The Dutch news in March 2006
Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk says no to Taida and Kalou, but maybe to leadership position; Poultry vaccination begins; the Dutch navy is hit by rape and drug allegations; the Netherlands drops barriers to expats from the new EU states. Here are the main points of the Dutch news in March 2006.
1 March 2006
To Taida Pasic and Salomon Kalou - the minister says 'no'
Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk confirms her determination to expel Kosovo schoolgirl Taida Pasic and to refuse accelerated naturalisation to Feyenoord's Salomon Kalou. Later arrangements are made for Pasic to sit her exams at the Dutch Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia. Pasic also launches court appeal against the Minister's decision and continues attending a Dutch school after 28 March, the deadline for her to leave the country.
1 March 2006
No need to lock up cats, Dutch told
Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman does not think pet house arrest is necessary following news a cat in Germany caught the H5N1 bird flu. He has already imposed restrictions on poultry and the EU agrees the Netherlands and France can vaccinate commercial birds most at risk of catching the flu.
3 March 2006
IND error denies 100s of foreigners the right to vote
IND administrative errors result in several hundred immigrants missing out on voting cards for their municipal elections on 7 March. The problems are to be resolved within a day. According to the IND, up to 1,200 have had their right to vote ignored, spread over 150 municipal councils. The problem came to light when Hilversum council received complaints from foreign residents. All foreigners who have lived in the Netherlands for five consecutive years have the right to vote in local elections. The IND supplies the residence history of foreign residents to the councils.
3 March 2006
Suitcase loss costs KLM EUR 200,000
Airline KLM fined EUR 200,000 for losing passenger's suitcase and damaging his credibility more than seven years ago. Dr José Tiongco was travelling with KLM as an envoy of the Philippine authorities in November 1998. He was scheduled to give a lecture at a conference held by the World Health Organisation in Kazakhstan. He flew from Amsterdam to Frankfurt with KLM but his suitcase did not follow him. This meant he had give his lecture in jeans, t-shirt and sneakers — something that damaged his credibility, the judge agrees.
Cees van der Hoeven
Former Ahold boss goes on trial
Ex-CEO Cees van der Hoeven and former financial officer Michiel Meurs deny any wrongdoing in one of Europe's largest financial scandals. The accused men, including ex-Chief Executive Officer Cees van der Hoeven and former Chief Financial Officer Michiel Meurs, deny any wrongdoing in the affair that almost brought Ahold's retail empire crashing down in 2003. The four men are accused of improperly booking sales from four subsidiaries in Scandinavia and Brazil. Ahold claimed it had a 50 percent and controlling stake in the companies, which would have been sufficient to justify the inclusion of the entirety of their profits in Ahold's results.
8 March 2006
Labour leader Wouter Bos
The Dutch left celebrates as Labour (PvdA) regains ground lost in 2002. The PvdA wins 1,988 seats, 670 more than its disastrous showing in the 2002 municipal elections. This puts Labour ahead of the Christian Democrats (CDA) of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende as the party with the most councillors. The Socialist Party (SP) also had reason to celebrate as it more than doubled its number of councillors to 333. The coalition government parties - the CDA, the Liberals (VVD) and the Democrats D66 - suffer significant losses.
9 March 2006
Liberal MPs pick 'interim pope' to replace Van Aartsen
Relative unknown Willibrord van Beek will lead the Liberals in parliament until he is replaced by a candidate chosen by the party. The previous holder resigned over local election losses.
10 March 2006
Nine out of 14 accused men are convicted by a court in Amsterdam of membership of a Muslim terrorist organisation known as Hofstad group. The panel of three judges declare Mohammed Bouyeri was the leader and initiator of the Hofstad terrorist group. The group's goal was not to plot terror attacks but to incite hatred and threaten people, the court finds. Bouyeri did not get a sentence as he is already serving life for the murder of film director Theo van Gogh in November 2004. Jason W. and Ismail A. are sentenced to 15 and 13 years respectively. They were involved in a 10-hour siege at a home in The Hague after five members of a police arrest team were wounded by a hand grenade. Prosecutors had sought 20-year sentences for both.
9 March 2006
Judge asked to dismiss Holloway lawsuit in NY
A lawyer for the Dutch Van der Sloots family seeks the dismissal of the lawsuit brought by the parents of missing teenager Natalee Holloway. Natalee Holloway, 18, disappeared last May while she and her friends were holidaying on Aruba to celebrate their graduation from school. Joran van der Sloot, now was the person last seen with her on the night she vanished. Holloway's parents are convinced Joran van der Sloot is responsible for their daughter's disappearance and they have spearheaded a campaign to find the truth. Van der Sloot denies involvement in the woman's disappearance.
10 March 2006
Feyenoord player Salomon Kalou writes to Minister Rita Verdonk to express unhappiness at the way his request for naturalisation has been handled. The 21-year-old soccer talent from Ivory Coast arrived in the Netherlands in 2003. He needs to obtain Dutch citizenship soon if he is to be part of the Dutch team in the World Cup in Germany this summer. Kalou said in the letter he regretted he had come into conflict with the Minister but he could not back down now. He could have lived with not making the national side based on his performance but it was harder to accept the "fuss in the courts, parliament and the media", he wrote. Verdonk ultimately confirmed Kalou isn't eligible.
13 March 2006
Expats collect record sum to fight breast cancer
The American Women's Club of The Hague raises a record EUR 250,000 during its 4th annual Pink Gala for breast cancer research.
To ban or not to ban...
Cabinet divide forces rethink on burka ban
Integration Minister Rita Verdonk goes back to the drawing board as the cabinet fails to agree to any of her options to ban the burka in specific circumstances. Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk (VVD) outlines a number of options with the relevant ministers, but none of the ideas receive full backing. Verdonk is asked to rework her proposals. The Minister announced in October she was investigating whether wearing of the burka could be banned in specific situations. This was in response to a suggestion by Independent Conservative MP Geert Wilders.
15 March 2006
Black page greets integration test
A group representing Dutch citizens who want to bring a partner into the country describes the introduction of the integration exam as a dark day in Dutch history. "As the new law compelling potential migrants to take an integration course abroad comes into effect on 15 March the Netherlands is almost completely locked off," Paul Streumer of the foundation Buitenlanse Partners tells Expatica.
Will this hurt?
Netherlands begins milestone vaccination
Dutch veterinaries start vaccinating poultry most at risk from the H5N1 strain of bird flu in the first precautionary programme of its kind since 1992. The European Union has adhered to a 'no-vaccination' policy throughout the 1990s. The policy has started to crumble in recent years as farmers demanded the right to vaccinate during outbreaks of swine fever and foot-and-mouth in cattle. The European Commission (EC) gave way to demands from the Netherlands and France - Europe's largest poultry producers - three weeks ago for the right to vaccinate commercial birds as a precaution against the H5N1 bird flu. The bird flu has been detected in 11 countries in the EU, but not the Netherlands. Vaccination is seen as an alternative to locking up free-range and open-air poultry. Veerman ordered all commercial poultry be confined indoors from 20 February to prevent them coming into contact with wild birds infected by H5N1.
16 March 2006
'Labour migration is unavoidable'
Development Aid Minister Agnes van Ardenne cites migrant workers as one answer to the greying of the population in Europe. Speaking at a conference on international migration and development in Brussels, Van Ardenne calls for a Europe-wide discussion on coordination of policies on temporary work visas. Such visas, she said, could be for both higher and lower educated migrants. The minister says the arrival of workers from abroad was part of globalisation "whereby people are increasingly working in various places". The migration of labour, she said, was one of the answers to Europe's ageing populations but it was not the solution.
17 March 2006
Verdonk in the wars again over Syrian deportees
Minister Rita Verdonk gets a hard time from MPs after immigration service leaves Syrian officials alone to question deportees, including people who sought asylum from Damascus. Verdonk later announces she is disciplining some immigration officers for this.
20 March 2006
Feyenoord's Kalou fails to go Dutch
The chance Ivory Coast footballer Salomon Kalou will play for Holland in the World Cup fades as his application for fast-track naturalisation is rejected.
20 March 2006
More women, younger people in expat workforce
Research shows more women and younger people are joining the expatriate workforce, and 21pc of transferees leave during assignments. The 11th annual Global Relocation Trends Survey produced by GMAC Global Relocation Services and the National Trade Council, shows that 47 percent of the participating companies reported an increase in the size of their current expatriate population over 2005. However, multinationals need to manage international careers and repatriation better. The research shows that 21 percent percent of expatriate employees leave their companies in the midst of international assignments and another 23 percent do so within one year of returning from one. Female international careerists are increasing, with women making up a record 23 percent of international assignees last year, compared to 14 percent from the 2004 survey. This is the first time women have constituted more that 20 percent of the total expatriate workforce, reports GMAC.
21 March 2006
'Favourable turn' coming up for Dutch economy
The public's spending power, investment and exports are set to rise this year as an exceptionally long period of recession seems to be ending for the Dutch economy, a government agency has predicted. The macroeconomic think tank CPB said the economy will take "favourable turns on several fronts in 2006". "A novelty in this century: the Dutch economy will probably grow faster than the economy of the euro area," the CPB says in a preview of its Central Economic Pan 2006. The full report (in Dutch only) will be made available on 5 April.
22 March 2006
'Penalise educated stay-at-home women'
Dutch Labour Party (PvdA) proposes recovering part of the cost of study from highly-educated women who decide not to seek paid work. MP Sharon Dijksma, deputy chairperson of the PvdA's parliamentary party, believes the punitive measure is needed to stimulate more women to join the workforce. She outlines her ideas in 'Forum', a magazine published by employers' group VNO-NCW. "A highly-educated woman who chooses to stay at home and not to work - that is destruction of capital," Dijksma said. "If you receive the benefit of an expensive education at the cost of society, you should not be allowed to throw away that knowledge unpunished."
Frigate Tjerk Hiddes in a 'storm'
Dutch navy hit by more rape, drugs claims
The clamour for a wide-ranging investigation grows amid allegations at least two female sailors were raped on a frigate where drug use was rife. It also emerges that four sailors serving on the naval supply ship 'Amsterdam' were sent home by the commanding officer for organising an initiation ritual mimicking the photographs of naked Iraqi detainees being abused by US soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The incident took place last summer while the supply ship was operating in the Arabian Sea as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
23 March 2006
Biscuit maker kisses goodbye to 'negro' link
After 86 years, the Dutch producer of the chocolate-covered marshmallow biscuit concedes not everyone is keen on its 'neger' treats. Neger is the Dutch for Negro or nigger, according to the Van Dale dictionary. Zoenen is Dutch for kisses. The company, based in Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands, says the biscuits will be sold as 'Buys Zoenen' (Buys Kisses) from mid April. The name change is in response to criticism the original name is racist. "Buys Zoenen are the successors to our well known negerzoenen, which have been popular with young and old for the past 86 years," a statement posted on the firm's website says.
24 March 2006
Row over number of foreign students
Immigration service cites 10 percent increase in study visa applications to counter claims foreign students are being put off the Netherlands. Some 6,500 foreigners applied for a temporary stay visa (MVV) from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) for study purposes in 2005, whereas 5,924 applications were lodged the year before. The Ministry of Justice publishes the figures in reaction to complaints entry into the Netherlands for foreign students is being hindered. Student organisation ISO said it had received numerous complaints about the expense and laborious nature of the IND's procedures. ISO said the number of students coming to the Netherlands had dropped by a third as a result.
27 March 2006
Police patrols to scan all number plates
National police service (KLPD) outfits its mobile patrols with cameras that can scan number plates of passing cars to check for traffic violations. Until now the police service used static cameras and officers checked number plates manually. The first police car with the new 'catchken' system is scheduled to begin operating in September. A KLPD spokesperson confirms this after the story appeared in newspaper De Telegraaf at the weekend.
28 March 2006
Booming Madrid airport to fly by Schiphol
Eurocontrol says the Spanish airport will be handling more flights than Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by 2012. Schiphol is currently bigger than Barajas and is the 4th largest airport in Europe in terms of volume. The Spanish airport is the 5th largest, but Eurocontrol predicted it may surpass London Heathrow, the 3rd largest airport in Europe. Charles de Gaulle in Paris and Frankfurt Main are 1st and 2nd. Eurocontrol's seven-year forecast report predicts there will be over 11.4 million flights per year in Europe by 2012, 26 percent more than 2005.
28 March 2006
Dutch employers' group pushes easier firing
Dutch metal industry wants experiment with dropping employment protection for young workers as issue causes strikes in France. De Koninklijke Metaalunie says employers may be more willing to hire young people if it is also easier to dismiss them. The concept could be evaluated after two years on the basis of facts rather than emotion, it says. The proposal comes as nationwide strikes in France on Tuesday hit public transport and airports. Some postal workers, teachers and media employees were also planning to take industrial action.
Taida goes to school on 'deportation day'
Kosovar Taida Pasic, 18, goes to school as normal on Tuesday, the deadline set for her by the immigration minister to leave or be deported.
29 March 2006
SMEs very happy with expat workers
Most small and medium businesses are pleased with their expat workers, but would be happy to see the work permit system scrapped. The ING report 'Internationaliseringaperspectieven voor her MKB' looks at the potential and lessons learned from internationalisation efforts within the small and medium enterprise sectors in the Netherlands, Flanders (Belgium) and Poland. The study focuses specifically on businesses involved in Industry, Transport and Logistics and Construction in each of the three target regions.
29 March 2006
Dutch police join Holloway search
Dutch police and tracker dogs arrive in Aruba to support the investigation into the disappearance of US teenager Natalee Holloway. They have two tracker dogs with them. A second team is to arrive shortly, local newspaper 'Amigoe' reports. The Dutch will use the dogs and a ground radar system in the latest in a series of searches for the missing teen. This search will concentrate on an area of sand dunes where the authorities suspect her body may be buried.
30 March 2006
Queen Beatrix begins State Visit to Maxima's Argentina
Queen is accompanied by Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and Princess Maxima begin a visit to Maxima's homeland. First stop is a human rights exhibition. The Queen refers to the crimes of the military regime (1976-1983) in an after-dinner speech.
Verdonk considers joining VVD leadership race
Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk reveals she is considering throwing her hat into the ring to lead the Liberals into the 2007 general election. She will announce her decision on 5 April.
30 March 2006
Dutch lay down conditions for Taylor case
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor can be tried in the Netherlands if the UN Security Council agrees, the ICC provides facilities and Taylor leaves afterwards.
31 March 2006
Netherlands to open borders for 'new EU' workers in 2007
Expats form the eight Central and Eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 will be able to work in the Netherlands without obtaining a permit from 1 January 2007.
Story not linked to here? Try the Expatica search function.
31 March 2006
[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2006]
Subject: Dutch news