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February 2012

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Wednesday 29 February 2012

Sharp rise in New Year bankruptcies
The number of companies which went bankrupt in January was up 42% on the same period in 2011 at 1,024, according to new figures from financial research group Graydon.

Paper used to keep out the drafts is 1771 princess gift list
A rolled-up piece of paper used to stop drafts in a wooden floor is actually a document dating from 1771 listing how much money officials planned to give a Dutch princess, website nu.nl reports on Wednesday.

More than half of diplomatic speeding fines go unpaid
Almost 60% of the speeding tickets picked up by foreign diplomats in the Netherlands last year have not yet been paid, according to new figures from the government's fine collection service.

Brussels angered by new Dutch immigration rules: NRC
The European Commission will take legal action against the Netherlands if it presses ahead with plans to deport EU nationals who are jobless for three months, the NRC reports on Wednesday.

Asylum seeker total drops by 13%
The number of people applying for asylum in the Netherlands fell by 13% to 11,600 in 2011, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.

DSM concludes strong year
Speciality chemicals and vitamins group DSM on Wednesday announced 'another strong year' and an increased dividend over 2011, with a 'cautiously optimistic' outlook for 2012.

Four arrested in Canada in Amsterdam daycare abuse case
Four men have been arrested in Quebec on child pornography charges connected to the Amsterdam daycare abuse scandal, according to Canadian media reports.

Q-fever death toll reached at least 24
The number of people killed by Q-fever, a flu-like illness which mainly infects sheep and goats, was at least 24, the head of the public health institute RIVM told television current affairs show Nieuwsuur on Tuesday.

Cable television firm Ziggo set for Amsterdam stock exchange listing
Cable television firm Ziggo said on Wednesday it planned to list on the Amsterdam stock exchange, but a date has not yet been set.

MPs want answers on teenage murder
MPs have called junior justice minister Fred Teeven to explain the circumstances in which a 25-year-old man who had sought psychiatric help to control his aggression came to stab a 15-year-old girl to death.

Netherlands too quick with biometric passports
The Netherlands was too quick to introduce passports with fingerprints, resulting in a system which is not suitable to do the job it was meant to do - namely combating fraud, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.

Cuts or reforms? Speculation mounts ahead of crucial forecasts
A day ahead of the publication of crucial economic forecasts, there is widespread speculation in political circles about what measures the government is likely to take to get the budget deficit under control and boost growth.

Dutch MPs back Greek rescue plan
As expected, a large majority of Dutch MPs on Tuesday gave their support to European leaders' new €130bn rescue package for Greece.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Leap Year day is popular with brides and grooms
Around 250 couples are expected to tie the knot on Wednesday, Leap Year day, according to the national statistics office CBS.

Bird watch webcams go live on March 1
Bird protection group Vogelbescherming Nederland has chosen 11 pairs of birds for this year’s ‘experience Spring’ webcam project.

Groningen medical centre scraps 150 administration jobs
The University Medical Centre in Groningen is to scrap 150 of its 500 administration jobs, saving an expected €6.5m, the hospital announced on Tuesday.

Dutch technology firms mark time
Growth in the Dutch technology sector has slowed to virtually nothing, according to new research by employers' organisation FME-CWM.

Fifth candidate joins race for party leader job
There was a last minute entry on Tuesday in the race to be the new Labour party leader when MP Lutz Jacobi announced she is a candidate for the post.

More cases of burn-out, but absenteeism falls
The number of people taking time off work suffering from a burn-out rose 11% last year, but absenteeism was down 8% overall, according to research by health and safety company 365.

Civil engineering groups Haskoning and DHV to merge
Civil engineering and project management companies DHV and Haskoning are to merge, creating one of the biggest independent non-listed companies in the sector in the world.

Cleaners continue their strike action
Around 200 cleaners spent Monday night in the Utrecht university building on the Uithof as part of their continuing industrial action for better working conditions.

Satnav maker TomTom sees sales shrink
Satellite navigation systems maker TomTom said on Tuesday it had booked a 31% drop in sales in the final quarter of 2011, booking net profit of €12m, compared with €52m in the year-earlier period.

Former Dutchbat soldier threatened with jail by Yugoslavia tribunal
A former Dutchbat soldier who gave evidence against Radovan Karadzic at the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal in The Hague is facing imprisonment because he will not allow the tribunal to read the diary he kept in Srebrenica.

Dutch Lotto gambling monopoly does not breach EU rules: high court
Websites and telephone gambling services run by international gambling companies should not be accessible to Dutch gamblers, because the ban does not break EU rules on the free movement of goods and services, according to a High Court ruling.

Health minister warns of more cuts to fund psychiatric visits
Health minister Edith Schippers has warned that if she has to lower the fee patients must now pay to visit a psychiatrist, she will have to find cuts elsewhere in the health budget.

Teaching unions call for strike action on March 6
Nearly 1,000 schools are expected to close their doors on March 6 when teachers go on strike. At least 1,900 other schools are likely to be affected by the action, teaching unions announced on Monday evening.

Helmets make cycling less safe, says Dutch cycling union
Helmets give cyclists a false sense of security and making helmets compulsory will lead to fewer people using their bikes, according to the Dutch cyclists' union in the latest edition of its magazine.

New rules to combat abuse in mushroom sector
Social affairs minister Henk Kamp is introducing tough new measures in an effort to eradicate the exploitation of workers in the mushroom sector.

PostNL paid millions extra to top managers when the company split
Top managers at TNT Express and PostNL received millions of euros in extra payments when the express delivery service was split from postal delivery last year.

Think-tank chief warns new cuts would worsen recession
A new round of spending cuts would aggravate the recession and instead European governments should undertake 'credible reforms' to get national budgets under control, Coen Teulings, director of the government's macro-economic think-tank CPB says in an article in the Financial Times.

Monday 27 February 2012

Q-fever victims to take legal action
Some 20 people who contracted Q-fever during the recent epidemic are planning to sue the goat farms where they believe they became infected, news agency ANP reports on Monday.

Labour likely to back Greek deal
The Labour party (PvdA) is set to back the government line during Tuesday's debate on a second EU bail-out for Greece, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Monday.

After a reality tv show, VU hospital halts another 'media project'
Amsterdam's VU university teaching hospital has halted a second media project - this time involving a writer who followed a heart specialist while researching a book, according to various media reports on Monday.

Groningen has highest jobless rate, Rotterdam tops city list
The northern province of Groningen has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.3%, while Rotterdam tops the big city jobless list, according to new figures from the national statistics office CBS.

Notre Dame's biggest new bell is Dutch
Dutch company Koninklijke Eijsbouts has been commissioned to make a massive new bell for the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Labour up two, PVV down two in latest De Hond poll
Job Cohen's decision to step down as Labour leader boosted the party's performance by two seats in the latest Maurice de Hond opinion poll published on Sunday.

Ministers to get tough on 'work-shy' welfare claimants
Social affairs minister Henk Kamp is working on draft legislation to get tough on welfare benefit claimants (bijstand) who don't try to find a job, he told MPs in a briefing on Monday.

PostNL sees volumes decline but revenues stable
Postal delivery group PostNL saw volumes fall 7% in 2011 but sales were stable at some €4.3bn, the company said on Monday.

Prince Friso unlikely to be cared for in the Netherlands
It is unlikely that prince Friso, left seriously brain damaged and in a coma after a skiing accident, will be cared for in the Netherlands because there is no specialist institution to take him, according to media reports.

Unknown singer-songwriter represents Holland at Eurovision
The Dutch entry for this year's Eurovision Song Festival is You and Me, written and performed by 21-year-old Joan Franka.

Council of state criticises amnesty plan for child refugees
Draft legislation to give an automatic right to stay in the Netherlands to refugee children who have lived here for at least eight years is unnecessary, unfocused and unfair, according to the Council of State.

'House prices still too high'
Even though house prices in the Netherlands have been falling for some time, they are still some 10% too high, Rabobank director Piet van Schijndel says in an interview with Monday's Financieele Dagblad.

Supermarket group Ahold buys online retailer Bol.com for €350m
Ahold is buying online retailer Bol.com from Cyrte Investments and NPM Capital for €350m, the supermarket giant said on Monday. The all-cash deal is about 'creating growth', Ahold said in a statement.

Friday 24 February 2012

John and Narsingh called up for England friendly
Ola John (FC Twente) and Luciano Narsingh (sc Heerenveen) are the only first-timers in national football coach Bert van Marwijk's 24-strong squad for next week's friendly against England.

Prince Friso suffered 'very serious brain damage' in skiing accident
Prince Johan Friso suffered ‘very serious’ brain damage during his skiing accident and doctors cannot say if he will ever regain consciousness, the head of the medical team treating the prince told reporters on Friday.

Dutch electricity grid law goes to European Court for advice
The High Court on Friday said it is to ask the European Court for its advice on whether or not energy firms can be forced to split off their electricity grid operations, as they are required to do under Dutch law.

The Netherlands gets tough on EU nationals who commit crimes
The Dutch immigration service ordered 230 European nationals to leave the Netherlands last year, up from 150 in 2010, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

'Finance minister ignored senior officials over euro crisis'
Finance minister Jan Kees de Jager ignored his three most senior officials when he said banks should help pay for the cost of saving Greece, according to a new book by Financieele Dagblad journalist Martin Visser.

Pirate Bay blockade campaign continues, phone firms face court
Authors' rights lobby group Stichting Brein is taking legal action against telephone and cable companies UPC, KPN, Tele2 and T-Mobile for refusing to block access to the download site The Pirate Bay, the NRC reports on Friday.

Hackers break into defence ministry video conferencing
Hackers can easily break into the supposedly-secure video conferencing system used by the defence ministry, using the standard password contained in the manufacturer's instructions for use, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Outdoor ice leads to 13,000 skating injuries, mostly broken bones
Some 13,000 people were treated at hospital accident and emergency departments for injuries sustained while skating earlier this month, according to consumer safety group Consument en Veiligheid.

Three out of four Dutch clubs move into Europa League next round
Three of the four Dutch football clubs taking part in the Europa league competition move on to the round of 16 on March 8. Ajax, despite beating Manchester United 1-2, is out, following the English club’s 0-2 victory in the first leg.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Three MPs sign up so far for Labour leadership battle
Three Labour MPs have so far come forward to contest the party leadership, following the resignation of Job Cohen last week.

Hospital broke rules on filming patients, inspectors want answers
The VU university's teaching hospital broke patient confidentiality rules by allowing a television production company to record patients being treated at its accident and emergency department without their consent, the Dutch medical association KNMG said on Thursday.

UPC's parent company considers bidding to take over Ziggo
Liberty Global, the parent company of Dutch cable operator UPC, is considering making a bid for sector peer Ziggo, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.

Queen Beatrix cancels engagements, family to remain in Lech
The queen has cancelled several engagements and will remain longer in the Austrian resort of Lech to be close to her son Friso, the state information service RVD said on Thursday.

Dutch economy to shrink 0.9% this year, says Brussels
The Dutch economy will shrink 0.9% this year, according to European Commission forecasts published on Thursday. Brussels is more pessimistic than the Netherlands' own statistics agency, which puts the contraction at 0.5% in its most recent forecasts.

Digital film, games and music sales rise
The sale of digital film, games and music rose again in the Netherlands last year but the sale of physical dvds and cds is still six times as big, according to new figures from entertainment industry bodies NVPI and GfK.

Minister urged to go public on Santorum's euthanasia claims
Foreign minister Uri Rosenthal should make a public statement on the 'scandalous' claims made by Republican party presidential hopeful Rick Santorum about Dutch euthanasia policy, MP Frans Timmermans says.

Economists draw up housing market action plan
A group of 22 leading Dutch economists have devised a six-point plan to reform the Dutch housing market, which has been hit by falling house prices and sluggish sales.

Who gets paid to work on February 29?
Many people are not aware they are working one day for no pay this year – because 2012 is a leap year, according to research by staffing agency Uitzendspecialist.

Two men missing after boat sinks on IJsselmeer
Two men are missing, believed drowned, after their 12-metre boat sank on the Ijsselmeer lake on Wednesday evening.

'Health insurers pay bills for treatment no-one has had'
Health insurance companies are paying for treatment their clients have not had on a massive scale, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.

Dutch firms submit fewer patent applications
Dutch companies have been submitting fewer patent applications to the European patent office since the top year of 2005, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Thursday.

Spanish, Italian firms, use Dutch holdings to avoid tax: FD
While southern eurozone countries struggle to get their finances in order, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Greek firms are using the Netherlands to avoid paying tax in their home countries, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Thursday.

Hospital reality show breaks patient confidentiality, say experts
The VU university's teaching hospital has been accused of breaking patient confidentiality by allowing a television production company to record patients being treated at its accident and emergency department.

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Belgian energy firm scraps Vlissingen coal power station plan
Belgian energy firm C.Gen has cancelled plans to build a coal-fired power station in Vlissingen, citing uncertainty over proposals to store carbon-dioxide underground.

Almere PVV councillor quits the party
A city councillor in Almere has become the latest representative of the anti-immigration PVV to leave the party, citing the way the party deals with others as the main reason.

Pressure piles on prime minister over PVV anti-Pole website
The secretary general of the council of Europe has written to foreign minister Uri Rosenthal urging the Dutch government to ‘clarify its position’ regarding a website set up by Geert Wilders’ PVV to collect complaints about central and eastern European nationals.

German public prosecutor raids Philips Germany HQ
Officials from the German public prosecution department on Tuesday raided the Hamburg headquarters of Dutch electronics giant Philips looking for evidence in a bribery case.

Public prosecutor to appeal against 'no ID card' on Sabbat ruling
The public prosecution department is to appeal against a lower court ruling which said a Jewish man was within his rights not to carry an ID card on the Sabbat because it was against his religion.

Number of smokers drops to 25%
Some 25% of the Dutch adult population currently smokes, a drop of 3% on the total over the past few years, according to anti-smoking lobby group Stivoro.

Jumbo cleared to take over C1000 stores
Family-owned supermarket group Jumbo has been cleared by the cartel watchdog NMa to take over some 400 C1000 stores, if it sells 18 where competition could be affected.

Mitsubishi to help find Nedcar buyer
Japanese car firm Mitsubishi is to spend the next three months working closely with the economic affairs ministry to try to find a buyer for the Nedcar car plant in Limburg, the ministry said on Wednesday.

Skiing partner visits injured prince
The friend out skiing with Dutch prince Johan Friso when he was hit by an avalanche last Friday has visited the prince in hospital. Friso remains on the critical list.

Dolphin activist found not guilty in Japan
A Dutch environmental activist has been found not guilty of manhandling a dolphin hunter in Japan, after spending 60 days in prison.

Amsterdam removed 55,000 'wrongly-parked' bikes in 2011
Last year, Amsterdam council officials took away a record 55,000 bikes which had been wrongly parked, local broadcaster AT5 reports. In 2010, 33,000 bikes were removed.

Visits to psychiatrists drop by up to 25% since €200 fee introduced
The number of people visiting a psychiatrist has dropped by up to 25% since the government introduced a €200 fee for all patients, Trouw and the Parool report.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

MPs say Labour party at large should choose new leader
The 30 Labour members of parliament decided on Tuesday to leave it up to the wider party membership to choose a new leader following the resignation of Job Cohen.

As The World Turns ends in Holland
Dutch television will on Tuesday broadcast the final episode of American soap opera As The World Turns, 22 years after it began transmitting the show.

Goose flesh goes to the food bank
Food banks, where people on minimum incomes can pick up free supplies, are to be given some of the geese shot around Schiphol to prevent 'bird strikes' which can bring down airplanes.

ING, Rabobank still have huge Greek debts
ING Bank had €300m in Greek debt on its books at the end of 2011, having paid off nearly €1bn, a spokesman told the press on Tuesday.

KPN cuts senior staff annual bonuses
Telecom company KPN reduced bonuses to its board members sharply in 2011, according to its annual report presented on Tuesday.

Fewer women have top jobs in the Netherlands
There are few women in top jobs in the Netherlands compared with the rest of Europe, research by Bureau Mercer shows.

TNT Express to shed jobs in cost saving programme
Express mail company TNT Express on Tuesday announced job losses and a cost saving programme of €150m to be completed by the end of 2013.

TNT Express posts net loss in fourth quarter
Express mail firm TNT Express on Tuesday reported a net loss of €173m in the last quarter of 2011, mainly due to persistent problems in Europe and Latin America.

Dutch professor combats malaria with sweaty feet
The sweaty feet of 48 Dutch men are central to efforts to find a way to reduce malaria, which kills 1.2 million people every year, Trouw reports on Tuesday.

Shell top man warns Brussels on flood of regulations
Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has warned the European Commission that Europe's competitiveness will be 'paralysed' by the flood of new financial regulations currently being introduced.

European Poles call for action on PVV website
The union of Polish communities in Europe (EUWP) has written to prime minister Mark Rutte urging him to distance himself from a website set up by the government’s PVV alliance partner to collect complaints about central and eastern Europeans.

Labour leadership: Samsom, Timmermans favourite to replace Cohen
Labour MPs Diederik Samsom and Frans Timmermans are the current favourites to take over as leader of the parliamentary party, following the resignation of Job Cohen on Monday afternoon.

Rutte, 11 other EU leaders call for action on growth and jobs
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is one of 12 European leaders to sign an open letter to the European Commission calling for more effort to be made to stimulate economic growth.

Greece bail-out agreed; default avoided for now, says De Jager
Eurozone finance ministers have reached a deal on a second Greece bail-out after all-night talks, including Dutch finance minister Jan Kees de Jager's demand for strengthened monitoring of Greece's compliance.

Monday 20 February 2012

Labour leader Job Cohen stands down and quits parliament
Labour leader Job Cohen is standing down as both head of the parliamentary party and as an MP with immediate effect, the PvdA announced on Monday afternoon.

TNT Express shoots up in price as takeover war looms
Shares in Dutch express mail firm TNT Express rose 50% when the Amsterdam stock exchange opened on Monday, following UPS' offer for the company on Friday.

Pension crisis: 7.5 million face lower payments, says central bank
Some 7.5 million Dutch people face a lower pension than they expected unless their pension funds manage to bolster their assets by the end of this year, the central bank said on Monday.

Dutch stem cell hamburger ready to grill this autumn
Dutch scientists expect to be able to grill their first hamburger using meat grown in a laboratory this autumn, the professor in charge of the project, Mark Post, told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this weekend.

Companies reluctant to help out troubled pension funds: FD
Companies and sector organisations are reluctant to put extra money into pension funds if there is a risk pay-outs need to be cut, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Monday.

Bookshops in Amsterdam, Maastricht in top 20 'most beautiful' list
The American Book Center in Amstedam and Selexyz in Maastricht are included in a listing of the 20 most beautiful book shops in the world by US cultural website Flavorwire.com.

NS bid 20% more than rivals when it won British franchise
Dutch state rail company offered 20% more than its rivals when it won the concession to operate services in eastern England last year, the Financial Times reports on Monday.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Tension mounts in premier division after PSV, AZ lose
Dutch premier league leader PSV was beaten 3-0 by mid-placed FC Groningen in this weekend’s football action.

Carnaval celebrations pass off peacefully
Tens of thousands of people celebrated Carnaval (carnival) in the Netherlands this weekend, in the run up to the start of Lent.

Prince still in a critical condition
It may take as long as the end of the coming week before doctors can give a firm prognosis about prince Johan Friso’s chances of survival after being hit by an avalanche while skiing in Austria on Friday.

Allround speed skating titles for Sven Kramer and Ireen Wüst
Sven Kramer took his fifth world allround speed skating title in Moscow on Sunday, making him the most successful Dutch speed skater ever.

Politicians call for boycott of Dutch products in website protest
A Polish and Romanian member of the European parliament have called on people in central and eastern Europe to boycott Dutch products in protest at the government’s refusal to condemn what they say is a discriminatory website.

Poles say the PVV website is discriminatory
Some 85% of 540 Polish nationals questioned about a complaints website set up by the anti-immigration PVV think it is discriminatory, Trouw reports at the weekend.

Anti-Pole website boosts PVV fortunes, Labour slide continues
A website set up by the anti-immigration PVV where people can list problems they've experienced with central and eastern European nationals, appears to have boosted the party's popularity, according to the latest Maurice de Hond opinion poll.

Prince Friso still in a critical condition, new statement later today
Prince Friso, the second son of queen Beatrix who was caught in an avalanche while skiing in Austria on Friday, remains in a critical condition in hospital on Sunday.

Saturday 18 February 2012

Orthodox Jew cleared of failing to carry ID, because it was Saturday
An orthodox Jew has been found not guilty of failing to produce an ID card because it was against his religious principles to carry any object on Saturday – the Jewish sabbat - the Telegraaf reports.

No change in prince Friso's condition, royals arrive at hospital
Prince Johan Friso of the Netherlands, second son of queen Beatrix, remains in a very serious condition in an Austrian hospital after being hit by an avalanche while skiing on Friday.

Friday 17 February 2012

Prince Friso fights for his life after being hit by avalanche
Prince Friso of the Netherlands, second son of queen Beatrix, is fighting for his life in an Austrian hospital after being hit by an avalanche while skiing.

Prince Friso critically ill after being hit by avalanche while skiing
Prince Friso, the second son of queen Beatrix, is critically ill in hospital after being caught up in an avalanche while on a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria.

Archbishop supports smaller church with strong Catholic identity
Utrecht archbishop Wim Eijk would rather have a small church which sticks to Catholic principles than a mass organisation, he told Nos television on the eve of his appointment as a cardinal by the pope in Rome.

Dog with rabies put down in Amsterdam
Health officials in Amsterdam have tracked down at least 50 people who have been in contact with a puppy found to have rabies, news agency ANP reported on Friday.

All schools must teach about homosexuality, cabinet decides
All primary and secondary schools are to be required to provide pupils with information about homosexuality, ministers agreed at their Friday cabinet meeting.

Cabinet keeps immigration figures artificially high, claims MP
The cabinet is exaggerating the number of migrants coming to the Netherlands by including children born here in the figures, GroenLinks MP Tofik Dibi said on Monday.

More pension funds will have to cut pay-outs next year
At least 20 more pension funds may have to cut pay-outs in 2013, unless the economy improves, according to research by Nos television on Friday.

Brothers get community service for insulting gay neighbours
Two brothers have been given 24 hours community service and ordered to each pay €250 in compensation for making insulting remarks to their gay neighbours, the Telegraaf reports on Friday

Labour leader asserts himself, but is the party divided about strategy?
There is no question of deep divisions within the parliamentary Labour party about strategy and the leadership issue, party leader Job Cohen told reporters on Thursday evening.

House sales down 15.4% in January
The number of homes changing hands in January fell by 15.4% compared with the year-earlier period, according to new figures from the land registry office. Apartments were hardest hit, with 21% fewer sales.

Pharmacies don't keep patient information safe from hackers
Private information about patients is 'there for the taking' at some Dutch pharmacies, according to a new report by the privacy watchdog CBP, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Fundamentalist Christians complicate search for more cuts
The minority cabinet's hunt for more spending cuts has been complicated by the fundamentalist Christian SGP, which will not accept any more reductions in spending on aid, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

No grounds to ban Islamic law expert, says minister
There are no legal grounds to ban a British-Palestinian expert in Sharia law from coming to the Netherlands to give a speech, justice minister Ivo Opstelten told MPs on Thursday night.

Schiphol airport boosts turnover, despite downturn
Amsterdam's Schiphol airport booked net profit of €194m last year, compared with €169m in 2010, the local-authority owned enterprise said on Friday.

Aegon profit halves in 2011
Insurance group Aegon booked net profit of €872m in 2011, down some 50% on 2010. Lower share prices and interest rates pressured earnings in what CEO Alex Wynaendts said was 'a challenging year'.

Manchester United beats Ajax, Twente, AZ and PSV win
There were mixed fortunes for Dutch clubs in the first leg of the round of 32 in the Europa League on Thursday night.

Fraudster steals €37m from ING in Australia
Dutch financial services group ING suffered a A$30 million loss after being defrauded by a Sydney accountant who went on a wild shopping spree, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Japan releases Dutch environmental activist
A Dutch environmental activist, arrested in Japan two months ago after trying to photograph dolphins being transported, has been released from jail pending a verdict in his trial for physical abuse.

Lottery to be scrapped for medical students, fixed places remain
All students who want to study medicine will be allocated a place on the basis of their school exam results and motivation, rather than through a lottery, if health minister Edith Schippers has her way.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Divided railway system 'should work more closely together'
Passenger services company NS and track operator ProRail should work more closely together with better work planning and reporting systems, according to a highly critical report on the railway system.

Labour 'divided' over new course
Labour MPs are divided over the future direction of the party following an interview with leader Job Cohen and party chairman Hans Spekman in Thursday's Trouw, various media report on Thursday evening.

Art traders under investigation for price-fixing
The Dutch competition authority NMa has launched an investigation into art traders suspected of price-fixing, news agency ANP reports on Thursday.

Brussels wants farm money back from the Netherlands
Brussels has asked the Netherlands to repay €14.6m in farm subsidies because the money was wrongly spent.

Last-ditch talks on flooding Hedwige polder
The Netherlands is making a last-ditch effort to persuade the European Commission not to force it to flood a piece of reclaimed land in Zeeland.

Dutch population grew by 70,000 last year
The Dutch population reached 16.7 million in January 2012, an increase of 70,000 on 2011, as more EU citizens moved to the Netherlands, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.

Wilders will consider mortgage reform in return for aid cuts
Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-Islam party PVV and alliance partner with the current minority cabinet, will consider agreeing to housing market reforms if the Christian Democrats sanction 'hefty' cuts in aid spending.

European parliament to debate Wilders' anti-Pole website
The European parliament is to debate the website set up by the Dutch government's alliance partner, the anti-immigration PVV, to collect complaints about central and eastern European nationals in the Netherlands.

Unemployment rate reaches 6%
The Dutch jobless total rose to 474,000 people, or 6% of the workforce, in January, according to the national statistics office CBS on Thursday. The rise was highest among youngsters.

'Workers should have the right to flexi-time, home offices': MPs
Christian Democrat and GroenLinks MPs have published draft legislation which would give employees the right to work flexible hours and to work more from home, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday.

'Serious interest' in taking over Nedcar operations
A number of parties have come forward as potential buyers of the Nedcar car-making plant in Limburg, which is set for closure next year, economic minister Maxime Verhagen told MPs on Wednesday evening.

Amsterdam's mayor wants action on football hooligans
Amsterdam's mayor Eberhard van der Laan wants changes in the rules on foreign fans at international football matches, following the arrest of 76 Ajax supporters in the capital on Wednesday night.

VU university cancels Islam debate
Amsterdam's VU University has cancelled a symposium due to be attended by a controversial British-Palestinian Islamic law expert following protests from MPs and Jewish groups.

Economic downturn, raw material costs hit Akzo Nobel
Paint and coatings maker Akzo Nobel booked a 5% increase in turnover in the final quarter of last year, largely due to higher prices.

Minister considers increasing low value-added tax rate to 8%
Junior finance minister Frans Weekers is looking into the likely effects of an increase in the low value-added tax rate from 6% to 8%, news agency ANP reports on Thursday.

ABN Amro to close 160 branches: Telegraaf
Nationalised bank ABN Amro is planning to close around 160 of its 460 branches by 2015, and 60 are scheduled to shut down this year, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Dutch, other EU ambassadors called to explain Iran sanctions
The Dutch ambassador in Teheran is one of six European diplomats summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry on Wednesday to explain their government’s actions in connection with the EU’s planned sanctions against Iran.

Fortis executives did mislead investors over solvency, rules court
The former CEO and finance chief of financial services group Fortis did mislead investors in 2008 by giving them wrong information about the bank's solvency, a court in Utrecht ruled on Wednesday.

Amsterdam council backs 24/7 shopping
A majority of Amsterdam city councillors have backed calls to designate some shopping areas in the city 24-hour opening times.

It's official: the Netherlands is in recession, says statistics agency
The Dutch economy contracted 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2011, putting the country officially into recession, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday.

MPs call for British Islamic scholar to be banned from VU debate
An British expert in Islamic law who has reportedly described Jews as 'the enemies of God, and the descendants of apes and pigs' should be banned from the Netherlands, MPs said on Wednesday.

Pressure mounts on VU university over Islamic academic
An British expert in Islamic law who has reportedly described Jews as 'the enemies of God, and the descendants of apes and pigs' should be banned from the Netherlands, ChristenUnie MPs said on Tuesday.

ABN Amro to cut jobs at clearing arm
Publically-owned bank ABN Amro may cut up to 60 full-time jobs in a shake-up of its clearing operations, news agency Bloomberg reports.

ING gets green light to sell US internet savings bank
Financial services company ING has been given the green light to sell its US internet savings bank ING Direct USA by the US authorities.

Fewer school leavers have no qualifications
The number of teenagers leaving school with no qualifications has almost halved over the past 10 years - from 71,000 in 2002 to 38,600 last year, according to new education ministry figures.

Top Dutch student city is Amsterdam - in 36th place in the world
Amsterdam is the highest ranked student city in the Netherlands, but the Dutch capital comes just 36th in a new global ranking of the world's best places to study.

More local councils in financial difficulties
Some 25 of the Netherlands' 400 plus local authority areas may come under the extra supervision of their provincial government because of losses incurred on land sales, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday.

Over 400 stolen works by Dutch artist Karel Appel found in Britain
Over 400 works of art by celebrated Dutch 20th century expressionist painter Karel Appel have been discovered in a warehouse in Britain, a decade after they disappeared, the Guardian reports.

Alliance leaders plan three weeks of talks on new budget cuts
The leaders of the three parties which make up the current ruling alliance have planned at least three weeks for talks on new budget cuts to meet eurozone rules, according to media reports on Wednesday.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Prime minister under fire in parliament over PVV website
Prime minister Mark Rutte came under fire in parliament on Tuesday for his refusal to comment on a website set up by its government alliance partner, the anti-immigration PVV, which calls on people to report problems caused by central and eastern Europeans.

Extra safety measures in Amsterdam for Europa League duel
Amsterdam is taking extra safety measures for the Europa League duel between Ajax and Manchester United on Thursday.

André Kuipers stays in space for another six weeks
André Kuipers will stay on the international space station ISS for six weeks longer than expected, and return to earth on July 1, the astronaut writes on his blog.

Internet is a powerful catalyst for jihad: Dutch security service
The internet has become a powerful catalyst for international violent jihad, according to a new report from the Dutch security service AIVD.

MPs worried about internet freedom
The government should not ratify the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which will combat online piracy, because it could limit the freedom of the internet, a majority of MPs said on Tuesday.

Nursing homes overcharge frail elderly for laundry: Nibud
Nursing homes are charging their frail elderly patients up to €110 a month to do their washing, according to calculations by family spending institute Nibud.

Employers do not want older workers
The days of long-term permanent jobs are over and employers are not enthusiastic about retaining staff once they reach 65, according to a report published on Tuesday by the government's social policy advisor SCP.

Calls to crime hot-line have risen
Calls to the anonymous crime hot-line M increased by 13% in 2011, to 13,350 tips. This resulted in 1,600 arrests, the M foundation announced on Tuesday.

Opta gets telling off from Brussels
Telecom watchdog Opta was rapped over the knuckles on Tuesday by the European Commission for its pricing policy on calls made between different networks.

Transavia focuses on Eindhoven airport
KLM's charter subsidiary Transavia is launching four new destinations from Eindhoven airport this week, where work has just started on a new terminal building.

Cinemas see strong growth
An increasing number of people are making more frequent visits to the cinema, free-sheet De Pers reports on Tuesday.

Police unions send minister an ultimatum over pay
Police unions are threatening to take industrial action unless justice minister Ivo Opstelten finds a way of meeting their pay demands, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday.

Nutritionists pay the price of health care cuts
Seriously ill people with eating disorders are no longer visiting a nutritionist since changes to the basic health package mean they have to pay for this themselves, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday.

Dutch documentary wins prestigious award
The Dutch documentary Justice for Sergei won the Justice prize awarded by the Cinema for Peace organisation during a gala evening held in Berlin on Monday evening.

Bomb threat man is a Russian
The man who caused chaos at Schiphol airport on Monday is a 40-year-old Russian, say airport police. He has no identification papers and communicating with him is difficult so his motivation for the disruption remains unclear.

Pressure mounts on prime minister over 'problem with Poles' website
Pressure is mounting on prime minister Mark Rutte to make a formal statement about a website set up by the government's alliance partner, the anti-immigration PVV, which calls on people to report complaints about central and eastern Europeans.

Dutch stay at home for spring holiday
Fewer people will be travelling abroad during the spring holiday this year, the Netherlands Tourism Agency (NBT) said on Tuesday.

Train services back to normal
Trains will be back to normal on Wednesday, Dutch Rail (NS) announced on Tuesday. With the end of the cold snap, the winter timetable is no longer necessary.

Monday 13 February 2012

Prime minister again refuses to comment on anti-Pole website
Prime minister Mark Rutte on Monday again refused to comment on a website set up by the government's alliance partner PVV calling for people to report problems caused by central and eastern Europeans.

'Marco van Basten to coach Heerenveen'
Former Dutch international Marco van Basten is about to be named new coach of FC Heerenveen, the Leeuwarder Courant newspaper reports on Monday.

KPN apologies for email stoppage, ups investment in technology
Telecoms giant KPN has offered ‘two million’ apologies to clients who were unable to access their email accounts on Friday and Saturday because of the cyber attack.

Defence minister accepts resistance to expanding Afghan mission
Defence minister Hans Hillen has accepted that there is not majority support in parliament for expanding the current police training mission in Afghanistan, news agency ANP reported on Monday afternoon.

36 online retailers suspended by trade association last year
The organisation which operates the online shopping guarantee scheme Thuiswinkel.nl expelled 36 members last year because their security was not in order or they did not meet official regulations.

Man arrested at Schiphol airport after making bomb threat
A man has been arrested at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport after making a bomb threat which led to two terminals being cleared, the Telegraaf reported on Monday afternoon.

Special civil service job contracts under fire
The cabinet wants to end the special status for civil servants which allows them to refuse to be placed in a new department or moved from national to local government, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Monday.

Ambassadors protest at PVV's anti-eastern European website
The ambassadors of 10 central and eastern European countries have sent an open letter to political party leaders protesting about a website set up by the anti-immigration PVV to collect complaints about their nationals.

Thousands of young teachers set to lose their jobs as cuts bite
Thousands of primary school teachers, many at the beginning of their careers, are set to lose their jobs because of government spending cuts, according to the teacher training council in Monday's Volkskrant.

Black ice warning on many roads
Motorists in the south of the country have been warned of black ice on the roads as the thaw sets in following the big freeze.

Friday 10 February 2012

PVV anti-Pole website is an 'open call to intolerance': Brussels
A website set up by the anti-immigration PVV to report problems with central and eastern Europeans in the Netherlands is an ‘open call to intolerance’, Europe’s justice commissioner Viviane Reding said on Friday evening.

The Netherlands takes to its skates
The Dutch will take to their skates en masse this weekend as the big freeze enters its last days. Dozens of official routes have been opened up across the country's lakes and waterways.

CDA wants reforms as well as cuts
The Christian Democrats will not agree to more cuts in government spending without reforms to healthcare, the housing market and employment legislation, deputy prime minister Maxime Verhagen says in an interview with the Telegraaf, due to be published on Saturday.

World Press Photo winner 'represents the Arab Spring'
Spanish photographer Samuel Aranda has won this year's main World Press Photo award for his picture of a woman swathed in black, holding a member of her family who had been injured during protests in Yemen.

Reduced rail services to continue until weather stabilises
Dutch Rail will continue to operate reduced services for the foreseeable future in an effort to avoid any more weather-created problems, passenger service company NS and rail operator ProRail said on Friday.

VVD stalwart Ed Nijpels says his party is moving too close to the PVV
VVD party stalwart Ed Nijpels thinks his party is drifting too far in the direction of the anti-Islam PVV and creating a 'graveyard of unfulfilled promises', he says in an interview with Friday's AD.

Trouble with Limburgers or Belgians? Complaint websites spring up
The decision by the PVV to set up a website where people can report problems with central and eastern Europeans has spawned a flood of other websites poking fun at the anti-immigration party's project.

Strike at Nedcar over Mitsubishi pull-out
Workers at the Nedcar car-making plant in Born went on strike on Friday in protest at plans by Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi to pull out, Nos television reports.

Competition authority criticises insurance comparison site
Most websites which compare savings schemes and travel insurance contain misleading or wrong information and many are unclear about their funding or ownership structure, the Dutch competition authority NMa said on Friday.

Railways should change timetables before snow starts: minister
Passenger transport group NS and track service company ProRail should take action to combat the effects of wintry weather as soon as weather forecasters say the snow is on its way, transport minister Melanie Schultz told MPs on Thursday.

GroenLinks to block expanding Afghan police training mission
Left-wing green party GroenLinks will not support the government in expanding the current police training mission in northern Afghanistan to cover border police, the Volkskrant reports on Friday.

Prime minister refuses to comment on PVV's anti-Pole website
Prime minister Mark Rutte has refused to comment on a website set up by the anti-immigration PVV to record complaints about central and eastern Europeans in the Netherlands, the Telegraaf reports on Friday.

Thursday 09 February 2012

Employers leader urges cabinet to distance itself from anti-Pole website
The government should distance itself from a website set up by the anti-immigration PVV to record complaints about central and eastern Europeans in the Netherlands, employers' chief Bernard Wientjes said on Thursday.

All change at Ajax as supervisory board and others step down
The supervisory board at Amsterdam football club Ajax resigned on Thursday, ahead of a crucial shareholders meeting and just days after Johan Cruijff won a court case against the club

Journalists not guilty of infringing Nazi war criminal's privacy
A court in Germany has found two Dutch journalists not guilty of infringing the privacy of convicted Nazi war criminal Heinrich Boere by filming him using a secret camera.

Government agrees to Amsterdam ring road tunnel
Transport minister Melanie Schultz has agreed to invest nearly one billion euros into putting one kilometre of the Amsterdam ring road underground.

Stagnation in company start-ups
Some 123,500 people started a new company in the Netherlands last year, a marginal increase on 2010, according to ING economists on Thursday.

Inflation reaches 2.5% in January, or 2.9% according to EU figures
The Dutch annual rate of inflation reached 2.5% in January, up slightly on the December figure, the national statistics office CBS said on Thursday.

New animal virus hits 96 farms
The number of farms affected by a virus which causes sheep and cows to give birth to dead or deformed offspring has reached 96, farm minister Henk Bleker wrote in a briefing to MPs on Thursday.

No 11-city skating race: ice is not good enough, say organisers
Hopes that the first 200 km 11-city ice skating race in 15 years will take place this weekend were dashed on Wednesday evening, when the organisers said the ice is still too thin.

We need a pay and benefit freeze for all, says employers leader
It is high time there was a national agreement on an across-the-board pay freeze, employers’ leader Bernard Wientjes says in a letter in Thursday’s Trouw.

First-time buyers are key to housing market recovery: EIB
Attracting first-time buyers back into the housing market is key to the recovery, according to a new report from the construction sector's economic institute EIB.

Collector pays €2,100 for first edition Suske en Wiske
A Dutch collector has paid €2,100 via an online auction for a first edition comic featuring the popular Belgian cartoon duo Suske and Wiske.

Romania, Bulgaria improve on corruption but not enough: minister
Romania and Bulgaria have taken steps to reduce corruption but have not done enough to be able to join the EU's Schengen open border area, the Netherlands said on Wednesday.

Telecom firm KPN targeted by hackers
Telecoms firm KPN was targeted by hackers last month, who managed to break into the company's computer systems and access confidential private and corporate client details, Nos radio reports.

Missing jewels worth €7m turn up in hotel cleaner's cupboard
Five years after they disappeared, jewels belonging to the wife of the former US ambassador to the Netherlands have turned up in the home of a hotel cleaner in The Hague.

Romania wants action on PVV website
The Romanian ministry of foreign affairs wants the Dutch authorities to take action against a PVV website asking people to report problems caused by central and eastern Europeans.

Despite the downturn, more foreign firms locate in the Netherlands
A record 193 foreign firms established new operations or expanded existing ones in the Netherlands last year, creating over 4,300 jobs, according to new figures from the Netherlands’ Foreign Investment Agency.

Wednesday 08 February 2012

Hospitals to get green light to pay dividends to private investors
Health minister Edith Schippers will tomorrow submit draft legislation to parliament allowing hospitals to pay dividends to private sector investors, the NRC reported on Wednesday.

Kroes says her words on Greece were 'wrongly interpreted'
Neelie Kroes' comments on an eventual Greek departure from the eurozone in the Volkskrant newspaper were wrongly interpreted, according to an EU commission spokeswoman on Wednesday.

Weekend car crash claims more lives
Two more people have died of their injuries following a collision between two cars on the A35 near Bornerbroek on Sunday night.

Poor ice growth on Tuesday night, 11-city race in doubt
Reports of poor ice growth in Friesland on Tuesday evening dominate the news websites on Wednesday, but Elfstedentocht skating fever continues apace.

New Shell workers to get 'individual' pension scheme from 2013
Oil giant Shell plans to exclude new workers from its current final salary pension scheme from next year, and set up 'defined contribution' pensions for them instead, the NRC reports.

Dutch ambassador in Pretoria told to 'unlike' anti-PVV site
The Dutch ambassador in Pretoria, South Africa, has been told to 'unlike' a Facebook link to a website page entitled 'no government supported by the PVV', foreign minister Uri Rosenthal told MPs on Tuesday evening.

The Netherlands recalls ambassador from Syria
The Netherlands has recalled its ambassador from Syria for consultation about the security situation. In addition, the Syrian ambassador in The Hague has been called to the foreign ministry for talks, website nu.nl reports.

Job applicants still lie about their salaries
Almost 40% of people being interviewed for a new job lie about their current salary, but in 2008, over half the applicants did not tell the truth, according to research by website Nationale Vacaturebank.nl.

Shareholder lobby takes Deloitte to court over 2003 Ahold accounts fraud
The shareholders' lobby group VEB is taking legal action against accountancy group Deloitte and 178 of its partners over the 2003 Ahold book-keeping fraud.

Plastic pipe maker Wavin taken over by Mexichem for €530m
Mexican plastic pipe maker Mexichem is buying Zwolle-based Wavin for €530m - or €10.50 per share. The deal has board approval.

Van Gogh painting raises €16m
A painting by Vincent van Gogh which was owned by the late actress Elizabeth Taylor has sold at auction in London for €16m.

Problems with Poles? Report them to us, says new PVV website
Geert Wilders' anti-immigration PVV party has launched a new website where people can report complaints about central and eastern European immigrants in the Netherlands.

Tuesday 07 February 2012

Amsterdam to toughen approach to problematic EU migration
Amsterdam city council is to improve its registration of immigrants, take further steps to tackle sub-letting and other illegal housing practices and get tougher on crime, in an effort to remove problems associated particularly with immigration from central and eastern Europe.

Natural ice is ready for classic events
Whether the 11-city skating race, the Elfstedentocht, goes ahead or not, several traditional outdoor races have been given the go-ahead. And the salt water of the Waddenzee is frozen, allowing people to walk across it.

False bomb alert at Islamic primary school
An Islamic primary school in the Kralingen-Crooswijk area of Rotterdam was cleared of pupils and staff on Tuesday morning after a woman left a bag in the building.

Greek bankruptcy less likely to contaminate eurozone: minister
While it would be preferable for Greece to remain within the Eurozone, enough measures have been taken that ‘we could deal with such a departure’, prime minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday.

Court rules in favour of Cruijff in Ajax appointments row
The controversial appointment of Louis van Gaal as general director of Ajax and Martin Sturkenboom as interim director was halted by Amsterdam’s appeal court on Tuesday.

Hospitals want more money from health insurers
A number of hospitals and clinics are asking for more money from health insurers than they have available, Achmea, the country's largest health insurer, said on Tuesday.

Imtech does better than expected in 2011
Gouda-based engineering group Imtech announced better than expected results on Tuesday, with turnover up 14% to €5.1bn and net profit up 7% to €150.4m.

Libya must be friends with Israel, says Dutch foreign minister
The new Libyan government will have to invest in a good relationship with Israel if it wants to become accepted into the international community, foreign minister Uri Rosenthal told website nu.nl, in response to readers’ questions.

Lottery money helps cultural organisations
Dozens of museums, castles and monuments received money on Monday night when the BankGiro lottery divided up €64m among 58 cultural organisations.

Property fund Wereldhave to sell US portfolio
Wereldhave is to fully focus on investing in shopping centres and offices in western Europe and is selling its US operations, the Dutch property fund said in a statement on Tuesday.

Primary school pupils start three days of tests
Some 162,000 children in their final year of primary school will start three days of nationwide tests on Tuesday.

Skating race fever continues despite forecasts of milder weather
Expectations of an Elfstedentocht, the famous Frisian 11-city skating race, have sent sales of skates, hot chocolate, pea soup and the distilled Frisian drink Berenburg rocketing, reports the Telegraaf.

Council of State renews criticism of burqa ban
The government’s highest advisory body, the Council of State, has again criticised the cabinet’s plans to introduce a ban on the burqa, the NRC reports.

Dutchman pleads guilty to breaking US sanctions law
A Dutch businessman has pleaded guilty to a US court to charges of illegally transporting American goods to Iran, the New Jersey public prosecutor announced on Monday.

'The euro will be fine without the Greeks': Neelie Kroes
Greece can leave the eurozone without damaging monetary union, European digital affairs commissioner Neelie Kroes says in an interview with the Volkskrant on Tuesday.

Railways will remain 'vulnerable' in wintry weather: minister
The Dutch railway will remain 'vulnerable' during wintry weather but Dutch Rail (NS) and track operator ProRail did not help matters during the current cold snap by the late introduction of schedule adjustments to cope with the conditions, transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told parliament in a briefing on Tuesday.

Monday 06 February 2012

'Cautious' optimism about 11-city skating race, but will it thaw?
There is a ‘cautious chance’ that the famous Frisian 11-city skating race or Elfstedentocht will be held in the current cold snap, Wiebe Wieling, chairman of the race association, told a news conference on Monday morning.

Minister pledges to do all he can as Mitsubishi pulls out of Holland
Economic affairs minister Maxime Verhagen is hunting for potential buyers to take over the Nedcar car-making plant in Limburg, following the news Mitsubishi is to stop production next year.

No evidence of fraud with degrees at Amsterdam's hbo college
There is no evidence that degrees have been wrongly awarded to students at Amsterdam's hbo college, education ministry inspectors said on Monday.

Exports account for 29% of Dutch annual GDP
The net value of Dutch exports accounts for 29% of annual gross domestic product, while their total value adds up to 69% of GDP, according to new calculations from the national statistics office CBS.

Dutch central bank opposes financial transaction tax plan
The Dutch central bank is opposed to the introduction of a tax on financial transactions, as proposed by the European Commission last year. The plan is also backed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Explosives found in dead boy's home
Police have found explosives in the parental home of a 17-year-old boy found dead on a roadside in the Drenthe village of Nieuweroord, local broadcaster RTV Drenthe reports.

Four killed in car crash
Three children and a 40-year-old man were killed in a car crash on the A53 near Almelo on Sunday evening, the AD reports.

Support grows for child refugee amnesty
At least 25 local councils, including Eindhoven, Amsterdam and Utrecht, have thrown their weight behind a campaign to win residency permits for refugee children.

Blue tax office envelopes set to be phased out
The tax office is looking into phasing out its traditional blue envelope and moving to digital post, the Volkskrant reports on Monday.

'Cautious chance' that 200km skating race will be held
There is a ‘cautious chance’ that the famous Frisian 11-city skating race or Elfstedentocht will be held in the current cold snap, Wiebe Wieling, chairman of the race association, told a news conference on Monday morning.

Mitsubishi to pull out of Europe, 1,500 jobs threatened in Limburg
Japanese car maker Mitsubishi Motors is stopping all production in Europe next year, including the building of cars at the Nedcar plant in Born, where 1,500 people work.

Sunday 05 February 2012

Reduced rail services continue; its not our fault, says NS chief
Dutch Rail (NS) will operate reduced intercity services in much of the country on Sunday and Monday as efforts to reduce the effect of the cold weather on rail services continue

Saturday 04 February 2012

Railway chaos continues
The wintry weather continued to cause problems on the railways on Saturday and transport minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen was urged by rail users organisations to fine Dutch Rail (NS) for failing to provide a proper service.

At least two skaters killed in ice accidents as big freeze continues
At least two Dutch skaters are so far reported killed after falling through the ice, despite warnings to skating fanatics to avoid open stretches and keep to shallow lakes and canals.

The big freeze continues, -22.9 Celsius in Markenesse
A temperature of as low as -22.9 Celsius was recorded in the village of Markenesse in Flevoland, east of Amsterdam on Friday night, the Telegraaf reports on Saturday. That is the coldest it has been in the Netherlands since the turn of the century, the paper says.

Friday 03 February 2012

No trains in Utrecht and Amsterdam as snow chaos continues
The heavy snow in the Netherlands on Friday led to chaos on the roads and serious disruption to train services, with no rush hour trains to and from Utrecht and Amsterdam. Elsewhere there were far fewer trains than normal.

The Netherlands needs migrant workers, say employers
The Netherlands needs migrant workers in order to ensure the labour market works properly and companies continue to grow, Dutch employers organisations say in a new brochure.

Skaters rescued as unreliable ice gives way
At least 10 people have been rescued after sinking through the ice on the Ankeveense lakes near Hilversum, local paper Gooi- en Eemlander reports.

Cycle lane signs can be deadly
Posts and poles designed to stop cars using cycle lanes are a major cause of bike accidents, according to researchers at Groningen University.

Snow causes major traffic problems, trains and planes cancelled
Heavy snow over much of the country on Friday caused serious disruption on the roads and led Dutch Rail (NS) to adapt train services. Some flights from Schiphol airport were also delayed.

Former judges face prosecution over Schiphol land deal
Two former court judges are to be prosecuted for perjury and conflict of interests in connection with the sale of land around Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, the NRC reports on Friday.

Leers gets tough on 'criminal foreigners'
Immigrants convicted of a crime and given a sentence of at least one night in jail or youth detention within one year of their arrival in the Netherlands will be stripped of their residency permits, if new immigration rules become law.

Douglas will not play for Oranje at European championships
Twente defender Douglas Franco Teixeira, who gave up his Brazillian nationality to become Dutch last year, will not turn out for the Netherlands at this year's European football championships.

Rising healthcare costs don't lead to economising on insurance
The rising cost of health insurance has not prompted people to look for cheaper alternatives or cut down on their cover, according to research by broadcaster Nos.

Immigrant youth more likely to have police contact: SCP
A new report by the government's socio-cultural policy unit SCP paints a disturbing picture of the position of immigrant youngsters in Dutch society, according to television news companies which have seen a leaked copy.

Average retirement age rises to 63
The average retirement age in the Netherlands has gone up 'spectacularly' since 2006 and is now around 63, home affairs minister Henk Kamp has told MPs.

Dutch Cup semi finals: AZ-Heracles, PSV-Heerenveen
The line-up for the semi-finals of this season's Dutch Cup competition is completely different to that of last year, Nos television points out on Friday.

Commercial property may trigger new financial crisis: central bank
The Netherlands may be hit by a third financial crisis, this time caused by problems in the property sector, the Dutch central bank's regulatory chief Jan Sijbrand says in Friday's Financieele Dagblad.

Severe weather warning for western provinces, heavy snow forecast
The KNMI weather bureau on Friday issued a code orange severe weather warning for western provinces saying heavy snow is on its way.

Thursday 02 February 2012

Rents to rise 2.3%, in line with inflation
Landlords will be able to put up rents 2.3% - in line with inflation - this year, but some tenants will face rises of 7.3%, according to the home affairs ministry.

Minister talks to drinks industry about warning for pregnant women
Health minister Edith Schippers is to talk to the drinks industry to discuss adding a warning to pregnant women on the labels of alcoholic drinks.

MPs want to classify sex with minors as rape
A majority of MPs back a change in the law to always treat sex with a child under the age of 12 as rape, according to media reports.

The Netherlands told to cut budget deficit to monetary union limits
The Netherlands has been told by the EU’s finance chief in Brussels to reduce its budget deficit to below 3% next year, Nos television reported on Thursday.

The big freeze drives up gas use
Some 519 million cubic metres of gas were pumped through the Netherlands' pipelines on Tuesday, a 15-year high, natural gas company Gasunie said on Thursday.

First outdoor ice route on Sunday
The first organised skating route over natural ice will be set up on the Blokzijler lake in Overijssel province on Sunday, local newspaper Stentor said on Thursday.

Wilders angry at German ‘right-wing populist’ label
PVV leader Geert Wilders has demanded the German ambassador explain why he and the anti-islam party are mentioned in a 32-page leaflet warning of the dangers posed by far-right political groupings.

Suspension lifted for Amsterdam's chief rabbi
Amsterdam's orthodox Jewish community has reinstated chief rabbi Aryeh Ralbag after he apologised for signing a controversial document on homosexuality, news agency ANP reports on Thursday.

Total spending on research will go down by 10%, says institute
The Netherlands is cutting spending on scientific research by 10% over the next four years, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday, quoting the Rathenau Institute.

Price hikes boost Unilever
Price rises and higher sales in developing countries helped Anglo-Dutch Unilever to a slight increase in net profit last year, but the company remains cautious on 2012.

Shell sets out $30bn investment strategy, Q4 disappoints
Oil giant Shell set out a ‘new growth agenda’ on Thursday to drive forward its investment programme and deliver ‘60 new projects and options’ including liquefied natural gas, deep water drilling and shale oil.

Tourist total hits record 13 million
A record 13 million foreign tourists visited the Netherlands last year, an increase of 3% on 2010 and a new record, the tourist board NBTC said on Thursday.

Wednesday 01 February 2012

Government shakes up welfare, incapacity benefit safety net
Employers and junior social affairs minister Paul de Krom have reached a deal on creating 5,000 new jobs for people who find it hard to get work or who have a mental or physical handicap, the minister said on Wednesday.

Amsterdam police withdrew 28 firearms licences last year
Amsterdam police withdrew gun permits from 10 people last year because of their 'mental state', the Parool reports on Wednesday. Another 27 people temporarily lost their licences because of 'major irregularities' and 18 had their licences cancelled after an extra check-up, the paper said.

Dutch, Swiss birdwatchers kidnapped in the Philippines
A 52-year-old Dutch birdwatcher, his Swiss travelling companion and their guide have been kidnapped in the Philippines, the AD reports on Wednesday.

Playmobil and Lego steal the show in property fraud film
A five-minute film which used Playmobil figurines and a Lego building to illustrate how fraudulent property transactions are carried out cost Haarlem court €10,000 to make, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday.

Housing corporation boss quits as financial troubles loom
The director of Rotterdam housing corporation Vestia has resigned following media reports the organisation is on the brink of bankruptcy after losing money on the financial markets.

Ice fever heats up in Holland
As soon as the temperature drops below freezing, ice fever hits the Netherlands. Skates are sharpened and enthusiasts monitor the weather forecast closely in the hope that it will be cold enough to skate outside.

Letterbox companies largely exempt from tougher rules: FD
Letterbox companies in the Netherlands are largely exempt from extra demands which the government introduced several years ago following pressure from Brussels, the Financieele Dagblad reports on Wednesday.

Controversial gay therapy is not aimed at a cure, says minister
A controversial Christian therapy for homosexuals which is paid for by Dutch health insurance is not aimed at treating homosexuality as an illness, health minister Edith Schippers told MPs on Tuesday.

Coffee out of favour with under-35s
Just half of people aged 18 to 35 drink traditional coffee and the product is suffering from an image problem, according to new research by Van Spronsen & Partners quoted by Nos television.

El-Hamdaoui transfer to Fiorentina fails at last moment
The transfer of sidelined Ajax striker Mounir El-Hamdaoui to Fiorentina collapsed on Tuesday evening after the Italian side failed to deliver a bank guarantee on time, the Telegraaf reports.

Labour, Socialists propose total ban on banking bonuses
The Labour party (PvdA) and the Socialists are working on draft legislation to outlaw bonuses in the banking and insurance sector, according to media reports on Wednesday.

Minister firm on pensions: pay-outs must be cut if assets fall
Pension funds which do not meet the central bank's rules on assets must reduce pensions to head off further problems, social affairs minister Henk Kamp told parliament on Tuesday evening.

New cabinet cuts could total €15bn
The cabinet is considering a new round of cut-backs which could add up to as much as €15bn, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday. The paper bases its claims on confidential civil service memos currently circulating in The Hague.

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