Dozens of Dutch municipalities, provinces and the central government will sign the Clean Air Agreement on Monday - a promise to improve air quality in the Netherlands. With a package of measures, they want to prevent some 5 thousand premature deaths by 2030. The government is pushing 50 million euros into the agreement, municipalities and provinces dozens of millions more, NOS reports.
All Dutch soldiers stationed in Iraq are safe and together in the northern city of Erbil, including the around 10 soldiers previously stationed in Baghdad, Minister Ank Bijleveld of Defense said before the start of the Council of Ministers on Friday, NOS reports.
The governing cabinet in the Netherlands plans to implement new limits on fireworks after this past New Year's period saw thousands of incidents requiring first responders. Millions of euros worth of damages to private personal property were estimated, with even more damage caused to commercial property.
Henk Naves, the chairman of the Council of Judiciary, called on politicians to stop immediately blame the judge if they find a verdict unpleasant. That is bad for the rule of law, he said in his New Year's speech, NOS reports.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called his Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte to ask him how he dealt with the MH17 disaster. The call was in response to a Ukraine International Airlines plane crashing in Tehran on Wednesday, possibly after being hit by a rocket. All 176 people on board the Boeing 737-800 were killed, including 64 Canadians, RTL Nieuws reports.
Rutte "offered all the support that the Netherlands can offer" to Trudeau and Canada, a spokesperson for the Dutch Prime Minister told the broadcaster.
A majority in the Amsterdam city council wants to implement a general ban on consumer fireworks in the city. The local faction of VVD announced its support on Wednesday. GroenLinks, PvdA, and PvdD previously announced their support. Together the four parties have 24 of the 45 seats in the city council, NU.nl reports.
The Amsterdam VVD said that it must "unfortunately" support a ban. "We are very disappointed by the misery [fireworks] cause. A small group of people are ruining it for the rest," the party said.
Last year a 126 of the total 1,144 aldermen in the Netherlands were dismissed or forced to resign - the highest number in 15 years, according to a study commissioned by Binnelands Bestuur. In 2004, a total of 157 aldermen and -women were forced to leave, NOS reports.
The Dutch State is partly responsible for a plane crash in Faro in 1992 in which 57 people were killed and 106 seriously injured, the court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday. Survivors of the disaster and victims' relatives have been litigating against the State for years in an attempt to find out the causes of the disaster, AD reports.
KLM is no longer flying over Iraq and Iran as a precaution after Iran's retaliation attack on American targets in Iraq, a KLM spokesperson said to NU.nl on Wednesday. Depending on their destination, flights will detour to the north or the south.
News agency AFP reports that Air France stopped flying over the two countries.
Rotterdam will be the first large Dutch city to completely ban consumer fireworks for the coming New Year. After the "umpteenth" incidents and violence this past New Year's, the VVD in Rotterdam decided to support the ban, which means that there is majority support in the city council to prohibit the lighting of consumer fireworks, NOS reports.
Kevin van Eikeren resigned as PvdA city councilor in Rotterdam because he must appear in court this week on suspicion of insurance fraud. In a written statement, Van Eikeren acknowledged that he scammed insurance companies, NOS reports.
The Dutch government understands why the United States assassinated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in an attack in Baghdad on Friday, but the attack did give rise to a much more complicated situation, Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said in the first episode of talk show Op1 on Monday night, NU.nl reports.
"If you look at what Iran has done and what Soleimani is, he is of course no saint. That was a real crook", Bijleveld said. According to the Defense Minister, Soleimani as the leader of the Shiite militias can be held responsible for "terrible" things that happened in Syria.
Lighting fireworks over New Year's is a tradition that needs to change, CDA Minister Hugo De Jonge of Public Health said on television program Jinek on RTL 4 on Monday. Earlier in the day it became clear that a majority in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, now supports a partial ban on consumers' fireworks.
The United States pressured the Dutch government, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte himself, to block the sale of ASML chip manufacturing technology to China, Reuters reports based on anonymous sources. According to the news agency, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo lobbied the Dutch government, and White House officials shared classified intelligence with Rutte to convince him not to allow the sale.
The Netherlands is temporarily suspending its training mission in Northern Iraq, the Ministry of Defense announced on Monday. The commander of the international coalition in the fight against terrorist organization ISIS decided to suspend all training activities in Iraq. The soldiers of the anti-ISIS coalition, including the Dutch soldiers, will remain stationed in the country, NOS reports.
Support for a nationwide ban on firecrackers and rockets is growing within the political parties, including within the coalition. Coalition parties D66 and ChristenUnie called for such a ban. And two VVD mayors went against their party's position to call for such a ban, NOS reports.
Acting mayor Johan Remkes of The Hague argued for an "enforceable ban on firecrackers and rockets" for consumers on television program Buitenhof. And mayor Jan van Zanen of Utrecht asked the VVD to cooperate in a ban on all consumer fireworks.
Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Finance believes that too many people in the Netherlands buy things on credit, and as a result an "unacceptably high" number of Dutch are in arrears on their payments. He is therefore giving online stores a year to improve this situation, or he will take measures himself, he wrote in a letter to parliament, the Telegraaf reports.
The international coalition in the fight against terrorist organization ISIS decided to partly halt a mission to train Iraqi soldiers, in which Dutch soldiers are also involved, after a resolution in which the Iraqi parliament voted against the military presence of other countries in Iraq. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is studying the resolution and is in consultation with the other countries in the anti-ISIS resolution, the Ministry said to NOS.
In response to a drone attack by the United States on a Baghdad airport, killing an Iranian military leader, Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the events unfolding in Iraq are "worrying and serious." The attack happened weeks before the Dutch military was to send a frigate and helicopter to help patrol the Strait of Hormuz, which the U.S. requested months ago.
A substantial increase in people relocating to the Netherlands pushed the population of the country to 17.4 million people by the end of 2019, the largest population growth in the country since the beginning of the century. Roughly 272,200 people moved to the Netherlands last year, while 157,900 moved out of the country.
The Netherlands has dozens of new rules, regulations, and laws coming into force on January 1, 2020. Of over four dozen major tax changes rolling out in January, we are putting the spotlight on ten changes that could have a real impact on the wallets and bank accounts of people living and working in the Netherlands.
As much as authorities wanted to prevent tractors and construction vehicles from tying up the highways during protests by farmers and builders in October, law enforcement in the Netherlands was outmatched and unable to prevent it, concedes Linda Bregman, of the Public Prosecutor's Office (OM). It was not "because we didn't want it. Not because we didn't understand the law.
Freedom unites us, our differences do not divide us, and the pursuit of happiness should not be an obsession: Those were the main themes of King Willem-Alexander's annual Christmas Day address to the Netherlands, the seventh such speech he's delivered during his reign. The Dutch king recorded the five-minute address last week at the Huis ten Bosch palace in The Hague, where he has resided with his family since January.
Below follows the full text of King Willem-Alexander's annual Christmas speech for 2019, translated from Dutch. The NL Times has also written about the address, in comparison to his previous Christmas Day speeches.