Brexit withdrawal agreement: what next for British nationals in NL?

The Brexit withdrawal agreement, which still has to be approved by European leaders, the European parliament and the British parliament, does not appear to contain any improved rights for British nationals living the Netherlands and the rest of the EU. The parts of the withdrawal agreement on citizens rights were agreed in March and have not changed substantially since then. This means British nationals will be able to stay, work and use the healthcare services in the Netherlands but will lose their right to move to another EU country at will. 'What counts is this agreement will country-lock British people where they are living,' Laura Shields, of the British in Europe movement, told broadcaster France 24. 'Four out of five of our members need to cross borders for work.' Nevertheless, the agreement does give some clarity about the rights British nationals will have after March 29 2019. 'This agreement, if it goes through, means all British citizens living in the Netherlands by the end of December 2020 - the end of the transition period - will continue to be entitled to live here,' says immigration lawyer Jeremy Bierbach, of Franssen Advocaten. 'It is always a good plan to apply for a permanent residence document as an EU citizen because it is confirmation of the fact you are here. As the withdrawal agreement states, you will be able to exchange it, free of charge, for whatever new permit they come up with.' In addition, people who have not registered with their local authority, for whatever reason should do so now, Bierbach says. 'You should start collecting evidence about your stay here such as pay slips, jaaropgaven, bank statements, homeowner's insurance and utility bills.' Cliff edge Businessman Stephen Huyton, who has lived in the Netherlands for 23 years, says the deal avoids the ‘cliff edge’ scenario but still has a long way to go. ‘Since the document was published last night and is almost 600 pages long, it’s going to be a case of the devil in the detail. Until the experts have read the documents in full I will reserve judgement,’ he told ‘On a personal note, as I understand it, a UK national will cease to be an EU resident as from end March so will be obliged to use non EU passport lines like somebody from, say, Australia. This is going to be a challenge at Schiphol.’ European parliament Campaigners are now pinning their hopes on the European parliament. Jane Golding, co-chair of the British in Europe group, said in a statement: 'It is now up to the European Parliament, not only to walk the talk on its red lines – free movement in our case – but to put pressure on all sides to ring fence the agreement on citizens’ rights so that 4.6mn people can sleep at night now whatever happens on Brexit.' The Dutch immigration service website continues to state that 'the validity of an EU permanent residence document officially will expire permanently for you on 29 March 2019. After all, on that day British citizens are no longer EU citizens.' has asked the IND for comment. You can comment on this story in the section below.  More >

Police back tasers for emergency teams

Electric shock weapons such as tasers should become part of the equipment used by police officers on emergency service duty, police officials have recommended to the justice ministry. If approved by the minister, this would mean electric stun guns would be made available to all police teams which are called out on emergencies. It will take five years before the introduction because 17,000 officers need to undergo special training to use the weapons, police said on Thursday. In June, a report on a year long trial by the police academy found that tasers do have ‘added value’ for the police. Since the start of the trail in February 2017, tasers have been drawn 343 times and in 62% of cases, the threat of use was enough to calm the situation down, the report states. In February Amnesty International called for trial to be abandoned after it emerged that the devices had actually been used on suspects more than 100 times. Tasers work by firing electric charges of around 50,000 volts at a suspect from a distance, temporarily disabling them. Police say the danger of serious or permanent injury is minimal, but experts disagree on the risk to the heart.  More >

Two hand grenades left outside Almere cafe

Parts of central Almere were sealed off on Thursday morning as police explosives experts made safe two hand grenades which had been left on the Grote Markt. One handgrenade was found in a 'suspicious package' in front of a cafe on the square around 8am. The second grenade was found some 90 minutes later. Firemen and ambulances were also called to the scene, which was monitored by a police helicopter. The area was reopened to the public around 1.30pm. Hand grenades have been left outside cafes and other shops Amsterdam and Delft in recent weeks in what police say is likely to be a warning in ongoing gangland rivalries.   More >

Nearly 3,000 cars go up in flames

Almost 3,000 cars have been destroyed by fire in the first nine months of this year, according to insurance company figures. Most were deliberately set on fire and the total is the highest in five years, insurers say. Seven in 10 motorists have insurance against car fires. Most fires take place in the provinces of Zuid-Holland, Noord-Brabant and Noord-Holland but the biggest proportional rise - 34% - was booked in Groningen. In an effort to stop arsonists, insurers are recommending drivers park as close to street lamps as possible. Very few fires are caused by technical failures. A spokesman for the insurers association told that most fires appear to be set by lone wolves at night. The regional differences reflect reporting about active pyromaniacs, he said. 'There is no evidence that car owners are increasingly committing fraud.'  More >

Painting valued at €800 sells for €570,000

A painting expected to fetch between €800 and €1,600 at auction was sold for €570,000 at a Rotterdam auction house on Wednesday, RTV Rijnmond reports. ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds, an unsigned, early 17th century work, may have been taken by dealers for a painting by Italian artist Annibale Carracci whose work is sold for millions,' auctioneer Arne Bonsaksen of Vendu auction house told the broadcaster. ‘We had our expert take a look at the work and he had it looked at by an expert on Italian art. There is a possibility it could be by Carracci. (..) But I did think: what are we actually selling here?’ the auctioneer said. The new owner, whose name was not revealed, may have been inspired by art dealer Jan Six who recently discovered what he claims are two unknown works by Rembrandt, one of which he purchased at auction for just €156,000.   More >

Bones found in Gelderland wood are human

Bones found by a walker in woods near the Gelderland village of Hummelo are human, police confirmed on Thursday. The walker called the police as soon as he spotted the bones and the area has been sealed off since Tuesday. Theo Vervelde, 73, told the Gelderlander he knew immediately that the bones were human and that he had found an id in a wallet near the body. The id indicated the body belonged to Ger Homma, a 60-year-old man who disappeared from a homeless person's hostel in 2010, Vervelde said. Homma is listed as missing on the website. Forensic experts are still trying to establish how and when the victim died and to identify him. The skeleton is now being examined by experts at the Dutch forensic institute and that is likely to take three weeks.   More >

Green light for more gas extraction

Economic affairs minister Eric Wiebes has given gas company NAM the green light to extract gas from 14 different locations in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe up to 2027, local media have reported. Wiebes has approved the increase because extraction is being wound down elsewhere in Groningen in an effort to head off the threat of earthquakes.  Quakes following years of gas extraction have damaged thousands of homes in the region. NAM said it expects to mine between 1.3 and 2.5 billion cubic metres of gas, most of which will come from the Eleveld and Vries-Zuid fields. The plans are up for consultation until the end of the year, broadcaster RTV Drenthe said. The minister has imposed a number of new conditions on NAM in an effort to head off protests. The company has to outline what measures it intends to take if there are earthquakes in the drilling zones and has been told to reproduce a number of houses so proper comparisons can be made. NAM has also been ordered to consult with water boards and railway company ProRail about any damage to waterways and railway tunnels. Nevertheless, local campaign group Stop Gaswinning Marsdijk Nu says it will take the issue to the Council of State. 'As long as the decision is not final, I will not give up,' campaign leader Gerrit Eerland said. In preparation for the drilling, nearly every house in the village of Meedhuizen near Delfzijl in Groningen may have to be reinforced, RTV Noord reported.  More >