Despite record temperatures, relatively few heat-related deaths, says CBS

There were relatively few heat-related deaths in the Netherlands during the heatwaves  this summer, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday. There was an average of 2,714 deaths every week during the heatwaves, about 100 more than during a normal week in the summer, the CBS said. By way of comparison, there were an additional 400 deaths every week during the long heatwave in the summer of 2006. There have been two official heatwaves so far this year: from July 15 to 27 and between August 6 and 15. The second goes down as the longest and most intense in at least 100 years. Earlier research by the CBS confirms that deaths increase as the mercury rises. An estimated 1,000 additional people died during the 2006 heatwave than in normal weeks that summer. The CBS said the death rate this summer may have been tempered by higher-than-usual flu-related deaths this past winter.  More >

Dutchman aims to swim the Elfstedentocht

Olympic open water swimming champion Maarten van der Weijden will on Saturday begin a marathon swim following the 200 kilometre route of the legendary Elfstedentocht skating race. Van der Weijden, who survived leukemia as a young man, hopes to complete the distance in three days and two nights to raise money for cancer research. ‘I was looking for a long distance to cover and something Dutch,’ he told broadcaster NOS earlier. ‘Nothing beats this route of all routes.’ Van der Weijden will enter the water at 4.30am on Saturday and aims to finish on Monday evening. The entire swim will be followed live on the NOS You Tube channel.  More >

Drowning deaths unchanged at 86 in 2017

In total 86 residents of the Netherlands died by drowning last year, the same number as in 2016 but well down on the more than 500 drowning deaths registered in 1950, the national statistics office CBS reported on Thursday. A total of 14,600 people have drowned since 1950. Deaths by drowning fell back sharply in the late 1980s, with the number at about 80 a year over the past decade. Youngsters with a non-western background accounted for 20% of drownings in the period between 2013 to 2017, the CBS said. Earlier this month, lifeguards warned that swimmers are not properly aware of the risks and responsibilities they have when seeking to escape the heat in the sea or lakes and rivers. Between July 2 and August 5, lifeguards were called out 3,259 times, around the normal amount for an entire summer season.  More >

MP calls for more ethnic minority judges

The make-up of the Dutch judiciary needs to reflect all society and therefore more judges with an ethnic minority background should be appointed, according to the Liberal democratic party D66. Some 12% of the Dutch population have an minority background yet just 2% of judges do so, the AD reported on Tuesday. D66 MP Maarten Groothuizen told the paper that judges should represent society in its entirety and that increasing the number of ethnic minority judges would boost trust in the legal system. Leendert Verheij, president of the appeal court in The Hague, made a similar plea earlier this year. In addition, judges should use simpler Dutch and cut out the jargon, so that people better understand their rulings, Groothuizen said. Trials should also be able to be followed online.  More >