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Discussions over the future face of Zwarte Piet 'could run for years'

It may be almost nine months until Sinterklaas, but talks are already under way for months on how to deal with the increasingly polarising figure of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete).

The use of white actors in blackface make-up has become increasingly controversial in recent years.Last year a simmering debate over the appearance and tradition of St Nicholas’s helpers, played by white actors in blackface make-up, spilled over into a series of angry demonstrations and exchanges on social media.

Ineke Strouken, of the Dutch Centre for Indigenous Culture and Heritage (VIE), told De Volkskrant that groups on both sides of the argument had been in discussion since October.

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Read more: Discussions over the future face of Zwarte Piet 'could run for years'

Minister insists Joris Demmink was not implicated in Rolodex inquiry into alleged paedophile network

Justice minister Ivo Opstelten has reaffirmed his claim that former top civil servant Joris Demmink was not implicated in an investigation into claims of a high-ranking paedophile network.

Demmink is the subject of allegations that he abused teenage boys while on business with the Dutch justice department.In a letter to Parliament, Opstelten said the Rolodex inquiry had recently been reviewed by the prosecution service (OM) and found no trace of Demmink’s name.

It follows an interview by Hans Vrakking, the former chief prosecutor for Amsterdam, in NRC Handelsblad at the weekend, in which he said that Dutch intelligence agents had linked Demmink to the inquiry.

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Labour's withdrawal leaves D66 with uphill task to form an administration in Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s Labour party (PvdA) has effectively ruled itself out of a role in the city’s administration after it said it was not prepared to share power with two liberal groups.

A local election poster. For the first time since the Second World War Labour is not the largest party in Amsterdam.Labour was deposed as the largest group in the capital by the progressive-liberal D66 group in last week’s municipal elections. It is the first time since the Second World War that a party other than the PvdA has formed an administration.

D66’s leader Jan Paternotte invited Labour to take part in a coalition with the right-wing Liberals (VVD). The three groups together have 30 of the 45 seats on the council.

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Former policeman 'earned €1.75 million' from sending his daughters into prostitution

A former police officer is facing 15 years in jail for allegedly sending his three daughters into prostitution.

Prosecutors have demanded a 15-year jail term for a man accused of sexually abusing and exploiting his daughters.Prosecutors say the 57-year-old suspect earned €1.75 million from exploiting his own family. The district court in Dordrecht has been asked to make a compensation order for the same amount.

The man, originally from Surinam, is alleged to have sexually abused his daughters for years while they were growing up, before making them work as prostitutes once they turned 18.

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Watch Amsterdam's Golden Age expansion compressed into five minutes

A five-minute film has been posted online charting the rapid growth of Amsterdam in the 17th century.

The Royal Palace in Dam Square was built as a town hall between 1648 and 1655.The animated film shows how the city’s distinctive Canal Ring (Grachtengordel) took shape during the Golden Age, when Amsterdam became a world centre of trade, culture and learning.

It shows the creation of landmarks such as the Royal Palace in Dam Square – originally a town hall – the Westerkerk and the canalside houses on Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.

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Poor meat industry regulation 'potentially damaging' for public health

The safety of Dutch meat cannot be guaranteed because of weak regulation in the food production industry, according to an inspectors' report.

The Dutch Safety Board said it was not possible to work out how many people could fall ill as a result of eating substandard meat.The Dutch Safety Board (Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid) said fraud in the food production chain was an “underestimated risk” with “potentially damaging consequences for public health”.

Researchers identified numerous examples of sub-standard hygiene and companies that had violated or ignored the rules for years without being detected.

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Killer of Pim Fortuyn to be released under strict conditions on May 2

The man who shot dead politician Pim Fortuyn dead in a car park 12 years ago is to be released a few days before the anniversary of the killing.

A statue to Pim Fortuyn in his home city of Rotterdam.Volkert van der Graaf’s freedom will be subject to strict conditions, including a ban on contacting Fortuyn’s relatives, talking to the media or visiting the scene of the crime. The last restriction will be enforced by satellite tracking.

The 44-year-old is eligible for early release after serving two-thirds of an 18-year sentence for murdering Fortuyn on May 6, 2002, at the media centre in Hilversum.

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Wilders stole D66's thunder on election night but his words have come back to bite him

By Nicola Chadwick (@amsternic)

Dutch politics blogger Nicola Chadwick reflects on the outcome of the September 12 election.As predicted, the biggest winners of Wednesday's municipality election were the Democrats D66. The progressive-liberal party took traditional Labour Party strongholds like Groningen and Amsterdam as well as several other cities. But the losses were not limited to the social democrats: their coalition partners, the Liberal VVD party, had a poor showing too. The only surprise in the municipal elections was that the Christian Democrats held on to most of their municipal seats in spite of poor showings in the pre­election polls and even the first prognoses. It means the Christian Democrats still have the biggest number of local council seats across the country.

The Socialist Party built on its previous successes by fielding more candidates in more towns than ever.  The unsung winners of the night were the local parties, which also took many VVD and Labour seats up and down the country.

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Dutch society rounds on Geert Wilders for anti-Moroccan cheerleading

Geert Wilders is facing the fiercest backlash of his political life for leading a chorus of his supporters in a chant against the Netherlands’ Moroccan population.

Geert Wilders has come under fire from all sections of society for his calls for 'fewer Moroccans'.Politicians, media organisations, church groups lined up to condemn the Freedom Party (PVV) leader’s increasingly inflammatory rhetoric. One of the party’s MPs, Roland van Vliet, resigned from the group on Thursday, describing Wilders’s latest outburst as “the last straw”.

Dutch-Moroccan organisations urged people to report Wilders to the police or prosecution service (OM). A Facebook page entitled: “I'm filing a complaint against Geert Wilders” had attracted nearly 80,000 likes by Friday lunchtime.

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Local elections: D66 storms the citadel in Amsterdam as Wilders is pilloried for 'fewer Moroccans' chorus

The Dutch Labour Party has been ousted as Amsterdam’s largest faction for the first time since the Second World War, in local elections that changed the country’s political landscape.

A poster in The Hague for the 2014 local elections. D66 became the largest party in the city, one of several major gains for the progressive liberal faction.The progressive-liberal D66 group was the main winner, claiming the initiative in Amsterdam, The Hague and Utrecht as well as provincial cities including Groningen, Delft and Enschede.

Elsewhere the headlines were once again made by Geert Wilders, who orchestrated a chant of “fewer Moroccans” at a gathering of Freedom Party (PVV) supporters.

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Read more: Local elections: D66 storms the citadel in Amsterdam as Wilders is pilloried for 'fewer...