Dutch municipalities and universities cut ties with China
Dutch municipalities and universities are severing official ties with their Chinese partners for a range of reasons, from human rights violations to information security concerns.
At least eight municipalities and two cities have canceled their cooperation with Chinese “sister municipalities” in the past two years.
Municipalities cited the Chinese government’s persecution of the Uyghur people, the lack of economic benefits, China’s increased espionage activities in Europe recently, and the demand for strengthening ties with other European cities rather than China in surveys of municipal residents. Currently, many municipalities in the Netherlands are considering terminating their “sister municipality” agreements with their Chinese partners.
Alongside municipalities, universities tend to reduce ties to their Chinese partners. The allegations of industrial and information espionage, which have come to the fore frequently in recent years, cause universities in the Netherlands, as in many European countries, to be more cautious towards Chinese students during the student admission process. Dutch universities are also becoming increasingly reluctant to accept doctoral students on scholarships funded by the Chinese government, due to growing information security concerns. This decision by the universities is seen as the reason for increasing global concerns about alleged intellectual property theft and espionage activities against China. This shift in the approach of Dutch municipalities and universities to China highlights the growing differences between the EU and China as the EU increases its criticism of China’s human rights abuses and aggressive geopolitical moves.
Childcare allowance to be increased in the Netherlands
The Council of Ministers has decided to increase the Child Care Allowance paid to families by 6 percent next year due to the increasing costs.
According to the new decision, which was decided by the Council of Ministers and is expected to pass the House of Representatives without any problems, the Child Care Allowance will be increased by 6.01 percent next year.
The Child Care Allowance (Kinderopvangtoeslag) is called the “maximum hourly wage”, which is paid to support the costs families incur for their children in day care or out-of-school care (bso).
With the new hike decision, the maximum hourly wage for day care will be 9.65 euros, 8.30 euros for out-of-school care (bso) and 7.24 euros for care provided by a close or acquaintance. If the hourly rate of childcare is higher than the set maximum hourly rate, the difference will be borne by the parents.
To give an example, the hourly wage of the child’s nursery is 10.50 euros. The remaining 0.85 cents will be paid by the parent, as the government pays 9.65 euros per hour.
Last year, prices rose sharply with inflation. Due to high energy prices, rising rents and staff shortages, the amount parents pay for childcare has also increased by 10 to 40 percent.
‘Sex work at home’ to be allowed in Utrecht, Netherlands
In the Dutch city of Utrecht, domestic sex work becomes legal under certain conditions.
It is stated that there has been a serious problem of illegal prostitution in Utrecht since 2013, due to the closure of brothels and areas where sex workers wait for customers on the street.
The municipality has prepared a new plan “for sex workers to perform their jobs in a clean, safe and transparent manner”.
As part of the fight against illegal prostitution, sex workers will be allowed to work in their own homes.
Trial application will be subject to certain conditions.
Those who sell second-hand goods online in the Netherlands may have to pay taxes
An announcement was made concerning those who sell second-hand goods through the website in the Netherlands. You may have to pay taxes soon.
Website Vinted, an online marketplace for used clothing and accessories, has announced that it will share its data with the Tax Office from the beginning of 2024. Although this information does not concern those who sell goods as a hobby, it shows that those who sell regularly should be more careful.
The company, in response to the reactions of the registrants, announced that they have to implement the European Union directives and therefore they have to share all the data they have with the Tax Office.
According to EU directives, the information of people who sell more than 30 items or earn more than 2000 euros over the internet this year must be automatically submitted to the Tax Office.
“This does not mean that taxes must be paid directly,” the online platform explained, noting that the rule may vary from country to country.
“Whether you pay tax on your sales depends on the facts and circumstances,” the Tax Office explained. it will,” he said.
For more information, see the Tax Office’s website.
Additional fee period for single-use plastics begins in the Netherlands
From July, an additional fee will be charged for plastic packages of food and beverages purchased, and a deposit will be paid for reused products.
In accordance with the European Disposable Plastics Directive, from next month, all plastic and plastic-coated disposable products will be charged. All disposable products, from plastic forks and knives to beverage cans, from mixers to sauce bags, will be charged.
Since 2021, measures have been taken in all EU Member States to reduce the damage caused by single-use plastic products, which pollute the environment, mix into the seas and are called “stray waste”, especially on European shores.
In accordance with the European Disposable Plastics Directive, an additional fee will be paid for coffee cups purchased on highways and plastic cups and food packaging delivered in takeaways, starting from 1 July. Businesses will either have to use the cups or containers that customers bring with them or offer a ‘reusable’ alternative package option where they will receive a deposit.
The new rule will also include some plastic packaging such as pre-made sandwiches or salads sold in markets. Additional fees will be required for these products.
The sales points will decide how much the customer will have to pay for the plastic material. However, the government states that an additional fee of 0.25 cents for plastic cups, 0.50 cents for food packages and 0.05 cents for small plastic bags such as sauces. On the other hand, the additional fee for the plastic material has to be stated separately on the cash register receipt.
In the Netherlands alone, 19 million plastic cups and 7 million food packaging are thrown away after a single use every day. Seeking to reduce plastic waste, the government has decided to ban single-use plastic products and plastic-coated cardboard cups in both festivals and workplaces, effective from 2024.
The Netherlands sets an example for European countries in the use of bicycles
European countries are producing various remedies for the widespread use of bicycles.
The Netherlands draws attention once again on World Cycling Day.
Support projects are carried out to increase the use of bicycles in many European countries, especially the Netherlands. For this purpose, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 3 as World Cycling Day in 2018.
This special day is celebrated to highlight the benefits of the bicycle and sustainable transportation options globally since its invention in Europe in the 19th century.
European governments are also taking various steps to promote the use of the bicycle, which stands out as an environmentally friendly and healthy means of transportation. Many projects are being carried out, such as increasing the number of bicycle paths, infrastructure works or encouraging the use of bicycles on the way to work.
The most bike-friendly cities in the world are Utrecht in the Netherlands, Münster in Germany, Antwerp in Belgium, Copenhagen in Denmark and Amsterdam in the Netherlands. These cities stand out with their policies that encourage cycling and their bike-friendly infrastructure.
The population of the Netherlands is 17 million, the number of bicycles in the country is 23 million.
Among European countries, the Netherlands stands out as a country where bicycles have become an integral part of daily life. With a population of 17 million, the Netherlands has an astonishing 23 million bicycles. According to the data of the Dutch Cyclists’ Association, 2.3 percent of the world’s 1 billion bicycles are located in the Netherlands.
The Dutch government is making infrastructure works and regulations to support cycling.
While approximately 1 million new bicycles are sold in the country every year, the majority of the people prefer second-hand bicycles. In the Netherlands, bicycles are used for 31 percent entertainment, 22 percent for work, 18 percent for going to school and 14 percent for shopping. In the country where shared bicycle applications are active, there are more than 22 thousand bicycles at more than 300 different points. Half a million bicycles are stolen in the country each year, and the damage caused by these thefts exceeds $600 million annually.
Promoting cycling in Belgium
Half of the people in Belgium use bicycles as a means of transportation. Cycling is more common in the Flemish region, which is geographically flatter and has a more developed infrastructure. Eight times more bicycles are used in this region than in the rest of the country.
15% of cyclists use this vehicle on their way to work. The government is running new projects to increase cycling in Brussels and increasing the number of bike lanes. In addition, on the third Sunday of September every year in Brussels, the roads are reserved for cyclists only.
Cycling is indispensable for 55 percent of Germans
Germany is also known as a country where bicycle use is common. There are 78 million bicycles in the country and 80 percent of the people use bicycles. 55 percent find the bike indispensable. Cycling is preferred during leisure time, vacation periods and commuting to work or school. About 80 percent of households own at least one bicycle, and 30 percent own 3 or more bicycles. The German government is running various projects to promote cycling and has allocated 1 billion euros to improve cycling infrastructure.
In France, cycling means sport
In France, cycling is compatible with sports. While 4.5% of the people use bicycles on a daily basis, the majority of bicycles are used for sports or travel purposes. The government wants to see cycling as an alternative vehicle for short-distance journeys and is developing projects to popularize bicycle use among children.
A support package of 67 million euros was created in the country for the purchase of bicycles for its citizens in 2017-2022, and a budget of 2 billion euros was allocated for the “2027-2030 Bicycle and Walking Plan”, which was created to promote the use of bicycles. Within the scope of the project, it is aimed to build 100 thousand kilometers of bicycle paths and 90 thousand safe parking areas for bicycles by 2030.
Car Parking Rules in the Netherlands: A Comprehensive Guide
Car parking rules in the Netherlands are crucial to understand before you hit the road. This comprehensive guide provides valuable information on parking regulations, fees, and restrictions applicable throughout the country. Whether you’re planning to park in city centers, residential areas, or parking garages, knowing the rules will help you avoid fines and ensure a smooth parking experience.
- Paid Parking Zones in the Netherlands: Learn about the designated paid parking zones in cities across the Netherlands. Find out when and where you need to pay for parking, and how to navigate the fees and restrictions associated with these areas.
- Parking Meters and Pay-and-Display Machines: Discover how to use parking meters and pay-and-display machines to pay for parking in the Netherlands. From accepted payment methods to obtaining parking tickets or receipts, understand the process for hassle-free parking.
- Parking Disc (Parkeerschijf) Requirements: Understand the use of parking discs in certain areas of the Netherlands. Learn how to set the parking disc correctly and the importance of adhering to the indicated time limits to avoid fines.
- Disabled Parking Facilities: Get insights into disabled parking in the Netherlands. Discover the requirements for using designated parking spaces and learn how to display your disabled parking permit (GPK) correctly.
- Convenient Parking Garages: Explore the availability of parking garages and multi-story parking facilities in various Dutch cities. Understand the hourly rates, entry procedures, and payment methods for stress-free parking.
- No-Parking Zones and Yellow Lines: Learn about no-parking zones marked by yellow lines across the Netherlands. Understand the importance of adhering to these restrictions and avoiding parking violations. Familiarize yourself with traffic signs that indicate prohibited parking areas.
- Residential Permit Parking: Find out about residential permit parking and the requirements for obtaining permits in certain areas. Get insights into visitor parking restrictions and the importance of adhering to local regulations.
Conclusion: By familiarizing yourself with the car parking rules in the Netherlands, you can navigate the streets with confidence. Stay informed about the various regulations, fees, and restrictions to ensure a seamless parking experience while avoiding fines and violations. Remember to pay attention to local signage and specific rules in each area you plan to park.
Inflation continues to rise in the Netherlands
CBS leading data show that inflation values, which entered a downward trend at the beginning of this year, started to rise again in April and May.
The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced the leading inflation data for May. Accordingly, inflation increased compared to April, especially since there was no expected decrease in energy prices. According to CBS data, tobacco and tobacco products and food and beverage prices increased the most in May. Industrial products have also been raised.
Inflation reached 6.1 percent last month, according to CBS leading data. Annual inflation, which was 4.4 percent in March, unexpectedly rose to 5.2 percent in April. The highest inflation rate in the last year was 14.5 percent in September last year.
The average price increase of products in supermarkets was 13.2 percent in April and 12.8 percent in May. The prices of industrial goods, which increased by 8.3 percent in April, increased by 8.9 percent in May.
Energy, including fuel, experienced a price decrease of over 22 percent in April, while a decrease of 18.5 percent was experienced in May. Prices in the services sector, on the other hand, became 6.1 percent more expensive after a 6 percent price increase a month ago.
Complaints related to memory and concentration increased in the Netherlands after the pandemic
A study conducted with adults in the Netherlands revealed that those with memory and concentration problems increased after corona.
More adults with memory and concentration problems have had to see their family doctor this year, according to a large-scale study by the RIVM and the Netherlands Institute for Health Research (Nivel) on the effects of the corona pandemic.
In the first quarter of 2023, there was an increase in the number of applicants to family physicians due to cognitive problems, especially between the ages of 45-74. That number is 40 percent more than adults seeking help with similar problems at the beginning of 2019.
In the statement made about the research, it was stated that under normal conditions, people in this age group applied to their family physicians much less because of this disease, but the situation changed after the pandemic.
Michel Duckers, professor of crisis, safety and health in Groningen and head of the research group for the RIVM and Nivel, said the developments were alarming.
“We still don’t know much about the long-term effects, but the impression is starting to form that the pandemic could lead to significant ‘accelerated aging’,” Dückers said. said.
According to the results of the research, only people over the age of 45 do not experience cognitive decline. 31 percent of people aged 25 to 44 refer more to their family doctor because of memory problems. This rate is 18 percent for people aged 75 and over. On the other hand, the number of people who apply to a doctor is lower in young people (under 25 years old).
Although the increase in cognitive problems has not been officially proven to be due to corona, researchers think that more information is available about the consequences of the corona pandemic, and this result is in line with the picture. How the Corona virus causes all these problems is still not completely understood.
Post-pandemic cases are higher than flu
One possible explanation for this situation is that the measures taken against Covid-19 may have led to a rapid regression of people who initially had memory and concentration problems.
According to research leader Dückers, this may also be due to some people experiencing “long-term Covid” following a Covid-19 infection. The professor pointed out several studies that showed that memory and concentration problems are very common in the case of “long Covid”, and noted that other infectious diseases such as flu can also cause such symptoms.
In addition, experts draw attention to multiple scientific studies that indicate that long-term memory and concentration problems after Covid-19 infection are more common than after flu.
New regulation coming to withdraw cash and access to ATMs in the Netherlands
The Minister of Finance is preparing a new draft law in the Netherlands to ease access to ATMs and to remove the surcharge when withdrawing or depositing cash.
Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag announced that he is working on a bill that will make cash withdrawals and deposits free. The new legislation concerns individual persons. The law will also include the article on the protection of the number of ATMs in the Netherlands.
The law, which Minister Kaag is working on, will replace existing non-binding agreements with Dutch banks. The Minister states that existing agreements are implemented on a voluntary basis, but this must be determined by law.
Withdrawing or depositing cash should be free
According to the Finance Minister, recent research shows that 1 in 13 people depend on cash for their life. Minister Kaag stated that the additional fees charged by banks every time money is withdrawn negatively affect this vulnerable group and said, “Access to money is very important. Not everyone can find their way around digital payments. Cash must remain accessible, available and affordable to them.’ made a statement.
Stating that no additional fees should be paid not only when withdrawing money, but also when depositing money, the Minister stated that the new legislation will apply to personal accounts, and that business account holders will continue to pay additional fees, provided that they are not more than what they have already paid.
ATMs must be accessible
Thanks to the new law, not only will cash withdrawals and deposits be free, but also the number of ATMs will increase.
As it is known, in the Netherlands, large banks such as ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank have closed their ATMs in many points on the grounds that their transaction volume has decreased. Instead, yellow ATMs called Geldmaat took their place in the streets.
Minister Kaag wants to prevent more ATMs from disappearing from the streets by law. In this way, everyone will be able to reach an ATM within 5 kilometers.
Cash support from Tilburg Municipality to 150 families receiving social allowance
Tilburg municipality will provide a certain amount of cash each month to 150 families who have received social assistance for two years from next year.
Replicating the pilot project carried out by the municipality of Zaanstad, the municipality of Tilburg decided to provide 150 euros in cash each month to 150 families receiving social allowances next year. The aid will be in the form of a grant and families will be able to spend this aid as they wish.
Tilburg Mayor Esmah Lahlah told Omroep Brabant, “We want to support our citizens in the best way possible so that they can minimize their stress.” made a statement.
Stating that they started this project for trial purposes, the Mayor said that they will examine what effect the additional income will have on families and children.
By law, municipalities cannot directly regulate a person’s income policy. That’s why the Tilburg municipality will deliver the aid to families through an independent foundation fighting poverty called Kansfonds.
Within the scope of the project, researcher Mirre Stallen from Amsterdam Hogeschool will follow both the families concerned and the families who receive social assistance but do not benefit from this assistance, and compare the results.
In the project, which will be carried out for two years, families will be able to spend their 150 euros as they wish. At the end of two years, the monthly grant amount will be gradually reduced until it is reset.