Dutch PM describes breakfast meeting with Theresa May as 'useful'

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has described his Tuesday morning breakfast talks with his British counterpart Theresa May as a 'useful dialogue' in which the two leaders 'discussed the latest Brexit developments'. May is on a whirlwind tour of European leaders to gather support for further changes to the deal paving the way for Britain to withdraw from the European Union, after deciding to postpone the key British parliamentary vote. The Netherlands was May's first port of call on the tour. She is in Germany this afternoon and then possibly Brussels. Rutte declined to comment on the talks as he arrived at the Catshuis - his official residence in The Hague, by bike for the meeting. Rutte op de fiets naar werkontbijt met May: ’Morning!’ Lol, Dutch PM Rutte arrives by bicycle at breakfast meeting with May to discuss Brexit. International press looks stunned 😂😂😂 https://t.co/JntAzkFcXh — Hans-Erik Iken (@HansErikIken) December 11, 2018 Waiting reporters were also amused by the name of the catering company supplying the breakfast. House of lords catert #Brexit #breakfast #Rutte #May op Catshuis https://t.co/jfvuGvi3UN — klaassalverda (@klaassalverda) December 11, 2018 Rutte has said repeatedly that the 27 EU member states are united in their approach to Brexit and reiterated last month, after the deal was signed by EU ministers that it is the ‘best we can get’. ‘If there are people in Britain who think they can get a better deal, then they are wrong,’ Rutte said. ‘This is the best you can get, both for Britain and the European Union. If there was anything better, I can tell you Theresa May would have gotten that.’ On Monday the national audit office said that a no-deal Brexit would cost the Dutch government €2.3bn over two years in extra EU contributions and customs services. Trade with the UK is estimated to be worth €22.7 billion a year to the Netherlands, equivalent to 3.1% of GDP. This makes the Netherlands one of Britain’s biggest European trading partners.  More >

DNA test sees man jailed for 1992 murder

A gavel in a courtroom. A 47-year-old man from Zaandam has been jailed for 20 years for killing a 19-year-old girl and dumping her body in a pond in 1992. Judges in Alkmaar found Hüseyin A guilty of killing Milica van Doorn. He was identified following a mass dna test in the region last year. A postmortem examination revealed Milica had been raped and stabbed to death and DNA samples indicated that the killer was almost certainly a man of Turkish origin. Last year police asked 133 men from Zaandam’s Turkish community to volunteer their DNA for comparison, 126 of whom agreed. Several could not be traced and two refused. Hüseyin A is one of the two men who refused to submit to the voluntary testing. He was identified because the tests showed he was related to one of the men who came forward. This is the third high profile cold case to have produced a breakthrough following mass dna testing. In 2013, a Frisian farmer who admitted murdering a 16-year-old schoolgirl in 1999 was jailed for 18 years by a court in Leeuwarden. And a mass dna test in Limburg has led to the arrest this year of a suspect in the hunt for the killer of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen in 1998.  More >

PC Hooft prize for Bitter Herbs author

The Netherlands’ most prestigious literary prize PC Hooftprijs has been awarded to 98 year-old author Marga Minco. Minco, who is Jewish, is most famous for her bestselling book Het Bittere Kruid  (bitter herbs, 1957)) in which she evokes the war years in 22 short stories. The author was in her early twenties when she escaped from being transported to a concentration camp by simply walking out of the house when ‘the men in raincoats’ came to take the family away. Her father asked her to get the coats and Minco kept running until she found herself ‘alone in a deserted city’. She spent the rest of the war in hiding and under an assumed name. None of her family made it back from the camps and the war was to remain the dominant theme in her writing making her, the jury said, ‘the Dutch voice of European war time literature’.  More >

Dutch EU human rights plan wins backing

EU member states have agreed to draw up legislation for tough new human rights sanctions, based on proposals presented by Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok. None of the foreign ministers at Monday's foreign ministers' meeting came out against the plan and Germany, France and Britain said they explicitly back the idea, Trouw reported on Tuesday. Diplomats and EU foreign policy coordinator Federica Mogeherini will now work on drawing up concrete proposals, Trouw said. The aim of an EU version of the Magnitsky law - named after the murdered Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky - is to allow the EU to freeze the assets of people accused of human rights abuses and to impose travel bans on them worldwide. Worldwide human rights are increasingly under pressure. This is unacceptable. Today, 70 years after the adoption of the #UDHR, the EU decided to further develop a blueprint for an EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime. #HumanrightsPower #Standup4humanrights pic.twitter.com/ay2YH6ScUV — Stef Blok (@ministerBlok) December 10, 2018 A big thank you to minister Blok, the 99 parliamentarians and 89 human rights organisations pushing for this. One step closer to banning human right violators from the EU and freezing their assets! — Sjoerd Wiemer Sjoerdsma (@swsjoerdsma) December 10, 2018 Magnitsky's name is not included in the Dutch proposal because of concerns that it might leave people to believe the sanctions are only targeted at Russia, Trouw said.  More >

Senate backs new commercial court

Senators on Tuesday backed plans to establish an international commercial court in the Netherlands, which will specialize in complex international trade disputes. The new tribunal is being set up because of demand for a specialised, English language tribunal, legal experts say. The Netherlands Commercial Court will have two chambers, one based at Amsterdam district court and one at the court of appeal on the IJ waterfront. Justice minister Sander Dekker told senators during their debate on the plans last week that companies which currently take legal action in English only have the choice of arbitration or to go to London. 'Both options are somewhat expensive,' he said.   More >

Six more men arrested for Sinterklaas riot

Six more people have been arrested for public order offences in Eindhoven, following the physical and verbal attacks on a small group of anti-Zwarte Piet demonstrators during the Sinterklaas procession in Eindhoven last month. A number of people, including PSV football supporters, threw eggs and beer cans at the demonstrators, and hurled both racist and sexist abuse at them. Six people were arrested on the day itself but police have now picked up six more on the basis of surveillance camera footage. All are men from Eindhoven aged between 21 and 22. The public prosecution department has not ruled out making further arrests. Tijdens de intocht in Eindhoven werd Kick Out Zwarte Piet begroet met racistische spreekkoren, bekogeld met eieren en geïntimideerd. #kozp pic.twitter.com/GHR16lBv8H — VICE NL (@vicenl) November 18, 2018   More >

Arrests as police bust cockfighting centre

Dutch police on Tuesday raided what they said was a centre for training fighting cocks, seizing 51 birds and arresting two people, following a tip-off. The building in a rural part of Bodegraven, between Leiden and Utrecht, included a closed wheel which was used to train the hens and pens where the birds lived. Local broadcaster Omroep West also showed a photograph of a bucket containing dead birds. Cock fighting is illegal in the Netherlands but the hens may have been destined for France, where cock fighting is legal in a few places, the broadcaster quoted the police as saying. Op een perceel aan de #BurgemeesterKremerweg in #Bodegraven zijn meerdere hanen aangetroffen. Een 31 jarige man uit #Zwammerdam en een 38 jarige man uit Bodegraven zijn aangehouden op verdenking van het houden van verboden #hanengevechten meer info volgt pic.twitter.com/LfwBsPN7xr — Politie Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) December 11, 2018 The two men arrested are aged 31 and 38 and come from Zwammerdam and Bodegraven.  More >