The Dutch news in April 2006

5th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

Senior political figures warn about divisions in society; Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk is told off by her fellow ministers; Amsterdam slips one place in the best city rankings; The chickens are set free; and the media fails to get Balkenende's irony. Damien Leze presents the news in April.

3 April 2006
Top politicians alarmed over divisions in society
Seven senior political figures from different parties have come together to express alarm at what they believe to be the harsh tone in the debate about the relationship between native Dutch people and residents from immigrant backgrounds. The politicians warn Dutch society may become divided if something isn't done to promote a dialogue between the groups. They are to present the manifesto "Eén land, één samenleving" (one land, one society) to the chairpersons of the youth wings of most of the main Dutch political parties in The Hague on Tuesday.

5 April 2006
Netherlands bans 30 terrorist suspects
The number of foreigners denied residence in the Netherlands as undesirable aliens has more than doubled since 2000. The power is mainly used against suspected criminals, though it is increasingly being applied to cases where a foreign resident is believed to have links to terrorism.

5 April 2006
Wage gap hides local differences across EU

Danes earn the most

According to the Federation of European Employers (FedEE) Pay in Europe 2006 report, a substantial pay gap still exists between rich and poor countries in the European Union. Workers in Denmark earn the most followed by Norway. Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Germany, Guernsey (Channel Islands), Isle of Man, The Netherlands and Finland. Albania, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Belarus and Moldova rest at the bottom of the league. However, although there are large differences in the gross pay received by workers across Europe, the picture changes dramatically once tax, social security, holiday bonus supplements and differences in spending power are taken into account.

7 April 2006
Verdonk admonished by ministers
Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk was admonished by her fellow ministers during Friday's cabinet meeting for her comments as she entered the race to lead the Liberal Party (VVD) into the next election. Last Wednesday during the BouwRai, a big construction event in Amsterdam, Verdonk announced she would be a candidate in the Liberal Party contest. Describing herself as decisive and a minister who makes good on her promises, she said it was bad to have four people per room in homes for elderly people, or to have police sitting behind their desks 30 percent of their time.

Amsterdam 13th in city rankings

11 April 2006
Amsterdam slips in latest quality of life ranking
While deemed the 3rd best capital city for 'quality of living' in the EU, the Dutch capital has nevertheless slipped a place from 12th to 13th in worldwide rankings, the latest survey conducted by HR consulting firm Mercer. Some 215 cities are covered by Mercer's 2006 quality of living survey, which is intended to help governments and multinationals in sending employees on international assignments. Each city's rating is based on an evaluation of 39 criteria, including political, social, economic and environmental factors, personal safety and health, education, transport and other public services.

13 April 2006
Dutch suspend deportations of Iranian gays, Christians
Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk has bowed to pressure from parliament and agreed not to deport Iranian gay people and Christian converts for the time being. The Minister told MPs on Wednesday afternoon she would extend a previous moratorium on the expulsions. She took the decision when it became clear a majority of MPs doubt whether the rejected asylum seekers would be safe in Iran. The moratorium will remain in force until a new foreign ministry assessment of the situation in Iran for gays and Muslims who have converted to Christianity has been completed. This will likely take until August or September.

18 April 2006
Burka women should lose dole: alderman


Women who can't get a job because they wear the burka should lose the right to unemployment assistance, Amsterdam's Social Affairs Alderman, Ahmed Aboutaleb has said. Aboutaleb, who was born in Beni Sidel in Morocco in 1961, told magazine 'Opzij' that women who choose to wear the face-covering garment are hindering their ability to get work. Therefore they should not be automatically eligible for welfare payments.

21 April 2006

Assisted suicide isn't for everyone

Man jailed in assisted suicide case
A Dutch court imposed a 15-month sentence on Friday on a 49-year-old man who helped a friend commit suicide. The last five months of the jail term were suspended. The court in Den Bosch was told A. de G. from Helmond bought heroin and methadone for Ad van Dijck (38), also of Helmond. Van Dijck had a serious obsessive-compulsive neurosis and had long expressed the wish to die.

24 April 2006
'Boring' Balkenende: media didn't get irony
Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende - who appearance has often been likened to Harry Potter - has chided the media for not recognising his description of himself as boring and petty bourgeois was meant to be ironic. The CDA leader said on the Christian Democrat Party's website he was annoyed that many newspapers published his comments without the required amount of irony.

24 April 2006
Gazprom eyes Dutch energy market
Russia's state-controlled natural gas company is interested in investing in the energy market in the Netherlands, Dutch Economics Affairs Minister Laurens Jan Brinkhorst said on Monday. Brinkhorst told BNR News Radio that there was no question of Gazprom wanting to take over a Dutch energy company.

25 April 2006
Colleges agree code for international students
Junior Education minister Mark Rutte is to launch a code of conduct on Wednesday to guarantee the rights of international students in higher education in the Netherlands.
The code is intended to make life easier for students attending institutes providing post-graduate training and education in the English language. Research by student groups indicated a few weeks ago that international students face unique obstacles, newspaper Spits reported

26 April 2006
Dutch report cites lack of entrepreneurship
The business climate in the Netherlands scores average to good when compared with the situation in the 19 other industrialised countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a new report has found. But the report published on Wednesday by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) identifies a lack of entrepreneurship as a "sticking point" in the Netherlands. The report looks at 70 indicators to map out the economic performance and associated business climate in the 20 countries. The Netherlands scores well in terms of secondary indicators such as the functioning of government and infrastructure. The country does less well when it comes to driving economic growth. The report cites a lack of innovation and entrepreneurship as the main restraints in this regard.

Minister Cees Veerman

27 April 2006
Veerman allows poultry back outdoors 
Dutch Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman decides to allow commercial chickens, ducks and other poultry back into the open air from Monday. He ordered more than two months ago that they be held indoors to prevent them coming into contact with wild birds infected by the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu.

27 April 2006
Complaints lessen as IND cuts into permit backlog 
The Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) succeeded last year in clearing a large part of its backlog of unprocessed residence applications, the National Ombudsman reveals in his 2005 report. The number of complaints received about the IND declined last year and it improved its contactability, Ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer says. And highlighting the report on its website, the IND notes it was no longer the "leading supplier" of complaints. This position is held by the benefit payment agency (UWV).

27 April 2006
Expats launch 2nd cultural website 
 Amsterdam-based expats launch a new website to showcase the cultural offers of both the Dutch and US capitals. " brings together two of the most influential art centres of the world, Washington and Amsterdam," US expat Sean Valerio says. The site is in both English and Dutch to cater for a wide variety of readers.

28 April 2006

Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Threatened MP ordered out of secure home 
Liberal Party MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali is ordered to vacate the high-security home she is renting in The Hague within four months. An appeal court sided with her neighbours who complained her presence put their own safety at risk and caused disruption to their lives. Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner broke the news of the court decision at an EU meeting in Luxembourg. Somali-born Hirsi Ali is known as a critic of aspects of Islam and she went into hiding in November 2004 when filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered. They had finished work shortly before his murder on Submission, a short film about the ill-treatment of women under Islam. 

28 April 2006
Taida says goodbye to Netherlands
Kosovar schoolgirl Taïda Pasic leaves the Netherlands on Friday after a long battle with Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk for permission to sit her final exams here. Pasic, 18, boards a plane at Schiphol Airport shortly before 11am for a flight to the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.  From there, she  travels on to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

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5 May 2006

[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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