News below sea level

This week’s roundup of what’s been making headlines in the Netherlands begins with the news that following a deadly attack on a Jewish school in France, Amsterdam’s Jewish secondary school Maimonides, primary school Rosh Pina and Simcha daycare centre, have tightened security, with parents urged not to park in front of the school when dropping off their kids.

The Van der Valk family, owners of a major Dutch hotel and restaurant chain, are selling Scheveningen Pier, which the family bought for (a symbolic) 1 euro more than ten years ago. The family had promised to build a hotel on the pier, but have now abandoned those plans, although they will now sell the pier for market value. In an effort to cut high school drop out rates, Rotterdam alderman, Hugo de Jonge, wants compulsory education extended to age 23, following the failure of numerous city-wide measures aimed at reducing high school drop out rates.

According to a report published in De Limburger newspaper, during the 1950s, the regional health authorities in Brabant and Limburg were aware of a policy in which mentally retarded people in local institution were forcibly castrated. Meanwhile, Princess Máxima’s father, Jorge Zorreguieta, won’t be prosecuted, the Public Prosecutor’s Office announced. Princess Máxima is the Argentinean wife of Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander. Her father was Argentina’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture in the 1970s under the dictatorship of General Jorge Videla, during which thousands of people were ‘disappeared’ and murdered. Zorreguieta was accused of complicity in the murders, but the Public Prosecutor’s Office has now ruled otherwise.

The Labor Party (PvdA) elected Diederik Samsom as its new leader, replacing the unpopular Job Cohen, who resigned last month. Samsom immediately declared war on the ‘indecent’ policies of the ruling coalition government. The latest poll showed that if elections were held today the Socialist Party would win the most seats (30) in Parliament, followed by the VVD party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte, with 29 seats, Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party with 25 seats, and Labor with 21 seats.

The Netherlands wants to host a future Olympic Games, but the country’s efforts to secure a future Games has already cost municipalities, provinces and state governments 190 million euros, although a formal decision to launch a bid won’t be taken until 2016. The 190 million euros was spent on official trips, lobbying committees and investments. A 20 year-old man from East Amsterdam was arrested on suspicions of terrorism. Searching the suspect’s home, police found 10-metre long fuse, one kilogram of aluminum powder and DVDs spouting Salafist propaganda. Police say the suspect also searched the internet for bomb-making manuals. Malcolm Brinded, Royal Dutch Shell’s Executive Director of Petroleum Development, got a 2.5 million euros golden handshake when leaving the company, in addition to the 11.4 million euros he earned in salary in 2011, while Shell’s CEO, Peter Voser, earned more than 12 million euros in 2011. According to the Guardian newspaper, Shell was ‘responsible for 207 oil spills in 2011’, but the company reported earnings of 22 billion euros in 2011, a 54 percent increase from 2010. The Dutch Council of State rejected government proposals for stricter rules on dual nationality, stating that there’s no proof that relinquishing one’s former nationality bolsters loyalty to the new nationality. The government aims to make it more difficult for people to hold dual nationality. Robert M., a former daycare centre worker in Amsterdam, is on trial for abusing 87 children under his care. During the trial, M. said his sexual feelings for children were a curse: “I call it a curse, because I never asked for it. It was imposed on me.” Taking the stand, Richard van O., M.’s husband, testified that he was unaware that his husband was sexual abusing children. However, Van O., who stands accused of complicity, was so heavily medicated for stress and depression that he was unable to understand or answer numerous questions during his testimony, before ultimately invoking his legal right to silence. And finally, Dutch custom’s police busted a cocaine smuggling ring running from Peru to the Netherlands, in which two airline employees are charged with being responsible for smuggling the drugs past customs hidden in suitcases. Eleven suspects have been arrested, including eight Dutchmen and a Cape Verdian.


The assignment to design a building for the port authority and pilotage services near the locks in the weather-beaten coastal region of IJmuiden, posed a huge challenge for students. The best plans are exhibited in the corridors of the East wing at the Faculty of Architecture.

Editor Redactie

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