Dutch news in brief, 8 April 2005

8th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

Jail on appeal for Van Gogh theft

Jail on appeal for Van Gogh theft

The Amsterdam Appeals Court sentenced two men on Friday to jail terms of 3.5 years and three years and two months for stealing two Van Gogh paintings. Octave D. and Henk B., both 32, broke into the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in December 2002. The men were convicted based on DNA evidence and witness statements and were also ordered to pay EUR 350,000 in damages to the Vincent van Gogh Foundation. Defence lawyers claimed the men were framed. The thieves stole the 1882 "Zeezicht uit Scheveningen" (View of the Sea at Scheveningen) and the 1884 "Het uitgaan van de hervormde kerk in Nuenen" (Congregation leaving the Reformed church in Nuenen). The paintings have never been recovered.

First fall in speeding fines since 1999

The number of speeding tickets declined last year for the first time since 1999. Police issued 7.3 million tickets last year, compared with 7.7 million in 2003. The traffic bureau of the public prosecution office (OM) said road users behaved better last year. Reading into the figures, traffic public prosecutor Koos Spee said the contribution to road safety that speed checks impart was the most important factor in the reduced number of fines. The OM and police will focus on speed checks in city streets and around schools this year.

SDU to win passport contract

The company SDU Identification BV is expected to be awarded the contract to produce the new biometric Dutch passports which will be introduced next year. SDU conducted a trial with 15,000 such passports last year. An Interior Ministry spokeswoman has indicated that SDU is already a reliable partner and is under contract until the end of 2006. The new contract would be valued at EUR 42 million. The Netherlands is not expected to meet a US-imposed deadline of 26 October. After that date, a visa will need to be required to enter the US if a traveller does not have a biometric passport. The Dutch biometric passports are expected to be ready in August 2006.

Extra integration funding

An additional EUR 90 million has been allocated to the budget of Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk to be used for the integration of immigrant women. Some EUR 22.5 million was allocated to the ministry from the estimated EUR 1 billion that was left over from unspent portions of various ministry budgets. The same amount will be received from the European Social Fund and EUR 45 million is expected to be contributed from municipal councils. Minister Verdonk said she was pleased with the "impulse for integration policy".

[Copyright Expatica News 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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