Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts

Solar storm heads Earth's way after double sun blasts
The Aurora Australis is observed from the International Space Station during a geomagnetic storm on May 29, 2010 (AFP Photo)

Northern lights over Terschelling, Friesland..

Northern lights over Terschelling, Friesland..
(Terschelling, Friesland, Netherlands - 27-28 February, 2014)

Northern lights delight Dutch in surprise showing in north and east.

Northern lights delight Dutch in surprise showing in north and east.
Still from timelapse film by Schylgefilm (Terschelling, Friesland, Netherlands - 17 Mar 2015)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Koningsdag 2016

Search This Blog

Thursday, June 22, 2017

European court tears up pre-pack bankruptcy deal, backs workers

DutchNews, June 22, 2017

The European Court of Justice on Thursday ruled in favour of four daycare workers sacked in a pre-packed bankruptcy deal. 

The case was brought by the FNV trade union representing the four who lost their jobs when daycare group Estro went bust in 2014 and restarted immediately as Smallsteps. In total, 1,000 of the 3,800 members of staff lost their jobs. 

A pre-pack deal allows companies to restructure and prepare a restart as part of the bankruptcy process but has been condemned for leaving staff and suppliers in the lurch. Unions say it is often used by companies as a way to force through a reorganisation. 

The court, which had been asked to rule on the situation by a lower Dutch court, said that workers involved in a pre-pack bankruptcy should keep the same rights as in a normal takeover. In the pre-pack set-up they often end up with worse pay and conditions and only a small financial settlement if made redundant. 


The court ruling means all Estro staff are officially employed by Smallsteps because ‘European law takes precedence’ labour law professor Evert Verhulp told news agency ANP.

 ‘However, to claim back pay, they should have made it clear that they wanted to continue in their jobs. That does apply to the four who went to court. The others will be able to apply for a golden handshake but it is unclear if Smallsteps will be able to pay.’ 

Other companies which have used the pre-pack bankruptcy construction include McGregor, prawn processor Heiploeg, travel agency Neckermann, lingerie retailer Marlies Dekker and the Free Record Shop.

‘This ruling means that the pre-pack is no longer an attractive way to reorganise and get rid of staff and secondary benefits cheaply,’ FNV deputy chairman Kitty Jong said in a statement. ‘Up to today, workers had no rights if a company went bust.’

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Pledge to uphold key Dutch values now included in integration package

DutchNews, June 21, 2017

The senate has approved legislation which requires everyone who has to take an integration course or applies for Dutch nationality to sign a pledge promising to uphold key Dutch values. 

The introduction of the pledge was backed by a large majority of MPs in February and now has the approval of the upper house. It will come into effect in October 

The participatieverklaring – participation declaration – includes a commitment to ‘respect’ values, such as freedom of speech, and ‘make an active contribution to Dutch society’.

Local authorities will be able to fine people who refuse to sign up to €340. They can also be refused a residency permit or citizenship. 

Opponents of the declaration point out that new arrivals are being asked to sign a document which not all Dutch nationals support or adhere to. 


What does the participation declaration say? Here’s a translation of the version currently being used in town halls around the country. 

Welcome to the Netherlands! The Netherlands is a constitutional democracy. This means that everyone has the same rights and that everyone must obey the same laws. In the Netherlands, the values of freedom, equality and solidarity are central. These values are connected to rights which also apply to you. These values can only be upheld if everyone actively contributes to society. In the Netherlands, participation is extremely important. 


In the Netherlands, everyone may think, do and say what he will. This means that: Everyone can express their own opinions 
Everyone may have their own belief and is free to decide whether to believe or not Everyone has the right to his or her own sexual preference 
Everyone has the right to make their own choices and independence 

There are boundaries to this. What someone says or does may never conflict with the law. For example, you may not deliberately insult someone, discriminate against them or stimulate hatred. 


In the Netherlands, all citizens are treated equally. Discrimination on the grounds of sex, belief, origin or sexual preference is not accepted. 


In the Netherlands, citizens are responsible for society. Citizens have the right to live in a safe environment, to decent housing, to fair labour contracts, a minimum wage when they work, good education and good medical care. The government has a duty to protect people against exploitation and unfair treatment. In principle, citizens must ensure they can look after themselves. If that is not possible, and no-one else can help, the government will offer help. 


In the Netherlands, we ask all citizens to contribute to a pleasant and safe society, for example, by working, going to school or doing voluntary work. This can be done in the neighbourhood, at school or through an association. Speaking Dutch is very important in this. 

I declare that I have taken note of the above listed Dutch society values and that I will repect them. I declare that I want to make an active contribution to Dutch society and that I expect to be given the space and the cooperation of my fellow citizens to do this. 


Please note, this is a rough translation by for information purposes only

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gay refugee wins right to stay after Dutch court overturns justice minister

DutchNews, June 20, 2017

A gay Iraqi refugee has been given temporary leave to stay in the Netherlands after judges in The Hague said officials were wrong to say he was ‘not gay enough’. 

The 26-year-old fled Iraq in 2015 and claimed to have been abused by his uncle and his uncles friends since he was 12, the Parool reported on Tuesday. He also feared members of his family would kill him because of his sexual orientation. 

But junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhof refused to give him a refugee permit, saying he had not sufficiently proved that he was homosexual. Dijkhof based his ruling on the man’s description of how he realised he was gay. The process of self-acceptance of being gay plays a key role of asylum claims based on homosexuality. 

However, the court said that photographs and a statement by the man’s live-in partner, should be taken into account. In addition, the fact he could be in danger if sent back to Iraq is also relevant to the application, judges said. 

In May, another gay Iraqi, 29-year-old Sahir, faced deportation for failing to convince officials about how he realised he was gay. 

Today’s ruling – that being gay is more than a process of self-realisation – is important because other gay refugees will be able to refer to it in appeal cases, lawyer Oscar Hammerstein told the Parool.

Related Article:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Dutch draw up covenant to boost the supply of good gold

DutchNews, June 19, 2017


Dutch aid minister Lilianne Ploumen and the Dutch gold sector, including jewelers plus companies like Philips and Fairphone, have signed an agreement to improve the lot of gold miners and ensure that gold is produced in a fair and environmentally sound way, broadcaster NOS said on Monday. 

Gold mining often leads to environmental damage and social problems such as corruption and child labour, and the proceeds of gold production are often used to fund conflict, the broadcaster said. 

The companies signing the convenant have pledged to examine their own roles carefully with the aim of ensuring that gold is mined in an equitable way, without environmental damage. 

However, the financial sector, which has a key role in financing gold mining, has not signed the deal, the broadcaster said. 

Plouman, who earlier signed similar agreements on coal and textiles, said she hopes that the covenant will be adopted elsewhere within Europe.

Related Article:

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Taboo-breaking liberal mosque opens in Berlin

Yahoo – AFP, Yannick PASQUET, June 17, 2017

Lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates opened the
Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque with words of welcome before Christian and
Jewish guests and a large media contingent (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

Berlin (AFP) - With a mission to spread a liberal form of Islam, a mosque where men and women pray side by side has opened its doors in Berlin, complete with female imams.

The Arabic phrase "Allahu Akbar" ('God is greatest') resonated through the crowded Ibn-Rushd-Goethe-Mosque Friday as US-Malaysian Ani Zonneveld, one of the world's few female imams, launched the call to prayer.

Then one of the founders of the new place of worship, lawyer and women's rights activist Seyran Ates, opened the event with words of welcome before Christian and Jewish guests and a large media contingent.

"We want to send a signal against Islamic terror and the misuse of our religion," said Turkish-born Ates, 54, dressed in a long white robe. "We want to practise our religion together."

Ates -- no stranger to breaking taboos, having called for a "sexual revolution" in the Muslim world -- vowed she would not allow ultra-conservatives "to rob me of my right to be Muslim".

Kneeling on green carpets, the faithful -- men and women, side by side -- bowed to Mecca for the traditional prayer as the imam spoke in German.

Some of the women wore veils or head coverings, others did not.

'Depoliticise' Islam

The new mosque, the 88th in the German capital, is located in a rented room on the third floor of the Protestant Johanniskirche (St. John's Church) building.

Founded by Seyran Ates, the mosque aims to establish a humanistic, 
secular and liberal reading of Islam (AFP Photo/John MACDOUGALL)

All Muslims -- Sunni or Shia, Alawite or Sufi -- are welcome in the mosque named after one of Germany's greatest writers, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and 12th century Islamic scholar Ibn Rushd, also known as Averroes.

The seven founding members said they want to open their prayer hall to all groups, including gays and lesbians.

"This mosque allows Muslims to define themselves in a new way," said co-founder and German Islam scholar Abdel-Hakim Ourghi.

He added that "we will try to depoliticise Islam", as the religion was being torn by rival political movements. "Because religion is a private matter."

Police stood guard outside the entrance of the building.

The founders said they had not received any threats or insults, but that they fully expected not everyone would be happy.

Time for change

Germany, with some four million Muslims, has been the target of jihadist attacks, the deadliest last December when a truck tore through a Berlin Christmas market crowd killing 12 people.

Seyran Ates -- who has campaigned against forced marriages,
domestic violence and so-called "honour killings" among Muslim
migrants -- said the project was eight years in the making (AFP

The arrival of more than one million refugees, most from mainly Muslim countries, since 2015 has worsened the fears of some Germans.

Ates -- who has campaigned against forced marriages, domestic violence and so-called "honour killings" among Muslim migrants -- said the project was eight years in the making.

"Many left along the way," she said. "They told us it was dangerous, that they were afraid."

Elham Manea, a Swiss political scientist of Yemeni background, said the time had come for change, with other so-called liberal mosques having also opened in the United States, Britain and Switzerland.

The Berlin mosque, financed by private donations, is located in the Berlin district of Moabit, which has a large immigrant population.

It was in this neighbourhood that Tunisian Anis Amri, the Christmas market attacker, frequented a radical mosque that has since been closed.

Pakistani human rights activist Mukhtar Mai (C) receives a standing ovation
as she takes the stage following performance of the opera 'Thumbprint', at
the Roy and Edna Disney/Calarts Theater (REDCAT) in Los Angeles, on
June 16, 2017 (AFP Photo/Robyn Beck)

Related Articles:

Yassmine el Ksaihi poses in the prayer hall of the Polder Mosque in Amsterdam, 
Netherlands, Tuesday, March 2, 2010. Uniquely in the Netherlands, men and 
women pray together in her mosque, albeit segregated, with the women praying
 in the back of the prayer hall. Devotions and sermons are conducted mostly in
 Dutch rather than Arabic. And non-Muslims are welcome. Across Europe Muslims
 are seeking a formula that lets them be an inseparable part of their country while
 maintaining their loyalty to their faith and origin. (AP Photo/ Evert Elzinga)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Pope, Rabbi Skorka join effort to promote friendship across faiths

CatholicPhilly, By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, June 15, 2017

Pope Francis greets Rabbi Abraham Skorka during a meeting with an
interreligious group of scholars at the Vatican Feb. 23. The pope and his friend
Rabbi Skorka appear in a video montage and together in their own video as
part of the "Make Friends" initiative coordinated by the Elijah Interfaith Institute,
which has offices in Israel and in Dallas. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Reaching out to people of other religions can be both challenging and enriching for individuals and is the only hope for true peace in the world, said a variety of religious leaders, including Pope Francis.

The pope and his friend Rabbi Abraham Skorka appear in a video montage and together in their own video as part of the “Make Friends” initiative coordinated by the Elijah Interfaith Institute, which has offices in Israel and in Dallas.

The video series, posted on YouTube June 14, also includes Orthodox, Anglican and Lutheran leaders, Jewish rabbis, Sunni and Shiite Muslim clerics, Buddhist monks and nuns, and Hindu and Sikh leaders.

In their video, Pope Francis and Rabbi Skorka talk about how their own religious convictions led them into conversations with each other, and how those conversations not only increased their understanding of God and formed the basis of a television series and book, but also led to true friendship.

When sending emails back and forth, “because we still have projects going on,” Rabbi Skorka said, they address each other as “‘Dear brother,’ and it’s not just a saying. We have such open, deep and affectionate conversations. We understand each other.”

As they met and held discussions in Buenos Aires, Argentina, “the friendship grew, always retaining our respective identities,” the pope said. “‘Brother and friend’ — those are my feelings for him.”

Explaining the “Make Friends” initiative, the Elijah Interfaith Institute said, “Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity.”

Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein is the founder and director of the institute.

Related Articles:

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration LecturesGod / CreatorReligions/Spiritual systems  (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it),  Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse),  Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) (Text version)

“.   New Tolerance

Look for a softening of finger pointing and an awakening of new tolerance. There will remain many systems for different cultures, as traditions and history are important to sustaining the integrity of culture. So there are many in the Middle East who would follow the prophet and they will continue, but with an increase of awareness. It will be the increase of awareness of what the prophet really wanted all along - unity and tolerance. The angel in the cave instructed him to "unify the tribes and give them the God of Israel." You're going to start seeing a softening of intolerance and the beginning of a new way of being.

Eventually, this will create an acknowledgement that says, "You may not believe the way we believe, but we honor you and your God. We honor our prophet and we will love you according to his teachings. We don't have to agree in order to love." How would you like that? The earth is not going to turn into one belief system. It never will, for Humans don't do that. There must be variety, and there must be the beauty of cultural differences. But the systems will slowly update themselves with increased awareness of the truth of a new kind of balance. So that's the first thing. Watch for these changes, dear ones. ...."

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Dutch tv shows win two awards at Canadian media festival

DutchNews, June 13, 2017

Dutch television programmes have won two awards at the prestigious Banff World Media Festival in Canada. 

Floortje Dessing won the Rockie award in the category ‘Social and investigative’ for her two part documentary entitled ‘Floortje back to Syria.’ In the programme, Dessing retraced the steps of her visit to Syria nine years ago to find out how life is there now. 

‘Over the moon,’ Dessing said in a reaction. ‘Made with blood, sweat and tears. So special to be able to show this story internationally.’ 

The second award – for non-English drama – went to broadcaster Omroep Max for its three-part series De Zaak Menten which showed how journalist Hans Knoop tracked down war criminal Pieter Menten. 

Watch Floortje back to Syria with English subtitles

Monday, June 12, 2017

Say tjiis: Frisian language makes its debut in the European Parliament

DutchNews, June 12, 2017

Jan Huitema says he wants to give Frisian its ‘day in the sun’. 

The Frisian language will be spoken in the European Parliament for the first time on Monday as part of a session dedicated to Europe’s minority languages. 

Jan Huitema, an MEP from Makkinga for the VVD party, will speak for one minute in his province’s native tongue to highlight its cultural and historic significance as the Netherlands’ second language, he told NOS

The evening has been organised by a group of around 60 MEPs representing minority languages and will also feature speeches in Scottish Gaelic, Catalan and Low Saxon. The latter is spoken by an estimated 5.5 million people in Germany and the eastern Dutch provinces. 

A row earlier in the week led to a decision not to use live translation because some member states are reluctant to raise the status of minority languages spoken in their borders, particularly in the case of Spain and Catalan. The speeches will also not be included in the Parliament’s official record. 

Around 470,000 people in the province of Friesland speak Frisian, including 350,000 who count it as a first language. Until the late Middle Ages versions of Frisian were the native language as far south as Amsterdam. It is the closest relative to English among current European languages, reflected in words such as tjiis (cheese). 

Huitema told NOS that even though few of his audience will be able to understand him, he was looking forward to Frisian having ‘its day in the sun’, 25 years after Europe adopted its Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Will hard Brexit go soggy? Dutch papers react to British hung parliament

DutchNews, June 9, 2017

Labour supporters campaigning in Amsterdam before the vote. Photo:

Britain went to the polls yesterday in a snap election that will apparently result in the Conservatives losing their majority, and no ultimate winner. Days before Britain begins talks with Europe about Brexit, this result has thrown May’s ‘hard Brexit’ into the wind, say Dutch papers. 


The Algemene Dagblad says: ‘British voter stubbornly punishes May’s arrogance – Labour calls for her resignation’. The paper adds that Labour ‘surprised friend and foe’ in ‘one of the biggest electoral surprises since World War II’, attributed partly to the turnout of left-leading younger people. 

The Netherlands’ most popular tabloid, the Telegraaf, calls it an ‘election fiasco for May’, saying that the Conservative ‘defeat’ will challenge May personally thanks to her ‘not very charismatic’ performance during the campaign and huge crowd of younger voters choosing Labour. 

In an analysis piece, it adds that the ‘future of May and of Brexit are under pressure…With the loss of this majority in the House of Commons, her negotiating position is now completely undermined….This means that the British may need to remain part of the European single market. A hard Brexit, which May thought was the “people’s will”, will probably not happen.’

‘Failed gamble’ 

The Financiele Dagblad says mildly that ‘May hoped to increase her small majority in parliament with early elections. Nothing came of this.’ The Amsterdam stock market has opened higher, it adds, after May’s ‘failed election gamble’. 

‘Can May stay for long?’ is the biggest question at the Volkskrant, which has been running a live blog on the results. In an analysis piece, it adds: ‘The position of Theresa May appears to have become untenable after a bad election result’, calling it a ‘totally failed gamble’. 

The NRC Handelsblad, also running a live blog, calls May ‘nervous’ and adds that there will be much ‘sorrow’ in Brussels. ‘In 10 days, negotiations on Brexit must begin,’ goes its headline. ‘But will the UK have a new government?’ 

Mess in Brussels

It adds that May’s decision to try to strengthen her mandate for Brexit with new elections was considered ‘a great surprise’ in Brussels, but that politicians thought that if she had a stronger hand and this lead to smoother negotiations, ‘that was naturally fine’. 

‘Now it’s a mess, because May overestimated her popularity. For Brussels, this is a case of déjà vu: May’s predecessor David Cameron thought he knew the British voter but then things went badly wrong with the Brexit referendum,’ the NRC said, adding that ‘delays seem inevitable’ with the Brexit process as a result. 

NOS broadcaster, which has also been running a live blog, predicts a coalition government. It also notes that the running joke on Twitter is that the rat-catching Downing Street cat Larry has already left the building.

Related Articles:

British press blasts May after poll 'mayhem'

Fuming over Brexit, youth help swing UK vote

One poll suggested 56 percent of under-35s voted in Britain's general election,
with more than a third of those voting for the first time (AFP Photo/Ben STANSALL)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

U2, Rolling Stones business rep called to Dutch tax haven committee

DutchNews, June 7, 2017

The Dutch business representative of U2 and the Rolling Stones is one of the witnesses invited to appear before a parliamentary committee on the Netherlands’ role as a tax haven, which starts hearing evidence on Wednesday. 

The inquiry was set up following the Panama Papers leaks and aims to establish whether or not the Netherlands is used as a tax haven and to find out more about how trust offices, which represent thousands of shell companies, work. 

The inquiry committee is chaired by Labour MP Henk Nijboer who says it is important that witnesses will be heard under oath. 

Among those invited to attend are Jan Favie, who represents U2 and the Rollling Stones, both of which have a large part of their business empire based in the Netherlands. He will be grilled by MPs next Monday.

The ruling VVD opted not to have a representative on the committee. ‘Tax minister Erik Wiebes has introduced many measures [to stop tax evasion] and the rules are changing internationally as well,’ MP Aukje de Vries told broadcaster NOS. ‘Let us let them get on with the job first.’ 

While the Panama Papers revelations were a main driver behind the decision to set up the inquiry, the European Commission’s investigations into tax deals struck with the likes of Starbucks and Ikea were an additional motivation, NOS said. 

Wednesday’s hearings focus on officials from the tax office who are experts in offshore agreements and tax havens. The hearings will last two weeks. 

The Netherlands is ranked third in Oxfam’s annual list of the world’s top 15 tax avoidance centres, just behind Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

The high score is due largely to the large scope of tax avoidance by multinational companies which operate through the Netherlands, Oxfam said.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Dutch politicians ‘deplore’ US exit from Paris climate agreement

DutchNews, June 2, 2017

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte deplores American president Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the 2016 Paris Agreement to limit climate change, reports the AD

‘Dealing with climate change is not only necessary, but it also offers global economic opportunities,’ said Rutte in a statement. ‘Without US participation, it is more difficult to achieve the goals of the Paris agreement, but the rest of the world is still behind it. That has not changed.’ 

He pledged the support of the Netherlands in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sharon Dijksma, junior environment minister, said Trump was making a ‘historic mistake’, reports ANP, but that the effort would continue. 

Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the accord of 197 countries –joining Syria and Nicaragua – late on Thursday night. He said the accord would ‘keep our beautiful country tied up and bound down’ but said he was open to renegotiating. 

But the leaders of France, Germany and Italy said in a joint statement that they ‘firmly believe’ the deal cannot be reworked. 

The decision confirms Trump’s ‘doctrine of America against the rest’, writes the Volkskrant on Friday. 

In an opinion piece by Ben van Raaij, the Volkskrant argued that international efforts to manage climate change will go ahead, with or without the United States – even though it is the world’s second-biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses, after China.

Related Articles:

Big payout for Shell and ExxonMobil from NAM holding

DutchNews, June 2, 2017

Shell and ExxonMobil, the two shareholders in Dutch gas production company NAM, split €496m in dividend payments in 2016. This was revealed in NAM’s first-ever published annual report on Friday, the Financieele Dagblad said. This marked the first time that it was made clear just how much the two oil giants earn from gas production in the Netherlands. 

NAM reported net revenues of €3.4bn in 2016. But NAM released no comparable profit and sales figures for previous years. 

NAM’s profit is determined after a payment of about €3bn to the Dutch government. Only a small portion of the earnings is used to strengthen its buffers, and shareholders’ equity is only €197m on a balance sheet total of €5bn. 

NAM’s solvency is below 4%, extraordinarily low by international standards, the FD said. That is more than necessary, according to NAM CFO Anton Broers. NAM has hardly any debt. ‘In addition we have a credit facility of more than €1bn in place by our shareholders. We did  not need to call on it last year,’ he said. 

NAM has €3.4bn earmarked for provisions on its balance sheet. A small portion of this, 15% or €495m, is reserved for claims made against the company for earthquake damage.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Hoard of Roman coins found at former burial site in Gelderland

DutchNews, June 2, 2017

Photo: Valkhof Museum Nijmegen A hoard of coins dating from the final days of the Roman Empire has been found in an orchard in Gelderland. 

Experts believe the fortune was buried by a Frankish military leader in the second half of the fifth century, when the area was part of the Western Roman Empire, which collapsed in 476AD. 

Some of the 41 gold pieces unearthed in Lienden, near Veenendaal, bear the image of Majorian, one of the empire’s last rulers, who reigned for four years from 457. ‘On that basis we think this treasure was buried in around 460,’ said Nico Roymans, professor of archaeology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. 

The collection was publicly displayed for the first time on Friday morning at the Valkhof Museum in Nijmegen, which has acquired them on a long-term loan. Roymans said the money was likely to have been paid to the Frankish warlord by the Romans in exchange for help with their troubles with local Germanic tribes such as the Visigoths. 

He added that maps of the area from the 19th century show there used to be a burial mound at the spot where the coins were found, which suggests the owner planned to return and collect them. ‘The burial mound would have been easy to find in the late Roman era and maybe that was the reason for hiding the treasure there,’ said Roymans. 

‘This find is unusual because it dates from so late in the period,’ said Stephan Mols, senior lecturer in archaeology at Nijmegen’s Radboud University. But we are getting more and more indications that the Romans recruited soldiers and sought help here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Many Dutch MEPs are ‘vague’ about what they do with their expenses

DutchNews, May 31, 2017

MPS from the VVD, the anti-EU PVV and the orthodox Christian SGP have declined to participate in research to find out what MEPs do with their monthly tax-free €4,300 expenses allowance, broadcaster NOS said on Wednesday. 

The EU forks out nearly €40m a year to fund the allowances of the 751 MEPs but last month, the European parliament again voted not to publish details about expenses claims, despite growing calls for more transparency. 

The research was carried out by an alliance of EU journalists called TheMepsProject. NOS was part of the investigating team. 

Ostensibly, the allowance enables MEPs to maintain an office back home and employ staff, but the investigation reveals that only 491 of the 751 MEPs actually maintain an office in their constituencies. 

Four of the 26 Dutch MEPs said they maintained an office in the Netherlands as well as in Brussels. Most others said they worked from home as their offices in Brussels were so close by. 


Members of the anti-EU PVV and orthodox Protestant SGP parties declined to answer the investigators’ survey, NOS said. VVD MPs did not take part, but the party did say its members follow the EU rules and that the allowance is treated as a lump sum which does not require receipts.

Anti-corruption organisation Transparency International has long called on MEPs to come clean about their spending. 

‘Most MEPs refuse to show what they are doing with the taxpayers cash they are given,’ director Anne Scheltema Beduin told NOS radio. ‘This clearly damages trust in European institutions.’ 

Related Article:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Earthquake shakes Slochteren, ‘worst since 2015’

DutchNews, May 29, 2017

A condemned and shored-up
cafe. Photo: Graham Dockery 
The centre of the province Groningen was hit by the worst earthquake since 2015 this weekend, the Financieele Dagblad reports. 

The quake struck late in the afternoon on Saturday and had a magnitude of 2.6 on the Richter scale. Its epicentre was at Slochteren but the quake was felt over a wide area, the paper writes. 

‘It was really scary. I was visiting my dad who has just had new dormer windows installed’, one woman in Slochteren told regional broadcaster RTV Noord. ‘He immediately said: keep calm, it’s a quake. I live in Hoogezand myself and we have had quakes but this one was different, stronger. We could hear something tearing. My dad is used to it but I could tell he was a little shaken too.’ 

Until now some 39 reports of damage have come been made to the Centrum Veilig Wonen (Centre for Safe Homes). The independent centre was set up to handle damage to homes in Groningen which have been affected by earthquakes in the past few years as a result of gas extractions by gas company NAM. 

Gas extraction has been scaled down but many Groningers think production should be lower still, the FD writes. 

Slochteren mayor Geert-Jan Brink said on Twitter that ‘Groningers had ‘had enough’ and that production should be scaled down ‘and quickly!’ while GroenLinks MP Liesbeth van Tongeren tweeted she wants a debate with economic affairs minister Henk Kamp about the issue.