Dutch head home with 20 Olympic medals, and Esmee meets Ivanka

Dutch head home with 20 Olympic medals, and Esmee meets Ivanka

The Dutch Winter Olympic campaign ended this weekend with both Irene Schouten and Koen Verweij picking up bronze in the mass start race. In total, the Dutch finished the competition in fifth place with 20 medals - eight gold, six silver and six bronze - five above the target and four fewer than at the Sochi games. Watch the NOS summary of all eight Dutch golden moments The medal haul has generated over €400,000 for the winning athletes. Top earner, with gold in the 1,500 metres and two silvers, is Ireen Wust, who wins a medal bonus of €45,500. A gold medal delivers €25,500 to the winner, silver €19,125 and bronze €12,750, although the total amount goes down a little if they win more than one. Esmee Visser, surprise winner of the 5,000 gold medal, found herself back in the spotlight on Saturday when she was seated next to Ivanka Trump, daughter of the US president, to watch the mass start final. 'She didn't really understand what was going on, so I explained it to her a bit,' said Visser, who was earlier congratulated on her win by king Willem-Alexander, Roger Federer and Usain Bolt, broadcaster NOS reported. Great way to end an amazing day, watching Mass Start Speed Skating with these outstanding Olympians and new friends! #PyeongChang2018 #WinterOlympics2018 #WinterOlympics #TeamUSA 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/8g3TF26tVE — Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) February 24, 2018   More >

Dutch get tough on shell companies

Dutch head home with 20 Olympic medals, and Esmee meets Ivanka The cabinet on Friday gave its approval to junior finance minister Menno Snel’s plan to crack down on the shell company industry in the Netherlands in line with international and EU agreements. ‘We are going to make serious work of tackling letter box firms,’ Snel said after the weekly cabinet meeting. ‘Only companies which actually bring jobs will be welcomed here with open arms.’ The measures, which were all outlined in the coalition agreement, include a commitment to bring in a tax on royalties from 2021. U2, the Rolling Stones and Starbucks are among the companies taking advantage of the Netherlands's current zero tax rate on royalties. The junior minister told radio station BNR that the ‘robust package’ of measures are aimed at giving a serious knock to the Netherlands’ reputation as a tax haven. The Netherlands has been grappling with its image as a tax haven for several years and the new government has pledged to get tougher on shell companies. Some 10,000 shell, or letter-box, companies are based in the Netherlands and are primarily used to shift corporate earnings and obscure ownership.  More >

The big freeze is about to hit NL

Holidaymakers head for the alps, but Siberian temperatures are set to hit NL Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to head for the alpine ski resorts or warmer climes on Friday and over the weekend, as the half term holidays start in the central and northern school districts. The ANWB motoring organisation expects 450,000 people to head for the snow, making this the busiest weekend of the winter season. Motorists are being urged to take blankets and plenty of food in their cars and to wrap up warm on the ski slopes, as Siberian winds move over Europe. According to the Telegraaf, the wind chill factor in the alps could take the temperatures to as low as -30 degrees in exposed areas. In the Netherlands itself, this weekend will be sunny everywhere, but chilly with night frosts. Next week, it is likely to remain below zero all day with temperatures as low as -10 degrees at night. And according to the KNMI's long-range forecast, the freezing temperatures could continue well into March. Friesland has already banned boating on some of the provinces lakes and rivers in an effort to help the ice grow.  More >

Dutch house prices go through the roof

Dutch head home with 20 Olympic medals, and Esmee meets Ivanka House prices in the Netherlands shot up by an average 8.2% in 2017, outpacing gains in the rest of western Europe with the exception of Portugal and Ireland. The survey of 17 countries by property valuation company Calcasa revealed that Dutch house prices rose almost 21% over the past three years. Calcasa carried out two separate studies, one covering a 3-year and the other a 5-year period. Prices in Ireland, Sweden and Portugal rose the most in both surveys. House prices did not rise as quickly in the Netherlands as in other European countries between 2012 and 2017, which Calcasa said, was a hangover from the 2008  economic crisis. Dutch property prices were still declining in 2012 and 2013. As a result, the price rise over five years was somewhat lower than in other countries, Calcasa said.   More >

Dutch PM starts EU contribution campaign

Dutch head home with 20 Olympic medals, and Esmee meets Ivanka Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte is meeting other EU leaders in Brussels this weekend to discuss the community's long-term budget, among other issues. Rutte has said he does not want the Dutch contribution to the EU to increase, despite the European Commission's call for higher spending on climate change and border controls, and the gap left by Britain after Brexit. Like the Netherlands, Britain is a net payer into the EU's coffers and will leave a large hole when it pulls out. The Commission wants to fill the gap through a combination of spending cuts and higher contributions, something which the Dutch strongly oppose. Despite Rutte's call for no extra spending, experts say increased contributions from the Netherlands will be unavoidable. 'It is very simple. Britain is leaving and that will leave a big whole in the budget,' Rob Boudewijn of consultancy European Affairs told the FD. 'That gap has to be filled and of course we are going to have to pay more.' Rutte told reporters on Friday morning he will 'do his best' to make sure the Dutch bill does not become bigger. Denmark, Finland and Sweden, and possibly Austria, are known to support the Dutch position on keeping Brussels budget in check.   More >