Former Prime Minister Wim Kok (PvdA) passed away after a long illness, his family revealed on Saturday. Over the weekend King Willem-Alexander and various politicians responded to his death. Kok was a well respected man to whom the Netherlands owes a great deal of gratitude, was the general theme of their reactions.
GroenLinks, SP and PvdA, the three largest left-wing parties in the Tweede Kamer, together presented an alternative budget that puts "people above multinationals" on Wednesday. They call for more investments in society and in the "livelihood of all Dutch people", Het Parool reports.
Minister Stef Blok of Foreign Affairs survived a motion of no confidence in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday about statements he made on multicultural societies. Many opposition parties voted against him, but he still has the support of the coalition, NU.nl reports.
Dutch municipalities will get the possibility to ban fireworks over New Year's. A majority in parliament supports this plan, and the government can live with such a local fireworks ban, turned out during a parliamentary debate on Wednesday evening, ANP reports.
The Dutch authorities made multiple mistakes while investigating the fireworks disaster at SE Fireworks in Enschede on May 13th, 2000, according to the results of a four year long investigation by former MEP Paul van Buitenen. The Public Prosecutor deliberately misled the judiciary to make sure that the criminal investigation had only one conclusion - that the government was not to blame, Van Buitenen concluded, NOS reports.
On Thursday opposition parties in parliament insisted that Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs reverses his decision to postpone the reinforcement of 1,588 homes in the province of Groningen, NU.nl reports.
Seven of the eight members of 50Plus' board of directors resigned on Monday night. Only secretary Hylke ten Cate is still in office. According to the party, a conflict arose about the management style and working methods of a number of board members, NOS reports.
The management crisis started when director Marianne Fennema said on Monday night that she did not agree with the board's working method under the leadership of chairman Jan Zoetelief. After her email, the other board members announced their resignation. Zoetelief was then forced to also resign.
With just a week to go until the municipal elections, both the D66 and GroenLinks have a solid chance to become the biggest party in Amsterdam. Both parties currently stand at 17 percent of Amsterdam votes - good for 9 seats in the city council, according to a poll by Maurice de Hond of Peil.nl, Het Parool reports.
Nine seats is an increase of three seats for GroenLinks, and a loss of 5 seats for the D66.The party that comes out the biggest after the municipal election on March 21st can take the lead in forming a new coalition.
Eleven Amsterdam political parties signed an agreement on Tuesday night aimed at strengthening the interests of the Jewish community in the Dutch capital. "With this agreement the parties state that the city will cherish its Jewish history and will care for its Jewish inhabitants", Ruben Vis, secretary of the organization for Jewish municipalities NIK and initiator of this agreement, said, Het Parool reports.
In an effort to close the gender wage gap in the Netherlands, parties SP, GroenLinks, 50Plus and PvdA are preparing a legislative proposal that requires companies to be transparent about the salaries they pay to their employees, RTL Nieuws reports.
Metje Blaak, former sex worker and a candidate for 50Plus in the Amsterdam municipal elections, wants to charge an entry fee of five euros for the Red Light District. According to her, this is an effective way to reduce crowds in the area and to make sure that sex workers aren't driven away, the Telegraaf reports.
50Plus leader Henk Krol admitted that he made a mistake when he threw away a Christmas gift from the Iranian ambassador during a broadcast of PowNews, but he does not intend to offer his apologies to the embassy, NOS report.
The Iranian embassy released a statement saying that they are very upset about 50Plus leader Henk Krol throwing away a Christmas present the ambassador sent him. Krol threw the bag of pistachio nuts in the dustbin during a broadcast of PowNews, saying that the ambassador only sent gifts to male parliamentarians and that he found this so offensive that he can't accept his gift, NU.nl reports.
A marathon parliamentary debate on the abolition of the Hillen law - a law that gives tax credit to homeowners whose mortgages are paid off - ended after around eight hours, instead of the 36 hours scheduled for the debate. The Tweede Kamer put an end to the filibuster after numerous failed attempts to get PVV parliamentarian Edgar Mulder to get to the point, AD reports.
A marathon debate akin to the American style filibuster is starting in the Tweede Kamer, the lower house of Dutch parliament, on Tuesday. Parliamentarians asked for over 36 hours of talk time to debate the abolition of the so-called Hillen law - a law that gives tax credit to mortgages that have been repaid or almost repaid. The idea behind this marathon debate is to stall the abolition of this law, RTL Nieuws reports.
The PVV requested 1,200 minutes of speaking time, 50Plus wants 900 minutes. Other parties requested no more than 30 minutes.
Opposition parties did not hesitate to comment on the new government's plans for the Netherlands for the coming years.
VVD leader and current prime minister Mark Rutte is open to restarting government formation talks with the 'engine' of VVD, CDA, D66 and GroenLinks, but only if green leader Jesse Klaver is willing to come to the table without setting any conditions in advance. Klaver sees no point in continuing the negotiations if the VVD and CDA are not willing to compromise on the immigration and asylum seekers policy, NU.nl reports.
The talks on forming a new Dutch government picked up again on Friday. Mediator Edith Schippers is speaking with all party leaders today, either in a personal meeting or over the telephone. She is hoping they come up with new ideas, or get rid of old objections. "That's not simple, but it is necessary", Schippers said according to NOS.
Dutch King Willem-Alexander turns 50 years old today. A number of political party leaders took a moment to wish him a happy birthday. "It only gets better [after 50]", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said to RTL Nieuws.
"I would like to congratulate him on his 50th birthday. And everyone around him too, of course", SGP leader Kees van der Staaij said to the broadcaster. "I want to wish him a lot of wisdom. For what can a king use better than wisdom? I especially hope that he stays who he is."
Many of the political party leaders already cast their votes in the parliamentary election in the Netherlands this morning. D66 leader Alexander was the first party leader to do so. He voted in his hometown of Wageningen, NOS reports.
According to Pechtold, today is an exciting day. "There are four parties that can become the biggest and of those the D66 is the most progressive", he said to the broadcaster. He plans to hand out some more flyers during the day.
A quarter of Dutch believe that if a woman dresses sexy, she should not complain when she hears sexual comments, according to a survey by research firm Ipsos on behalf of Rutgers, a knowledge center on sexuality. And 13 percent believe that girls who wear short skirts should not complain when they are harassed, AD reports.
Left- and right wing parties clashed fiercely over the retirement age, healthcare deductibles and the Dutch identity in the televised debate between eight party leaders in the Carré in Amsterdam on Sunday. With only 9 days to go until the parliamentary election, party leaders are pressured to create some movement in the polls, which have been quiet over the past weeks.
While it does not seem that the first televised election debate on RTL on Sunday had much affect on the polls, Maurice de Hond's latest poll does show left-leaning parties CDA and PvdA each gaining slightly more support and going up one seat. Right-wing PVV's support continues to dwindle slowly. Elderly party 50Plus took quite a blow this past week, losing almost half of its support.