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Dutch government spends €461,000 on land for security fence at king's Greek villa (fence not included)

The Dutch government has admitted spending nearly half a million euros buying up land around King Willem-Alexander’s holiday complex in Greece so it can put up a security fence.

King Willem-Alexander bought the complex in Greece to quell unrest about his previous holiday home in Mozambique.Documents obtained by RTL Nieuws revealed that a neighbour sold the land for €461,000 after justice and security minister Ivo Opstelten decided it should be obtained regardless of cost.

The price was 13 times the estimated market value of the lease, which was €35,414 for two plots totalling 1,410 square metres.

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Gaza demonstrators arrested outside Dutch defence ministry

Thirty-five protesters have been arrested outside the Dutch defence ministry for taking part in an unauthorised Gaza demonstration.

Gaza demonstrations have provoked unrest in The Hague.The group blocked the tram line outside the ministry building in The Hague on Wednesday morning to protest against the Netherlands’ sales of arms to Israel and the Israeli bombing of civilians in Gaza.

They chanted slogans such as “Free Palestine” and “Timmermans, blood on your hands”, referring to foreign affairs minster Frans Timmermans. When they refused to leave police led them away one by one.

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Van der Laan aims to take 'negroid steretype' out of Zwarte Piet

Zwarte Piet is being given a makeover for this year’s welcoming parade in Amsterdam in response to a court ruling that the character is harmful to minority ethnic groups.

Van der Laan is hoping for a more inclusive Zwarte Piet in November.City mayor Eberhard van der Laan acknowledged that "black Pete", St Nicholas’s traditional assistant needed to lose his “negroid stereotyping”. “The intention is to come up with a Sinterklaas festival for everyone,” he said.

The mayor is appealing against the court judgment six weeks ago that forced him to review the licence for last November’s parade.

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Dutch government pulls out recovery team from 'dangerous' MH17 crash site

The Dutch government has suspended its mission to repatriate the bodies of the victims of the MH17 air disaster because of fighting near the crash zone in eastern Ukraine.

The process of repatriating victims' remains from Ukraine has been suspended indefinitely.Prime minister Mark Rutte told a press conference in The Hague that the site was “too dangerous” for investigators to do their work. “We are stopping for now, but we are not giving up,” he said.

The decision was taken in consultation with Australia, Malaysia and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Relatives of the 298 victims were also informed ahead of the official announcement.

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Steep rise in number of graduates struggling to pay off student loans

Students in the Netherlands are struggling to pay off their debts because of a shortage of graduate jobs.

Student debt is expected to increase further as the new funding rules come into force in the autumn.A survey by the state education service DUO found that the number of graduates unable to repay their debts had risen to 93,000, a 76 per cent increase in the last five years.

Analysts warned that student debt risked becoming an economic burden similar to the huge national mortgage debt that was built up in the decade before the 2008 banking crisis. Total student debt currently stands at €8 billion.

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Palestinian minister: 'Israel should be prosecuted in The Hague for war crimes'

Palestine’s foreign affairs minister has called for Israel’s government to be tried in The Hague following a month of fighting in Gaza that has left more than 1900 people dead.

The ICC building in The Hague. The Palestinian administration aims to become a full member so it can launch proceedings against Israel.During a visit to the International Criminal Court on Tuesday, Riyad al-Maliki accused the Israeli army of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. His comments came just hours after Israel withdrew its forces and called a 72-hour truce.

During the 28 days of hostilities 63 Israeli soldiers died, as well as three Israeli civilians and a Thai migrant worker who arrived in the country a month ago. The UN estimates that 450,000 people in Gaza – a quarter of the population – have been displaced.

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Dutch FA hopes to introduce video referees this season

The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) is to ask FIFA for permission to use video referees on a trial basis for the first time in a European professional league.

Helping hand: Dutch referees could be supported by video technology if the KNVB's plan is approved by FIFA.The plan would see replays used in reserve team matches before the end of the year. If the experiment succeeds the KNVB hopes to extend the measure to the semi-finals and final of the Dutch Cup.

A more contentious proposal would allow teams to refer contentious decisions on the pitch to the video referee. Managers would be restricted to one “challenge” in each half, similar to the system used in tennis.

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Election officials call for polling booth 'stemfies' to be banned

It became one of the year’s hottest political buzzwords during the municipal elections, but now the Dutch electoral council says the “stemfie”, or ‘selfie with voting slip’ should be banned.

The 'stemfie' became a popular way for voters to show their pride in taking part in the election.The organisation is concerned that photographing ballot papers, particularly after they have been filled in, makes voter fraud more likely.

It has advised home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk to outlaw the practice. Plasterk said on election day, March 19, that stemfies were not forbidden “as long as the secrecy of somebody else’s ballot is not compromised.”

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Mayor of The Hague under fire over 'death to Jews' chants at protest

The mayor of The Hague has been strongly criticised in the wake of two anti-Israel demonstrations in the city in which protestors chanted “Death to the Jews”.

Mayor of The Hague Jozias van Aartsen received a sharply critical letter from the Simon Wiesenthal CentreIn a fiercely worded open letter to Jozias van Aartsen, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre accused the mayor of being “in violation of the Netherlands anti-terrorism legislation,” though it did not specify which law.

The protests, ostensibly in response to Israel’s bombing of Gaza, took place on July 4 and July 24 and were dominated by supporters of the ISIS movement, which aims to establish a ‘caliphate’ or Islamic empire in Syria and Iraq.

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Court eases conditions of release for Pim Fortuyn's assassin

Photo by Targaryen CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The killer of Pim Fortuyn has had the strict conditions attached to his release relaxed after a court ruled they were too restrictive.

A street in Rotterdam named after assassinated politician Pim Fortuyn.Volkert van der Graaf was freed in May, almost exactly 12 years after shooting dead Fortuyn in the car park of Hilversum’s media centre, having served two-thirds of an 18-year sentence for murder.

The 44-year-old had to submit to a series of restrictions, including a ban on visiting Fortuyn’s relatives, the politician’s home city of Rotterdam The Hague or Hilversum. His movements were tracked by means of an electronic tag. Add a comment

Read more: Court eases conditions of release for Pim Fortuyn's assassin