Thursday, May 29, 2014

Saudi PR Offices Benefit from Boycott of The Netherlands

The decision of the Saudi government to boycott Dutch companies
has been helping Saudi PR bureaus. The news site Arabnews published that they have obtained a lot of new work to deal with the image of Dutch companies. Ahmed Abdullah of a PR office in Jedda said that there is huge demand by Dutch companies who want to protect their interest in Saudi Arabia. Dr. Fadal Abu Al-Ainan, an economic advisor for several Saudi companies, said that if the Dutch government takes no action against Wilders, there will be big campaigns directed toward Saudi companies not to buy Dutch products.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Foreign Minister: Everyone is Basically a Racist

Foreign Minister Timmermans said that the search for a scapegoat is one of the demons which has pursued Europeans for centuries. The Jews and the Roma were the scapegoats in the past and now they are the Muslims. According to Timmermans, racism is present in all people. To suppress this, is a triumph of humanity. He called anti-Semitism an expression of “one of the darkest parts of the European soul.” He added that “it is the greatest challenge for us as Europeans to act against it all the time.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Children Ombudsman: Netherlands breaks UN Children Treaty

Marc Dullaert, the Dutch Children’s Ombudsman has published the files of 54 children which show that the Netherlands breaks the UN children treaty. The authorities have according to him insufficiently taken into account the interests of the individual children. According to figures from the Ministry of Security and Justice 675 children have received a permit to stay in The Netherlands. Six hundred children have been refused a permit. Dullaert cannot say in how many cases this refusal was incorrect.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dutch Company Victim of Saudi Sanctions

The Maars company from Harderwijk which builds interiors may be among the first victims of the Saudi sanctions against the Netherlands. Its director Menno de Vries said that the company may lose 15 to 20 million Euros of business over three years. Maars was on the verge of signing a contract with the Aramco oil company, but was told that there would be no order. De Vries said that the company’s manager for the Middle East had been told that there would in the foreseeable future, be no new projects with Dutch companies. Maars was also bidding for other contracts in Saudi Arabia. De Vries said that they would not be invited for them, even though they are already active for ten years in Saudi Arabia.       

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Wilders Cuts Star out of EU Flag

In front of the European Parliament in Brussels Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party has cut a star out of a European flag. He said that the star symbolizes the Netherlands. He announced his intention to give the star back to the Dutch people. (Wilders wants the Netherlands to leave the European Union)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Minister: Companies Worried about Boycott Threats from Saudi Arabia

Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs said that companies already feel the impact of Saudi threats to boycott the Netherlands. Companies are sometimes busy for months with negotiating contracts with Saudi Arabia. They now see that there are ‘hiccups’ and appointments are cancelled. They are very worried about this. When contracts do not materialize, this can have an impact on thousands of jobs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Expert: Dutch Government Spends 5 Billion Euros Too Much on Computer Projects

Lauran Matthijsen is a former computer specialist at the Ministry of Agriculture. He appeared before a temporary commission on behalf of Parliament, which investigates the many problems with computers in government bodies. Matthijsen said that every year 5 billion Euros could be saved if the authorities were working properly. 1.3 billion Euros derive from failed projects. The remainder results from computer projects which have been realized in a far too complicated way, which results in increased management and maintenance costs. According to him, projects are being defined in a way that allows suppliers to make huge profits. He mentioned one system which cost 108 million Euros and could have been done for 4 million Euros. Matthijsen has mentioned the problems often, but no one ever wanted to listen to him.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Dutch Foreign Minister will Visit Saudi Arabia to Prevent Sanctions

Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans (Labor) will visit Saudi Arabia in the near future in order to try to prevent it from applying sanctions against the Netherlands in reaction to PVV leader Geert Wilders distributing stickers of the Saudi flag saying that Islam is a lie, Mohammed is a criminal, the Koran is poison. Timmermans will already send a high official next week. Timmermans’ position toward Saudi Arabia is far more positive than that of Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, also from Labor. In its 2013 report, Amnesty International criticized the Netherlands heavily because it doesn’t make much effort for human rights activists in Saudi Arabia. It said that when the Netherlands remained silent, it seemed that it supports the repressive government rather than the human rights activists. Timmermans says that the Netherlands prefers “quiet diplomacy,” to which Amnesty answered that there is no proof at all that this works.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wilders: Saudi Arabia Horrible Country the Netherlands Should Boycott

After Saudi Arabia threatened to boycott the Netherlands because of PVV leader Geert Wilders’ remarks about Islam, Mohammed and the Koran, Wilders replied. He said that Saudi Arabia is a horrible country that the Netherlands itself should have boycotted long ago. He added that Saudi Arabia is a dictatorship which cannot even spell the words freedom and democracy. In his opinion, Saudi Arabia still has slavery, is the leader of persecution of Christians and the main financier of international terrorism. They also execute people who leave Islam and prohibit women from driving cars.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Deputy Prime Minister: Saudi Boycott Threat Insane

Apparently, the Saudi government has told its Chambers of Commerce that Dutch companies will not be allowed to participate in future projects. Also, fewer visas will be given to Dutch businessmen and investors. This is a Saudi reaction to an anti-Islam sticker action from five months ago, by PVV leader Geert Wilders. He used the Saudi Arabian flag and printed on the stickers: “Islam is a Lie, Mohammed is a Criminal and the Koran is Poison.” Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher reacted by saying that this threat was insane. There is freedom of expression in the Netherlands and what Wilders says does not represent in any way the Dutch government’s opinion.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Amsterdam: Dirty Subway Stations a Threat to Health

The Amsterdam Municipal Transport Company (GVB) said that the increasing filth in Amsterdam subway stations will shortly become a serious threat to public health and safety. The company calls on the cleaning staff and their employers to reach a solution for the conflict which has led to a strike. GVB employees remove the dirt by themselves - which is a direct threat to the travelers’ health and safety - such as blood, urine, vomit and glass, however, now there is also the development of mold, bacteria and vermin. In particular underground, where air is circulated, mold and bacteria are very unhealthy. The GVB also warns that unremoved waste can touch electricity supplies next to the rails, which endanger public safety. It concludes: “We want to prevent that for instance, there will be a plague of mice or that tourists will call Amsterdam a dirty city.”

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stolen Artwork in Royal Palace and National Museum

In the royal palace of the late Queen Wilhelmina, the Amsterdam National Museum and three other museums, stolen artwork can be found. It concerns porcelain crockery of the Jewish banker’s family Gutmann, who was forced to sell it by the Nazis in 1934. This was discovered by researcher Arthur Brand from the Bureau Artiaz.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Violence against Homosexuals Doubled in Recent Years

According to a study by the Verwey-Jonker Institute, the number of incidents against homosexuals and lesbians has almost doubled in recent years. In 2011 the number was 623, in 2012, it was 1,143. This includes a variety of aggression such as cursing, spitting and beatings. The chairperson of the organization of homosexuals (COC) asked the Minister of Security and Justice, Ivo Opstelten that police and justice should give priority to these types of problems.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Trade Unions: Put Soldiers in Mali in Protected Buildings and not in Tents

Rockets have fallen near the camp of Dutch soldiers in Mali. Military trade unions want the tents in which the soldiers are housed to be replaced by armor-plated containers to protect them against rockets, like the French soldiers have. The trade unions ask whether the safety analysis prepared before the Dutch soldiers were sent, is valid. Chairman of the ACOM trade union Leon van der Hulst said that people were told that the mission was going to a place which was relatively safe, but already two rocket attacks have taken place. The Dutch Ministry of Defense had promised to replace the tents, but it takes too much time.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Leading Auditing Firm Suspected of Fraud

The Dutch branch of the major international accountancy firm KPMG, is being investigated for fraud by the tax authorities. A spokesman for the prosecution said that in 2009 and 2010, the developer of the new head office in Amstelveen probably sent false bills to the firm and thus the costs of the building are overstated.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Bild: Wilders is a Mental Arsonist

The German daily Bild, Europe’s largest paper. calls Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party and his European allies ‘mental arsonists.’ Bild says that they may declare the ‘dream of a United Europe’ as finished. The paper says that Wilders and his allies may, after the upcoming elections later this month obtain a strong position in the European Parliament

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Freed Murderer of Pim Fortuyn Receives Death Threats

Volkert de Graaf, who murdered the politician Pim Fortuyn in 2002 has been freed from jail. He has received death threats probably from extreme right wingers. Already last year Deputy Minister Fred Teeven expressed fears that right wing extremists would take revenge.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hitler Salute next to Monument for Fallen on National Liberation Day

On National Liberation Day, May 5 the Hitler Salute ‘Sieg Heil’ was shouted three times by a mechanical sculpture which was erected next to the national Monument for the Fallen in the Second World War on the major Dam square in Amsterdam. On National Memorial Day, 4 May there the ceremony for the fallen took place. The sculpture was created at the request of the Amsterdam 4 and 5 May committee. On May 5 citizens could send a sms which was then shouted by the sculpture on that day.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Former Army Commander: Respect for Dutch jihadis

Retired army general Peter van Uhm has respect for the Dutch youngsters  who leave for Syria to participate in the war there. Van Uhm has been Commander of the Royal Netherlands Army and Chief of Defence until his retirement in 2012. In a radio program he said that the Dutch “Syria goers” are fighting for their ideals. He maintained his opinion even after it became known that some of the Dutch jihadists have committed suicide attacks.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Another Dutch Bishop guilty of Sexual Abuse

It has now become known that in addition to the late Jo Gijsen, the former bishop of Roermond, another Dutch bishop has been found guilty of sexual abuse of young boys. The complaints commission of Meldpunt Misbruik RKK has two years ago found Jan Nienhaus guilty in four cases. Nienhaus who died in 2000 is the former assistant bishop of the archbishopric Utrecht and the titular bishop of Breda. Wim Eijk, the cardinal of Utrecht has offered written apologies to the victims. They have also been paid an amount of money. The church has however kept all information about Nienhaus being found guilty silent for two years.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Church Membership Halved since 1970

Membership of Dutch Churches has halved from more than 60% of the population to about 30% in 2012. The decline has been greatest among Roman Catholics. This was reported by the Social Cultural Planning Bureau. Trust in the church has also reached its lowest point in the past twenty years. Researcher Joep de Hart says taht this may well result from the sex abuse among clergy in the Roman Catholic Church.