Category Archives: Holland

Dutch Arms Dealer Who Fueled Liberian Civil War Convicted

Sharmini Peries speaks with Andrew Feinstein, the author of The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, who recounts the background of Guus Kouwenhoven’s involvement in arms dealing for Liberia’s civil war. (The Real News)


How Education Level is the Biggest Predictor of Support for Geert Wilders

Billy Ehrenberg-Shannon and Aleksandra Wisniewska report for the Financial Times:

Image result for How education level is the biggest predictor of support for Geert WildersEducation, rather than exposure to immigrants, is emerging as the clearest nationwide indicator of the likelihood of Dutch voters supporting Geert Wilders’ anti-immigration Party for Freedom, according to an extensive Financial Times survey of demographic and voting data from the most recent general election.

Mr Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) looks on course to win the most seats in the upcoming election on March 15, but is likely to be blocked from power after most parties indicated that they would refuse to join it in a coalition.

The PVV’s resurgence is part of a wave of populism that has swept Europe, capitalising on fears over immigration, growing Euroscepticism and anti-establishment sentiment.

The blond-haired populist paints an idyllic picture of his supporters, labelling them Henk and Ingrid.

In Mr Wilders’ words, they are the “backbone” of Dutch society: “Mr and Mrs Average with their own houses, one nice holiday a year and an active social life.”

In the eyes of Frits Bolkestein, a former mentor turned critic of Mr Wilders, they are something else: “People with a grudge. They’re unemployed, their daughter’s on drugs and their son has run away.” The reality is more complicated.


Moroccan-born mayor of Rotterdam tells Islamic hardliners to “fuck off” if they don’t like Western ideals

Kayla Ruble reports for VICE News:

‘After the terror attacks last week in Paris, the Muslim mayor of Rotterdam took a harsh tone with Islamic hardliners in the Netherlands, essentially saying that people who take issue with certain Western ideals and satirical newspapers can “fuck off.”

Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, who was born in Morocco and immigrated to the Netherlands when he was 15, made the remark during an appearance on Nieuwsuur, a national television program. Specifically, he said Muslim immigrants who are unable to accept “humorists” creating content for a newspaper could “fuck off” — or “rot toch op”in Dutch. He also relayed the message that if any Dutch Muslims are against freedom, then “for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave.”‘


Dutch and German biker gangs join the Kurds in the battle against ISIS

David Charter reports for The Australian:

Biker gangs join the fight against ISIS‘It is not just air strikes that the jihadists of Islamic State have to watch out for. Kurdish forces have received a boost from an unlikely source — Dutch and German Hell’s Angels.

Western governments avoided putting boots on the ground but that has not deterred Ron from the Netherlands, one of several members of the No Surrender biker gang who have joined the anti-Isis struggle.

A group has reportedly also travelled to the region from the Cologne-based Median Empire biker gang, made up of Kurdish Germans.’


Infographic: The New European Parliament

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EU elections: Anti-EU parties on the rise across Europe

Amsterdam paying alcoholics with beer to help keep city clean


Dutch politicians are using Grindr to connect with voters

Caroline Christie writes for Vice:

Candidates from the Dutch political party Democrats 66 (D66) have been using Grindr as part of their local elections campaign in Amsterdam. It makes perfect sense, considering politicians are already all over social media, but the internet went wild for this story because Grindr is generally better known as a platform for sharing dick pics, not political policies.

I gave Jan-Bert Vroege, one of the D66 candidates using Grindr, a call to ask him why he took to the app to reach out to potential voters.


In the Netherlands, bankers turn to God — by law

From Reuters:

Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, once famously said he believed banks were doing “God’s work.” Now, the Netherlands is going one step further: starting later this year, all 90,000 Dutch bankers will have to swear an oath that they’ll do their “utmost to maintain and promote confidence in the financial-services industry. So help me God.”

It’s part of a major attempt by regulators and banks to clean up after the financial crash of 2008, and put behind them scandals that continue to blacken the financial service industry’s reputation. Just last October, the big Dutch cooperative bank Rabobank paid a $1 billion fine to settle charges in the Libor rate-fixing scandal.

Board members of the banks have already been required to swear the oath since last year, but now it’s being expanded to cover everyone who works in the sector. It consists of eight statements, including promises not to abuse knowledge and “to know my responsibility towards society.” There’s also a new banking code, a special declaration of moral and ethical conduct that all board members are required to sign, a “treat your customer fairly” initiative, and a “suitability” test for executive and non-executive directors of supervisory boards.

Bankers who fundamentally object to invoking God’s name can instead pledge: “This I declare and promise.” The Dutch Banking Association, which is behind the move, says it is still developing the disciplinary procedures and sanctions for bank staff who are found in breach of the pledge.


Dutch court rules in favor of unblocking Pirate Bay as ban ‘ineffective’

Image from flickr user@campuspartymexicoFrom RT:

People in the Netherlands will soon have access to The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s most censored file-sharing websites, as a court in The Hague ruled that Dutch ISPs need to stop blocking the site after the ban proved ineffective against piracy.

The Court of The Hague released its verdict that two leading ISPs operating in the country – XS4All and Ziggo – no longer have to block access to file sharing website The Pirate Bay.

“In applying the case law from the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the Court of Appeal held that an access provider is not under an obligation to take measures that are disproportional and/or ineffective” according to the legal representative of XS4ALL.

The court’s verdict was based on the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which includes the “freedom to conduct a business” and “right to property.” Entrepreneurial freedom overrides property rights, the court ruled.


£31m a year from the taxpayer, and Dutch King tells the poor: ‘build your own safety nets’


From Scriptonite Daily:

No, this is not a Monty Python sketch.  The King of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander announced the end of the welfare state in a speech written by the government.  But while the population of the Netherlands has faced some of the most severe austerity measures in Europe, the monarchy has cut nothing from the £31m it receives from the taxpayer each year – overtaking the Windsors as the most expensive monarchy in Europe.

The Netherlands’ deficit is around half that of the UK and the US. Yet, the economy of the Netherlands is disintegrating under the pressure of pay cuts, public spending cuts and tax hikes. This year, the economy will shrink by almost 2% as it continues a brutal Austerity programme under pressure from the EU to reduce its budget deficit to the EU limit – 3% of GDP.  Greece, Portugal, Spain and others who have abandoned all common economic sense to chase this arbitrary limit have decimated their economies doing so.

The following are the result of Austerity programmes in the Netherlands in the five years since 2008:

  • Unemployment has almost trebled from 3.2% to 8.2% in 2013
  • House prices have fallen 20%
  • VAT (tax paid on goods and services) has risen to 21%
  • 18bn euros has been cut from public spending
  • Retirement age will be raised from 65 to 67
  • 1 in 10 children live in poverty
  • 1 in 8 public sector workers will have lost their jobs by 2015.

The Netherlands has always adopted a more Scandinavian-style social democratic approach than the UK, and in 2008/9 had one of the most egalitarian social security systems in the world.  But Austerity is rapidly turning the economy into a US/UK style blitzkrieg on the concept of social democracy.  With six weak coalition governments in the last ten years, and the EU imposed Austerity, the far right Freedom Party of Geert Wilders is flying high in the polls.


14 Caribbean nations sue European countries for slavery reparations

GonsalvesFrom Al Jazeera:

Fourteen Caribbean nations are suing the governments of the United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands for reparations over what the plaintiffs say is the lingering legacy of the Atlantic slave trade.

In a speech Friday at United Nations General Assembly, Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Ralph Gonsalves said the European nations must pay for their deeds.

“The awful legacy of these crimes against humanity – a legacy which exists today in our Caribbean – ought to be repaired for the developmental benefit of our Caribbean societies and all our peoples,” Gonsalves said. “The European nations must partner in a focused, especial way with us to execute this repairing.”

The lawsuits – which are likely to amount to a lengthy battle – are being brought by The Caribbean Community, or Caricom, a regional organization that focuses mostly on issues such as economic integration. They will be brought to the U.N.’s International Court of Justice, based in The Hague in the Netherlands. It is not immediately clear when court proceedings will begin.

The countries will focus on Britain for its role in slavery in the English-speaking Caribbean, France for slavery in Haiti and the Netherlands for Suriname, a Caricom member and former Dutch colony on the northeastern edge of South America.

They have hired British law firm Leigh Day, which waged a successful fight for compensation for hundreds of Kenyans who were tortured by the British colonial government as they fought for the liberation of their country during the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s and 1960s.


Euthanasia cases up 13 percent in Netherlands

From AP:

The commission that vets cases of euthanasia in the Netherlands says cases rose by 13 percent in the Netherlands in 2012 from 2011, the sixth consecutive year of increases.

Doctor-administered euthanasia for terminally ill people facing unbearable suffering was legalized in the Netherlands in 2002. For several years, the reported number of cases declined, but since 2006 they have risen steadily. In 2012, 4,188 cases were recorded, or approximately 3 percent of all deaths in the Netherlands — a record, and up from 1,923 in 2006.

Most cases are due to cancer.

The commission said in its annual report published Tuesday the reasons for the increase cannot be determined with certainty. Leading theories include a growing awareness and acceptance of the practice among both Dutch doctors and patients.



Stunning aerial view of tulip fields in bloom in northwest Netherlands

Photograph by NORMANN SZKOP:

See the entire 119-picture album on Flickr:

Gas extraction: Groningen hit by another earthquake ~ Dutch News

Dutch News

Northern parts of Groningen were hit by another earthquake on Tuesday night [July 2nd] causing some minor damage to buildings.

The earthquake measured 3.0 on the Richter scale, local broadcaster RTV Noord reported. This means it is officially considered to be a more severe quake.

[…] The quakes are being caused by the ground settling following the extraction of large fields of natural gas. After a string of quakes in February there were calls for natural gas extraction in the area to be scaled back.


Dutch Artists Celebrate George Orwell’s Birthday By Putting Party Hats On Surveillance Cameras ~ BuzzFeed

On Tuesday, surveillance cameras in the center of the city of Utrecht were decorated with colorful party hats to celebrate the 110th birthday of George Orwell, Dutch art duo Front404 explained on their website .