Educated Dutch among most likely in Europe to drink regularly


Well-educated Dutch and Belgian citizens are more likely than almost anyone in Europe to drink alcohol at least once a week, according to a study published on Tuesday. The social research institute SCP compared people's drinking habits and other healthy living trends against their levels of education. The findings were not unsurprising. A person living with a highly educated partner is likely to drink more alcohol but smoke less. People at the lower end of the educational scale had a greater chance of being overweight and having a risky lifestyle. The study, which was carried out in association with Radboud university in Nijmegen, covers smoking, alcohol consumption, fruit consumption, vegetable consumption, body movements and obesity.   More >



Insurers won't pay out for Alpine snow

Winter sports enthusiasts have been warned that insurers are unlikely to pay out if they are unable to take to the ski slopes because of the extremely heavy snow in parts of the Alps. In France and Switzerland the amount of snow is close to the all-time record for the time of year, but snowstorms and the high risk of avalanches has forced some resorts to close the pistes. In the French resort of Tignes skiers were confined to their hotels and chalets as winter storms brought winds in excess of 200 km/h, while in the Austrian Tirol region two German skiers died in an avalanche on Friday. Some insurance companies such as Neckermann and Sunweb offer a package compensating skiers if there is not enough snow to ski, but the policy does not apply if the snow is too heavy. Holidaymakers who have to delay their journey home because of blocked roads or extreme cold may have a claim. 'The weather for winter sports is so varied at this time of year that we can't insure against it,' said a spokesman for the ANWB, which operates Pharos Reizen insurance policies. Not all of the Alps is under a blanket of snow; in parts of Bavaria, on the northern side of the mountain range, spring-like temperatures of up to 12 degrees have been reported.  More >



Maastricht has more shops than Amsterdam

Maastricht has more shops per head than Amsterdam, but the tourist hotspots of the Wadden Islands are a shopper's paradise, new figures show. The Limburg capital's 854 shops represent 7 for every 1,000 population, compared to a concentration of 6.4 in Amsterdam, according to statistics published on Tuesday by the national statistics office CBS. However, the islands have nearly three times as many shops per resident, largely because tourists outnumber locals during the holiday season. Vlieland, with 20.3 shops per 1,000 residents, leads the league table, followed by Schiermonnikoog in 13.8, Terschelling on 13.2 and Texel on 13.1.   The CBS said there are nearly 88,000 physical shops in the Netherlands. Clothing shops represent 18% of the total, followed by supermarkets at 7%, flower shops (4%) and bicycle shops, drug stores, furniture stores, butchers and shoe shops, all at 3%. Little has changed over the past 10 years the CBS said. The Wadden islands took pole position a decade ago and Maastricht headed the table of the 25 biggest cities.  More >