News below sea level

This week’s roundup of what’s been making headlines in the Netherlands begins with the news that Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte remains a supporter of the euro, saying that he believes that in 50 years time the euro will still be the European Union’s one currency.

Meanwhile, Rutte’s ruling coalition partner, Geert Wilders, of the Freedom Party, lost the case he brought against the European rescue fund. Wilders objected to the creation of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), but a judge ruled that this isn’t sufficient legal grounds for preventing the Dutch Parliament from ratifying the ESM fund, which will involve the Netherlands committing 4.5 billion euros to the fund, and an extra 35 billion in future if EU economies continue to struggle. Wilders wanted to delay ratification until after the next general election in September. Elsewhere, Amsterdam remains an expensive place to live, but is now less expensive for expats compared to last year. Amsterdam ranked 57th, down 7 spots from last year, in Mercer consultancy agency’s ranking of the world’s most expensive cities. Tokyo remains the most expensive city, while Karachi, Pakistan, is the cheapest city for expats. Meanwhile, ING Bank released a report calling for major innovation and investment in the Dutch travel sector, or else the Netherlands will continue to experience a decrease in numbers of tourists visiting the country annually. Wednesday’s Euro-football match between the Netherlands and Germany prompted the Dutch border town of Kerkrade to adopt emergency by-laws for the town’s street that runs along the German border, which will be patrolled by joint Dutch and German police patrols during the match. The bylaw ends 30 minutes after the match’s final whistle. Over the past decade, the Netherlands has paid 79 million euros in compensation to people wrongly imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. It costs 200 euros per day to jail a person in the Netherlands, which leads all 27 EU countries in the number of false imprisonments. A court in Haarlem ruled that Schiphol Airport can capture and gas to death flocks of geese at the airport. The geese pose risks to planes landing and taking off. Fauna Bescherming, a Dutch animal rights group, opposed Schiphol’s geese extermination plan, but a judge ruled extermination will reduce risks of aircraft collisions and accidents. Dutchman Eric Heerema sold his 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO to a US billionaire for 35 million dollars. Heerema bought the car ten years ago for 8.5 million dollars. Only 39 Ferrari 250 GTOs were ever built. Police are using students to help track paedophiles, pimps and others committing identity fraud on dating and chat websites. The students report suspicious posts and chat profiles to the police. Royal Dutch Shell and consortium partners will invest 1 billion dollars in oil exploration in Kazakhstan, where a oilfield discovered in 2000 is said to hold reserves of 9 to 13 billion barrels of oil. A former commander of al-Shabaab, a Somali-based al-Qaeda-affiliated group, claimed that secret cells in the Netherlands are preparing terrorist attacks in the country. And finally, there are now more electric car charging poles in the Netherlands than the number of electric cars. There are 2,850 charging poles but only 1,560 fully electric-powered vehicles registered in the country. “Our objective is 10,000 poles,” said a spokesperson for E-laad, the company that installs the poles. Each pole costs 6000 euros.

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