Dutch must improve investment climate, trade board says

Emoji replace gargoyles and kings on new Amersfoort building

If the Netherlands is to continue to grow as an international trading country, then it must have the best fiscal investment climate in Europe, according to a report by the semi-governmental Dutch Trade & Investment Board (DTIB). The DTIB report also said that talented students, start-ups, entrepreneurs, skilled labourers and scientists should be encouraged to remain the the Netherlands, the Telegraaf reported on Wednesday. 'Now that competition between countries is increasing again, it is necessary to strive for the best fiscal conditions in Europe,' said DTIB chairman Chris Buijink who also heads the Dutch bankers association. The report, which was presented to caretaker junior trade minister Lilianne Ploumen and acting economic affairs minister Henk Kamp on Wednesday, singled out research & development centres as an example of a sector which would make the country more attractive. The report said the fact that the Netherlands was now effectively exporting R&D was 'an alarming development'. It said more money should be invested in international innovative partnerships. The government, business community and institutes of higher learning must work together to develop a coordinated approach to exports in new growth markets such as Asia and Latin America, the report argues, adding that the Netherlands brand helps sell the country.  More >

Court to rule on case of boy with cancer

Emoji replace gargoyles and kings on new Amersfoort building A 12-year-old Dutch boy with cancer is at the centre of legal battle after he refused further treatment against the wishes of his father. The boy's mother believes in alternative therapies and the child was placed in the care of social workers last year after she refused to cooperate with his treatment, the AD reported. Now his father, who is divorced from his mother, is pressing judges to rule that the boy should undergo further medical care. Judges in Alkmaar will rule on May 12 about whether the boy, who has a brain tumour, should be forced to undergo chemotherapy. At the end of last year he underwent six weeks of daily radiation treatment and had been due to start the next phase of his treatment in March. The boy, however, refused to start on the course of chemotherapy. According to court documents, a psychiatrist who has examined the boy says he is completely aware of the consequences of his actions. The document says the boy’s chances of recovery are currently 50:50 but will be 75% to 80% if he undergoes chemotherapy. The boy’s father says he has real doubts about whether the boy really wishes to die, broadcaster RTL said. After social workers refused to let him put the issue before judges, he decided to take the social workers themselves to court. Tuesday's hearing took place behind closed doors and no-one was prepared to comment about the case.  More >

How did the mother duck cross the road?

How did the mother duck cross the road in a small Dutch town? The Netherlands seems to have its fair share of smart rather than daft ducks at the moment. Take the mother duck in Beuningen who for the third year in a row has nested in the garden of Caroline Verhees’ terraced home. When the ducklings are big enough to swim, she taps on the garden door and then leads her brood through the house and into the pond at the other side of the road. ‘I help them cross the road so they don’t get squashed,’ Verhees says. In Amersfoort, meanwhile, a German shepherd dog named Wolf has adopted four orphan chicks who were abandoned by their mother. ‘It’s jolly cold outside so I brought them in,’ Josje Keunen told the AD. ‘I was worried about the dog, but right from the start he began ‘fathering’ them. He licks them and cuddles them and wants them with him all the time.’ As soon as the ducklings are big enough to cope on their own, Keunen says she will take them to a nearby duck pond. ‘But until then, they can stay close to daddy Wolf,’ she says.  More >

Stadium renamed to honour Johan Cruijff

Emoji replace gargoyles and kings on new Amersfoort building The Amsterdam Arena stadium is to be renamed the Johan Cruijff Arena after the city’s most famous footballer, who died a year ago. The plan, first mooted shortly after Cruijff died, has now been agreed by all parties concerned and will be put to the city council, the stadium board and the Ajax board within six months, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday. ‘By changing the name, we want to honour the best footballer Amsterdam and the Netherlands ever had,’ the three parties said in a joint statement. Cruijff’s family used Twitter to say they are ‘delighted and honoured’ at the news. In addition, a square, street or bridge in Amsterdam will also be named after Cruijff. ‘We are convinced this will do justice to the legacy of Johan Cruiff and be a source of inspiration for football players all over the world,’ the statement said. Cruijff died of cancer last March 24. Tens of thousands of people signed a petition shortly afterwards calling for the stadium name change. We are happy and proud that from now on it will be the #JohanCruijffArenA! #14forever #CruyffLegacy More info: https://t.co/ob9BXyFMsr pic.twitter.com/pBxlrvyuh5 — Johan Cruyff (@JohanCruyff) April 25, 2017 The best news today. The stadium #arena in #amsterdam will be called #JohancruijffArena pic.twitter.com/fS6AHlhYFz — Ruud Gullit (@GullitR) April 25, 2017   More >

Coalition parties' green wings unite

Emoji replace gargoyles and kings on new Amersfoort building The green think-tanks of the four parties in talks to form a new coalition government have drawn up their own environmental plan, Trouw said on Wednesday. That plan, which will be handed over the negotiators, includes a number of measures which all four parties’ environmental committees support, the paper says. These include the closure of all coal-fired power stations, a further reduction in the amount of natural gas pumped from under Groningen, and the introduction of a road tax system based on emissions. In addition, the committees are calling for the establishment of a fund to stimulate energy saving and for more money to go on wind turbines on land and at sea. The two Liberal parties D66 and VVD, the Christian Democrats and the left-wing greens GroenLinks are currently in talks on forming a new cabinet, which has already been dubbed GreenRight by some commentators. The four groups say that the government must take the lead in setting environmental targets, rather than leave it up to the market. However, the environment committee plans go further than both the measures outlined by the VVD and CDA in their manifestos, but not as far as D66 and GroenLinks would like, Trouw points out.  More >