The Dutch news in December 2004

21st December 2004, Comments 0 comments

The death of Prince Bernhard overshadowed the first birthday of future monarch Princess Amalia, while police arrested a Dutchman on war crimes charges and an OECD report praised education in the Lowlands.

1 December 2004

Prince Bernhard

Prince Bernhard dies, aged 93

Prince Bernhard, the husband of the late Queen Juliana, dies of cancer at the UMC Hospital in Utrecht. More than 40,000 people pay their final respects to Bernhard in The Hague, where he is laid out in state in the Noordeinde Palace chapel. The German-born prince is interred in the royal family crypt in Delft on 11 December with military honours. A series of interviews published after his death reveal Bernhard had two out-of-wedlock children and that he accepted slush money from US aircraft manufacturer Lockheed in the 1970s.
1 December 2004
Dutch police arrest Afghan war crimes suspect 

Dutch police have arrested the former chief of the Afghan military intelligence service KhAD on war crimes and torture charges.  The 56-year-old Hesamuddin H. was arrested on 27 November in the town of Boskoop. H. has been living with his family in the Netherlands since the 1990s. On 2 December, Police arrest  the former head of the KhAD interrogation unit, Habibullah J., 58, in Benschop. He is also suspected of war crimes and torture.

2 December 2004
Muslims seek ban on 'Submission II' 

Several Muslims in the Netherlands are seeking a court injunction in The Hague to prevent MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali making a sequel to the short film "Submission". Lawyer Robert Moszkowicz said the group he represents also want Hirsi Ali banned from making hurtful remarks about Muslims and Islam.

3 December 2004
Lower educated Dutch also set for integration course

Every low educated person in the Netherlands — and not just newcomers — will have to take a compulsory integration course under plans being discussed by the Dutch Cabinet. The ACVZ, a special committee on newcomers' affairs, has advised that everyone with less than eight years of schooling in the Netherlands should take the course and sit an integration exam. The committee said to only force immigrants to follow an integration course would be discriminatory.  Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk accepts the advice.

6 December 2004
Report lifts lid on teen group rapes 

New research indicates that Dutch justice officials prosecute about 200 teens annually for group rape, representing one third of all sex crimes committed by young people. But the true level of offences could be much higher because many crimes could go unreported or end in acquittal, the study by the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement found.

6 December 2004
Dutchman held for aiding Saddam's genocide 

A Dutchman, 62-year-old Frans van Anraat, has been arrested in Amsterdam on suspicion he was involved in war crimes and genocide committed by ousted Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the public prosecutor reveals. The man is accused of exporting thousands of tonnes of raw materials used in the production of chemical weapons to Iraq between 1984 and 1998. It is later alleged the man, who was arrested on 2 December, was an informant for the Dutch intelligence service AIVD while on the run from US authorities.

7 December 2004
Dutch education scores highly in OECD report 

Dutch students are among the world's best when it comes to maths, science and literacy, and schools in the Netherlands rank highly overall in a new study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

7 December 2004
Verdonk scales back integration course target  

Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk

The Dutch government announces it will restrict the number of people who must pass an integration exam to 750,000, rather than the initial target of one million.  But it will press ahead with its plans to make lower educated Dutch citizens take the same language and culture exams to be imposed on immigrants. In addition, Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk says newcomers, social security recipients, unemployed women who are not claiming social security benefit and religious leaders from outside the European Union will be obliged to pass an integration exam.

7 December 2004
Death threat MP returning to Parliament in New Year 

Political leaders hotly defend the continued absence from the Dutch Parliament of Liberal VVD member Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was forced into hiding after the brutal murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh last month. But VVD parliamentary leader Jozias van Aartsen also assures MPs that Hirsi Ali will return to normal duties after the Christmas break. The other MP threatened by Islamic militants, independent MP Geert Wilders, returns to parliament on 16 December.

7 December 2004
Princess Amalia turns one year old 

Princess Amalia, the future queen of the Netherlands, turns one year old. But in honour of the death of her great grandfather, Prince Bernhard, flags continued flying at half-mast across the country. Princess Amalia is the first child of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima. Amalia is second in line to the Dutch throne.

7 December 2004
Dutch Cabinet dismisses purchasing power 'shame' 

The Dutch government refuses to reduce its planned budget cuts in 2005 despite a warning from the Social Affairs Ministry that most income groups will lose 0.25 percent more in purchasing power than previously expected.

8 December 2004
Campina merger forms largest dairy co-operative 

Dutch dairy company Campina announces it will merge with Danish-Swedish firm Arla Foods to create the world's largest farmer-owned dairy corporation with an annual turnover of EUR 10 billion. The new company will be called Campina Arla.

8 December 2004
Cabinet to act against 'extremist mosques' 

The Dutch government has committed itself to a plan of action against the 10 to 25 mosques in the Netherlands where "extremist sermons" are preached, Interior Minister Johan Remkes has said. Remkes told Parliament that if the criminal law can't be used against these mosques, the government will consider withdrawing subsidies and residence permits for the Muslim clerics preaching at the mosques.

10 December 2004
Dutch growth forecast for 2005 cut to 1pc 

Despite a promising recovery at the start of the year, Dutch economic growth is expected to grow by just 1 percent in 2005 instead of a previously forecast 1.5 percent, the Central Planning Bureau (CPB) warns.

10 December 2004
Man 'falsely convicted' of child murder is freed  

A 35-year-old Vlaardingen man convicted of murdering 10-year-old Nienke Kleiss in 2000 is temporarily released. New DNA tests indicate the guilt of a 25-year-old Rotterdam man, who was arrested in July for a sex offence. This second man confessed to killing Kleiss murder and the assault of her 11-year-old friend Maikel. The Supreme Court will give a final ruling.

10 December 2004
Pizza courier 'targeted' Amsterdam sex zone 

Justice authorities arrested a Moroccan man on 5 November after receiving a tip-off that Islamic extremists were allegedly planning an attack on the Red Light District in Amsterdam, it is reported. The pizza-delivery courier allegedly conducted reconnaissance of the capital's prostitution zone while riding through the area during work hours on his scooter. 

The Volendam memorial

13 December 2004
Appeal dropped against Volendam cafe boss 

The public prosecutor's office abandons its appeal against the suspended jail term handed down to Jan Veerman, the owner of the Volendam café in which 14 youths died in a fire on New Year's Eve four years ago.

13 December 2004
Emancipation failing as Dutch women stay home 
The emancipation of women in the Netherlands has come to a standstill and is failing to meet the government's targets as women opt to work less, the Social and Cultural Planning Bureau (SCP) claims.

15 December 2004
Violence flares as Dutch extreme right strengthens 
Muslims have borne the brunt of politically-inspired violence as the extreme right in the Netherlands flexed its muscles in retaliation at the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November, a new report claims. The sixth Racism and Extreme Right Monitor also says the extreme right in the Netherlands has strengthened in the past two years.

16 December 2004
Call to allow 'suffering from life' mercy killings 

Dutch doctors should be allowed — under very strict conditions — to help with mercy killings or euthanasia of patients who are not ill, but who are suffering from life, a special commission advises. The Dutch doctors' organisation KNMG is to discuss the findings in 2005.
17 December 2004

Erdogan, Balkenende and Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot (centre)

EU, Turkey reach deal to start accession talks 

A deal is struck between European Union President Jan Peter Balkenende, his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the largest EU nations to break a stalemate over the recognition of Cyprus. EU leaders had offered to begin full membership talks with Turkey on condition it recognises Cyprus, but Turkey rejected the demand, forcing Balkenende to present a new proposal to the leaders of the 25 EU member states.

19 December 2004
Teen killed in Rotterdam stabbing 

Police arrest a teenager for allegedly stabbing a 15-year-old boy to death in Rotterdam South. Police later allege that a 16-year-old Rotterdam male arrested soon after the stabbing with a group of five other youths, aged 14 to 18, has made a partial confession. The 15-year-old victim was stabbed at 6.45pm on the Beijerlandselaan in Rotterdam South after what appeared to be an argument. The victim and suspect knew each other.

20 December 2004
Teen boy arrested for stabbing father 

A 15-year-old boy is arrested after allegedly stabbing his 62-year-old father in the eastern Dutch town of Ommen. The boy was arrested in his house and the victim was taken to hospital with serious stab injuries, police said.

20 December 2004
Maxima reacts angrily to second pregnancy claims 

Princess Maxima pregnant?

Princess Maxima and her husband, Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, react angrily to a newspaper claim that she is pregnant with their second child. The couple cancel media interviews in retaliation. It had earlier been reported that Maxima — the mother of future Dutch monarch Princess Maxima — was pregnant again and due to give birth next summer. The Government information Service (RVD) refuses to confirm the report.

26 December 2004
Dutch nationals die in Indian Ocean tsunami

Some 12 Dutch nationals are killed and about 30 are listed as missing, presumed dead, after an Indian Ocean earthquake measuring 9 on the Richter scale triggers a massive tsunami which hits 12 nations from Indonesia to Somalia. More than 280,000 are reported dead in the weeks that follow and the Dutch government contributes EUR 40 million in humanitarian aid and a further EUR 200 million for reconstruction efforts. A Dutch public fundraising drive later results in more than EUR 160 million being donated to Giro 555.

22 December 2004

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[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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