ROTTERDAM, August 3 -- At least 20 people have been injured in Alphen aan den Rijn when two cranes and a large part of a prefabricated bridge fell on four buildings.
The accident happened at the Juliana bridge, which is undergoing extensive renovation, broadcaster Nos said. The piece of bridge and the cranes hit a shop selling second hand goods and a shop selling artists supplies as well as other properties. It is not clear how many people were in the shops when the crane toppled.
A special search and rescue team has been brought in to look for people under the debris. They were most recently involved in finding earthquake victims in Nepal, the Nos said. Red Cross workers are also on hand to help. The cranes were mounted on a floating deck and were carrying the bridge part to the location. It is unclear why the fell but an eyewitness said the pontoon wobbled before capsizing.
Accident investigators are also at the scene to begin their investigation.
HILVERSUM, January 29 -- A 19-year-old brandishing a fake weapon threatened a security guard to gain access to the headquarters of Dutch national broadcaster NOS and demand air time, before police stormed a TV studio to arrest him.
Nobody was injured in the incident near Amsterdam on Thursday night, but it forced NOS off air for around an hour and set the Netherlands on edge, coming just weeks after the deadly attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 people dead.
When NOS came back on air, it showed recorded footage of the young man, wearing a black suit, white shirt and black tie, and carrying a pistol with what looked like a silencer attached.
Police said later the gun was a fake and that the man had no criminal record. Detectives were investigating his possible motives. Speaking calmly to someone off-camera, apparently the security guard he had forced to let him into the building, the man said: "We are hired in by intelligence agencies."
Shortly after, police burst in with their guns drawn and ordered the man to drop his weapon and put his hands up.
Arrested without fight
At least five police officers then ordered him to turn around and lie down, which he did and he was arrested without a struggle and taken to a nearby police station for questioning. Martijn Bink, a NOS reporter, said he spoke to the man after he was arrested and he claimed to be from a hackers' collective. He did not elaborate.
Police said in a statement the man demanded airtime and threatened that bombs would go off at several locations around the Netherlands if his demand was not met. Special police units evacuated the building and thoroughly searched it but allowed staff back in later in the evening after finding nothing suspicious.
Prosecutor Johan Bac, who spoke in Hilversum, said the man was from the small town of Pijnacker near The Hague. Bac said he was being held on suspicion of making a threat, weapons possession and taking a hostage. The suspect's name was not released by the prosecutor. Officials said they were still investigating the man's background and the seriousness of the threat he posed.
"There is a major investigation under way to get clarity as quickly as possible about what happened here tonight," Bac said.
Jan de Jong, NOS director, told the broadcaster that the headquarters had extra security in the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo. The media park in Hilversum, 20km east of Amsterdam, is home to NOS and many other Dutch broadcasters. It has been tightly guarded for years, since Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, was killed in a parking lot there in 2002 by an animal-rights activist.
"This is your worst nightmare, especially after Charlie Hebdo," De Jong said later on a special NOS news show.
De Jong said he would speak to staff on Friday and already tight security would again be reviewed.
"We don't want to turn this into a bunker," he said.
ROTTERDAM, January 24 -- Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders is counting on concern over Paris militant attacks to help him "paralyse" the centre-right coalition government and stake a claim to greater national influence.
Accused by critics of inflaming tensions in a land that has long welcomed workers from Morocco and Turkey, Wilders goes into local elections on March 18 with his Freedom Party commanding about 25 percent support -- far more than any other and enough, possibly, to give him a blocking vote in the Upper House.
Wilders, who has lived under 24-hour security since the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh a decade ago by an Islamist militant, says he will make forays onto the street to campaign. But he will appear in public only briefly surrounded by bodyguards.
His message to Dutch electors, couched with warnings of "islamisation" of Europe, was direct. "Vote, vote today. You can perhaps send the government home," Wilders said, in an interview with Reuters. "If not, you can paralyse the government. So those are very important elections."
However, while Wilders may be able to block legislation in the Upper House, he would be hard pressed to find coalition partners to form any national government. At best he might increase his power to press anti-immigrant policies. Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte's cabinet nearly collapsed in December after losing a vote in the Upper House, where he lacks a majority.
"Most people expect that he (Wilders) will gain some seats, and perhaps even a considerable number of seats," Henk te Velde, a political historian at Leiden University.
But Te velde said Wilders had gained a reputation as an untrustworthy partner by pulling out of government coalition talks in 2012 after months of negotiations, triggering snap elections. That experience, and his radical views, left him isolated from mainstream parties and made it unlikely he could lead a government after national-level elections any time soon.
Wilders sees himself vindicated in his anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant ideas by Islamist militant attacks two weeks ago in Paris that killed 17 people. He accused Rutte of failing to jail militant jihadists and said the army should be deployed to protect potential Dutch targets.
"If somebody makes an attack, you are not a perpetrator, Mr. prime minister, but you have blood on your hands, if somebody commits a terrorist act in the Netherlands."
Wilders wants to block all Muslim immigration and take away the passports of criminal offenders of foreign descent. He is being prosecuted for alleged discrimination against Moroccans for comments made during campaigning last March which prompted 6,400 complaints to police.
He asked supporters if they wanted more or fewer Moroccans, triggering the chant: "Fewer! Fewer! Fewer!" "It is damaging and painful," said Farid Azarkan, chairman of the Cooperative for Dutch Moroccans, a leading dialogue partner for the Dutch government. "The division in society has increased and Moroccans feel like second-class citizens."
Wilders, on the same al Qaeda blacklist as the slain editor of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, said he would travel to all 12 provinces to meet voters.
"There will be a lot of security, but I will do it anyway, even if it's just to let the other people, the terrorists, see that they will not be able to stop the democratic process."
An opinion poll taken after the Paris attacks showed the Freedom Party winning 31 seats in the country's 150-seat parliament, more than doubling its showing in the 2012 elections and becoming by far the largest party. The governing Liberal-Labour coalition would win just 28 seats.
"Wherever Islam gets its foot on the ground, you see less freedom, less freedom of speech, less freedom of anything," he said. "Of course not all Muslims are terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims."
JAKARTA, January 18 -- The Netherlands says it is "outraged" by the execution of one its citizens in Indonesia for drug trafficking.
Ang Kiem Soei, 52, was arrested in 2003 after police at Jakarta airport found 13.4 kg of cocaine hidden in his hang glider. The Netherlands says he was the first Dutch national to be executed abroad and has warned it will damage relations.
Five other convicts from Indonesia, Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam and Brazil, were executed on Sunday.
Convicted of drugs charges, they faced a firing squad in Central Java province shortly after midnight local time. Five were executed on the island of Nusa Kambangan and the other one, a Vietnamese woman, was executed in the small central Javanese town of Boyolali.
The Netherlands has also recalled its ambassador, after Foreign Minister Bert Koenders called the execution of Dutch citizen Ang Kiem Soe, "an unacceptable denial of human dignity and integrity".
Indonesia has some of the world's toughest drug laws. The country resumed executions in 2013 after an unofficial four-year moratorium.
The country's Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo said "hopefully, this will have a deterrent effect".
ROTTERDAM, December 5 -- Doctors at Utrecht’s main hospital UMC are preparing to receive the country’s first ebola patient, broadcaster Nos says on Friday.
The Dutch cabinet has allocated four beds at a special unit in the hospital for international aid workers who have become infected with ebola and need treatment. The patient is a Nigerian man who is being brought to the Netherlands at the request of the World Health Organisation, the Dutch health ministry is quoted as saying.
He is said to be a soldier who was serving with the UN peace-keeping forces in Liberia. He will be brought to the Netherlands on a special flight but it is not yet known when he is due to arrive.
MOSCOW, December 5 -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov emphasized the necessity to continue work to ensure a comprehensive investigation of the Malaysian Boeing’s crash at a meeting with his Dutch counterpart Bert Koenders on the sidelines of the OSCE foreign ministerial meeting in Basel.
“The sides discussed the state and prospects of further development of the Russian-Dutch bilateral cooperation, as well as the most urgent issues on the international agenda,” the Russian Foreign Ministry reported.
“The ministers exchanged opinions on the course of international investigation of the circumstances of and reasons for the crash on July 17 of a Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the sky above Ukraine,” the ministry said. “Lavrov stressed the necessity to continue systemic work to ensure a comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation of the air crash in strict accordance with Resolution 2166 of the UN Security Council and rules of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO),” it said.
On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 passenger airliner on flight MH17 from the Dutch city of Amsterdam to the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur crashed in the Donetsk Region in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. Most passengers — over 190 people — were Dutch nationals.
The Dutch Safety Board, which is leading the probe and coordinating the international team of investigators, said in its preliminary report published September 9 that “Flight MH17 with a Boeing 777-200 operated by Malaysia Airlines broke up in the air probably as the result of structural damage caused by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside.”
UN Security Council Resolution 2166 in particular says that the SC “condemns in the strongest terms the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July in Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine resulting in the tragic loss of 298 lives” and “supports efforts to establish a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines.”
It also says the Council “demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site” and “demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation.”.
ROTTERDAM, November 22 -- A teenager who was brought back to the Netherlands by her mother after allegedly going to Syria to marry a fighter there has appeared in a court on terrorism charges, Dutch prosecutors have said.
The 19-year-old, known only as 'Aicha,' appeared in court in Maastricht on Friday after returning to the Netherlands on Wednesday with her mother. She made a brief court appearance behind closed doors to decide if she should remain in detention, with another hearing scheduled for Monday to decide if she should be charged. A convert to Islam, Aicha had been arrested "on suspicion of crimes threatening state security".
Marc Bax, a spokesman for the court, said: "Today the examining judge has reviewed the custody order of Aicha and concluded that it was lawful." Aicha's mother, Monique, is said to have rescued her from the Syrian city of Raqqa, after the teenager travelled there to marry a fighter.
Aicha reportedly fled the Netherlands in February to marry Omar Yilmaz, a Dutch-Turkish fighter who trains fighters for various groups fighting against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Yilmaz, a former soldier in the Dutch army who also did national service in Turkey, is one of a group of Dutch nationals fighting in Syria. Monique said her daughter, previously known as Sterlina before adopting an Arab name, said she saw Yilmaz as a "Robin Hood" figure.
An estimated 130 Dutch nationals have left to fight in Syria, with 30 already having returned and 14 others killed in the fighting, according to the latest statistics from the Dutch intelligence services. Edwin Bakker, Director of the Centre for Terrorism and Counter-terrorism at Leiden University in the Hauge, told Al Jazeera that the authorities were primarily interested in hearing the girl's story.
"She is formerly a suspect of allegedly having joined ISIL, that has to be proven," he said. "I think authorities are primarily interested in hearing her story, who helped her get to Syria and how. "It used to be very rare until a year ago, but more and more this year girls have joined fighters in Syria. Many of them are very young."
Hema is a staple of most Dutch high streets, selling household goods, clothes, some foods and office supplies. The retailer already has several outlets in Belgium and a handful in Germany, France and Luxemburg and has just opened its first stores in Britain.
The company was founded in 1926 and is currently owned by Lion Capital. Hema, which only sells own-label products, is regularly cited as one of the biggest Dutch brands and one of the things Dutch expats most miss when they live abroad.
Online retailer Bol.com, owned by the Ahold supermarket group, is in second place in the Eurib ranking, with high street discount pharmacy Kruidvat in third. Albert Heijn supermarkets were fourth in the ranking and iDeal, the Dutch banks’ system for online payments, was a surprise fifth, Eurib said in its report.
One of the top authors of The Peet Journal is Pete McGea. As a native born Scotsman, Pete