Dutch government issues first green bond, with triple A rating

The Dutch finance ministry is on Tuesday issuing its first green state bond, the first green bond issued by a European country with a triple A credit rating. The government wants to use the money raised via the bond to finance sustainable projects in the years ahead. The target volume is €4bn to €6bn, but this will be increased to around €10bn in due time, the finance ministry said. Dutch bank ABN Amro, which claims to be a leader in this market, has arranged the subscription among investors and is coordinating allocation of the bond, which will mature in 2040. Finance minister Wopke Hoekstra first announced plans to issue the green bond last October, saying it would ‘represent a solid asset for any green portfolio’. The money raised via the bond will be used for green investments, including wind farms, large bike parks, strengthening dykes and improving home insulation. 'If Dutch pension funds, insurers and banks want to invest in green bonds, at the moment they have to go to foreign providers,' Hoekstra said at Monday's presentation. 'This green bond will help the further development of the green capital market in the Netherlands.'  More >

Ajax win KNVB Cup after 10 year break

A 4-0 win over Willem II of Tilburg gave Amsterdam football club Ajax victory in the Dutch Cup competition for the first time since 2010 on Sunday. Daley Blind opened the scoring in the 38th minute, followed by goals for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the 39th and 67th. Rasmus Kristensen sealed the Ajax win in the 76th. #ajax #wilaja pic.twitter.com/DmM6C47mLb — Erik ten Hag ❌❌❌ (@AjaxHeadCoach) May 5, 2019 Ajax had not won a national competition since 2014 when they last took the league title. The Amsterdammers are currently ahead of PSV on goal difference in the Eredivisie title fight, with two matches still to play. Ajax next face Tottenham in the Champions League in the second leg of their semi-final tie on Wednesday. Congratulations to Ajax on winning the Dutch Cup! 🏆🥳🎉 The first part of a famous treble along with the #UCL and Eredivisie? 🤔 pic.twitter.com/QZ9M0GKJ6R — UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) May 5, 2019   More >

Forum the big winner: what the papers say

The victory by the nationalist Forum voor Democratie in the provincial elections earlier this week has generated a flurry of speculation in the Dutch press about what will happen next. Here's a round-up of the main points. Trouw writes that Baudet’s win is a signal ‘something is seriously wrong with Dutch politics’. The common ground between leaders such as Baudet and PVV leader Geert Wilders is, the paper says, ‘ a faked aversion to the political handiwork which is unavoidably necessary in the Netherlands’. The answer to this, Trouw says, will have to come from ‘what is still the political establishment’. Trouw says negotiating in the time-honoured Dutch way is not Baudet’s style, and will not work. The left will have to band together ‘to save a political system that is beneficial in principle,' the paper writes. Climate In its analysis, the  Volkskrant says that the ruling right wing VVD and CDA will now be wary about finalising the climate agreement with GroenLinks and Labour in April, given Baudet's anti-climate plan rhetoric. Saving Rutte’s climate agenda ‘would seem to be a guarantee for a new victory for Forum voor Democratie’, the paper says. The European elections take place in May. The NRC expects ‘complicated formation talks in the provincial capitals’. This will be made worse because of ‘the spectacular entry of Forum voor Democratie which, with no knowledge of provincial programmes and no experienced politicians, will have to be part of the negotiations. It will soon become clear if Forum is willing and able to make a contribution to government, apart from spouting fact-free opinions,’ the paper says. Partners Telegraaf editor Paul Jansen warns that the current ruling coalition will ‘isolate’ Forum senators at its peril now that potential partners can be found in both the PvdA and GroenLinks. Although Jansen expects that partners will vary according to the issue being debated in the senate at the time, ‘It would be a dangerous game to isolate and marginalise Forum’ because it will ‘only increase people’s dissatisfaction with issues such as climate and the Marrakesh accord.’ Elsevier’s Arendo Joustra says that after such ‘punishment’ the government has only one option: step down. Joustra also puts the coalition’s loss and Forum’s gain firmly at the door of the climate agreement which has, Joustra says, ‘given birth to Baudet’. ‘Many down to earth Dutch people don’t want anything to do with the fervent and expensive climate measures contemplated by the coalition,’ he writes. English language analysis Not an explosion but a very loud noise Thierry Baudet's meteoric rise explained The new face of populism in the Netherlands  More >

One dead in carbon monoxide poisoning

One person has been killed and 12 people taken to hospital in a case of carbon dioxide poisoning in The Hague. Four of the injured are police officers who were called to the apartment on the Weirmarstraat. The eight others were living in flats close to where the dead person was found. Police have given no further details about the case. In 2017 two people died and 114 people were hospitalised after carbon monoxide leaks. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches and nausea.  More >

Dutch Donald Duck to include gay couple

The Dutch edition of the Donald Duck comic books is including a lesbian couple for the first time after a 10-year-old girl challenged its lack of LGBT characters. Fenna, who has two fathers and two mothers, raised the issue on the children's news show Jeugdjournaal last week. 'There are no gays or lesbians in Donald Duck. I've checked them all,' she said. 'My parents are gay and lesbian and I think it's important that that's just as normal. But in Duck City it's as if they don't exist at all.' Fenna added that she wasn't asking for any of the main characters to change their sexuality. 'Just the characters in the background. You see lots of couples, a few of those extras could be gay.' Joan Lommers, editor of the magazine, showed NOS a panel in a forthcoming edition that was being altered to turn a couple sitting at a restaurant table into two women, embellished with love hearts. 'It's not in the minds of the illustrators.' 'That's a bit ridiculous, really,' replied Fenna.  More >

More new car and hybrids stolen last year

Fewer family cars were stolen in the Netherlands last year, but new cars were much more likely to be taken, according to new figures from vehicle crime monitoring body LIV. Last year, 7,261 cars were stolen, compared with 8,257 in 2017. This may be a drop of 12% in overall thefts, but the number of cars less than a year old being stolen soared by one third. Hybrids were also more likely to be taken. A total of 360 were stolen last year, double the 2017 total. The hybrid Toyota RAV4 and C-HR were the most popular types to be nicked. Almost 41% of stolen cars were recovered.   More >