Expatica news

Dutch news in brief, 20 August 2004

Minister drops opposition to absinthe

Dutch health minister Hans Hoogervorst said Friday he sees no reason to prolong the country’s century-long ban on the strong alcoholic liqueur absinthe. Earlier this year a court sided with an Amsterdam bar-owner who challenged the ban. The public prosecutor is appealing and calling for the ban to be re-imposed. Made with extracts of herbs, including wormwood, Absinthe was a favourite in bohemian circles in the latter part of the 19th century. The drink, dubbed the green fairy, was banned however in several European countries amid fears it was too potent. Hoogervorst said he had not discussed his views on the currently-legal absinthe with his fellow ministers.

Bos willing to remain PvdA leader

Wouter Bos has indicated he is willing to lead the Labour PvdA party into the next election, it was reported Friday. He revealed he was willing to stay on during an interview with a television programme to be screened Saturday. He said he had doubts in autumn 2003 about whether he wanted to continue as leader. He waited to see whether the party would back his attempts to modernise the PvdA before taking his decision, he said.

Sharp fall in disability claims

The number of applications for WAO disability benefit fell by an average of 24 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the last quarter of 2003, benefits agency UWV has announced. The number of WAO claimants fell by 10,000 to 776,000 from January to June from a high of almost a million people in 2002. The UWV said it expected the number of new claims to continue to fall further as 2004 progresses. Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s coalition government have tightened the WAO regulations to the massive bill for benefit payments.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news