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Almost 40% youngsters have 'inadequate or poor' hearing

The hearing of Dutch youth is deteriorating and almost four in 10 under-25s have inadequate or poor hearing, according to the hearing foundation Nationale Hoorstichting. The organisation bases its claims on 17,000 online check-ups. In 2011, three in 10 youngsters were said to have suffered some form of hearing damage. ‘We see trends emerg...

Austerity measures unwise during recession, says Labour leader

It would not be a good idea to make very deep cuts in government spending at a time of economic contraction, Labour leader Diederik Samsom told a radio current affairs show on Sunday evening. The current coalition government is made up of Samsom's party and the right-wing Liberal VVD and is faced with a budget deficit which breaks eurozone rul...

Calls to make possessing tobacco a criminal offence for under-16s

Tobacconists and petrol station owners are calling on parliament to make it a criminal offence for the under-16s to be caught with tobacco products, the Telegraaf reports on Wednesday. Shopkeepers caught selling cigarettes to youngsters face a fine of €450 but the young teenagers themselves get off scot-free, the organisations argue. '...

Cheap chicken set to disappear by 2020, but exports will continue

Cheap, fast-bred broiler chicken - known as plofkip - is set to disappear from Dutch supermarket shelves from 2015 and to be completely phased out by 2020, faster than originally agreed. Representatives of supermarkets, abattoirs and poultry farms agreed the new date late on Monday, according to the Volkskrant. Currently, most supermarket chicken...

All foreigners in Holland should sign 'participation contract': minister

All foreigners who move to the Netherlands should be required to sign a contract in which they agree to uphold the Dutch constitution and the rule of law, according to social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher. In an interview with the Volkskrant, Asscher says he wants to ensure the Netherlands has a 'warm and caring' integration policy but...

Labour party investigates imposing a ban on visits to a prostitute

The Labour party has started an investigation into the possibility of criminalising visits to prostitutes, the AD reports on Monday. MP Myrthe Hilkens is to visit Sweden later this week to assess the implications of the ban there. In Sweden people who visit prostitutes can be fined or given a jail term, the AD says. Deputy prime minister Lodewijk...

Queen Beatrix to stand down, the Netherlands will have a king

Queen Beatrix to stand down, the Netherlands will have a king

NETHERLANDS. Queen Beatrix is to stand down on April 30, 33 years to the day after her coronation. The queen is abdicating in favour of her son Willem-Alexander, who will be 46 on April 27. In a short address, broadcast on radio and television, the queen said this year - which includes her 75th birthday and celebrations to mark 200 years of the mo...

Reduced rail services continue because of weather, passengers are fed up

Dutch Rail is continuing to operate reduced services throughout the country because of the wintry weather, but passenger complaints are mounting, Nos television says. The continuing problems caused by snow and heavy frosts at night mean services have to be cut, to prevent a single breakdown clogging up the entire system, Dutch railway operation NS...

Patients need better information on healthcare quality: MPs

Patients should be able to get proper information about the quality of the hospitals and doctors they use, including details of criminal convictions and serious complaints, a majority of Dutch MPs say. They want health minister Edith Schippers to set up a register as part of efforts to boost health service quality. The register should not only mak...

Two in three private security guards report being victims of violence

Some two-thirds of private security officials were subjected to physical or verbal violence last year, according to research by sector organisation Nederlandse Veiligheidsbranche. Shop security guards, street wardens and traffic regulators were the most likely to be hit, spat at or intimidated, the organisation said. One in four security workers ...

High-speed train Fyra still running late on Brussels service

Just half of the Fyra high-speed trains to Brussels and Breda are arriving on time, according to a users lobby group website which monitors the new service's arrival times. The high-speed service has been the only direct route from Amsterdam to Brussels for the past month, and complaints from passengers are mounting up, the Failra group says. ...

Thousands take part in silent march in protest at football violence

Some 12,000 people gathered in Almere on Sunday for a silent march to commemorate the amateur football linesman who died after being attacked by a group of teenagers a week ago. The crowd carried torches and banners and some wore armbands featuring ladybirds, the symbol of the Dutch campaign against senseless violence. The crowd fell silent as it...

Linesman dies after attack by teenage football players

The 41-year-old linesman reportedly beaten up by three boys aged 15 and 16 after a football match in Almere at the weekend has died. Richard Nieuwenhuizen was chased and attacked by the youths from Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten after an amateur football match between the Amsterdammers and Almere club Buitenboys. He became ill a couple of hours afte...

13 patients in Twente may have undergone unnecessary brain ops

Thirteen patients at the Medisch Spectrum Twente hospital may have been referred for unnecessary brain surgery by former neurologist Ernst Jansen Steur, local broadcaster RTV Oost reports on Wednesday. Jansen Steur is due to appear in court on Wednesday to face charges of seriously abusing patients following a string of misdiagnoses. The former ne...

The Netherlands offers opt out clause to health insurance objectors

Some 11,000 people in the Netherlands do not have health insurance on principle, mainly very strict Protestants who oppose all forms of insurance, news agency ANP reported on Tuesday. Basic health insurance is required by law in the Netherlands. Some members of the reformed Protestant churches oppose intervention in health issues, including vaccin...

Dutch ready to take hard line on EU spending plans and rebate

The Dutch parliament has sent prime minister Mark Rutte to a crucial two-day EU summit in Brussels with two mandates: to cap the EU’s spending plans and ensure the €1bn Dutch rebate continues. The European Commission wants to increase the EU’s budget by 5% or €1bn, but the Netherlands, Britain and other western European count...

Opposition divided on new coalition plans, debate set for today

Parliament will on Tuesday debate the new cabinet’s strategy for the next four years after a tumultuous two weeks in which one major plank of the Liberal-Labour alliances plans has been scrapped. Most opposition parties have already welcomed the decision to drop the health insurance plans although the Socialists, the anti-immigration PVV and...

Dutch Farc rebel addresses news conference

The Dutch Farc guerrilla Tanja Nijmeijer has taken part in a news conference in Cuba on behalf of the Colombian rebel group. Nijmeijer, who joined Farc 10 years ago and is the subject of two arrest warrants for terrorism, was part of the news conference held by Farc to outline their position in pending peace talks with the Colombian government to ...

Rutte's second cabinet is ready for business

Rutte's second cabinet is ready for business

The formation of the new cabinet has taken 54 days which is much faster than the average 83 days it takes to put a majority administration together. The number of women in this cabinet is a record, with women holding five of the 13 ministers' posts, according to news agency ANP. DutchNews.nl has prepared a two-page pdf listing the ministers and...

Alliance with Wilders did hurt the Netherlands' reputation

The previous coalition government, which involved Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV in a supporting role, did have an image problem abroad, civil service documents supplied to website nu.nl show. Ministers repeatedly said foreign governments understood the relationship between the minority coalition and Wilders and that he was not officially par...

Celeb lawyer Bram Moszkowicz banned from practising law for life

The Netherlands’ most famous lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, has had his right to practice law removed for bringing the profession into disrepute. The legal profession’s disciplinary council took the decision to disbar Moszkowicz on Tuesday. According to media reports, the council said the lawyer had not taken complaints about his performance...

Experiments to start in heating cycle lanes

Tests are about to start with heated cycle lanes in two parts of the Netherlands in an effort to reduce winter accidents, the Telegraaf reports on Tuesday. By stopping snow settling and ice forming, cycle lanes will become safer and there will be thousands fewer accidents, the paper says. The tests, an initiative led by civil engineering group Ta...

MPs remain concerned about winter rail chaos

MPs from all parties are expressing concern about potential winter chaos on the railways ahead of a meeting with infrastructure minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen later on Tuesday. Dutch rail (NS) and network operator ProRail already announced the use of a preventative timetable based on weather forecasts to deal with snow and ice this winter. M...

Students furious at plan to scrap grants

The national students union LSVb is furious about plans by the pending Labour-Liberal administration to scrap student grants. At the moment, students who live away from home get some €260 a month from the government to help pay for their studies. Students who still live with their parents get around €90. They can borrow a further €6...

NS takes over train information services

Train information will again be supplied by Dutch railway company NS from November 1, rather than track operator ProRail, Nos television reports. The Dutch competition authority has given the green light for the transfer of responsibility between the two state-owned operations, Nos says. The competition body agreed the change on the condition NS ...

Slow student fine set to disappear

Plans by the outgoing government to charge higher fees to students who take too long to complete their degrees and to tax home-to-work travel expenses are set to disappear if a Liberal-Labour coalition becomes a reality. Sources close to the on-going talks between the VVD and PvdA suggest a proposal to drop the commuter tax plans will be submitted...

Immigration minister to disappear in next cabinet

The next government will not include a specialist minister for immigration and asylum affairs, sources close to the coalition talks have told Nos television. The job, currently done by Gerd Leers, will disappear in the new cabinet line-up. In order to keep the number of ministers at 12, immigration will be replaced by foreign trade or development ...

Opposition grows to limit on temporary staff sick pay

Unions and employers are opposed to cabinet plans to cut the sick pay entitlement of staff on flexible contracts from two years to three months, the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday. ‘It is right to take measures to reduce absenteeism, but if flexible staff are going to be treated differently to people on permanent contracts, that will increase...

34 arrests after Project X Haren viral party degenerates into a riot

Some 34 people were arrested as the Project X Haren viral party generated into a riot as a ‘small group of youths’ went on the rampage on Friday evening, Dutch media report. The smart Groningen commuter suburb has been left in chaos. ‘The whole village is littered with bottles and cans, street furniture, bikes and fences have bee...

Green power will hurt government finances: advice group

The switch from fossil fuels to green power and declining income from natural gas sales will cost the government billions of euros in lost income, according to the national energy council AER. 'Fossil fuels currently generate over €35bn for the state a year. We estimate that will be down by €5bn within five years,' AER board memb...

Vegetarian butcher can keep selling 'chicken' and 'meat balls'

The food standards authority VWA has decided not to take any action against a shop in The Hague which sells meat replacement products under the names ‘chicken bits’, ‘meat balls’ and ‘bacon cubes’, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday. The paper says the VWA had received several complaints from people protesting ...

Spending power to fall 0.75% as economy grows same amount

Spending power is set to fall an average 0.75% next year, Nos television reports on Tuesday, ahead of this afternoon's budget presentation. The drop is due to higher healthcare and pension premiums, the increase in value-added tax and higher alcohol and tobacco duties. According to the Telegraaf, healthcare premiums will go up an average 10%....

Dutch student exodus to Belgium under fire

There is mounting criticism in Belgium of the number of Dutch students opting to go to cheaper Belgian universities, news agency ANP reports on Monday. 'Some EU countries are making higher education so expensive in their own lands that others are having to carry the costs,’ a senior education official says in Monday’s De Standaard....

Massive win for VVD, Labour close second

The right-wing VVD and prime minister Mark Rutte emerged the winners of Wednesday's general election, with a revitalised Labour party a strong second, making a coalition between the two in some form almost inevitable. The VVD has 41 seats and Labour 39, giving them a combined 80 seats in the 150-seat parliament.'No one saw this enormous vic...

Election: campaign nears climax, parties emphasise divisions

With just two days to go before the Netherlands elects a new 150-seat lower house of parliament, and polls suggesting a two-way race for the prime minister's job, party leaders are again out in force to get their message across. Opinion polls show the right-wing VVD and Labour party PvdA are now neck and neck and pundits suggest a centre '...

Dutch Paralympics team finish 10th with 39 medals

The Dutch team at this year's Paralympic Games in London netted a total of 39 medals - 10 gold, 10 silver and 19 bronze - and came 10th in the medals table overall. Among the highlights of the Dutch team's performance were the clean sweep in the women's wheelchair tennis by Esther Vergeer, Aniek van Koot and Jiske Griffioen and sprinte...

Immigration minister says no to amnesty for child refugees

Efforts to win residency permits for several hundred child refugees who have lived in the Netherlands for at least eight years took another knock on Thursday when immigration minister Gerd Leers said he would continue to say 'no'. 'I am going to say no, not with my heart but with my head,' the minister said. He was speaking after r...

Labour voters like purple, D66 says no to the Socialists

Labour voters would have no objection to their party joining forces with the two Liberal parties - the VVD and D66 - to form a new coalition cabinet after the September 12 general election, according to an Ipsos Synovate poll. While the Socialists, D66 and left-wing greens GroenLinks are Labour voters' favourite coalition partners, 26% have no...