The Dutch government is stepping up the fight against discrimination in the employee recruitment process. Employers and employment agencies caught discriminating while looking for staff will now be fined up to 4,500 euros per case. Their misconduct will also be made public, State Secretary Tamara van Ark of Social Affairs and Employment announced in a bill on Wednesday, the Volkskrant report.
The premium for the National Mortgage Guarantee (NHG) is decreasing from 0.9 percent to 0.7 percent of the total home-loan beginning next year, resulting in savings of up to 620 euros for eligible buyers. The maximum price for homes eligible for the NHG is also increasing, from 290 thousand euros this year to 310 thousand euros next year, Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs announced in a letter to parliament.
The Netherlands surpassed Switzerland and Germany as the most competitive economy in Europe. Worldwide, the Netherlands is in fourth place, after Singapore, the United States and Hong Kong, according to a comparison by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
According to the WEF researchers, "an entrepreneurial culture, flat organizations and growth of innovative companies" have made the Dutch economy much more agile.
Dutch employers give little to no priority to becoming more inclusive by, for example, hiring people with an occupational disability or older employees, according to a new report from social and cultural planning office SCP. Hiring people with a non-western migration background and increasing the number of women in top positions is also not a priority among Dutch employers, the SCP found, NOS reports.
Former PvdA Minister Ella Vogelaar died at age 69 on Monday, her family announced on Tuesday evening. "She has been suffering from depression for quite some time and has put an end to her life", the family said in a statement, according to NOS.
Longtime Dutch DJ Armin van Buuren will launch a special edition escape room during Amsterdam Dance Event later this month. Van Buuren teamed up with top-rated escape room firm Sherlocked Mystery Experiences to provide teams with an 80-minute long session at 159 euros per team.
Game players will have to work together to figure out secrets to the Armada Music founder’s success. The escape room, dubbed “Balance”, is also a promotion for Van Buuren’s upcoming album of the same name.
The Blauwe Moskee in Amsterdam Nieuw-West wants to boost it's weekly call to prayer - the Adhan - through loudspeakers. A few dozen mosques in the Netherlands already do so, but the Blauwe Moskee will be the first in Amsterdam. The mosque's board is organizing a neighborhood meeting on Sunday afternoon to inform local residents about their intentions, imam Yassin Elforkani said to Het Parool.
Students who started studying in the Netherlands in the 2015/2016 academic year or later want the Dutch government to pay back their study loans. They therefore created a Facebook event to bombard Prime Minister Mark Rutte with "Tikkies", referring to an ABN Amro app with which you can send a quick payment request to a mobile number. The Facebook event incudes a number for Rutte's party the VVD.
SP parliamentarian Sadet Karabulut wants the Netherlands to boycott the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia next year. The Saudi regime is too controversial, Karabulut said, referring to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, among other things. The D66 thinks the Netherlands should go and address these issues, RTL Nieuws reports.
Ketamine seems to be getting more popular as a party drug, according to new figures from the Trimbos Institute. Over the past six years, the number of people who went to a first aid post or hospital after using this drug recreationally increased five-fold, the institute said in its Drug Incidents Monitor, NOS reports.
Ketamine is an anesthetic that can cause hallucinations. The share of first-aid visits caused by ketamine use increased from 2.7 percent in 2009 to 8.2 percent in 2017.
The province of Utrecht came in 2nd place on the list of Europe's most livable regions, the Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI). First place went to Stockholm in Sweden. Utrecht shares second place with London, RTV Utrect reports.
The European Union compiles the RCI every three years, judging regions' livability based on various themes including infrastructure, innovation, health, gender equality, and sustainability.
The Dutch government must take the lead in combating racism, according to the UN Special Rapporteur on Racism and Xenophobia, Tendayi Achiume.