The Dutch news in July 2005

4th August 2005, Comments 0 comments

Floods, an oil slick, bankruptcies and recession worries — some of the lower points of the news in the Netherlands in recent weeks.

4 July 2005  
Vlissingen gets month's worth of rain in one night 
Heavy rainfall results in flooding in the west of the Netherlands. The port of Vlissingen in Zeeland took the brunt. Weather service KNMI said 56 millimetres of rain fell during the night, equal to the average that falls in a month. The police received dozens of reports of flooding and the fire service was called out to pump water from several homes. By 3.30am most of the problems were sorted out.

4 July 2005
Sharp rise in Dutch bankruptcies 

Credit management agency Graydon publishes figures revealing a total of 60,000 jobs have been lost due to bankruptcies. Some 5,018 firms have gone bust in the Netherlands in the last six months, 10 percent more than the same period in 2004. The study also shows 7,790 individuals and one-person businesses have made use of debt restructuring this year. This is 10 percent more than a year earlier. Graydon expressed pessimism about the rest of the year, forecasting a total of 10,000 bankruptcies and 16,500 instances of debt restructuring for 2005.

5 July 2005

Minister Gerrit Zalm takes on excessive home loans

Minister wants to discourage excessive home loans  
Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm says he wants to agree a code of conduct with lending institutions to discourage the granting of exorbitant mortgages. In answer to a question by MPs Ferd Crone and Frank Heemskerk of the Labour Party (PvdA), Zalm said he wants to draw up an agreement with lenders and the competition watchdog NMa. This agreement should be included in a code of conduct for mortgage lenders to end the granting of "tophypotheken", or home loans bigger than the liquidation value of the property. The relation between the gross debt and net available income has risen in the last year by a record 225 percent in mortgage agreements.

5 July 2005
Brothers released in Holloway case 
Two Surinamese brothers arrested as part of the investigation into the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway are released by an Aruban court. Lawyer Rudy Oomen says it was unclear if his client Deepak K, 21, and his brother Satish, 17, are still regarded as suspects. The main suspect in the case, Dutch teen Joran van der S., 17, is remanded in custody for another 60 days. Prosecutors had asked the court to remand all three in custody for another two months while police continue their search for Holloway.

6 July 2005
Tanker hits concrete dike, leaks 30 ton oil into Waal  
An inland tanker carrying fuel oil hits a groyne in the Waal near Haaften early on Wednesday morning. The resulting hole in the hull causes as much as 30 or 35 tons of oil to leak into the water, according to a spokesperson for the Korps Landelijke Politiediensten (KLPD). The 62-year-old captain tells the police in a statement that an approaching ship had forced him to turn too far to the left, causing him to hit the groyne. “It was a steering error,” concludes a KLPD spokesman.  The captain was not arrested, but the police made a report. The ship, which originated in Duisburg, was on its way to Antwerp with 2,094 tons of fuel oil.  

6 July 2005
Dutch feel safer and see less crime, says new survey 
People in the Netherlands say they feel increasingly safer, according to a new survey. More than that, in fact, they less often fall victim to burglary, vandalism, bicycle theft, theft of car contents, and violent crime than in the past. People also say they experience fewer neighbourhood problems, such as nuisance, intimidation, graffiti and dog dirt. The findings are reported in a large-scale survey which ministers Remkes (Interior) and Donner (Justice) sent to the Lower House on Wednesday. Surveyors questioned more than 52,000 randomly selected residents aged 15 and above by telephone.

7 July 2005
Sobel: Dutch too modest  

Ambassador Clifford Sobel says the Dutch are too modest

The outgoing US ambassador to the Netherlands, Clifford Sobel, says he considers this country far too modest in the international political arena. "The Netherlands plays a much greater role on the international stage than the Dutch realise," Sobel says in an interview with RTL Z and RTL 5. He served as US ambassador here for four years. The billionaire Roland Arnall, a key sponsor of President Bush’s re-election campaign, is expected to succeed him.

8 July 2005
No reports of Dutch casualties in London 

There were approximately 1,000 Dutch people in London at the time of the terrorist attacks but there are no reports of any of them being injured. "It surprises us that we have not received a single call. It is in fact unbelievably quiet, perhaps the fact the attacks occurred so early in the morning played a part," a spokesperson for the tourist emergency line Mondial Assistance says.

8 July 2005
New TB case discovered in Zeist 
A new case of tuberculous (TB) is discovered at the C1000 supermarket in the Dutch town of Zeist which was at the centre of  major scare at the beginning of the year. An employee of the supermarket was found to be carrying the TB bacteria during a routine medicine examination the previous week. Officials at the TB centre in Utrecht draw up a list of approximately 50 people the man has been in contact with and they will also undergo tests. The employee in the new case did not have daily contact with shop customers and the chance this infection will lead to a wider outbreak is very small, a spokesperson for the centre stresses.

11 July 2005
No hard evidence of conspiracy in Theo's murder

Theo van Gogh's murder shocked the Netherlands

There are indications that other people knew of the plan to kill Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, the presiding judge says on the first day of the trial of Amsterdammer Mohammed B. Judge Udo Willem Baron Bentinck refers to portions of the book of evidence that seemed to suggest that several alleged members of the Hofstadgroep may have been aware of B.'s plan. "But, I do not see hard evidence — one, two three," Judge Bentinck says. B., 27, is a Dutchman of Moroccan descent who indicated earlier this year that he takes sole responsibility for shooting and stabbing Van Gogh to death on a busy street in Amsterdam on 2 November last year.

11 July 2005
Public wrong on inflation 
Dutch consumers 'experience' stronger price increases than is actually the case, new research by the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) indicates. "The mere mention of the euro is enough to add 3 percent to this perceived inflation," a spokesperson said. The central bank says the perceived inflation over the last four years surpasses the real inflation rate. The total of the price rises  consumers feel have taken place over this period amounts to a rate of 12 percent. Real price rises, rated on the consumer price index, amount to 8.4 percent. The perceived inflation rate rises even further to 15 percent when consumers add in their memories of how things were before the introduction of the euro in 2002.

13 July 2005
Amsterdam teen arrested as self-made bomb is found 
The national detective unit has uncovered a self-made bomb during the arrest of a 17-year-old youth in the Netherlands. The police carried out the operation at the home of suspect's parents in Amsterdam on Monday evening. The teen had come to police attention during the investigation in the Hofstadgroep. The police stress the youth is not believed to be a member of the alleged terror group. Investigations are continuing to try and establish what contacts he had with the Hofstadgroep and what he intended to do with the bomb.

14 July 2005
Dutch join silent tribute to London victims 
The Netherlands sands still for two minutes at 1pm on Thursday to coincide with the silent tribute in the UK for the victims of the London bombings last week. Public transport across the Netherlands comes to a halt and work ceased at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport and the country's other airports during the commemoration.

15 July 2005
Experts predict a recession 
Two economists warn that the Dutch economy may be heading for a recession. Economists Bert de Groot and Philip Hans Franses of Rotterdam's Erasmus University say that the Dutch economy may have shrunk by 1.5 percent in the second quarter of this year when compared with the year earlier. The Central Bureau of Statistics has reported that the economy decreased by 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2005. Two successive quarters of economic decline within a three-quarter period qualifies as a recession. On Thursday, figures by the European statistics agency Eurostat showed that the Netherlands has the weakest performing economy of all 25 states in the European Union.

18 July 2005
Crown prince thanks public for gifts and good wishes  

Maxima gave birth to Alexia on 26 June

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander thanks everyone in the Netherlands for the 'incredible flood' of gifts, flowers, cards, emails and other congratulations his family received after Princess Alexia's birth on 26 June. He makes the announcement on Sunday amid the assembled press after a photo session in the garden of Villa Eikenhorst, the family's house in Wassenaar. More than 70 photographers, camera operators and reporters are in attendance. Willem-Alexander and Princess Máxima had invited the press to take pictures in exchange for being able to enjoy their upcoming holiday in Italy undisturbed. Weekly 'Privé' was not welcome at the shoot as the Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst claims it did not respect the privacy of the prince's family. Privé ignores government restrictions and publishes photos of the crown prince's family anyway.

20 July 2005
Gun laws to be tightened 
Rules for gun ownership will become stricter in August 2006, the Ministry of Justice announces on Wednesday. Beginning next autumn, anyone who wants a weapons permit will have to be a member of a shooting club affiliated with the Koninklijke Nederlandse Schutters Associatie (KNSA). To prevent criminals from learning to shoot in a club, aspiring members must also be licensed by the KNSA. Weapons permits will also become easier to revoke. From next year, committing a crime will be grounds for losing one’s licence, as will ‘moving in criminal circles’.

21 July 2005

Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk

Verdonk’s naturalisation bill called discriminatory  

Integration Minister Verdonk's naturalisation plan is still discriminatory despite previously announced adjustments to the bill, according to confidential advice by the Council of State. The news appeared in Thursday’s Volkskrant and is confirmed to the ANP by well-informed sources. European law exempts citizens of EU member states from naturalisation requirements. Nevertheless, Verdonk's bill would require certain Dutch people to take naturalisation courses. This discriminates against them vis-à-vis people from other EU member countries, according to the Council of State.

22 July 2005
Extra checks on British arrivals 
The Netherlands tightens border security for passengers coming from the United Kingdom immediately after Thursday's attempted bombings on the public transport in London. Arrivals from Britain now face more checks at air- and seaports. No further extra security measures have been put in place, though awareness remains heightened, a spokesperson for the Nationaal Coördinator Terreurbestrijding (NCTb) said on Thursday. The tightened border security is intended to make it possible to intercept or later catch fugitives. Two weeks ago, after the first series of attacks, the response was the same.

22 July 2005
34,000 without ID fined 
Approximately 34,000 people have been fined since 1 January for being unable to show proof of identity, a spokesperson for the Raad van Hoofdcommissarissen (council of chiefs of police) says. The identification requirement has been in effect since the beginning of this year for everyone older than fourteen in a public place. In the first month after its introduction, 3,300 people were fined. Since then the number of fines has risen markedly. The spokesperson for the chiefs of police emphasised that all fines were imposed ‘with reason’ and were not the result of random checks.

26 July 2005

Mohammed B. gets life for Theo van Gogh murder

B. receives life sentence 
A court in Amsterdam sentences Mohammed B. to life in prison. The judges pronounces the 27-year-old Amsterdammer of Moroccan extraction guilty of murdering filmmaker Theo van Gogh on 2 November 2004. B is also found guilty of the attempted murder of several police officers and two passersby and of hindering MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali in carrying out her political duties. The court says all crimes had been committed with terrorist intent. The public prosecutor had demanded a life sentence.

Strip away

26 July 2005
Strippenkaart on way out  
The national introduction of chip cards for public transport should be accelerated so that paper strippenkaart can disappear earlier than planned. The originator of the plan, S Renzema of the Haaglanden region, says the transport companies, regional governments and consumer organisations wanted it speeded up. Under the current plan, by the end of 2007 travellers around the country will only be able to pay with chip cards. The card will be introduced in the Randstad cities on 1 January 2007. Other parts of the country will discard strippenkaart tickets by 1 January 2008.The institutions involved are pushing for the whole country to shift to the cards on 1 January 2007. Strippenkaarten  will be valid for a further two or three months.

28 July 2005
Agitation may become crime 
A new bill by Justice Minister Donner would make the glorification of terrorist acts punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year. Earlier in the year the Cabinet announced it would introduce measures to crack down on imams who sow hatred. The bill also provides for a person to be discharged from an office if he or she misuses it to agitate or sow hatred. Such misuse could include recruitment of others for jihad (holy war) or the glorification, whitewashing, trivialisation or denial of heinous crimes.

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[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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