The directors of Dutch oil and gas giant NAM may face up to 15 years in prison should the company end up being prosecuted for earthquake damage to houses in Groningen, according to well-known Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong. On Thursday the Arnhem-Leeuwarden court ordered the Public Prosecutor to start a criminal investigation against NAM over damages caused by earthquakes that resulted from years of gas extraction in the province.
The Public Prosecutor must investigate whether NAM was guilty of damaging housing, possibly creating life threatening situations, in the gas extraction area in Groningen, the Arnhem-Leeuwarden court ruled on Thursday, NOS reports.
The case was filed by the Groninger Bodem Beweging (GBB) an a number of individuals from the gas extraction area. The Groningen residents say they are dealing with, in some cases severe, damage to their homes caused by earthquakes that resulted from years of gas extraction.
The police arrested a 49-year-old man on the A7 between Drachten and Groningen on Tuesday afternoon for playing his saxophone behind the wheel. The man had the saxophone lying on the steering wheel. He wasn't blowing into it, but was playing the valves with his fingers, the police said, according to NU.nl.
Police officers noticed the man because of his driving behavior - he was driving at less than 90 kilometers per hour, close behind a truck and was not driving in a "flowing line", according to the police. The police therefore decided to pull him over.
The Dutch government is reducing gas extraction in Groningen by a further 10 percent based on advice from the State supervision on mines SodM that this is the only way to reduce the chance of heavy earthquakes in the region, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced on Tuesday. This year 24 billion cubic meters of gas can be extracted in Groningen, as of October 1st that will be reduced to 21.6 billion cubic meters, NU.nl reports.
Packets of what is believed to be drugs were found washed up at various locations along the coast of Zeeland and around Eemshaven in Groningen on Sunday. Whether there is a connection between the packets is being investigated, ANP reports.
The police called on citizens to report any washed up packets to emergency line 112.
A fire that broke out in a student dorm on Nieuwe Ebbingestraat in Groningen on Monday left three people injured. One was taken to the hospital for treatment, the other two were treated at the scene. The fire department managed to extinguish the fire relatively quickly, Oog TV reports.
Firefighters responded en masse due to the belief that people were trapped in the burning dorm. This turned out not to be the case. The dorm was ventilated after the fire was extinguished.
Frigid, and potentially freezing temperatures are expected across the Netherlands this week, dashing the hopes of many residents that a warm spring would make its return. The thermometer is expected to plummet as low as -1 degrees in Venlo, Limburg on Wednesday morning, but a strong Northerly wind will make it feel like -8 degrees there.
The city near the German border will like face three straight days of freezing temperatures in the early morning hours. Snow and sleet is even possible in parts of Limburg this week.
The Dutch municipalities of Leiden, The Hague, Deventer, Groningen and Breda are all establishing a Children's Council in which the aldermen of these cities will actively work with the recommendations of kids. Princess Laurentien of the Missing Chapter Foundation and State Secretary Jetta Klijnsma of Social Affairs will kick off the test run for the Children's Councils on Tuesday, ANP reports.
Four underage boys were arrested in Groningen on Sunday just before two demonstrations in the city - one by anti-Islam movement Pegida and a counter protest by Groningen Tolerant. According to the police, they boys were arrested for being in the possession of fireworks and brass knuckles and not being able to identify themselves, GIC reports.
A few hours after the protests, the police said that the arrested boys seemed to have no connection to the Pegida demonstration.
The city of Groningen is putting down a new building to offer so-called 'bed, bath and bread' shelter for failed asylum seekers. Security and Justice State Secretary Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD) wants to ban municipalities from housing failed asylum seekers and undocumented migrants, but talks on what to do about shelter for people who can not be deported stalled last year, NOS reports.
Dutch petroleum company NAM has withdrawn from handling claims related to earthquake damage or any other problems caused by gas extraction in Groningen, RTV Noord reports based on sources within NAM. This follows a report the Dutch Safety Board published on Thursday which states that the Dutch government should be responsible for handling Groningen fracking damage claims, not NAM, NU.nl reports.
Groningen residents are not only voting in the parliamentary elections today, they are also given the opportunity to sign a petition against gas drilling in the province. During the night, groups of volunteers hung posters at nearly all 406 polling stations in Groningen, calling on voters to sign a petition by Freek de Jonge, RTV Noord reports.
Student Milou Deelen (21) made a video about her experience with "slut shaming" at the Groningen student association Vindicat in honor of International Women's Day. With the video, Deelen wants to draw attention to misogyny in the association, to which she herself fell victim, Het Parool reports.
Deelen's video has been viewed over 375 thousand times.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte was barely able to get a word out on talk show Pauw en Jinek on Monday night because of a group of furious Groningen residents shouting and booing at him from the audience. They are furious about the VVD government's policy on gas production in their province, AD reports.
"Mr. Rutte drained us for six and a half years. And he is still doing it. He is depicted as a positive politician, an optimist. But you know what an optimist does? Laughs everying away, so he laughs away our problems", one angry audience member said.
A letter written by the widow of writer Multatuli in 1930 recently surfaced in Groningen. It was found in a old book, which was recently given to a used book shop, RTV Noord reports.
In the letter widow Mimi Hamminck Schepel thanks an employee of the University of Groningen for his commitment to the work of her deceased husband Multatuli. By that time he had been dead for almost half a century.
Dutch petroleum company NAM can be held liable for immaterial damage suffered by a number of Groningen earthquake victims, the court in Assen ruled on Wednesday. This immaterial damage includes physical symptoms like headaches as well as psychological problems like anxiety, NU.nl reports.
Over this weekend union FNV received complaints from hundreds of employees and former employees of the 16 Primark branches in the Netherlands. The union launched an investigation into the working conditions at the clothing chain after workers in Groningen complained last week about intimidation, heavy workloads, ignored health complaints and being watched in staff areas, AD reports.
Today Google is honoring the birthday of Groningen born Aletta Jacobs by replacing its usual logo with a Doodle of her. Jacobs is known for her fight for women's suffrage and for being the first Dutch woman to graduate from an university. The Google Doodle is also in honor of the 100th anniversary since women were given the right to vote, NOS reports.
Thousands of people participated in a torchlight march through the city of Groningen on Tuesday as a protest against the Dutch government's policy on gas extraction in the northern province. Organizers estimate that about 4,500 people joined the march. The protesters want gas extraction to be further reduced, preferably to zero, and earthquake damage to be compensated, NU.nl reports.
No surgeries will be done at the Refaja hospital in Stadskanaal, Groningen in the coming days. The operating theaters at the hospital are closed until at least Friday due to flies, the Telegraaf reports.
Patients scheduled to undergo surgery at the hospital this week, will be referred to another location or have the surgery rescheduled. The Treant Zorggroep, under which the hospital falls, is taking no chances, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. Patients will be brought up to date as soon as possible. They may be referred to Emmen and Hoogeveen for their surgery.
The criminal underworld is increasingly mixing with daily life in the northern provinces of the Netherlands, Mayor Peter den Oudsten of Groningen, deputy chief prosecutor for northern Netherlands Gert Veurink and northern Tax office director Cor Zoontjies warn in Dagblad van het Noorden on Wednesday.
Dutch-Moroccan man Tobias Stamhuis has gone viral with a video he and a friend made on a phone they picked up on Saturday night. Before turning the phone into a police officer, the two men left a friendly video message to its owner.
Lisa van der Geest and Simon Schouten won the season's first skating marathon on natural ice in Noordlaren, Groningen on Wednesday, NU.nl reports.
The women started at 10:00 a.m. with 80 laps on the 333 meter track. After some skirmishes in the first half hour, a strong leading group of eight skaters separated themselves. 23-year-old Van der Geest won. After 80 laps she was the leader of a group of eight who were a lap ahead of the rest of the racers. Emma Engbers got second place, and Irene Schouten - Simon Schouten's sister - took third place.
Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen launched a global campaign to bring a massive Tesla factory to north Netherlands. "Hi Tesla. We are Top Dutch", the website launched with the campaign reads.