scrutinised
Economic affairs minister Maria van der Hoeven is to set up an investigation into the effect of market forces on the public sector.

Dutch and French may fight death penalty
The foreign affairs ministry is in talks with France over possible joint action to try to overturn the death penalty imposed on two of their nationals by Indonesia. A 62-year-old Dutchman and 45-year-old French national were earlier sentenced to life imprisonment for running a drugs factory near Jakarta, but this was increased to death on appeal.

Clampdown on Rotterdam coffee shops
A total of 27 of Rotterdam's 62 coffee shops - where marijuana can be bought in small quantities - will have to close by 2009 because they are too close to schools. The city council has drawn up new rules banning coffee shops from operating within 250 metres' walking distance of secondary schools.

Manufacturing investments to rise 19%
Dutch manufacturers expect to increase their investments by 19% this year, compared with 2006, says national statistics office CBS. The metal and light engineering industries expect to invest the most - forecasting an increase of 35%, while chemical industry investments are set to rise 7%, the CBS says.

PM to crown disabled beauty queen
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende will next Wednesday again crown the winner of the Mis(s) Verkiezing 2007, the second annual contest for disabled beauties, organized by TROS television. Twelve women will take part in the final. Balkenende says the competition helps to project a positive image of people with disabilities.

Former defence minister joins Oxfam
Former defence minister Joris Voorhoeve will become the new chairman of the supervisory board of development aid group Oxfam Novib on 1 June. Voorhoeve will oversee the content and financial governance of the development NGO, and represent it on the board of Oxfam International.

Spat over critique of Labour losses
A member of the committee looking into the Labour (PvdA) party's poor performance in last November's election has quit after party grandees amended the final report.

5-to-12 for climate change
Ten Greenpeace activists climbed Utrecht's Dom tower on Thursday morning, set the hands of the church clock at 11.55 and unfurled a banner protesting against energy company plans to build more coal-fired power stations.

More victims in Groningen HIV case
A further eight people have approached Groningen police saying they were involved in the sex parties where at least five men are said to have been deliberately injected with HIV-infected blood. How many of the new witnesses are actual victims of the attacks is not yet clear, police said.

Amsterdam mayor calls for national service
Amsterdam’s mayor Job Cohen called for the reintroduction of national service (dienstplicht) and fast track powers to intervene in problem families in an interview in Thursday’s edition of De Telegraaf..

Taxi rate changes may be on hold
A majority of CDA, PvdA and SP MPs is threatening to refuse to back new taxi rates due to be introduced on 1 July, following the collapse of talks between the taxi industry and junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga-Heringa on Wednesday.

Encyclopedia Britannica to sue TomTom
Encyclopedia Britannica has filed a complaint for infringement of its digital map patents against Dutch car satellite navigation system maker TomTom and two other IT companies in the US, according to documents released by an American court in Wisconsin.

Injuries after turbulence hits KLM plane
Heavy turbulence over the Russian city of St Petersburg left 13 passengers and three cabin crew members of a KLM flight slightly injured this morning, the airline company said on Thursday. The Boeing 777 was not damaged and continued its flight from Amsterdam to Osaka. The three crew members were treated for bruises in hospital before being released.

Wednesday 30 May 2007

Fewer jobs to go if RBS wins ABN Amro
Between 17,000 and 19,000 jobs will go if the banking consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland takes over ABN Amro, trade union De Unie said on Wednesday.

Five deliberately infected with HIV
Four men have been arrested for drugging and deliberately injecting gay men with HIV-infected blood during sex parties, Groningen police said on Wednesday. Five victims have so far come forward, but police refused to say how many have developed the disease.

Female lung cancer deaths up five-fold
The number of women dying of lung cancer has gone up five-fold since 1970 and they are likely to die at a younger age than men, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday. Last year, some 9,400 people died of lung cancer in the Netherlands, accounting for some 7% of total deaths.

Dutch entrepreneurs among most relaxed
Dutch business people are among the world’s least stressed, according to a report by Arenthals Grant Thornton. Just one third of the Dutch bosses questioned said they felt more stress in 2006 than in 2005, a figure that was only lower in Ireland and Sweden.

Royal documents found in rubbish bin
Confidential documents about queen Beatrix and the royal family, including preliminary dates for state visits, have been found dumped in a skip outside the parliamentary complex in The Hague, according to tv current affairs show Nova.

Chemicals sector growth set to hit 5%
The Dutch chemical sector will book sales growth of some 5% this year, after an increase of 13% in 2006, because of lower oil prices, the sector’s organisation VNCI said on Wednesday. Chemical exports last year rose 11% to €53bn, accounting for over one fifth of Dutch exports to other EU countries, the VNCI said.

Hospitality industry sales soar
The growth in sales enjoyed by Holland’s bars, cafés, hotels and restaurants hit a 10-year high in the first quarter of this year, the national statistics office CBS says.

ABN Amro swindled of millions
An ABN Amro bank worker in Rotterdam is under investigation for defrauding the bank of millions of euros.

Lawyer numbers more than double
The number of lawyers in the Netherlands rose 60% between 1996 and 2006 to over 14,000, the national statistic office CBS said on Wednesday.

Elderly miss out on care
The care of vulnerable old people with multiple illnesses and disabilities is unsatisfactory, says professor of clinical geriatrics Marcel Olde Rikkert in Trouw on Wednesday.

Schiphol says second terminal 'unavoidable'
Amsterdam's Schiphol airport will not be able to avoid building a second terminal capable of handling some 25 million passengers a year, airport development director Joop Krul says in today's Financieele Dagblad.

Dutchman sentenced to death for drugs
The Indonesian high court has sentenced a 61-year-old Dutchman to death for his role in running a drugs factory close to Jakarta, ANP reports on Wednesday. The man, from Amsterdam, was earlier sentenced to life imprisonment but that has been increased on appeal.

DNB 'influenced' ABN Amro bid, says FD
The banking consortium hoping to take over ABN Amro followed the advice of the Dutch central bank DNB when mounting its bid, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday. The paper says Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin told reporters at the presentation of the group's plans in London that the chosen structure, with RBS in the leading role, was the DNB's idea.

'Dirty' cars could face higher parking fees
The owners of environment-unfriendly cars could find themselves paying higher parking charges if junior home affairs minister Ank Bijleveld gets her way.

Derision for Wilders' 'shoot rioters' stand
The police should not hesitate to shoot rioters in the leg if a warning fails to bring them under control, the Telegraaf reports anti-immigration party leader Geert Wilders as saying on Tuesday night.

Energy firms service still not good enough
Dutch power firms still do not handle their customers' complaints properly, the competition authority NMa said on Wednesday at the publication of its annual report on the energy market.

Minister warns on second EU 'no'
If the Dutch again vote no to a European constitution, the Netherlands may have to leave the EU, according to junior foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans during a press conference in The Hague on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday 29 May 2007

‘Tasteless’ organ donor show to go ahead
A tv reality show which centres on people competing for a dying woman’s kidneys has been condemned by the Dutch cabinet and MPs, a spokesman for the European Commission and a host of foreign broadcasters and newspapers.

Unions focus on ABN Amro jobs
Dutch banking unions are to hold talks on Tuesday evening with the three-bank consortium battling to take over ABN Amro to assess the implications of the bid on jobs.

‘Mistake’ costs GroenLinks a seat
The green party GroenLinks is to investigate how one of its Noord Holland provincial councillors spoiled his ballot paper for the senate elections, giving the Socialist party an extra seat.

Schiphol airport says it needs sixth runway
Schiphol Airport insists it needs a sixth runway if it is to expand the number of flights handled to between 600,000 and 650,000 a year, according to a long-term vision published on Tuesday.

Integration test made harder
The language test which non-Westerners who hope to move to the Netherlands need to pass before being given a permit is to be made harder, says integration minister Ella Vogelaar.

Ministers in Rome for new Dutch saint
Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin and junior foreign affairs minister Frans Timmermans will be in Rome on Sunday for the canonisation of Karel Houben. Houben (1821-1893) was born in the Limburg village of Munstergeleen but spent much of his life in Ireland where he is credited with several miracles.

Vodafone ups Dutch clients by 1.7%
Vodafone boosted its Dutch client base by 1.7% to 3.88 million last year, the world's biggest mobile phone firm said on Tuesday. Vodafone is second in the Dutch market.

EU condemns organ donor tv show
A tv reality show which centres on people competing for a dying woman’s kidneys has been roundly condemned in the Netherlands and abroad. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the European Commission, due to publish its own proposals to increase organ donation on Wednesday, told news agency ANP the show was in ‘extremely poor taste’.

'Pig apartments' set to dominate Brabant
Brabant farmers have submitted planning applications to build several enormous complexes for factory farming pigs, reports the Volkskrant on Tuesday.

Hariri tribunal possibly in the Netherlands
The Netherlands is a possible location for the international tribunal that may be set up to try the suspected murderers of former prime minister Rafic Hariri of Lebanon, a Cypriot newspaper reports on Tuesday.

Tuesday's rush hour jams make record book
Tuesday's morning rush-hour traffic jam - totalling 535 km - is the 10th-longest on record, the traffic information service said. The jams were made worse by the bad weather. The all-time record dates to February 8, 1999 when the Dutch roads had 975 km of jams.

New senate elected (update)
Members of the Netherlands' 12 provincial councils today voted for the 75 members of the upper house of parliament, or senate.

Dexia debts scrapped by credit bureau
The credit registration agency BKR has scrapped the names of hundreds of thousands of people from its debt register who lost money on the controversial share lease construction developed by Dexia.

Healthy eating will save €4bn on healthcare
If everyone ate 200 grammes of fruit and 200 grammes of vegetables a day, as well as a reasonable amount of fish, it would cut spending on healthcare by €4bn over the next 20 years, according to calculations by the government's health institute RIVM.

LogicaCMG chief executive quits
Martin Read, CEO of Anglo-Dutch IT company LogicaCMG is to resign after 14 years at the top of the company.

Asylum amnesty: few problems expected
The justice ministry says it expects few appeals from asylum seekers who fall outside the amnesty for long-term refugees agreed by the cabinet last Friday.

Iraqi interrogations: 'Dutch ignored British'
The Dutch military security service MIVD carried out its own interrogation of terrorist suspects in southern Iraq in 2003 against the instructions of the British military commander in the area, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Regional councils choose new senate today
The new make-up of the upper house of parliament, or senate, will be decided today by members of the 12 provincial councils, ANP reports.

Consortium offers €71.1bn for ABN Amro
The banking consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland has made an official €71.1bn offer for Dutch banking group ABN Amro. The trio are bidding €38.40 per share, of which 79% will be paid in cash, the rest in RBS shares.

Buildings for justice ministry built too fast
Buildings like the Schiphol airport deportation centre and the heavily fortified courthouse in Amsterdam Osdorp are being built far too quickly because of justice ministry pressure, according to an former civil servant in Tuesday's AD.

Organ donor show condemned by cabinet
The organ donor show due to be broadcast by public station BNN on Friday has been roundly condemned by the cabinet and MPs, reports the Volkskrant on Tuesday. However, ministers Ronald Plasterk (media) and Ab Klink (health) will not ban the programme.

No trains to and from Den Bosch
There are no trains operating to and from Den Bosch due to a defective overhead cable, reports ProRail on Tuesday. A first inspection shows that the situation is likely to continue all morning. Passengers between Breda and Utrecht are advised to travel via Rotterdam, and between Venlo and Utrecht via Arnhem.

Friday 25 May 2007

Deal reached on amnesty for refugees
Failed asylum seekers who do not fall under the new amnesty should be deported as soon as possible, junior justice minister Nebahat Albayrak said on Friday.

Students invent powdered alcoholic drink
Five food technology students from Boxtel have developed a powdered alcoholic drink. Just add water to Booz 2, as they’ve called it, and the powder becomes a 3% alcoholic beverage.

Merchant bank NIBC disappoints in Q1
Dutch merchant bank NIBC booked a 58% fall in net profit over the first three months of this year. Earnings totalled €44m.

Confusion over virtual Amsterdam sale
The in-house magazine of online community Second Life reveals on Thursday that the sale of a ‘virtual’ Amsterdam, constructed and offered for sale to ‘real’ real estate agents Nedstede Groep has fallen through due to differences over intellectual property rights.

Government slack in fat attack
The government is doing too little to combat rising levels of obesity in the Dutch population, Paul Rosenmöller of the steering group set up two years ago to counter the rise, told the Volkskrant on Friday.

Treasury has less to spend than expected
The government's financial situation is more difficult than finance minister Wouter Bos indicated earlier this year, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Redundancy laws not an issue, says minister
The round-table talks between ministers, unions and employers due to take place early next month will not deal with reforming the redundancy laws, social affairs minister Piet Hein Donner said on Thursday evening.

Foreign nursing care rights to be curbed
Health minister Ab Klink has told MPs he plans to cut Dutch nationals' rights to free nursing care and home helps if they live abroad, because of the growing cost. The measure will largely affect retired people who winter in warmer countries such as Spain and Suriname.

Museums to be free one day a week
Culture minister Ronald Plasterk plans to make the country's 19 national museums free on Wednesday afternoons, newspaper Trouw reports on Friday.

MPs want action on street-corner youth
Parliament is to hold a public hearing into the problem of hangjongeren - kids hanging out on street corners (reputedly) causing trouble.

Ministry aims for 75,000 fewer welfare claims
The social affairs ministry and local councils have reached agreement to cut the number of people claiming basic welfare payments (bijstand) by 75,000 over the next four years.

Sniffer dog evidence under spotlight
The high court may be asked to re-examine some 1,600 cases involving evidence based on the findings of sniffer dogs, the public prosecution department said on Friday.

The Hague lends football club ADO €6.5m
The Hague city council has lent local football club ADO Den Haag €6.5m over 10 years to tide it over financial problems stemming from the building of a new stadium.

CO2 plans up price of business air tickets
KLM and other European airlines are considering increasing the price of a business-class ticket by between €5 and €40 to cover the cost of CO2 emissions trading, environment minister Jacqueline Cramer told MPs on Thursday evening, according to news agency ANP.

Consortium delays ABN Amro decision
The consortium of three banks considering making a bid for Dutch banking group ABN Amro said on Friday it would delay making public its decision until Tuesday.

Thursday 24 May 2007

Mortgage interest rates on the rise
Some of the Netherlands' biggest mortgage lenders have upped their interest rates in recent days, with Aegon announcing a 0.1 percentage point rise on Thursday.

New rules for skilled migrants
The cabinet will discuss plans tomorrow to make it easier for skilled migrants from outside the EU to work in the Netherlands, ANP reported on Thursday.

OECD warns on overheating economy
The Paris-based economic think-tank OECD warned the Dutch government on Thursday to take more steps to stop the economy, currently growing at almost 3% a year, from overheating.

Spyker announces refinancing package
Luxury car maker Spyker did its best to put investors’ minds at ease after the stock exchange closed on Wednesday by announcing it was working on a refinancing package.

White-tailed eagle chick ringed
The white-tailed eagle hatched in the Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in April has been ringed to allow ornithologists to monitor its progress should the bird leave to find its own territory.

Moszkowicz loses 'mafia mate' appeal
Top lawyer Bram Moszkowicz has lost his appeal against former Quote editor Jort Kelder over Kelder's insistence on calling him a 'mafia mate' because of his close contacts with former client, suspected crime boss Willem Holleeder.

Dutch call for permanent EU chairman
European affairs minister Frans Timmermans has called for the appointment of a permanent chairman of the EU council of ministers to replace the current six month revolving chairmanship.

Foreign holiday troubles affect one in four
Over 25% of Dutch holidaymakers have run into trouble abroad, according to foreign ministry research. While most difficulties centre on illness, bad weather and crime, 16% have had problems with their travel documents or run into political unrest, the ministry said.

Rotterdam faces worker shortage
The shortage of skilled workers in Rotterdam threatens to become acute, city officials said on Thursday.

Motorway views under threat
The government's planning bureau has published a list of 1,753 worthwhile views from Holland's motorways, warning that half of them are threatened with building plans.

Dutch are heaviest smokers in Europe
The Dutch are the heaviest smokers in Europe, smoking 1,511 cigarettes a year per head of the population, says nicotine plaster maker Niquitin in research to mark World No Smoking Day.

Banks more popular than IT for jobs
Banks and insurance companies are the most popular employers, investment targets and business partners among Holland's high-skilled, according to research by business magazine Incompany.

Cabinet aims to cut hard-core unemployment
The cabinet's new strategy plans to be presented on June 14 contain a commitment to help 200,000 hard-core unemployed into work within the next four years, the Volkskrant reported on Thursday.

KPN may take over Tiscali Nederland
The competition authority NMa has given KPN the green light to take over internet provider Tiscali's Dutch operations after an 'in-depth' inquiry.

Court to rule on Moszkowicz versus Kelder
Amsterdam appeal court will rule today in the court case between top lawyer Bram Moszkowicz and former Quote editor Jort Kelder over Kelder's persistence in calling Moszkowicz a 'mafia mate'.

Detailed plans to build up problem areas
Cabinet plans for tackling the country's 40 worst problem neighbourhoods involve giving every jobless person their own personal coach, every pre-schooler who doesn't speak proper Dutch extra help and making every household with cash problems free of debt within four years, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

Air France-KLM in €1.4bn efficiency drive
Airline Air France-KLM booked a 2.4% reduction in net profit in its 2006/2007 book year, the company announced on Thursday. Net profit reached €891m on turnover up 7.6% at €23bn. .

Scrap the symbols, PM tells EU parliament
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende addressed the European parliament on Wednesday afternoon with a strong call for changes to the controversial European constitution.

Wednesday 23 May 2007

Civil service job cuts less severe
Cost-cutting and a reorganisation is now expected to cost 13,500 civil service jobs, not 15,000 as earlier estimated, home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst said on Wednesday.

Dutch police make record drugs haul
Some 2.5 million party drug pills, 800 kilos of MDMA powder, 270 kilos of amphetamines and 250 kilos of hashish were seized from a storage space on an industrial estate in Veldhoven yesterday in what police said was their biggest ever drugs haul on Dutch soil.

'Stolen boy' may be one of dozens
Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin is setting up an investigation into the case of the Indian boy allegedly kidnapped from his home and later adopted by a Dutch couple.

Zoo details gorilla anti-escape plan
A wall along the water-filled ditch with observation windows and steeper sides for the ditch itself are among the measures being considered to keep the gorillas in their enclosure, Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

Mixed school efforts work, says minister
The education ministry is backing a number of experimental projects to encourage 'white' parents to send their children to schools with largely ethnic-minority pupils in an effort to counteract growing apartheid in Dutch city schools.

Rolling Stones out of favour?
Tickets for the Rolling Stones' June 8 concert in Nijmegen are being offered for sale at discounts of up to 40% on internet small-ad pages, ANP reports on Wednesday. Organiser Mojo estimates two-thirds of the 60,000 €90 tickets for the show will be sold.

Fortis to clarify ABN Amro role on Sunday
Belgo-Dutch banking group Fortis is to clarify its role in the possible takeover of ABN Amro bank on Sunday, chairman Maurice Lippens said at Wednesday's AGM in Brussels.

Uni-Invest applies for re-listing
Property fund Uni-Invest, removed from the Amsterdam stock exchange in 2002 when it was bought by the Merwede Group and Lehman Bros for €884m, is applying to be re-listed.

Spyker name pledged to Friesland Bank
Luxury sports car makers Spyker pledged its brand name to Friesland Bank a year ago, says a spokesperson on Wednesday, following a report in the Telegraaf.

Love in a cold climate
Having found wives for Dutch farmers in one reality tv show, RTL5 now wants to find wives for Alaskan lumberjacks in a follow-up programme. Tv production company Endemol, also responsible for Big Brother, is looking for women willing to be flown to Alaska for 'romantic trips and games', according to a spokesperson.

Witnesses disagree in Schiphol fire case
Scientists who investigated the Schiphol airport detention fire assumed the fire was the result of arson, Peter van de Leur of DGMR which carried out the investigation for the public prosecution department, told the court on Tuesday.

Morocco faces Dutch football ban
The Dutch football association KNVB wants to introduce a five-year moritorium on friendly matches between The Netherlands and Morocco following crowd trouble at last night's youth game in Tilburg.

Huge fire destroys supermarket
A huge fire on Tuesday evening destroyed the local supermarket and a clothes shop in the Friesian town of Appelscha. The police say no one was hurt.

Family sues zoo over gorilla escape
A Rotterdam family is suing Blijdorp Zoo in Rotterdam for negligence following the escape of the gorilla Bokito last Friday. Their 3-year-old son is still upset and is suffering panic attacks, the family claims.

Finance minister cools on takeover manager
Finance minister Wouter Bos told MPs on Tuesday that he did not yet plan to set up a new independent body to supervise takeover bids.

Handshake not compulsory, school told
A Christian school in Schoonhoven has been told by the equal opportunities commission it cannot force parents and children to shake hands with teachers but can require all pupils to attend the annual school camp.

Furniture firm Lundia closes nine branches
The Dutch 'Scandinavian-style' furniture group Lundia has closed nine of its 24 branches in the Netherlands and applied for court protection from creditors.

Willem-Alexander on flying visit to Uruzgan
Prins Willem-Alexander made a flying visit to the southern Afghan provinces of Uruzgan and Kandahar on Tuesday.

Tuesday 22 May 2007

Queen Beatrix meets Slovakian president
Queen Beatrix, who is on a three-day state visit to Slovakia, spent Monday evening in talk with president Ivan Gasparovic about Afghanistan and the Dutch no-vote on the EU constitution, reports the Volkskrant on Tuesday.

Football chiefs to talk World Cup with PM
The Dutch football association KNVB and prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende are to meet on July 5 to discuss the association's plans to stage the football World Cup in 2018 together with Belgium..

Holland's beaches getting cleaner
Dutch beaches and marinas have been awarded a total of 91 blue flags for their clean water, six more than last year.

Minister moots light bulb ban (update)
Environment minister Jacqueline Cramer has called for a ban on traditional light bulbs within the next four years. The minister was speaking after a visit to Philips in Eindhoven as part of the cabinet’s 100-day idea-gathering tour.

Hirsi Ali praises Catholic tolerance
Former Dutch MP and anti-Islam campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali has told the Catholic television network KRO that the Roman Catholic Church is a good example of the road Islam should follow because Catholics now accept their church is not the only one.

Dutch urged to backpedal on Unesco sites
The Netherlands should only make one nomination for inclusion on the Unesco list of world heritage sites a year so that places from non-western countries have a greater chance of inclusion, the arts council and rural affairs council told ministers on Tuesday.

Dutch good at stopping smoking
Some 30% of Dutch smokers who kick the habit never light another cigarette, well above the European average of 21%, according to new EU research.

Work experience pays up to €300
Companies pay students on work experience places between €200 and €300 a month, on a par with 2004 pay rates, according to research by placement moderator Stageplaza.

LogicaCMG publishes profit warning
The Anglo-Dutch IT company LogicaCMG issued a profit warning on Tuesday, forcing its share price down over 10%. The company announced full-year UK sales would be lower than forecast.

India demands return of adopted child
The biological mother of an Indian child, allegedly kidnapped and brought to the Netherlands with a forged letter of acceptance from his parents, is demanding the child back, according to a report on tv news programme Netwerk.

Hospitals campaign to improve image
Dutch hospitals have had enough of negative publicity about cuts and poor standards and plan to launch a campaign to improve their image, according to the association of hospitals in Tuesday's Telegraaf.

After-shocks of gorilla attack still felt
The after-shocks of the gorilla Bokito’s attack on a frequent visitor to Blijdorp zoo in Rotterdam continue to be felt in the Dutch media, with more photos and videos of his break for freedom showing up online. The zoo authorities are due to announce what action they plan to take on Wednesday.

Essent and Nuon need permit to merge
Energy companies Essent and Nuon will need to apply for a permit to merge because of concerns about their dominant role in wholesale electricity and the consumer markets for power and gas, the competition authority NMa said on Tuesday.

Students spend more time studying
Students are spending more time on their studies, according to figures from the education inspectorate. First year university students spend 33 hours a week studying, up from 30.5 in 2005. Those attending HBO colleges manage 35 hours, up from 32.6.

Ron Link scores at musical awards gala
The show Doe Maar, based on the songs of the 1980's pop band, was the big winner during Monday night's annual musical awards, with a win in five of the 14 categories. It was followed by My Fair Lady, Rembrandt and Tarzan with two each.

Hospital patient dies of Legionnaire's disease
A 78-year-old woman has died after contracting Legionnaire's disease in the Haga hospital in The Hague, reports the Telegraaf on Tuesday.

Labour leader dual role again in spotlight
Labour (PvdA) parliamentary leader Jacques Tichelaar thinks it's possible that Wouter Bos could lose his position as party leader at the Labour party congress this autumn.

Nutreco buys Canadian animal feed firm
Nutreco is to take over the animal feed activities of Canadian group Maple Leaf Foods for some €330m. The unit is Canadian market leader with a share of some 20% and turned over €430m last year.

Minister wants ban on ordinary light bulbs
Environment minister Jacqueline Cramer has called for a ban on traditional light bulbs within the next four years. The minister was speaking after a visit to Philips in Eindhoven as part of the cabinet's 100-day idea-gathering tour.

Monday 21 May 2007

The Netherlands has 18 million bikes
The Dutch bought 1.3 million new bikes last year, a 7% increase on 2005, according to industry figures. The Netherlands now has some 18 million bikes, more than one per head of the population. The demand for mopeds was up 19%.

E-coli scare over, says waterboard
The 180,000 households told to boil all drinking water since the E-coli bacteria was found last week were given the all-clear to drink straight from the tap on Monday. The source of the contamination has not yet been traced, but is likely to be bird faeces, officials said.

Cabinet 100-day tour draws to a close
The new cabinet's 100-day tour of the country draws to a close on Monday with some 22 ministers out and about, and ends with a mass interview on EO tv talk show Knevel en Van den Brink this evening.

Paul Wolfowitz was 'disastrous', says Wijffels
Former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz did not just lose his job because of his girlfriend but because of his 'disastrous' leadership, says Herman Wijffels, Dutch representative at the bank, in an interview with the Volkskrant on Monday.

More over-50s with minor jobs
The number of over-50s with a job of fewer than 12 hours a week has gone up by over one third to 195,000 since 1996, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday. Most are women with a cleaning job or who help out in the care services.

Rave reviews for Corbijn's debut at Cannes
Control, the debut film by Dutch rock photographer Anton Corbijn about the troubled life and times of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis who killed himself in 1980, has won rave reviews at the Cannes film festival.

Advice group cuts government work
Advice group Twynstra Gudde is to half the number of government contracts it applies for because the state only looks at price, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Monday.

Aegon in UK tie-up with Barclays
Insurance group Aegon has signed an alliance with UK banking group Barclays to sell Aegon's products. Until now, Aegon insurance products have only been available in the UK via agencies.

ABN Amro denies Banco Real sale reports
ABN Amro and Barclays are not working together on a plan to sell the Dutch bank's Banco Real operations in Brazil, Barclays CEO John Varley said on Monday. Varley was responding to a report in the Financieele Dagblad which said the Brazilian sale would be part of the takeover package.

Diet help should be insured
Courses to loose weight and stop smoking should be included in the basic health insurance package, the health insurance board (CVZ) will tell minister Ab Klink next month, the Volkskrant reported at the weekend.

Schiphol no longer in airport top 10
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport fell to 12th place on the Airport Council International’s ranking of the world’s biggest airports last year. In 2005, Schiphol was in ninth place.

Unibail makes formal offer for Rodamco
French property fund Unibail has brought out an official offer for Dutch property fund Rodamco Europe. The combination will be the biggest property fund in Europe - Rodamco is currently number five, Unibail number three.

Traffic less polluting than thought
The amount of pollution originating from private cars in the Netherlands is between 5% and 15% less than earlier thought, the national statistics office CBS said on Monday.

MPs want new taxi law delayed
A majority of MPs want to postpone the introduction of a new taxi laws, reports the Telegraaf on Monday. The new law on tariffs, due to be introduced on July 1, would mean customers paying a higher basic fare plus a kilometer tariff.

ABN Amro may sell Brazilian unit: media
ABN Amro and Barclays are working on plans to sell ABN Amro's Brazilian activities, various media reported on Monday.

Labour catching SP in latest poll
Labour (PvdA) is pulling equal to the Socialists (SP) in the latest poll from pollster Maurice de Hond, according to the Telegraaf on Monday.

Queen Beatrix visits Slovakia
Queen Beatrix begins a state visit to Slovakia on Monday afternoon. The visit aims to cement relations between the two countries and to emphasis how important it is for new EU member Slovakia to be part of the European family, news agency ANP reported.

Schiphol fire court case starts today
The trial of Achmed Al-Jeballi, the suspect in the Schiphol airport detention centre fire, begins in the Haarlem court today. Defence lawyer Eduard Damman is already declaring his client will be found not guilty.

Gorilla was teased before the attack
The 180 kilo gorilla Bokito, who jumped over a 3.5 metre ditch on Friday and attacked a woman at Rotterdam's Blijdorp zoo, had probably been provoked into making his escape, zoo officials said at the weekend.

Saturday 19 May 2007

Escaped gorilla victim was 'targetted'
The gorilla Bokito which escaped from Rotterdam's Blijdorp zoo on Friday afternoon went on view to the public again on Saturday. But the gorillas' outside enclosure remains closed while the investigation into how the silverback, who weighs 180 kilos, managed to cross a wide ditch full of water to get to the public areas.

Friday 18 May 2007

Four injured as escaped gorilla recaptured
One woman was taken to hospital with bite wounds on her hand and three others were injured following the escape of a male gorilla at Rotterdam's Blijdorp zoo on Friday. The zoo was crammed with people because of the holiday weekend.

Gorilla escapes from Rotterdam zoo
Rotterdam’s Blijdorp zoo was evacuated on Friday afternoon after a male silverback gorilla escaped from its enclosure. A team of marksmen were at the zoo to try to tranquilise the animal. It is not yet clear how the gorilla got out. One woman was taken to hospital but it was not clear if she was injured by the gorilla or during the evacuation.

Hospitals consider guarantee on operations
A number of Dutch hospitals are considering offering patients a guarantee on the success of an operation, BNR radio reported on Friday. The cost of any complications arising within a given period would then be paid by the hospital itself, rather than the patient or insurance company.

Aid minister backs Wolfowitz resignation
Dutch aid minister Bert Koenders told Radio 1's Journal news programme on Friday that he is glad former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz has maintained his dignity by resigning, after bitter and protracted international controversy.

Pay rises show upward trend
The ongoing round of talks between unions and employers on pay and conditions (cao) show a sharp rise in pay rates, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Friday.

Complaints about dentists soar
The number of complaints about dentists has gone up by up to 30% over the past few years, according to patient groups. TV programme NOVA reported on Thursday evening blamed the shortage of dentists and increased commercialisation.

Holland 'small-minded' on Galileo
Former EU competition commissioner Karel van Miert has urged the Netherlands not to be small-minded about the tripling in costs for the European satellite navigation system Galileo.

Ahold book scandal mastermind jailed
The man behind the Ahold American book-keeping scandal, which almost led to the company's collapse, has been jailed for seven years, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

Tubby tummy main reason to diet
Having a tubby tummy is the most common reason Dutch men and women want to lose weight, according to research by health insurance company Achmea.

E-coli scare: no-one hospitalised after all
Nobody has been admitted to Spaarne hospital in Hoofddorp suffering from an E. coli infection, a hospital spokeswoman said on Thursday. Earlier reports that five people with the symptoms of an E. coli-related illness were a misunderstanding, the spokeswoman said.

Probo Koala owners change Wikipedia
The editors of Wikipedia were forced this week to repeatedly restore the entry for Probo Koala, the ship that last year dumped 500 tonnes of toxic waste in Ivory Coast, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

Madonna bomb hoax vicar sentenced
A 63-year-old reformed church minister has been sentenced to 150 hours community service for making a hoax bomb phone call during last year's concerts in Amsterdam by Madonna.

Soldiers' victim still in hospital
The homeless man beaten unconcious by nine Dutch soldiers will remain in hospital for observation until the weekend, a military police spokesman said on Friday.

'Dutch breached human rights in Iraq'
Military police officers have reported a number of 'human rights abuses' by marines in southern Iraq to the government committee investigating torture allegations, the Volkskrant reported on Friday.

Econcern sets up investment fund
Netherlands-based renewable energy project developer Econcern has set up a €425m investment fund to finance six to eight new projects.

Thursday 17 May 2007

Information pool failed in schoolgirl death
Official bodies involved in monitoring the family life of 12-year-old schoolgirl Gessica did not exchange information and no-one felt they had the end responsibility for her situation, according to the official report into the circumstances surrounding the girl's death.

Action needed on pension shortfall
Action is needed to reduce the number of pensioners living in poverty because they don't qualify for a full state pension (AOW), junior social affairs minister Ahmed Aboutaleb said on Wednesday evening.

Car explodes outside Delft hotel
A car exploded in a car park outside a Delft hotel shortly after midnight, the fire service said on Thursday. The cause of the explosion was not known, but explosives have been ruled out. No-one was injured but the 45 hotel guests were temporarily evacuated.

Bus firm Arriva fined again
Private regional bus company Arriva has been fined €225,000 for poor service and faces a further €325,000 in costs for the investigation into its performance in Zuid-Holland.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

VEB takes more action against ABN Amro
Shareholders lobby group VEB said on Wednesday it was taking legal action against ABN Amro bank for leaking price-sensitive information to the media.

Holland and China to intensify relationship
The Netherlands and China have signed a declaration pledging to strengthen their relationship. Foreign minister Maxime Verhagen is in China on an official visit marking 35 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Sale of spirits flat
The sale of spirits stabilised at 68 million litres in 2006, the spirit industry association said on Wednesday. Jonge jenever accounted for 24% of all sales. But sales of premix drinks fell sharply, down 19% to 11.5 million litres. In 2002 premix volumes totalled 31 million litres.

Audit office says MPs not fully informed
The national audit office (Rekenkamer) has criticised the way the cabinet is keeping MPs abreast of strategic projects, saying that parliament 'needed such information in order to carry out the proper checks and balances'.

Spending on healthcare up 4.4%
Spending on healthcare in the Netherlands rose by 4.4% to €65.7bn in 2006, according to national statistics office CBS. This is the third consecutive year that the increase has been between 4 and 5% - the average rise between 1998 and 2003 was 9%.

Soldiers arrested for beating up tramp
Nine soldiers, including two women, were arrested in Eindhoven in the early hours of this morning for beating up a tramp. The victim, a 28-year old man was knocked unconscious. Police say the attackers, all stationed in Oirschot, were drunk at the time of the incident.

Rare Rietveld chair up for auction
A white lacquered version of Gerrit Rietveld's classic red-blue chair will come under the hammer at Christie’s auction house in Amsterdam next Wednesday. The chair, commissioned by avantgarde poet Til Brugman in 1923, is expected to fetch up to €80,000.

Máxima celebrates birthday at home
Princess Máxima celebrates her 36th birthday tomorrow. The wife of crown prince Willem-Alexander, who gave birth to couple’s third daughter Ariane on April 10 this year, will mark the occasion at the family home in Wassenaar. She is not undertaking any public engagements until the end of June.

More Iraqi torture allegations surface
Dutch military intelligence service (MIVD) officers have been accused of using electric prods while interrogating Iraqi prisoners in 2003. TV programme Nova reported on Tuesday night that one of the detainees claimed electric shocks were used during interrogations.

Funeral insurer cuts fees for donors
Funeral insurance group Monuta is to cut funeral costs by €150 if the deceased is an organ donor. Monuta, the biggest funeral insurance group in the country, said it was responding to calls by the Kidney Foundation.

Arcadis to leave Nasdaq
Civil engineering group Arcadis is to end its listing on the US Nasdaq because it is not cost effective, the company said on Wednesday. Chairman Harry Noy said leaving the Nasdaq would save €2m a year from 2008.

TNT cooperates with job loss inquiry
Post group TNT said on Wednesday it was cooperating with an independent inquiry into a reorganisation of its postal activities, which threatens up to 11,000 jobs. The inquiry was set up by the unions.

High-speed line delayed
The Netherlands’ long-awaited high-speed rail link to Brussels will only be partly operational by the end of this year, says transport minister Camiel Eurlings. Trains will run initially at 160 kmph. Passengers must wait until the end of 2008 before speeds of 300 kmph are possible.

Finance minister sets up jobs inquiry
Following accusations in yesterday’s Volkskrant that his software company imposed unfair working conditions on staff, junior finance minister Jan Kees de Jager has set up an inquiry into events.

IND can search police computers
The immigration Service (IND) has been given direct access to police computers to allow officials to check more quickly when migrants are suspected of being involved in crime. A criminal record can lead to new residency permits being refused, or existing rights being withdrawn.

School exams start today
Around 50,500 pupils taking the general secondary education certificate (HAVO), and a further 35.000 in pre-university streams (VWO) begin their final written exams today. This will be the first year that everyone is allowed to use a Dutch dictionary in all subjects.

E-coli scare in drinking water
Around 180,000 people living in Haarlem, Bloemendaal and Aalsmeer and their surrounding areas have been told to boil all water for two minutes before drinking it, after the E-coli bacteria was found in drinking water at the Hoofddorp distribution station.

Postbank brand set to disappear
The Postbank is to be merged into the ING bank network by 2009, parent company ING Group announced on Wednesday morning. The merger is expected to result in major operational cost savings, but will also see the loss of around 2,500 jobs over the next five years.

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Dutch schools get bad inspectors report
The Dutch education system is faced with serious and stubborn problems with far too many children failing to learn basic arithmetic, reading and writing skills, according to the annual school inspectors report. ‘The education system has a hard task ahead of it over the next few years,’ the report said.

Unemployment rate falls again
The number of Dutch unemployed fell to 357,000 between February and April 2007, taking the unemployment rate to 5%, the national statistics office CBS announced today.

Economic growth below EU average
The Dutch economy grew by 2.5% in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2006 according to national statistics office CBS. Compared with the fourth quarter of 2006, the growth is 0.6%.

Casino exempt from smoking ban
The state-owned Holland Casino in Groningen does not have to ban smoking, a court in Groningen ruled on Tuesday. The case was brought by 45-year-old table manager Fokko Meins who blamed the smoky working conditions for his lung problems.

Fewer people pay for papers
Newspapers are again being bought by fewer people, with sales down 2.3% overall last year, according to the latest Hoi circulation figures. Free newspapers saw their circulation figures rise 4.3%.

Boskalis to extend Panama canal port
Dredging group Boskalis has won a €50m contract to extend the Balboa container port at the mouth of the Panama canal. Boskalis expects the work to take 15 months to complete.

Essent cuts energy prices
The Netherlands' biggest energy firm has cut its electricity and gas tariffs for private households and small business customers, in line with pledges made at last month's AGM.

Road pricing will cut jams, says car lobby (update)
A confidential environment ministry report which states there could be up to 12 million cars on the Dutch roads by 2040 and that the introduction of road pricing will have little effect on congestion has been criticised by motoring organisations.

Ad Melkert cleared in Wolfowitz case
Former Dutch Labour party (PvdA) leader Ad Melkert did nothing wrong when he advised World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz on how to deal with his girlfriend who also worked there, ANP reports on Tuesday.

Dutch workers happiest and complain least
Dutch workers are the happiest in their jobs and complain the least, while the French and British head the list of complainers, according to research by British company FDS International.

House prices set to rise sharply
Dutch house prices will rise an average of 4.25% this year, followed by a further 3.25% in 2008, Rabobank forecasts in its quarterly analysis of the housing market. Last year house prices rose an average of 6%, driven by economic growth, the bank said.

De Winter scraps quality tv plans
Entrepreneur Harry de Winter has abandoned plans to launch a new quality public broadcaster under the name TV Oase after failing to find enough financing. Plans to launch the channel together with newspaper group PCM fell apart on management resistance, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Record Q1 earnings for Euronext
Euronext, the pan-European stock exchange with a subsidiary in Amsterdam, announced a record first quarter turnover of €310m on Tuesday. This is a 15% increase on 2006.

Electronic health record plan bug-ridden
It will take much longer than forecast for the health service to introduce a nationwide electronic system for keeping patients' records, the Financieele Dagblad reports today.

Software piracy down last year
Software piracy cost Dutch companies $419m in lost sales last year, down from $596m in 2005, according to figures from the Business Software Alliance.

Minister broke employment law, says paper
Junior finance minister Jan Kees de Jager imposed 'pre-industrial' working conditions on staff at his software company ISM, the Volkskrant claimed on Friday.

Traffic set to double by 2040
The number of cars on the road in the Netherlands is set to grow from the current 6.5 million to a minimum 7.7 million and maximum 12 million by the year 2040.

Paper demands firework disaster report
The Twente newspaper Tubantia has asked the court in Almelo to force justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin to release the state investigator's report into the Enschede firework disaster.

Monday 14 May 2007

Tomahawk order iced in defence revamp
Defence minister Eimert van Middelkoop has decided not to buy 30 Tomahawk missiles as part of a revamp of ministry spending plans, ANP reported on Monday. Van Middelkoop made the announcement during a briefing in Brussels, saying he would rather use the €70m saved for something else.

AFM orders ABN Amro letter publication
More details emerged on Monday about plans to takeover ABN Amro by a consortium of three banks, after the Dutch financial services watchdog AFM intervened.

Nuon sales fall due to warm weather
Dutch power firm Nuon saw first quarter sales fall 4% because of the relatively warm weather, the company announced on Monday. Turnover fell from €1.8bn to €1.7bn. Net profit, however, was up 55% at €318m, due to lower debt servicing charges and savings on staffing costs.

'Schiphol fire not arson,' says lawyer
It is not possible to prove that the fire at the Schiphol airport deportation centre in October 2005 was arson, says Eduard Damman, lawyer for the 24-year-old Libyan accused of starting the fire, which killed 11 people.

KPN predicts strong mobile phone growth
KPN expects its turnover from mobile internet to top €100m this year, KPN Mobile director Marco Visser said during a presentation in Shanghai on Sunday, news agency ANP reported.

More EU cash for poor members, says Bos
Poorer EU member states should benefit more from EU structural fund subsidies than rich ones, finance minister Wouter Bos told a Labour (PvdA) party meeting on Saturday.

Call centre service has not improved
Only one in 10 people think companies have improved their service to customers over the past three years and some 55% don't think there has been any improvement at all, according to research by US software house Genesys.

Man dies in gastroenteritis outbreak
One man died and three people were taken to hospital in an outbreak of gastroenteritis at a care home in Haren. One is still in a criticial condition. Ten of the total 35 people struck down on Sunday afternoon have now recovered, ANP reports.

John de Mol, Mediaset to buy Endemol (update)
A consortium involving John de Mol and Italian group Mediaset is to buy tv production company Endemol for €2.63bn, owner Telefónica said on Monday. Telefónica owns 75% of Endemol, which counts Big Brother among its formats.

Dutch driving habits are improving
Dutch driving habits are improving, according to the car insurance guarantee fund in its annual report. Car drivers involved in accidents are less likely to drive on without reporting the incident and they are more often insured, says the fund, which is responsible for settling claims against uninsured drivers.

New ruling on soft drugs for soldiers
Military personnel caught with soft drugs will receive a written warning if the drugs are for their own off-duty use, according to a military spokesperson on Monday. If they are caught a second time they will be recommended for dismissal. The new drugs ruling applies to the army, navy and airforce.

Groenink withdraws Shell candidacy
ABN Amro chairman Rijkman Groenink has withdrawn his candidacy for a non-executive role on the Shell board, Shell confirmed on Monday. Groenink said he wants to focus all his energy on the takeover battle for ABN Amro.

'Subsidies create average art'
The Dutch system for subsidising the visual arts leads to average art, has a dire effect on the modern art market and increases the gulf between artists and the public at large, according to the directors of the Netherlands' two biggest subsidy pools, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.

Dutch are drinking less fresh milk
The Dutch are drinking less fresh milk, reports Monday's Volkskrant. This, coupled with low prices in supermarkets and strong competition between producers, is causing problems for the dairy industry in the local market.

Defence ministry may sell jets to raise cash
The ministry of defence is considering the sale of F-16 fighter jets and cutting spending on tanks and heavy arms in order to free up money for new personnel and improved working conditions, a spokesman confirmed late on Sunday.

'Holland requests German help in Uruzgan'
The Dutch government has made a formal request to Germany for help with the reconstruction in the Afghan province of Uruzgan, according to the German press agency DPA on Monday.

John de Mol to buy Endemol, says FT
A consortium made up of John de Mol and Italian group Mediaset is to buy television production company Endemol, the Financial Times reports on Monday.

Friday 11 May 2007

European affairs minister defends dual nationality
European affairs minister Frans Timmermans yesterday defended those with dual nationality, saying 'having two passports does not make someone half a Dutchman'.

Immgration rises in first three months
The number of people moving to the Netherlands reached almost 26,000 in the first three months of this year, 3,000 more than the same period in 2006, says national statistics office CBS.

IT migrant scheme more popular
The number of people coming to the Netherlands under a special scheme for high-skilled IT workers more than doubled to 3,592 last year, says immigration minister Nebahat Albayrak.

Migrants send €152m back home
Migrants living in the Netherlands sent €152m back to their home countries last year, according to research by the development aid organisation NCDO and Amsterdam's Vrij University. Some 95% of the money was spend on their families' basic needs, the researchers said.

Soldiers arrested after weapons find
Three soldiers were arrested earlier this week after the discovery of a large cache of weapons at a private house two months ago, the Rotterdam prosecution department announced today.

Holland out of Eurovision contest
Dutch Eurovision hopeful Edsilia Rombley failed to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest final in Finland on Saturday, making it the second year in a row that the Netherlands will not be represented.

Lelystad airport gets green light to grow
Lelystad airport has been given the green light to process a maximum four million passengers a year on the condition it does not allow night flights and that strict noise targets are met.

Education minister condemns university pay hike
Education minister Ronald Plasterk has described the 31% pay rise given to managers at Groningen University as 'unbelievable'. He says the move breaks government guidelines which state that public sector workers should not earn more than the prime minister. Simon Kuipers, chairman of the university's management board, has had a €41,000 pay rise, taking his annual salary to €171,000.

Google legal action against Googlestore.nl
Google plans to take legal action against Dutchman Marcel van der Werf who uses the word 'Google' in the domain names he has registered, reports Webworld Nederland.

Four groups in running for Hema
Four private investment houses have put in a bid for retail chain Hema, which owner Maxeda is hoping to sell for €1bn, the Financieele Dagblad (FD) reports. The paper says Gilde, 3i, Charterhouse and Lion Capital are all interested in Hema and have been allowed access to its books.

Fortis books lower earnings
Financial services group Fortis, currently embroiled in the takeover battle for ABN Amro, booked net profit of €1.16bn in the first three months of 2007, a decline of 12% on the year-earlier period.

Albert Heijn sales rise 12.6%
Supermarket group Albert Heijn booked 12.6% higher net sales in the first three months of this year, partly due to the takeover of a number of Konmar stores from the Laurus group in 2006.

RBS plans for ABN Amro later this month
The consortium of three banks hoping to take over ABN Amro said on Friday they would make their plans public before May 27. The Financieele Dagblad reports that the consortium partners, led by Royal Bank of Scotland, would need until 2011 to divide up the Dutch bank between them if their takeover offer succeeds.

Dutch role at IMF heading for reduction
The Netherlands' influence at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to be reduced in favour of developing economies, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday. Sources told the paper there is pressure to merge the Dutch IMF seat with that of Belgium.

Organ donation is increasing problem
One in four people people are unwilling to donate organs and the number of people who would refuse to do so, even if this was made compulsory, has almost doubled to 26% of the population this year compared to three years ago.

'Weapons embargo on China must stay'
The Christian Democrat (CDA) and Labour coalition parties want the European Union’s weapons embargo on China to remain in place. Earlier this month the International Affairs Advisory Council (AIV) called for the ban to be scrapped, saying it is blocking a more open relationship with China.

Very heavy rush hour traffic reported
Traffic during Friday's morning rush hour is more than three times as heavy as normal with total jams of 180 kilometres at 8.30am, reported motoring organisation ANWB. The usual Friday morning traffic congestion is around 50 kilometres.

Thursday 10 May 2007

Small fire in parliament buliding
The parliament building on the Binnenhof complex in The Hague was evacuated for a time on Thursday afternoon after a small fire in the personnel restuarant. Around a hundred civil servants and a handful of MPs had to wait outside until the building was declared safe.

Orthodontist fee deadline extended
The health authority (NZa) has given orthodontists an extra year to slash their fees. The 29% reduction on 2001's charges must be fully achieved by 2010 rather than 2009, the NZa announced on Thursday. The extension to the deadline was reached after talks with dentists, insurers, orthodontists and patient organisations.

Elderly couple dead at home for weeks
Police in Venlo say an elderly couple found dead in their home on Wednesday had died from natural causes at the beginning of March. Neighbours on the Gulikstraat alerted the authorities saying the couple had not been seen for some time. Police said the bodies were in an advanced state of decomposition.

T-Mobile boost Dutch clients by 11%
T-Mobile Nederland increased its subscriber base by 11% in the first three months of this year to nearly 2.6 million, the company said on Thursday. Group turnover in the Netherlands rose over 6% to €288m while average turnover per customer fell 5.4% to €35.

Ryanair bypasses Eindhoven as 3rd hub
Budget airline Ryanair has opted to make German regional airport Weeze rather than Eindhoven its third mainland European hub. Eindhoven is now subject to stricter noise limits and the company ‘cannot reach our target growth there,' said chairman Michael O'Leary on Thursday.

Training offer scares off welfare claimants
Around one-third of people who apply to their local council for welfare benefits (bijstand) do not pursue their claim if they are told they will are to be put immediately on a training programme. According to the report published today by social security chiefs, 45% of those who actually start on the 'work first' programme find a job.

KLM charges more for exit seats
Airline KLM is to begin charging travellers who want to sit by the emergency exits an extra €50, a spokesman confirmed to ANP on Thursday. Other economy seats which offer more leg room will also have a surcharge, the spokesman said. Trials for the new pricing system will take place on flights to Singapore, Manila and Curacao and will be extended to other routes if successful.

72,000 speeding fines in one week
Dutch police handed out 72,453 speeding fines in just one week last month. This was the second highest figure among the 16 countries that took part in a European anti-speeding campaign during the last week in April.

Café and bars face massive staff shortage
The Netherlands' hotels, bars and restaurants are crying out for seasonal staff, according to the Telegraaf today. The paper says the sector needs 54,000 new employees straight away - equivalent to 33% of the workforce.

Fury over Mother's Day sex aid gifts
An advertising leaflet with suggestions for Mother's Day (May 13) gifts has caused a storm of protest because it includes a selection of sex aids, the AD reports on Thursday. The Kijkshop leaflet was distributed to five million Dutch households but was not intended for children, a spokesman told the paper.

Edsilia flies Dutch Eurovision flag
Singer Edsilia Rombley represents the Netherlands in the semi-final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Finland tonight. Rombley, who came fourth in the Eurovision song contest in 1998, will sing On Top of the World in an orange dress.

ABN chairman faces no vote at Shell
Pension fund ABP is set to vote against ABN Amro chairman Rijkman Groenink's appointment to the Shell board, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday. The paper says a negative assessment of Groenink by ABP is circulating among institutional investors. Shell will recommend Groenink be made a non-executive director at its AGM next Tuesday.

Martinair plane makes unscheduled landing
A Martinair charter flight from Amsterdam to Palma de Mallorca made an unscheduled landing in France on Wednesday after smoke was detected in the passengers’ cabin. The Boeing 767 with 194 passengers on board had been chartered by travel agency ArkeFly and landed without difficulty at Chateauoux.

Holland in top 10 competitive countries
The Netherlands has re-entered a Swiss index on the most competitive economies in the world at number eight after a five year absence, the Financieele Dagblad reports. The Netherlands was in 15th place in the 2005 International Institute for Management Development index.

Drunk driving rises fastest in rural areas
The number of people caught driving with an excess alcohol level went up more sharply in smaller towns and villages than in cities last year, according to transport ministry figures quoted in the AD. Police checks found that 2.9% of drivers in places with fewer than 50,000 residents were driving under the influence of alcohol last year, up nearly one percentage point on 2005.

Dutch inflation stable in April
The Dutch annual inflation rate was unchanged at 1.8% in April, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday. In particular flowers and plants had gone up in price, the CBS said.

Fewer cases of euthanasia since new law
The number of euthanasia cases in the Netherlands fell sharply in the four years since the introduction of new legislation, according to figures to be presented to junior health minister Jet Bussemaker today.

Ajax fans protest at play-off system
A group of around a hundred Ajax fans staged a protest march through the centre of Amsterdam yesterday evening, reports ANP news agency. The supporters are unhappy with the Champions League play-off system introduced by the national football association KNVB last year.

ABN Amro CFO to leave in August
ABN Amro's chief financial officer Hugh Scott-Barrett is to step down on August 1, the bank announced on Thursday morning. He will be succeeded by Huibert Boumeester.

Wednesday 09 May 2007

Escaped vulture recaptured
The white-backed vulture Abu which escaped from a birds of prey theme park last week, has been recaptured.The bird was spotted in open country near the village of Lierderholthuis in Overijssel province by a police officer. Abu, who has a wing-span of 2.4 metres, responded to calls from falconers from the centre.

Bos to talk to RBS consortium
Finance minister Wouter Bos is to hold top level talks with representatives of the banking consortium which wants to take over ABN Amro, the NRC website reported on Wednesday afternoon.

Man jailed for chemical sales to Iraq
Dutch businessman Frans van Anraat was jailed for 17 years for his involvement in war crimes by the appeal court in The Hague on Wednesday afternoon.

More public prosecutors needed
The Netherlands needs 200 more public prosecutors to reduce the immense pressure of work, said the public prosecution department head Harm Brouwer in an interview with Elsevier magazine. The Netherlands currently has some 730 public prosecutors, many of whom work part time.

Van Gogh killer at terrorism appeal (update)
Mohammed Bouyeri, who murdered film maker Theo van Gogh, appeared in court in Amsterdam today as a witness in the appeal case of seven members of the so-called Hofstad terrorist group. Bouyeri was considered by the lower court to be a central figure in the network.

Food inspectors to monitor grain shipments
Food safety inspectors are to increase checks on all maize shipments from the US following the discovery of corn pellets contaminated with banned genetically-manipulated grain at Rotterdam port. Greenpeace activists alerted the authorities to the issue last month. All the grain which has not yet been processed into animal feed will be returned to the US.

Dutch still positive about EU
Despite their rejection of the European constitution, some 72% of the Dutch are still positive about the EU, according to a new survey by the government's economic and social policy think tanks published today.

Wessanen earnings rise almost 25%
Turnover at food group Wessanen fell from €414.5m to €388.5m in the January to March period of this year, but earnings rose by almost a quarter to €21.5m. Sales were up in Europe but down in the US. US earnings were also hit by the weak dollar, the company said.

Legal publishing boosts Wolters Kluwer
Earnings from its legal publishing arm boosted sales at Wolters Kluwer 4% to €847m in the first quarter of 2007. Net profit was up 23% at €94m.

Aegon books fall in Q1 profits
Insurance group Aegon booked an almost 20% decline in net profit over the first three months of this year. Net earnings totalled €462m over the period - analysts had estimated profit would reach €631m.

Cocu: two weeks to decide on Aussie offer
Australian media are reporting that Dutch football captain Phillip Cocu has been given two weeks to decide whether he wants to sign with Sydney FC, which plays in Australia's A league.

APX energy exchanges profit up 267%
The Anglo-Dutch APX Group, which operates gas and electricity exchanges in Britain, the Netherlands and Belgium, today announced a 267% rise in net profit to €8.8m in 2006. Turnover was up 64% year-on-year to €41.4m.

New off-shore wind park at Scheveningen
An off-shore wind park with up to 100 turbines is set to be built off the coast at Scheveningen. The renewable power project developer Evelop and Dutch construction firm Ballast Nedam announced on Wednesday that they have been granted a licence to develop the project.

EU constitution alive and kicking?
The cabinet is prepared to allow most of the proposed EU constitution to be implemented, according to today's Volkskrant. The paper bases its claims on an analysis of speeches and memos by ministers on the changes they want to the constitution. The Netherlands rejected the constitution by almost 62% in a referendum in 2005.

Employers want deal on easier redundancy
Employers are prepared to take on a large number of the long-term unemployed if trade unions agree to relax the rules on redundancy, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday.

Hofstad terrorist appeal starts today
The murderer of killed film maker Theo van Gogh, Mohammed Bouyeri, will appear in court in The Hague today as a witness in the appeal case of seven members of the so-called Hofstad terrorist group. Bouyeri was considered by the lower court to be a central figure in the network.

Afghanistan could be 'endless mission'
Former defence minister Joris Voorhoeve warns that the Dutch peacekeeping role in Afghanistan will be an 'endless mission' unless the government sets clear limits on the availability of its troops in the region.

RandstadRail safety checks 'not ok'
Safety checks on the RandstadRail light rail project linking Rotterdam, Zoetermeer and The Hague were not carried out properly, according to a report by transport ministry inspectors.

KLM may probe Nazi flights
Dutch airline KLM may seek an independent investigation into whether it flew Nazi fugitives to the Argentine after the end of World War II, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Majority back alcohol ban for under 18s
Some three-quarters of the Dutch back a ban on alcohol sales in cafés and supermarkets to those under 18, according to a TNS NIPO poll for RTL news on Tuesday evening.

Pigs killed in road crash
Some 45 pigs were killed or had to be destroyed after the lorry they were being transported in flipped over as the driver tried to turn round at a road junction in Ede. The driver was arrested and charged with dangerous driving.

Older students pay higher fees
Universities are not discriminating on the grounds of age by charging older students higher fees, the appeal court for higher education has decided.

Tuesday 08 May 2007

NMa needs more time for Essent Nuon deal
Competition authority NMa probably needs another six months before it can make a decision on the proposed merger of the two biggest Dutch energy concerns, Essent and Nuon. This means the merger will not be able to be put to the companies’ local government shareholders this summer as planned.

UK investor bids for Dutch publisher
The London-based media investment group Mecom, which owns regional newspapers all over Europe, has made an offer for the outstanding shares in the Dutch bourse-listed publisher Wegener.

Subsidy changes benefit top schools
Changes to the way subsidies are allocated to schools with a high proportion of disadvantaged children has led to some of the country's top schools getting hundreds of thousands of euros extra in government money.

Swift end to ABN doubt: finance minister
Finance minister Wouter Bos is in constant contact with his sources at the banks involved in the battle to take over ABN Amro to impress upon them the need for a swift conclusion of events, ANP reported on Tuesday.

MPs oppose alcohol ban for under-18s
Calls by home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst for a ban on alcohol sales to those under 18 are unlikely to be taken further after a majority of MPs said they do not support the plan.

Three suspects released in Holleeder trial
Three people being held in custody in connection with the Holleeder blackmail trial have been released from jail. On Monday, an Amsterdam court ruled that the case should be adjourned until September while the main suspect, Willem Holleeder, recovers from heart surgery. The public prosecution department opposed the decision to release the men. In total, 10 people are on trial for blackmailing four property tycoons, two of whom have since been killed.

Eindhoven mayor quits two years early
Eindhoven's mayor Alexander Sakkers is to resign two years before his term in office is due to expire. He said the decision is based on personal reasons. Sakkers will take over the helm at transport lobby group TLN. Sakkers (58) was mayor of Heerlen before moving to Eindhoven.

Dutch accept EU rules on chicken coops
Farm minister Gerda Verburg said on Monday she expects Dutch poultry farmers will accept new EU standards for raising chickens for meat. Under the new rules which will become compulsory in 2010, factory farmers will be allowed to keep a maximum of 42 kilos of chickens (21 adult birds) per square metre. Most Dutch factory farms already operate similar standards. MEPs had called for a 34 kilo limit.

Students get fewer hours of teaching
Students get less than 10 hours teaching a week at one-third of the Netherlands' universities and higher vocational colleges, according to education minister Ronald Plasterk. On average, a student has 13 hours of lessons a week. The minister said the shift towards independent learning has led to a reduction in classroom contact.

NS must compensate traumatised conductor
Dutch Rail (NS) has been ordered to pay compensation to a former conductor who was confronted with some 10 suicide attempts and fatal accidents during his 19 year career.

KPN books fall in first quarter earnings
Telecoms group KPN booked a fall in first quarter sales on Tuesday as fixed-link earnings continued to decline. Net profit reached €313m, down 18% from a year earlier. Sales were down 2.6% to €2.9bn.

Fourth free paper launched today
The Netherlands' fourth free daily newspaper, DAG from the PCM group, rolled of the presses this morning. DAG will be distributed at Albert Heijn supermarkets, 52 bus and railway stations and via colleges.

Arnon Grunberg wins Libris award
Arnon Grunberg (36) has won the €50,000 Libris literature prize for his novel Tirza. The Libris jury said the book, the story of a neurotic father and his relationship with his daughter, was an 'impressive, disturbing book' which shows how literature can 'lay bare human failings'.

British Mecom bids for Wegener (update)
British media group and investment fund Mecom has made an offer for the bourse-listed Dutch publishing group Wegener. In April, Mecom took over the Telegraaf's 23.7% stake in Wegener.

Petten nuclear reactor shut down after leak
The nuclear reactor at Petten which carries out research and produces isotopes for medical use was shut down on Monday following the discovery of a small leak in a cooling water pipe.

Some 50 arrests after Ajax celebrations
Some 50 people were arrested and one person was injured when riots broke out on Amsterdam’s Leidseplein on Monday night following the celebratory appearance of Dutch Cup winners Ajax.

No alcohol sales under 18, says minister
Home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst has called for a ban on the sale of alcohol to those under 18 and an end to the sale of alcohol in supermarkets. The minister was speaking last night at the launch of a pilot project to reduce teenage drunkenness.

British Mecom bids for publisher Wegener
British media group and investment fund Mecom has made an offer for the bourse-listed Dutch publishing group Wegener. Wegener operates a string of local papers and jointly owns the AD media group with PCM.

Monday 07 May 2007

Former Dutch PM criticises Hamas boycott
Former Dutch prime minister Dries van Agt on Saturday criticised the European boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian government, saying it is frustrating the peace process in the Middle East.

Dutch join protest over EU's 2008 budget
The Netherlands is one of several EU countries which is protesting against the size of the EU's budget for 2008, news agency ANP reported on Monday. The European Union is planning to spend €121bn next year, a 5.3% increase on 2007.

Suspended sentence for Savanna's uncle
A court in The Hague has sentenced Reffles Mulders to 120 hours of community service and three months imprisonment suspended for two years for his role in abusing the toddler Savanna. Mulders’ was Savanna’s uncle and babysitter.

Crime boss trial delayed until September
The trial against suspected crime boss Willem Holleeder and nine accomplices has been adjourned until September. The case was unexpectedly suspended last month after Holleeder was taken ill and underwent a serious heart operation.

Hero’s welcome for Ajax
National football league winners Ajax are to make a celebratory appearance at Amsterdam’s Museumplein this evening after their thrilling victory over AZ Alkmaar on Sunday.

New probe into Fortuyn murder?
An Amsterdam court will decide soon whether to order a new investigation into the murder of populist politician Pim Fortuyn who was shot dead five years ago by an animal rights activist.

MPs want tough action on trafficking
MPs have called for a tougher approach to combating forced prostitution after detectives told the Volkskrant that some 75% of window prostitutes in the Netherlands are the victims of human trafficking.

Psychiatric prison for child porn
A 32-year-old man from Nuenen was on Monday jailed for 4.5 years to be followed by psychiatric prison for making and distributing child pornography. The man was part of an international paedofile ring.

No EU rules on tenders for public transport
The Netherlands does not have to put public transport services in its big cities out to tender because of EU rules, contrary to what junior transport minister Tineke Huizinga recently told MPs, according to today’s Financieele Dagblad.

More immigrants pass school exams
The percentage of non-western immigrants in the Netherlands leaving school with a diploma has risen from 34% at the beginning of this century to 43% last year, says the national statistics office CBS. For the country has a whole, the number of school leavers with some sort of qualification has gone up from 59% to 61%, the CBS said.

Vulture escapes from theme park
A white-backed vulture with a wingspan of 2.4 metres has escaped from the Stonehenge birds of prey theme park in central Holland during a training exercise. A spokesman for the park, near Leerdam, said the bird could be dangerous after a couple of days without food.

ABN Amro rejects consortium bid for LaSalle
ABN Amro said on Monday it has rejected a $24.5bn offer for US bank LaSalle from a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Reed Elsevier sells part of educational arm
Publishing group Reed Elsevier is selling part of its Harcourt educational unit to British rival Pearson for around €700m. Reed Elsevier says its plans to sell its US school division and several smaller units are proceeding well and will be completed in the second half of this year.

Police cars in 1,700 collisions last year
Police cars were involved in 1,700 collisions with other cars last year, 200 more than in 2005, according to national police force figures. In total, police cars were involved in over 8,000 incidents. Some 400 police officers were injured and four killed. A police spokesman said the figures are worrying.

Seven killed in road accidents
Seven people died and 23 people were injured in a string of road accidents over the weekend. Among those who died was a Polish man who was killed when a minibus he was travelling in hit an oncoming car near Oisterwijk. Seven other Poles were injured in the accident.

Sunday 06 May 2007

Ajax win cup after penalty shoot-out
Amsterdam's Ajax kept their nerve better than their opponent AZ of Alkmaar winning a thrilling penalty shoot-out 8-7 to claim the football national league cup on Sunday evening. Veteran midfielder Edgar Davids coolly slotted home the eigth penalty, after Ryan Donk of AZ had missed his.

Drivers warned about slippery roads
The police and transport ministry on Saturday warned drivers to be careful of slippery road surfaces when it starts raining, probably on Sunday evening. After six weeks without rain, the roads have built up a layer of oil, sand and rubber, which will become slippery when wet, officials said.

Princess Ariane returns home
Princess Ariane, the third daughter of crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima, was allowed home from hospital on Saturday. The baby, born almost a month ago, was taken into hospital with respiratory problems on Tuesday.

Stemwijzer stops keeping email addresses
The Stemwijzer online voting advice service is to stop keeping the internet addresses of voters who use its services after the Volkskrant said it had asked a team of hackers to try to gather information on peoples' voting intentions.

Beenhakker temporary coach at Feyenoord
Rotterdam football club Feyenoord has appointed Leo Beenhakker temporary coach ahead of the Dutch league play-offs. Erwin Koeman resigned on Thursday. Feyenoord, traditionally one of the big teams of Dutch soccer, finished seventh in the league this year.

Friday 04 May 2007

Adriaanse tipped to take over at Feyenoord
Co Adriaanse, former trainer of Ajax and AZ Alkmaar, is being tipped to take over from Erwin Koeman at Feyenoord. Adriaanse, 59, is currently at Ukraine club Metallurg Donetsk. The Telegraaf reports that Feyenoord's technical manager Peter Bosz has not ruled Adriaanse out, despite his links with arch rival Ajax.

Motorbike sales rise
The number of new motorbikes sold in the first three months of the year rose by 19% to 4,518, motoring organisations Bovag and Rai said on Friday. Secondhand sales were up 22% to 25,567.

Major forest fire put out
Firefighters say a serious fire in woods near Bergeijk in Noord-Brabant province has destroyed half a hectare of forest. The cause of the blaze is not yet known. Several forest and heathland areas are on high fire risk alert after more than a month without rain.

School head arrested on abuse charges
A primary school head teacher from Putte has been arrested on suspicion of abusing underage pupils over a period of several years, after being alerted by the school authorities. Local paper BN/De Stem says the 58-year-old man also took photos of children while they were showering.

ABN Amro says no change at the top
ABN Amro said on Friday it had no plans to make changes to its top management following yesterday's court ruling freezing the planned sale of LaSalle to Bank of America.

Dutch more positive about Germans
The Dutch see Germans in a more positive light than ever before, according to a regional newspaper survey. Some 32% of those questioned thought more highly of them than ten years ago.

Minister wants house arrest as an option
Justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin wants a new law allowing house arrest as a sentence for certain offences. The idea is to have it available as an option in cases where a fine or community service is considered too lenient, and a prison sentence too harsh.

ING blocks credit cards after threat
The Postbank and ING are to block the Mastercard accounts of a number of clients as a preventative measure. Parent company ING has received information that the details of certain credit cards may have been stolen overseas. Those affected will receive a replacement free of charge.

Holland declares EU subsidies well-spent
The Netherlands will become the first EU member country to declare that the EU farm subsidies it received in 2006 have been properly spent, ANP reports. The declaration will be made by finance minister Wouter Bos and the EU's anti-fraud commissioner Siim Kallas in Brussels on Monday.

Contaminated corn found on Dutch farms
The Dutch food safety authority VWA has found animal feed containing illegal genetically-manipulated maize on a number of Dutch farms, the Volkskrant reported on Friday. The pellets are thought to come from a shipment of contaminated maize found by Greenpeace in Rotterdam in early April.

The Netherlands remembers its dead
The Netherlands today remembers everyone who died in World War II at a string of ceremonies around the country. A two-minutes silence will be held at 8pm this evening.

Pressure mounts on ABN Amro boss
Pressure is mounting on ABN Amro boss Rijkman Groenink to quit following yesterday's court ruling which froze the sale of LaSalle to Bank of America. 'Groenink is not the man who should lead the sale process or chair the board,' said Peter Paul de Vries, director of shareholders' lobby group VEB which brought yesterdays law suit.

Thursday 03 May 2007

ABN Amro banned from selling LaSalle
The Amsterdam company court has banned ABN Amro from selling its US unit LaSalle to Bank of America. The court ruled that the sale marked a change of strategy for the bank and should be put to shareholders for approval.

Make it easier to sack staff, says Amcham
The American chamber of commerce in the Netherlands (Amcham) has again urged the government to make it easier to sack staff in order to boost foreign investment in the country.

ABN Amro loses World Online court case
Amsterdam appeal court has ruled that ABN Amro and Goldman Sachs were negligent during the bourse launch of Dutch internet company World Online in 2000. The share price collapsed shortly after the launch when it emerged owner Nina Brink had sold her shares before the IPO.

Dutchman kidnapped in Nigeria
A Dutch national has been kidnapped from a bar in Warri in the oil-rich NigerDelta by armed men, various sources told ANP. In total, 24 foreigners have been kidnapped in the region since Tuesday.

Nature groups protest at mussel fishing
Environmental groups are protesting at a fishing ministry decision to give mussel fishermen a permit to harvest the last mussel bank in the western Wadden Sea. The Council of State will hear the case on May 4.

Hay fever early this year
People who suffer from hay fever have not been affected so early in the season for the past 10 years, say researchers at Leiden University medical centre. In particular, pollen from birch trees has been early.

Princess Ariane getting better
Princess Ariane, the 3-week-old daughter of crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima who was hospitalised yesterday, is getting better, the state information service RVD said on Thursday. .

Kijkshop bought by Swedish group
The 106 branches of catalogue-based retail group Kijkshop have been sold to Swedish watch retailer KIN. Financial details were not disclosed. Kijkshop's owner Retail Network earlier sold its Lucardi jewelry group to KIN.

Koeman quits as Feyenoord trainer
Erwin Koeman is to leave Feyenoord after the Rotterdam club finished seventh in the premier division championship, losing 5-1 to Heerenveen on Sunday. His assistants John Metgod and Henk Duut will take over his role into the play-offs for a place in the Uefa cup.

More Dutch in debt
The Dutch are increasingly in debt, according to a report published on Thursday by the local authorities' research unit SGBO. The average debt of people seeking help has risen over the past four years from €16,413 to €21,786.

Cot death epidemic over, says Trouw
Just 11 babies were classified as cot deaths in the Netherlands in 2006 compared with 190 in 1986, reports newspaper Trouw. Levels are now back to those of the early 1970s.

TNT earnings rise, despite less post
TNT, which is planning to cut jobs at its Dutch postal division by at least 7,000, saw sales at that division fall by 1.6% in the first three months of this year as the Dutch sent over 4% fewer letters.

Shell books higher profits
Despite the fall in oil prices, Shell profits rose to $6.9bn, up 14% on last year, the company announced on Thursday. Shell will pay out an interim dividend for the first quarter of 2007 of 36 dollar cents, up 14% on last year.

Unilever posts sales growth
Unilever announced underlying sales growth of 5.7% on a turnover of €9.5bn for the first quarter of 2007 on Thursday. The growth was, however, fully offset by adverse exchange rate movements of 4.5% and net disposals of 1%.

Amsterdam court to rule on LaSalle sale
Amsterdam's company court will today rule on ABN Amro's planned sale of US bank LaSalle. The case was brought by the Dutch investors lobby group VEB, which argues the sale should have been put to shareholders and that it is a poisoned pill to thwart a bid for ABN Amro by a banking consortium.

Ahold finally sells US Foodservice
Supermarket group Ahold is to sell its troubled US wholesale unit US Foodservice to a consortium of two private investors. Clayton Dubilier & Rice and KKR are paying $7.1bn for the company, on the upper edge of expectations.

Foreign firms buy up Holland
Foreign companies have spent €188bn buying up Dutch firms over the past three years, the Volkskrant reports this morning. In total, 3,000 Dutch companies have been taken over, while Dutch companies themselves have bought up 1,000 foreign firms.

Minister wants answers on osteoporosis
Health minister Ab Klink has ordered an external investigation into the Osteoporosis Association, which has been accused of fraud, forgery and misuse of patients money.

Organic pigs to be anaesthetised
Most of Holland's organic pig breeders are to anaesthetise their piglets before castration from July. The measure has been adopted by the organic big breeders association which has 53 members - about 90% of Dutch organic pig farmers.

Arrests after train fire at Delft Zuid
Four youngsters were arrested on Wednesday evening following a fire in a train at Delft Zuid station, reports ANP. Two carriages were destroyed. No passengers were hurt, but the driver was taken to hospital with breathing problems.

Wednesday 02 May 2007

Utrecht shooting: police officer a 'suspect'
The police officer who shot a 54-year-old man in the Utrecht neighbourhood of Ondiep in March, sparking off several days of riots, is being treated as a suspect, the public prosecution department said on Wednesday.

Dutch workers worry most about stress
The Dutch worry most about the pressure of work and work-related stress, with teachers and health service workers the most concerned about these issues. This is one of the results in a survey on working conditions involving 24,000 people which was carried out for the social affairs ministry.

Princess Ariane to stay in hospital (update)
Princess Ariane, the three week-old daughter of crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima, will remain in hospital for a week while being treated for a bronchial tube infection, the state information service RVD said on Wednesday.

Safety concerns over concrete road bridges
A number of major concrete road bridges throughout the Netherlands probably need to be reinforced to cope with present day traffic levels, the transport ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Dutch homes raided in animal rights probe
Two homes in Amsterdam and Numansdorp were among 32 addresses raided in connection with a British police investigation into what is believed to be an extreme animal rights group.

Heavy penalty for PSV pitch invader
Football club PSV Eindhoven is to impose a €15,000 fine on a fan who rushed onto the pitch after the club took the premier division title on Sunday. He will also be banned from the stadium for 10 years, club security manager Frank Wijnveld told ANP.

Bailiffs track down 15,000 petrol thieves
Bailiffs managed to track down some 15,000 motorists who left petrol stations without paying for their petrol, transport minister Camiel Eurlings told MPs on Wednesday.

Balkenende to address European parliament
Prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende is to address the European parliament in Strasbourg on May 23, focusing on the Dutch position on the European constitution.

Court frees drugs suspect after US sting
A court in Amsterdam has freed a 27-year-old man charged with planning to smuggle 500,000 ecstasy pills to the US because officials from the American Drug Enforcement Agency illegally recorded him being questioned.

Gas and electricity expensive in Holland
Dutch consumers pay some of the highest rates for gas and electricity in Europe, says national statistics office CBS. Electricity is only more expensive in Denmark and Italy, while only the Danes, Swedes and Germans pay more for gas.

Princess Ariane admitted to hospital
Princess Ariane, the three week-old daughter of crown prince Willem-Alexander and princess Máxima, has been taken into hospital with a suspected lung infection.

Direct Wonen floated in London
Internet real estate agent and mortgage broker Direct Wonen was valued at €317m when its founders and owners floated 30% of the company on London's alternative investment market AIM on Tuesday.

TCI urges ABN Amro chairman to step down
Hedge fund TCI has called on ABN Amro chairman Rijkman Groenink to resign and leave the sale of the biggest Dutch bank to its supervisory board.

IT group Getronics issues profit warning
Troubled IT company Getronics issued a profit warning on Wednesday, saying a €25m write-off following disappointing results in the UK means the year ill close with a loss.

Aids patients' food trials promising: Nutreco
Specialty foods group Numico said on Wednesday it will continue research into special foods for people with HIV and Aids. Preliminary results from clinical trials are encouraging and more research involving 1,000 people will be completed in 2010, Numico said.

Almost 250,000 have no health insurance
Over 241,000 people, or 1.5% of the population, have no health insurance, national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday. Most of those without insurance are aged between 20 and 40 and only 0.7% of the uninsured are claiming social security benefits.

'KLM helped Nazis to escape'
Airline KLM played an active role in helping Nazis escape to Argentina following World War II, according to TV programme Network on Tuesday evening.

Wolfowitz not telling truth, says Melkert
World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz did not tell the truth during Monday’s hearing into the scandal surrounding his girlfriend’s promotion, said former Dutch Labour leader Ad Melkert on the TV programme Nova on Tuesday night.

Kuit scores winning penalty for Liverpool
Two Dutch footballers played a critical role in the Champions League semi-finals between two British clubs on Tuesday night. Dirk Kuit scored the winning penalty for Liverpool while Arjen Robben missed his penalty kick for Chelsea.

Tuesday 01 May 2007

Mobile tv starts up in Holland
Telecoms firms Orange and Vodafone both launched mobile television services on Tuesday for a monthly fee of €7.50. Analysts expect some 20 companies to launch mobile tv on the Dutch market this year. .

Kidnapper sentenced to 8 years prison
A court in Amsterdam has sentenced Lorenzo Moeniralam to eight years in jail for his role in the kidnapping of heiress Claudia Melchers from her home in Amsterdam Zuid in September 2005.

Big clean up after Queen's Day
Amsterdam's street cleaners have been working flat out since 6pm Monday evening to clean up the heaps of rubbish left by revellers during Monday's Queen's Day celebrations. By the end of the day, garbage trucks are expected to have removed 600 cubic metres of rubbish from the streets and parks.

Dutch pull out European payment system
Dutch retailers have pulled out of talks with banks and financial service sector organisations on the introduction of a new single European payment system, fearing a sharp increase in costs.

AFM to boost appeal success rate
The financial services watchdog AFM is to take action to reduce its high failure rate when its rulings are legally challenged. Of the 57 cases taken to appeal since 2000, the AFM has lost 23, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Tuesday.

ABN Amro US shareholders take action
American shareholders in Holland's biggest bank ABN Amro have launched a class action lawsuit in an effort to fend off the bank's merger with Barclays and the sale of LaSalle, news agency Reuters said on Tuesday. Shareholders are accusing the bank’s bosses of mismanagement.

Firms set up by immigrants rise by 12%
Some 90,000 (second generation) immigrants set up their own companies in the Netherlands last year, a 12% increase on 2005, according to figures from the chambers of trade association.

Police zoom in on teens who 'hang around'
Police in parts of Zuid Holland province (which includes The Hague and Rotterdam) have begun photographing and registering the personal details of youths who hang around on street corners even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

High fire-risk warning for Veluwe
Fire chiefs have issued the highest level of fire-risk warning for the Veluwe heath which stretches east of Utrecht to the German border. The area, which is tinder-box dry after a month of no rain, is under constant monitoring from spotter aircraft. The strong breeze has added to the fire risk, fire officials told ANP.

Unique Jewish war records found
Researchers at the Westerbork centre have been lent a card index system containing details of some 80 Jews who went into hiding in the Netherlands during World War II. The cards, complete with photographs and information about financial support, were found in the attic of the house of a family which was active in the resistance.

Randstad founder becomes professor
Frits Goldschmeding, founder of temporary employment agency Randstad, is to become a professor at Nyenrode University. Goldschmeding (74) will teach students about entrepreneurship. He set up Randstad in 1960 while studying economics at Amsterdam's Vrije University.

Holland told to track down illegal maize
The European Commission has told the Netherlands to trace a consignment of maize contaminated with illegal genetically-manipulated crops which arrived in Rotterdam port last month.

Employers' lobby criticises shareholder power
The eventual break-up of the ABN Amro banking group would be 'extremely worrying,' Bernard Wientjes, head of the Dutch employers organisation VNO-NCW said in an interview with the NRC on Monday.

Willem-Alexander ready for throne: poll
Some 70% of the population believe queen Beatrix should step down in favour of her eldest son crown prince Willem-Alexander within three years, according to a poll by Interview/NSS.

Woman dies as stones thrown at cars
A 72-year-old woman was killed and her husband injured when he drove into a tree after a stone was thrown at their vehicle from a passing car on Sunday night. The incident happened in the Noord-Brabant town of Best.

Cars seized as Gumball 3000 hits Holland
The justice ministry is looking at the possibility of banning international road rallies from the Dutch highways after two cars were seized when the international Gumball 3000 rally passed through the Netherlands on Sunday.

Queen's Day passes off problem-free
The Netherlands celebrated what was thought to be the sunniest ever Queen's Day on Monday, with few problems reported. Some 500,000 took to the streets in Amsterdam for the celebrations, up by over 150,000 on last year.

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