Four in 10 Dutch back permanent winter time, 25% say no change

Four in 10 of the Dutch would like to switch to permanent winter time which means it would get dark earlier in the summer, according to a snap poll of 1,800 people by the home affairs ministry. Home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren commissioned the poll following the call by European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker for an end to the ritual changing of the clock in spring and autumn. Juncker said in September that a poll of 4.6 million Europeans showed ‘the people want' an end to changing the clocks 'and we shall make sure it happens'. In the Dutch poll, 41% said they would prefer permanent winter time, 25% would like permanent summer time and 25% wanted no change to the current system. At the end of October it became clear that there could be no change in the current system until 2021 at the earliest.There are currently three time zones within the EU.  More >

Health council backs more vaccinations

The Dutch health council said on Wednesday that it backs vaccinating all 14 month old babies and all 14-year-olds against meningococcal types C and W and has urged the government to add the injections to the national vaccination programme. Babies of 14 months are already given the vaccination as standard but teenagers are being offered a one off injection in 2018 and 2019. The health council now says that should happen every year. However, it does not recommend vaccinations against meningococcal type B because of the side effects which can include high temperatures, and a lack of clarity about its effectiveness. Meningococcal W claimed 18 lives in the Netherlands the first eight months of 2018, three times as many as the equivalent period last year. The infection most commonly occurs in the 15 to 19 age group and is spread by coughing and sneezing. The virus can live in the nasal passages without causing infection, but if it enters the bloodstream or nervous system it can trigger symptoms similar to gastric flu such as high temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea. On Tuesday, the health council said babies need only be vaccinated twice against whooping cough, if their mothers were vaccinated against the disease during their pregnancy.  More >

More people take the international train

More people are using international trains to travel short distances, thanks in part to growing awareness that flying is not environmentally-friendly, according to Dutch train company NS. The number of people travelling to Paris by train rose 6%, to Berlin 9% and to Brussels 12% this year, NS said.  And research carried out by the train company and travel agency Treinreiswinkel shows that the environment is the most important reason why travellers chose the train. An NS spokesman told Trouw the company is particularly surprised at the growth in passengers travelling to Berlin, because the journey time has not been cut. Flying is usually cheaper than the train on short-haul journeys.   More >

Ryanair applies to sack all staff in NL

Irish budget airline Ryanair has put in a formal request to sack its entire workforce in the Netherlands because of the company's poor economic performance, Dutch pilots union VNV said. The request is now being studied by the government's UWV job agency, which has to decide if the redundancy request has been properly argued. In November, Ryanair closed its base at Eindhoven and dismissed 16 cabin crew at the Dutch airport, where pilots have twice gone on strike this year in protest at changes to their pensions and other benefits. However, the district court in Den Bosch blocked the airline’s attempt to relocate 16 pilots who were based in Eindhoven after the pilots’ union VNV objected. The court said at the time there was no business case to shut the base and the decision had ‘all the appearance of a sanction following the earlier strikes.’ The court in Den Bosch has ordered the airline to keep paying their salaries and keep their training up to date, but said it had no authority to block the closure of the base. Ryanair responded by writing to the pilots giving them a choice of relocating voluntarily to another base or being made redundant. The airline has now applied for mass redundancy.  More >

Parking permits set to rise in price

Residents' parking permits in Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague are set to rise sharply next year, but no increase is on the cards in Amsterdam, according to research by home owners lobby group Vereninging Eigen Huis. In Utrecht, the price of a permit will got up €66 to €342, in Rotterdam prices will almost double to €115 and in The Hague, permits will cost €60 - a rise of €23. Amsterdam, which has announced parking fees for visitors will shoot up in 2019, has not yet published details of any residents parking permit fee rises. The city centre is currently the most expensive place to park - at €535 for a full year - but prices drop sharply outside the centre. In Noord, a permit costs just €30. Hilversum has bucked the national trend and actually slashed the cost of a permit bt 50% to €75. Nationwide, the average cost of a parking permit is €95 next year, a rise of 2.4% on 2018, VEH said.  More >

Bandidos chapters remain legal: court

The national chapter of a motorcycle club was correctly banned by a lower court two years ago, but the local branches of the club can remain, appeal court judges said on Tuesday. Bandidos Motorcycle Club (BMC) Europa and the Dutch organisation Bandidos Motorcycle Club Holland had gone to court to appeal against a Utrecht court decision to ban their organisations two years ago. In that ruling, judges banned the motorcycle club with immediate effect in order to ‘halt behaviour which could disrupt society’. The appeal court judges upheld the ban on the national organisation but said the ruling 'does not apply to other, independent Bandidos chapters in the Netherlands because the public prosecution request was not directed at this.' The group’s lawyer Marnix van der Werf said on Tuesday that the appeal court ruling was a victory for the group. 'Nothing has changed and the individual Bandidos clubs remain legal,' he said. 'People from the various clubs have 'Holland' on the back of their jackets but Bandidos Holland is not a real association.' Sittard The organisation has been operating in the Netherlands since 2014 and has chapters in Sittard, Nijmegen and Utrecht. The public prosecution department began trying to have biker gangs banned in 2007 using criminal law, but that backfired after the Supreme Court ruled in 2009 that the department had failed to properly establish that the Hells Angels formed a criminal association. In September, the public prosecution department has asked judges in Assen to ban the motorbike club No Surrender, arguing that the group is an outlaw gang and involved in drugs and other crime.  More >

Population to hit 18 million in 10 years

Some 3.5 million people in the Netherlands are likely to live alone by 2030, a rise of 400,000 on the current total, national statistics agency CBS says in its new population forecasts. In particular, elderly women are likely to be living alone, as women on the whole live longer than men, the CBS said. By 2030, the Netherlands will consist of around 8.5 million households, compared with 7.9 million at present. The population is likely to hit around 18 million in 2029, by which time a quarter of the population will be over the age of 65. The number of over-80s will rise to 1.2 million by then, the CBS says. The current population of the Netherlands is 17.1 million. Nevertheless, the figures need to be used with caution, the CBS says, because immigration figures are uncertain. The population shifts will also have an impact on housing and the shortage of properties suitable for families will grow, if older people continue living in their family home. 'Every year, 100,000 young families need to be housed,' Delft University professor Peter Boelhouwer told NOS radio. Elderly people are often reluctant to move and like living where they do, he said. 'Just 3% really want to move, compared with 9% of people in other age groups,' he said. 'It is a difficult thing to do if you are used to living in a certain place.'  More >

Dutch court hosts Rafinha versus Adidas

Barcelona football player Rafinha is being taken to court by German sportswear giant Adidas for breach of contract, and the case is being heard today in Amsterdam. Adidas want Rafinha to pay €100,000 for every day he refuses to wear the company's boots, in line with a contract dating from 2013. The case is being heard in a Dutch court because the company's international trademarks are based in Amsterdam and this is where the contract is based. The agreement signed between Rafinha and Adidas requires the player to only wear Adidas boots during matches and training, and clothing during official media appearances. The deal expired this June. However, small print allowed Adidas to extend the contract if Rafinha failed to respond to requests for an extension, the Daily Mirror reported. Dutch lawyer and football broker Royce de Vries told broadcaster NOS Rafinha is likely to have a financial reason to go to court. 'There is a big likelihood that another, more lucrative deal, is on its way,' he said. De Vries said he doubted that Rafinha will win. 'His lawyer and his manager should have read the small print,' De Vries said. 'But who knows what the judge will decide.'  More >