The Dutch news in November 2005

21st November 2005, Comments 0 comments

Gangland murders and commemorating Theo van Gogh, panic over Rita's window, and a minister who thinks the government's key reform is nonsense. Some of the highlights of the Dutch news in November 2005.

1 November 2005
'Underworld' lawyer shot dead day before TV interview

Ex-lawyer Evert Hingst was due to give a television interview about claims he worked for the underworld and had set up a client for a failed murder bid in 2002. He was hit in the head by automatic gunfire on the Gerrit van der Veenstraat in the Amsterdam Zuid district shortly after 6pm. Children were playing nearby as the gunman stepped from a jeep and fired at Hingst.

1 November 2005
Two passengers released after false alarm

Two men dressed in Muslim attire were arrested on an international train after being seen with a 'suspicious package'. Their bag contained only CDs and Koran texts.

2 November 2005

Theo van Gogh

Commemoration for Van Gogh hear calls for public unity

"We must not abandon each other," Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende told a gathering in Amsterdam on Wednesday morning to commemorate filmmaker Theo van Gogh. "Law is the basis, but society requires more: everyone's effort is necessary to make clear that violence is not the answer and discrimination with not help the Netherlands move forward," Balkenende said. He was one of four speakers at the commemoration on the Linnaeusstraat in the east of Amsterdam to mark the murder of Van Gogh on the street a year ago.

2 November 2005
Gangster John Mieremet killed in Thailand

Top Dutch criminal John Mieremet was murdered in Thailand, his friends say. Mieremet's former lawyer Evert Hingst was shot dead on Monday.

3 November 2005
Shell strike ends with pension agreement

Industrial action ends at Europe's biggest refinery as unions and management compromise in dispute over pension premiums and retirement.

3 November 2005
Another gangland murder in Amsterdam 
Kees Houtman, 45, is shot dead in the Osdorp district of Amsterdam on Wednesday evening. This is the third killing connected to the Amsterdam underworld in three days. Houtman was an acquaintance of top Amsterdam gangster John Mieremet, who was gunned down in Thailand on Wednesday morning. An anonymous prosecution source told NOS that Houtman was involved in major armed robberies in the 1980s and 1990s.

4 November 2005

Rita Verdonk

Panic over 'shot fired' at Rita's window

Sources in The Hague confirm a single shot was fired at the window of the office used by Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk. She was not there. Later it turns out the damage caused to the window was definitely not caused by a firearm.

7 November 2005
Forensics cast serious doubt on Verdonk 'bullet attack'

It is unlikely damage to the window of the immigration minister's office was caused by a firearm, the national forensics institute finds. Reports of the bullet fall silence, on the government side at least.

9 November 2005
Rotterdam coalition in crisis as key official is forced out

Dismissal of Leefbaar Rotterdam's Marco Pastors for comments about Muslims splits coalition with Christian Democrats and Liberals. LR meets to decide response. In the end LR decides not to pull out of the coalition.

9 November 2005

Natalie Holloway

Aruba asks if Bush supports Alabama's boycott   

The government of Aruba wants US President George W Bush to intervene to stop a tourist boycott of the autonomous Dutch island in the Caribbean. Alabama governor Bob Riley called for a nationwide travel boycott of Aruba because he accuses the island authorities of not fully cooperating in the search for missing Alabama school graduate Natalee Holloway (18). The official American response is that he White House doesn't support the boycott.

10 November 2005
Man denies deliberately starting detention centre fire

Libyan man, 25, is deeply shocked that he is accused of having the deaths of 11 people on his conscience, his lawyer says. Suspect, who is in hospital with severe burns, says he did not deliberately start the blaze at the Schiphol detention centre at the end of October.

10 November 2005
Dutch population growth slowing down 
A declining birth rate is putting the brakes on population growth in the Netherlands. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reported on Thursday that 142,000 children were born during the first nine months of 2005. Since this is 4,000 less than in the same period of 2004, Dutch population growth is slowing down.

11 November 2005
Verdonk agrees to delay deportations

Minister Rita Verdonk agrees to request by fire investigators to delay deportation of some of the survivors of the Schiphol detention centre fire. She restarts the deportation process for most survivors within two weeks.

14 November 2005

Henk & Anneke Kas

Father faces charges as family turns up in Germany

Police stop car containing the parents and four daughters missing since August when the father's Dutch driving school business went bust. The German police detained Henk Kas on suspicion of fraud and attempted arson. His wife, Anneke, and their children spent Sunday night in a hostel. All are said to be in good health.

15 November 2005

The offending poster

Nijmegen embroiled in row over anti-Verdonk posters 

Mayor Guusje ter Horst of Nijmegen said on Tuesday she is not going to order the removal of posters criticising Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk from Nijmegen City Hall for the time being. Mayor Ter Horst said she does not have the power to intervene because the posters are not hanging in a public space. The posters are in fact pamphlets stuck to the window of the office used by the green-left party GroenLinks in the City Hall. The protest was initiated by Wouter van Eck, the party's leader in Nijmegen in reference to the 11 rejected immigrants and asylum seekers who died in a fire at the Schiphol detention centre in late October.

16 November 2005
Local political activist shot dead in Nijmegen

Local political activist Louis Seveke is shot dead in Nijmegen on Tuesday night. Seveke, 41, was walking on the Van Welderenstraat in the city at about 9.30pm when the killer approached and shot him twice. The police decline to speculate on a possible motive for the murder or whether it was premeditated. Seveke was a left-wing activist who was known for at least 20 years in Nijmegen as a campaigner against alleged abuse of power by the police and the security services. 

17 November 2005

Crown Prince Willem-Alexander

Moroccan boy apologises to prince for Van Gogh killing 

A young boy tries to apologise to Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander for the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh in Amsterdam. The issue arose on the last day of the official visit to Morocco by Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife, Princess Maxima, to mark the 400th anniversary of links between the Netherlands and Morocco. The royal couple were visiting a school in Marrakesh - dubbed a 'school with the Koran - when one of the pupils offered his apology for Van Gogh's murder. Van Gogh, a staunch critic of aspects of Islam, was murdered by Amsterdam-Moroccan Mohammed B. in November 2004.

17 November 2005
'Domino sparrow' becomes a porn star  

Hackers place very explicit porn on a Dutch website created to commemorate the "Domino D-Day sparrow". The Dutch-language site ( had recorded 53,982 hits by noon on Thursday. The porn was removed some time earlier. The site was set up earlier this week following the news that a common sparrow — a protected species in the Netherlands — was shot dead with an air gun on Monday. Its crime was to knock over 23,000 of the 4.3 million dominoes laid out in the FEC events hall in Leeuwarden prior to the attempt on Friday to break the domino-toppling world record.

21 November 2005
Dutch budget deficit billions less than Zalm calculated

Coalition government hesitates to talk about tax cuts as Finance Minister Gerrit Zalm discovers he has billions more than he thought he had.

21 November 2005
Police hunt for cafe killers continues

Detectives are continuing to question witnesses after three people were shot dead in a cafe in Rotterdam at the weekend.

25 November 2005
Protecting vested interests 'stifling growth' 

Innovation and economic growth in the Netherlands are being stifled by lack of competition in the labour and capital markets, according a report by the Board of Economic Advisors (REA) to parliament. The economists declared Dutch education, research and entrepreneurship all "neglected" and called for a shake-up of the whole system of subsidies and investment in infrastructure, with savings put into education and research. There is insufficient competition in the employment market thanks to sitting tenants – mostly middle-aged Dutch men – being helped to cling on to their positions at the expense of the young, the female and the foreign, it said.

25 November 2005
Third Michelin star for Zeeland restaurant 

Restaurant Oud-Sluis in the Zeeland town of Sluis has been awarded an extra star in the 2006 edition of the Michelin Guide to Benelux, the publishers announced Friday, making the establishment the third three-star venue in the Netherlands. Delighted head chef Sergio Herman called the award a “great recognition for all the hard work”. Herman has run the Oud-Sluis kitchen for 15 years, cooking seafood and shellfish with Japanese and Mediterranean influences.

28 November 2005

Minister Cees Veerman

New health insurance based on nonsense, minister says

Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman is advised to resign if he stands by his assertion that the new health insurance system is based on nonsense. MP Edith Schippers of the Liberal Party (VVD) offered the advice to the minister in an interview published in Monday's edition of newspaper 'De Volkskrant'. The VVD is one of the three parties in the centre-right government coalition. Re-iterating her party's annoyance when she spoke to Radio 1 news on Monday morning, Schippers described Veerman's statements as "incredible". The new health insurance comes into force on 1 January.

28 November 2005
State pays man wrongfully jailed for child murder 

The man wrongfully convicted of the murder of 10-year-old Nienke Kleiss is awarded EUR 600,835 compensation by the State. Kees B., 35, served more than four years of an 18-year sentence for the murder of Kleiss and attempted murder of her friend, Maikel, aged 11, in the Beatrixpark in Schiedam in 2000. The police ignored other sources of information that pointed to the real killer, Rotterdam man Wik H, 25. B. was freed in December 2004 after H, who was arrested for a sexual assault, admitted killing Kleiss. DNA evidence confirmed this. An appeal court this month cut H.'s sentence from 20 to 18 years with TBS psychiatric treatment.

29 November 2005

Poverty to drop in 2006

Poverty rises before expected fall 
Poverty levels in the Netherlands have risen in recent years, according to the Armoedemonitor (poverty monitor) 2005. The report was published jointly by the social and cultural planning bureau (SCP) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS). Some 680,000 households have to get by this year on a low income. This is 100,000 more than in 2002, and the poverty mostly affects non-native Dutch people, or allochtonen, the SCP said. One positive aspect is that the SCP and CBS expect the number of low-income households to decline in 2006. But the agencies anticipate poverty in the coming years will continue to "colour", with an increasing number of allochtoon families struggling to make ends meet.

29 November 2005
Experts to judge baby euthanasia in Netherlands

The Dutch government is to enforce strict rules for doctors who end the life of a seriously ill foetus or newborn baby. A commission of experts will examine each case after the life termination is carried out to decide if the rules were adhered to. The commission will then advise the Public Persecutor's Office (OM) whether the doctors involved should be prosecuted, ministers tell Parliament. The commission will consist of three doctors, a lawyer and an ethicist.

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29 November 2005

[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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