One dead, three injured after white van hits festival goers at Pinkpop (update)

One person has been killed and three seriously injured in an incident involving a van at the Pinkpop music festival in Landgraaf. The incident happened at around 4am on a road near one of the festival’s three campsites. The van, possibly a white Fiat Doblo, drove off after hitting the festival goers. The driver was arrested later on Monday morning. Limburg police say they do not yet know if the van deliberately drove into the people or if it was an accident. They are due to hold a press conference at midday to give more details. Acccording the Telegraaf, Belgian and German police were also involved in trying to trace the van, which was seen by many festival goers. The condition of the three people who were injured is said to be very serious. The 49th edition of the festival ended on Sunday night with a performance by Bruno Mars. However, many festival goers remained on the festival campsites until Monday morning. Jelle Gunneweg, a reporter for RTV Rijnmond, was at the festival and told NOS that activities continued on the main festival area until 3am. People then walk back to their campsite through the normal traffic on the road, he said. 'So at 4am you have drunk people and sober people all mixed up on the road.'  More >

Shell tax deal 'cost Dutch state €7bn'

Oil giant Shell faces having to pay €7 billion in backdated taxes after an MEP said he would ask the European Commission to investigate its deal with the Dutch authorities. Paul Tang, leader of the Labour party's (PvdA) group in the European Parliament, claimed the agreement was a clear breach of European rules on state aid for private companies. The deal dates back to 2005, when Shell, previously an Anglo-Dutch concern, merged its two branches to establish a single headquarters in The Hague. The Dutch tax office allowed the company to exempt its UK-based shareholders from paying dividend tax by routing payments through an offshore trust in Jersey. Tang said the tax service's decision to approve the construction was similar to other officially sanctioned tax avoidance schemes, such as Apple's deal with Ireland. 'This is state aid, a tax construction solely intended to solve a problem for one company which other companies cannot take advantage of,' he told Trouw. In 2016 the European Commission ordered Apple to pay €13 billion in back taxes after ruling that its agreement with the Irish tax service was anti-competitive. Around 40% of Shell's shareholders are based in the UK. The remaining 60% are liable to pay dividend tax in the Netherlands. The current government has agreed to abolish dividend tax for foreign-based shareholders after being lobbied by Shell and Unilever during last year's coalition negotiations. Last year online retailer Amazon was ordered to pay €250 million in tax to Luxembourg after it was found to have gained an unfair competitive advantage through its tax arrangements, while Starbucks's deal with the Dutch tax authorities also fell foul of European regulations. The coffee chain, which has its European headquarters in Amsterdam, was told to pay €25.7 million. Apple, Amazon and Starbucks have all appealed against their respective rulings.  More >

Writers slam 'women' book week theme

Some 300 writers, poets, publishers and literary critics have slammed the decision to devote next year's book week to the theme of 'the mother, the woman'. In an open letter in the NRC, they argue that the Dutch book sector lobby group CPNB is 'confirming gender inequality' and ask why the organisation did not opt for identifying women as 'a doctor or a postal delivery worker'. The signatories, who include thriller writer Saskia Noort and AFTh van der Heijden, also question the choice of Jan Siebelink and Murat Isik to write the traditional book week gift and the book week essay. 'Just four female writers have been asked to write the book week gift in the past 20 years,' they wrote. 'It is depressing that in 2018, we still have to argue why women have something to say, even if it is about women.' 'Only letting sons talk about their mothers is part of the painful tradition of ignoring women's words and letting others speak for them,' the letter went on. 'Readers don't just want to know how men look at their mothers, they want to hear daughters, and the mothers themselves.' The phrase 'de moeder, de vrouw' is the title of a poem written by Dutch poet Martinus Nijhoff in 1934. The CPNB said in a reaction to the row that it had not wanted to cause controversy. 'We are now going to decide what we can do to give this a positive twist,' the organisation said. The Netherlands has celebrated Dutch literature with a book week (actually 10 days) every March since 1932. Every year, an author is selected to write a short book which is given away free to everyone who buys a different book during the event.  More >

Court outlaws Satudarah biker club

A court has shut down motorcycle club Satudarah with immediate effect as a result of its criminal links and 'culture of violence'. The district court in The Hague ruled that the club's activities violated public order 'in a manner that disrupts or can disrupt society'. The ban was extended to the affiliated clubs Supportcrew 999 and Saudarah, which judges said were inextricably linked with Satudarah. Around 100 members of the gang attended the high-security complex at Schiphol airport to hear the judgment. It is the second time in recent years that a court has banned membership of a motorcycle club, following a ruling against the Bandidos club last year. The public prosecution service asked the court to ban Satudarah last September on the grounds that it 'cultivates a violent image that is used for blackmail and intimidation'. Several club members have convictions for violence and possessing illegal weapons. Prosecutors said the club was systematically involved in criminal activities and had created a subculture of lawlessness for its members. Satudarah was banned in Germany in 2015 when a court said it constituted a threat to society. The ban imposed in The Hague will take effect straight away even though the club has said it intends to appeal.    More >

Dutch to pull soldiers out of Mali in 2019

The Dutch cabinet has agreed to expand its mission in Afghanistan and to pull out of Mali, where it has been active since 2014. Some 60 soldiers will now be sent to the north of Afghanistan on the request of Nato to help Germany train special Afghan forces and six police advisors will be seconded to the Nato mission in Kabul, defence minister Ank Bijleveld has told MPs. The Netherlands already has around 100 soldiers stationed in Afghanistan to train local police and armed forces. The Dutch mission to Afghanistan will now be extended up to and including 2021, Bijleveld said. The Netherlands will also continue to support the 'strengthened' Nato forces in Lithuania with 270 soldiers. Dutch soldiers currently serving in Mali will return to the Netherlands in May 2019. Some 240 Dutch soldiers are currently with the much criticised UN peacekeeping effort in the land-locked west African country.  More >

Dutch clear way for post consolidation

The postal delivery market in the Netherlands has been shrinking for around 10% a year and now the Dutch government has decided to allow delivery firms to merge and consolidate to keep services affordable. This means that former state monopoly PostNL could now join forces with its private sector rival Sandd, which has made major inroads into the business mail sector in recent years. 'The shrinking postal market presents major social and economic challenges,' junior economic affairs minister Mona Keizer said in a briefing to MPs. On the one hand, jobs need to be protected, and on the other the rules need to be changed to keep post affordable, she said. The number of letters posted has shrunk from five billion a year in 2009 to 2.5 billion now, Keizer said. While competition is important, it should no longer be a goal in itself, Keizer said. The current situation has led to 'two or three postal delivery workers walking through the same street, each with increasingly empty bags.' Rules on working conditions, the number of delivery days and letter box distribution will remain unchanged, Keizer said.  More >

Heineken puts an extra €50m into UK pubs

Dutch brewing giant Heineken is to invest €50m into its British pub chain Star Pubs & Bars this year, creating 1,000 new jobs, news agency Reuters said on Monday. The money will be spend on roughly 25% of the 2,900 pubs that Heineken owns and takes total investment in British pub refurbishment to €160m over the past five years, Reuters said. In mid 2017, Heineken completed the acquisition of 1,900 pubs from Punch Tavern's  for €360m. The deal gave Heineken control of about 6% of the British pub market, making the Dutch company the UK’s third-largest pub operator, after Greene King and Enterprise Inns.  More >

Cocu set to leave PSV for Fenerbahce

PSV Eindhoven manager Philip Cocu looks set for a move to move to Turkey after it emerged he was at an advanced stage of talks with Fenerbahce. The Istanbul-based club made a formal approach to PSV` at the weekend for the 47-year-old, who has won three league titles in his five seasons in Eindhoven. Although no deal has been struck and Ayut Kocaman remains coach of Fenerbahce, Cocu is widely expected to be named as his successor in the next few days. The Eindhovens Dagblad named Mark van Bommel as the leading candidate to take over at PSV if Cocu leaves. Van Bommel, 41, is currently at the World Cup as assistant coach to Bert van Marwijk with Australia. Dutch media say Van Marwijk, who coached the Netherlands to the World Cup final in 2010, could be appointed as assistant to Van Bommel. Cocu may ask former Dutch international Dirk Kuijt, a former Fenerbahce player, to go with him to Istanbul as his number two.  More >

Father wants compensation for 8yo's death

The father of Sharleyne, an eight-year-old found dead at the base of a tower block three years ago, demanded €100,000 in compensation from the mother in court on Friday. In the third day of a case charging the mother Hélène J with either murder or manslaughter, the court heard – reports NOS broadcaster – that Victor Remouchamps wants compensation for post-traumatic stress and his efforts in bringing the case to court. He had separated from the mother in 2011 but has claimed he warned youth care services before the child’s death that she was in danger and should be removed from the 10th-floor apartment in Hoogeveen. Initially, the public prosecution service had not found enough evidence to prosecute, but Remouchamps believed his eight-year-old had not accidentally fallen or committed suicide and told NOS broadcaster that ‘there were indications that evidence in her bedroom had been staged.’ E-mail He brought a case to the court of appeal, which ordered the Dutch prosecution service to reopen the investigation and two years after the girl’s death, the mother was arrested for murder or manslaughter. In court today, a judge read out an e-mail from Remouchamps sent to emergency services a month before the child’s death reportedly saying that if Sharleyne did not change her attitude towards him, she would not be welcome with him any more, and that she had devastated his life. The father told the court this was a cry for help after he had not been taken seriously by emergency services. Alcohol On Wednesday the court was told that Hélène J had a personality disorder and was a ‘serious alcoholic’. Before her death there had been reports about alcohol abuse, neglect and domestic violence from the mother, and the family had been monitored by social workers. Hélène J said in an emotional appearance in court on Wednesday that she did not know what had happened but could not find her daughter. ‘She was not on the balcony,’ she reportedly said. ‘Then I looked over the balcony and saw her lying there.’ She admitted that she had been drinking that evening. After splitting up in 2011, her parents stayed in the same house for some time, but a DNA test showed that Remouchamps was not the biological father of Sharleyne. She had his surname.  More >

Dutch couple to drive plastic car to SPole

A Dutch couple is planning to drive across Antarctica in a solar-powered vehicle made from recycled plastic, in a bid to encourage people to reuse their waste. Edwin and Leisbeth ter Velde, founders of the Clean2Antarctica project, have announced that in November they will attempt to set a record by driving to the South Pole with clean technology. ‘Our mission is to change the mindset of people,’ said Gerie Smit, spokeswoman for the non-profit foundation. ‘They want to be the first people to drive in a plastic vehicle through Antartica as an awareness raising thing to tell the world: what will you do with your [waste] plastic?' Smit said that they have raised around €1million to take the 40-day trip at minus -30 degrees C, and are now fundraising for a tall ship to carry 120 young people from Amsterdam to see the launch of the mission. The ‘solar voyager’ vehicle has been built with all kinds of plastic waste, with the help of 3D printing, and will be transported by plane with the couple to Union Glacier Camp. Responsibility Edwin ter Velde said in a press release: ‘Plastic itself is not the problem, but how we ourselves use it. It is so easy to use plastic plates and cutlery at a barbecue.... Even bread, cheese, and meat are often packaged in various layers of plastic. The responsibility lies with us, not with government.’ The organisation aims to work with young people to promote a so-called circular economy in which things are designed with reuse and disposal in mind, and everything possible is recycled. They have tested the vehicle, created with the help of Arctic Trucks, in Iceland and created a video of their experience. 'Our mission shows, and hopefully also inspires [people] that when you choose to go for something like zero waste, you can make a huge contribution to sustainability, and give yourself a beautiful gift too,' he says in the video.   More >