The Dutch news in January 2005

27th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

As the Dutch public rallies to help the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami, thieves commit a daring museum theft and outrage erupts after a woman is arrested for killing an alleged bag snatcher. This is the news in January.

1 January 2005
All change in 2005

The New Year ushers in several important legal changes in the Netherlands and failure to adjust to the new situation could cost you dearly. Click through to read a summary of the most important amendments to Dutch rules and regulations.
5 January 2005
Dutch public remembers tsunami victims in silence 

The Netherlands joins with countries across Europe to observe a three-minute silence from noon in remembrance of the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Public transport and work in offices across the Netherlands came to a temporary standstill and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende orders the national flag be flown at half-mast at government buildings. A special commemorative ceremony is held in the Binnenhof, the Dutch Parliament building complex in The Hague.

6 January 2005
EUR 112m raised in Dutch tsunami appeal  
Just over EUR 112 million is donated to a special televised Indian Ocean tsunami appeal in the Netherlands. Prior to the broadcast, the Dutch public had contributed EUR 64 million to Giro 555, a special bank account shared by a range of Dutch relief agencies, including the Dutch Red Cross, UNICEF and Doctors without Borders. By 25 January, donations increase to more than EUR 160 million.

6 January 2004
Asylum seeker numbers down sharply

The number of people seeking asylum in the Netherlands fell to just over 9,800, down 30 percent on the number of applications in 2003. Some 32,000 people applied for asylum in the Netherlands in 2001, the year in which a tough new immigration law came into force. The number of applications the following year fell to 18,667 and 13,402 by 2003.

7 January 2005
Dutch mother kills children, then commits suicide  

Police find the bodies of a six-year-old girl and a three-year-old boy in a house in Zoetermeer. The victims' 38-year-old mother killed herself hours earlier by jumping in front of a train. Police suspect the mother killed her children before committing suicide.

7 January 2005
Teacher killer to appeal against sentence 

The 17-year-old Dutch schoolboy who shot and killed deputy headmaster Hans van Wieren launches an appeal in the Supreme Court against the five-year sentence he received. Murat D. was 16 when he shot Van Wieren, 49, in the canteen of Terra College in The Hague on 13 January 2004. The trial court dealt with him as an adult and sentenced him in April 2004 to five years in jail followed by compulsory hospitalisation in a TBS psychiatric unit.

7 January 2005
Dutch households incur more debts 

Over half of all Dutch people find their financial position worsened in 2004, yet fewer people cut back on their spending. This has led to more households running up debts to make ends meet, national institute for budget information Nibud said.

10 January 2005
Artworks, silverware stolen in EUR 10m museum theft 

Stolen ... a Jan van Goyen painting dating to 1632

Staff discover that thieves stole paintings and silverware valued at EUR 10 million from the Westfries Museum in Hoorn overnight, in what is been described as a disaster for one of the oldest Dutch museums. No security personnel were on duty at the time of the theft and police suspect the thieves tampered with the museum's advanced burglar alarm to gain undetected entry to the building.

10 January 2005
Dutch men, women at odds over sex  

Dutch men want sex more often than their female partners, but are running up against the reluctance of women, an international survey indicates. The "Secret Yearnings" survey by Canadian romance publisher Harlequin was carried out in 15 nations and indicated that men and women were less dissatisfied about their sex life in other countries than in the Netherlands.
11 January 2005
Under suspicion business chief opts to sell empire  

Erik de Vlieger

Dutch millionaire entrepreneur Erik de Vlieger announces he will sell his companies due to ongoing negative publicity and judicial investigations. The real estate, media and aviation magnate says he has had enough of the "full-scale attack" from the Dutch judiciary and the tax office and that there is no possibility in continuing as a businessman. De Vlieger is later held for questioning by Amsterdam police on 24 January on allegations he was involved in the blackmailing of an Amsterdam café owner. De Vlieger denies the accusations and is released on 27 January.

11 January 2005
Dutch donate extra EUR 200m to tsunami humanitarian aid 

The Dutch government allocates a further EUR 200 million to the reconstruction of the nations hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami. Overseas Development Minister Agnes van Ardenne makes the announcement in Geneva, where about 250 nations gathered under the watch of the United Nations to discuss aid packages for the tsunami-hit nations. The Netherlands had previously allocated EUR 40 million to emergency aid in the disaster area, which extends from Indonesia to Somalia.

13 January 2005
Justice officials accused of leaking State secrets 

Dutch marine Erik O. demands an investigation into justice officials who revealed he had been a member of a specialist commando unit that carries out ultra-secret missions abroad. The information about Sergeant-Major O.'s membership of the Bijzondere Bijstands Eenheid (BBE), a special unit within the Dutch Royal Navy marines, emerged when he was controversially put on trial in 2004 for shooting a suspected looter in Iraq. He was acquitted in October last year, but the public prosecutor has controversially lodged an appeal.

13 January 2005
New Dutch Muslim party might contest national poll 

It is announced that preparations are underway to establish a new political party to represent Muslims in the Netherlands. A group of Muslims in Amsterdam plan to launch the Muslim Democratic Party (MDP) in May and contest local elections in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. Spokesman Mohammed Jabri said the MDP might also contest the next general election. The MDP is aligning itself with the controversial Arab European League (AEL).

14 January 2005
Cabinet rejects tax cuts to protect budget 

Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm rules out tax cuts

The Cabinet is not in favour of reducing taxes in coming years if it comes at the expense of reducing the budget deficit, Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm says. The Liberal VVD Minister rejects demands from the top public servant within the Economic Affairs Ministry for tax cuts to help stimulate the ailing Dutch economy. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende also rules out a tax cut, saying that the economy is starting to recover, partly due to wage moderation.
17 January 2005
Woman arrested after killing bag snatcher 

Police in the east of Amsterdam detain a 43-year-old female motorist after she kills a suspected bag thief. The 19-year-old Moroccan victim is killed after the woman's car crushes him against a tree as he tries to escape on a scooter with an 18-year-old accomplice. The public prosecutor suspects the woman of manslaughter, but Amsterdam Court later orders her release. Amid tension between the immigrant and native Dutch communities, family and friends of the deceased victim, Ali el B., stage a march from the scene of the tragedy to a local mosque on 21 January.

17 January 2005
Dutch Iraqi peacekeeping mission will end in March 

Dutch ministers decide against a proposed gradual withdrawal of the nation's 1,400 peacekeeping troops from Iraq and the mission will end as planned mid-March. About 350 replacement troops will be re-deployed for six to eight weeks longer to dismantle the Dutch camps.
17 January 2005
De Geus: wage rises set for 2006

Pay and social security benefits will start rising again in the Netherlands in 2006 after the current period of wage moderation, Social Affairs Minister Aart Jan de Geus says. He asserts further that 2006 will be the first year in which the government's social welfare reforms will start to bear fruit, admitting that the reforms have initially exerted a negative impact on the economy.

18 January 2005
Hirsi Ali vows to continue fight against radical Islam 

MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali returns to work in the Dutch Parliament, declaring under intense media scrutiny that she intends to continue her fight against Islamic extremism despite repeated death threats. Hirsi Ali went into hiding some two months ago after the brutal murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh amid fears terrorists were planning her death. The public prosecutor revealed on 12 January that a document seized from a suspected terrorist indicated Hirsi Ali's murder was planned for midnight on New Year's Eve when fireworks would muffle the sounds of shooting.

19 January 2005
Dutch troops kill Iraqi man at checkpoint  

Dutch peacekeeping troops kill an Iraqi after the car he was travelling in fails to stop at a security checkpoint. The Defence Ministry says the civilian vehicle ignored a stop signal at a checkpoint, prompting Dutch troops to fire several warning shots. But when the vehicle continued moving, Dutch troops opened fire on it. A man travelling in the car was killed, while the second occupant was reportedly unhurt.  Dutch military police and Iraqi police are investigating the incident

19 January 2005
Viaduct 'stone throwers' held over woman's death 

Police reveal four Rijswijk men have been arrested over the death of a female motorist killed after a paving stone was thrown from a roadway viaduct, smashing through the car windscreen and hitting her in the head. All four suspects are charged with murder. The 30-year-old woman, of Uden, was driving along the A4 motorway near Rijswijk when the stone was thrown off the viaduct earlier this month.

20 January 2005
Schiphol unmasked as major hub for human trafficking

Schiphol ... a human smuggling hub

Military police figures indicate 675 people have been arrested in recent years on human smuggling charges at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The revelation underlines the major role Schiphol plays in human trafficking of illegal immigrants into the Netherlands. It is believed that thousands of illegal immigrants might have been helped to slip into the country through Schiphol.

20 January 2005
Dutch court blocks PKK leader's extradition 

An appeal court in The Hague cites the ongoing threat of torture in Turkish jails as the reason for blocking the extradition of prominent PKK member Nuriye Kesbir. The decision upholds the November 2004 ruling of a lower court that prevented Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner allowing her extradition. Turkish authorities accuse Kesbir of organising dozens of terrorist attacks in the mid-1990s.

24 January 2005
Snowfalls, icy roads lead to 554km in traffic delays  

Snow and ice lead to longer than usual delays for motorists, with the combined length of traffic jams totalling 554km, placing the morning peak-hour period in the top five in terms of all time delays, Traffic Information Service (VID) says.
25 January 2005
Court orders review of murder trial  

The Supreme Court rules that a man sentenced to 18 years in jail for the June 2000 murder of schoolgirl Nienke Kleiss, 11, should have his case reheard in Amsterdam Court. The man, identified only as B., was convicted and sentenced in 2002, but was released last December after another man confessed to the murder. New DNA evidence also indicates that B. is innocent of the girl's death.

25 January 2005

Heading to the polls

Senate backs EU constitution referendum 

The Dutch Senate backs a proposal to hold a referendum over the new European Union Constitution and the plebiscite is now expected to be held in May or June. The referendum is non-binding.

25 January 2005
Big investment in Dutch terror fight 

The Dutch Cabinet will inject EUR 414 million over the next four years to combat terrorism and extremism and to recruit almost 800 extra security and justice officers. It is hoped that security services will be able to gather more information, allowing for a clearer assessment of the threat to be drawn up and counter measures taken. Authorities will also be allowed to take action against terror suspects or alleged extremists even if no evidence of criminal activities is found

25 January 2005
Queen, PM honour tsunami victims in special ceremony 

Queen Beatrix

As the Dutch death toll from the Indian Ocean tsunami rises to 12, Queen Beatrix and Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende offer their condolences to victims and families of the disaster at a commemorative ceremony in The Hague. Some 300 people attended the ceremony, including Queen Beatrix, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima and several Cabinet ministers. Besides the 12 confirmed dead, the number of missing, presumed dead, Dutch nationals numbers just under 30. In addition, the Foreign Ministry is aware of 10 difficult to trace Dutch nationals who were possibly in the region hit by the tsunami.

26 January 2005
Van Gogh killer wanted to 'fall in battle' as a martyr  

Breaking his silence, the suspected murderer of Theo van Gogh says he wants to be held fully accountable for his actions. Speaking at a pre-trial hearing in the high-security Amsterdam-Osdorp courthouse, defence lawyer Peter Plasman says his client, Mohammed B., 26, can and wants to be held responsible for his actions last November, when Van Gogh was shot and stabbed on an Amsterdam street. "I made a decision and I acted accordingly," Plasman said, quoting his client. The court rules that B. should be sent to the Pieter Baan Centre in Utrecht for a psychiatric assessment and a second procedural hearing will take in about three months time.

27 January 2005
Men sentenced for rape and animal porn horror 

A Dutch court in Lelystad imposes sentences ranging from five to 10 years on four people found guilty of kidnapping three North African asylum seekers and forcing them to take part in animal pornography. The sentencing of a fourth suspect is held over pending a psychiatric evaluation. The prosecutor claimed the victims were raped and forced to have sex with animals, claiming also they escaped being killed in a so-called "snuff" film. One of the victims eventually escaped from the shed in the northeastern village of Kraggenburg and raised the alarm in April 2004.

27 January 2005

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Subject: Dutch news

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