Netherlands, non-believers outnumber believers
For the first time in the Netherlands, there are more people who do not believe in any religion than those who hold one. According to research by the Social and Cultural Planning Office SCP, currently half of the Dutch population is either atheist or agnostic.
This rate is twice as high as the first study done in the early 1970s. While atheists believe that there is no divine creator, agnostics believe that the claims made by existing religions about the existence of a divine creator and the afterlife cannot be verified today.
The research suggested that atheists and agnostics seek the meaning of their own lives rather than the meaning of life. “They add meaning to their lives through examples such as improving themselves, helping people, having different experiences and knowing that they are part of a larger whole,” SCP said of this group.
SCP also emphasized that there can be misunderstandings between non-believers and believers, therefore policy makers should draw a social policy based on mutual agreement and acceptance.
There appears to be fluctuations in SCP’s research. The rate of non-believers is increasing especially in the first five years of 2010s.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands in Morocco
The special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands met with UN representatives working in the country in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, where she came to hold talks.
Queen Maxima of the Netherlands went to Morocco and met with the representatives of the United Nations.
She received information about the activities carried out in Morocco.
The special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands (left) visited the historical consulates street of the capital Rabat in Morocco, where she came to hold meetings.
Children in the Netherlands will soon be able to take the surnames of both parents
After the Dutch House of Representatives, the Senate approved that children can bear the surnames of both parents.
In the Netherlands, children will soon be able to bear the surnames of both parents. Parents can already choose which surname their child will take at birth, but in the future, both parents’ surnames will be registered in the population. The surnames of both parents will be written without hyphens.
Last fall, the House of Representatives evaluated the request, especially from families, and decided that the necessary arrangement for children to carry the surnames of both parents would be implemented with the law amendment to be made in the Civil Law. This resolution of the Assembly was also approved by the Senate.
According to the new law that will come into effect from the beginning of next year; Children born after this date can be given the surname of both parents. The law will also be applied retrospectively. Accordingly, it is possible to change the surnames of children born after January 1, 2016. Parents who want to change their children’s surname will be given one year from the date of entry into force of the law to edit it.
According to the law that will enter into force; If married or legally living couples have not made a special choice about the child’s surname after birth, the child will legally take the father’s surname.
For spouses who are not married or legally registered, the child will automatically take the mother’s surname.
Adopted children will be able to take the surname given at birth and the surname of their adoptive parents.
Mileage allowance for those who cycle to work in the Netherlands and Belgium
In the Netherlands and Belgium, mileage allowances are given to encourage employees to cycle to work.
Many citizens are unaware of the company’s allowance for cycling in the distance between home and work, which has been valid in the Netherlands since 2020 and will become law in Belgium this year. However, governments in both countries support this practice, which is beneficial for health and reduces costs.
The ‘Bicycle Allowance’ that companies give to their employees per kilometer can be deducted from tax. This is perceived as a very attractive option for companies to reduce costs.
How much is the Bicycle Allowance in the Netherlands?
Cycling is one of the indispensable parts of the Netherlands. Although the restrictions introduced during the Corona period caused this habit not to be fulfilled, there was an increase in the number of people who started cycling with the removal of the pandemic restrictions. Last year, the number of people who went to the office by bicycle in a week increased by more than 2 million.
Cycling to work has positive effects for employers and employees, the environment and society as a whole.
In the Netherlands, 0.21 euro is paid per kilometer for a bicycle used on the home-work route. This amount is expected to increase to 0.22 euro next year.
There are 3 types of regulations that apply to encourage cycling between home and work:
Company bike (rental bike plan): In this application, the staff uses the company bike. The bicycle can also be used for special purposes. For example, shopping or dropping the kids off at school. All costs of the bike, including repair, are owned by the company, but the staff has to pay a small amount of tax per month. This amount is 7% of the recommended retail price of the bike and accessories. Sometimes the employer can pay this payment himself.
Work-related costs plan (WKR): In this case, it can give an employee a tax-free allowance of up to 1.18% of the salary bill. As of 2022, the rate of 1.7% for the first €400,000 of the total fee and 1.18% for the amount over €400,000 applies.
Allowance per kilometer for bicycle: In this application, an employee who goes to work by bicycle is given per kilometer.
For more information about cycling on the Work-Home route, you can visit the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management’s kiesdefiets.nl page.
Bicycle allowance becomes law in Belgium from 1 May
According to the decision taken at the National Work Council (NAR) between trade unions and employers’ organizations at the beginning of this year, every employee who regularly cycles to work in the private sector in Belgium is entitled to a bicycle allowance from 1 May.
For now, about 15 percent of those working in the banking or tourism industry, for example, have not yet qualified.
According to the collective agreement reached, a bicycle allowance of 0.24 euro will be given per kilometer. This amount will be recalculated each year. Bicycle allowance will be given for a maximum distance of 40 kilometers per day.
A person who lives 20 kilometers away from work and cycles to the office every weekday will receive an allowance of 200 euros per month over 40 kilometers per day. Bicycle allowance will usually be given in cash along with the previous month’s salary.
The new bicycle allowance regulation only covers sectors not specified in the existing collective bargaining agreement and those who have an employment agreement on the basis of an individual employment contract or employment regulation. The same conditions will continue to be applied in sectors and companies that have already signed a collective agreement on bicycle allowance, even if the amount per kilometer is lower.
An employee who falls on the way to and from work will be treated as having a work accident and physical damages will be covered through the employer’s work accident insurance.
Bicycle allowance is tax deductible by a percentage. The only condition: use a bicycle to commute to work. The work bike can also be used at special times, and this has no effect on taxation.
Netherlands imposes TikTok ban on civil servants
The government has banned the use of the social networking app TikTok on public business phones and devices.
The Netherlands has banned the use of TikTok, the social sharing application owned by the Chinese company Bytedance, on public business phones and devices.
Secretary of State Alexandra van Huffelen (Digitization) sent a written statement to the Assembly, urging government officials to immediately remove spy-sensitive apps like TikTok from their work phones.
In the statement made on the subject, it was stated that in the short term, it will be set so that only pre-approved applications can be installed on the phones purchased by the public personnel from the state.
According to the information obtained, there are currently 140,000 civil servants in the Netherlands, but it is not known how many of these officers have a state phone.
It is stated that this ban decision was taken on the advice of the government’s AIVD intelligence service. “There is an increased risk of espionage for any apps managed by countries with an aggressive cyber program against the Netherlands and Dutch interests,” the AIVD recommendation said.
It defines the risk-bearing countries as Russia, Iran and North Korea, and evaluates China in the category of these countries.
The Netherlands is following other European countries in terms of bans against TikTok. In February, the European Union (EU) Commission ordered its employees to delete the social media app TikTok from both their private and corporate phones. Earlier this month, the UK and Belgium banned civil servants from using the app.
Keukenhof flower gardens open tomorrow
Keukenhof Flower Gardens, which has an important place among the natural beauties of the Netherlands, will open its doors to visitors for the 74th time on Thursday for the 2023 season.
“The most beautiful spring park in the world will be open for 8 weeks,” said a press release from the Keukenhof management unit. it was said.
The famous flower park in Zuid-Holland, Lisse, attracted more than 1.1 million visitors last year, 75% of whom were from abroad.
From Thursday, visitors can stroll the 15 kilometers of trails in Keukenhof and admire 7 million bulbous flowers in more than 1,600 varieties. Supplied by 100 companies of flower bulb growers and exporters, the bulbs were planted in the autumn of last year to bloom in the spring.
House doctors are getting harder and harder to find in the Netherlands
In the Netherlands, it is getting harder and harder to find a home doctor, and patients have to wait for days to get an appointment.
As a result of a survey conducted by the Dutch Patient Federation, it was revealed that this situation became even more evident.
According to the Federation’s survey of more than 12,000 people, one in three respondents said it was becoming increasingly difficult to find a home doctor. In the survey, it was stated that it became more difficult to reach the practice by phone and it could take days or even weeks to get an appointment.
House doctors in the Netherlands state that they complain about the increasing patient load, workload and the inability to find enough doctors to replace retired doctors, especially after the corona period. Federation director Dianda Veldman stated that this situation varies according to regions, while there are no problems in some practices, in some patients patients have to wait for days to get an appointment.
Veldman stated that patients find it more difficult to go to another home doctor despite the negativities experienced, and that doctors can be there for these patients in case of an emergency despite all their intensity. According to the Patient Federation, the density of home doctors will continue to increase in the coming period.
According to the results of the research, patients prefer to get help more digitally, but according to the federation, this may not always be possible. Repeated examinations and recommendations can be obtained in chronic diseases.
The federation, which advocates the need to further improve accessibility to a house doctor through digital means, states that cooperation can be increased, for example, by establishing a network between doctors for people who cannot (temporarily) find a house doctor.
Netherlands named one of the worst countries in terms of housing for expats
The Netherlands was ranked lowest when it comes to affordability and accessibility of housing in InterNations’ new Expat Essentials Index.
As part of its annual Expat Insider Survey, InterNations, a network of expats around the world, asked 12,000 expats, representing a total of 177 nationalities and living in 181 different countries, to provide information on various aspects of expat life.
Participants were asked to evaluate 56 different factors, which were divided into five different categories. Within the scope of the survey, expatriates; digital life (offering administrative services online, high speed internet, cashless payment services and unlimited access to online services.), housing (access to affordable housing, ease of finding a place to live.), administrative issues (ease of local bureaucracy, opening a bank account and visa receiving.), language (Ease of living without speaking the language, ease of learning the language.) were asked to answer the questions.
Among the 52 countries included in the survey, Bahrain topped the list, performing well, particularly in the administrative, housing and language categories. At the other end of the spectrum was Germany, which ranked 52nd and lagged behind countries such as China, France and Kuwait.
The Netherlands was ranked in the top 10 when it comes to the ease of living without knowing the language, as well as the ease of obtaining visas, the availability of online administrative services and the accessibility of online services. And also; Among the 52 countries and nations included in the ranking, the Netherlands ranked 49th in the housing subcategory. According to InterNations, 53% of expats in the Netherlands have difficulty finding housing (the Global average is 27%), while 69% rated properties in the Dutch housing market as “unaffordable”.
Here are the 5 countries where it’s easiest for expats to start a new life, according to the 2023 Expat Essentials Index:
Badgers block rail traffic: trains between Eindhoven & Den Bosch canceled for 1 week
Railway manager ProRail said in a statement that a badger nest under part of the railway has caused all train services between Eindhoven and Den Bosch to be canceled for at least a week.
Dutch national railway company NS has announced in an update to its travel planner that it will operate a backup bus service to assist passengers on busy routes.
Even if there are alternative routes via the bus service or Tilburg, it was suggested that passengers should consider the possibility of increasing their commute time by 30-60 minutes.
ProRail “The Badgers undermined the tracks at Esch. As a result, the tracks could collapse, threatening the safety of train traffic.” He explained the situation with his words.
The badgers caused major problems for the second time in a month, as they preferred the railroad to build their nests. Badgers prefer sandy soils, which makes railroad embankments an ideal habitat for them. ProRail is seeking permission to build an artificial habitat for badgers in Molkwerum, Friesland, where rail traffic was halted a few weeks ago.
To get the trains between Eindhoven and Den Bosch up and running, ProRail will need to decide how to deal with the digging animals so they can repair the tracks and the ground underneath.
Dutch paper mill Van Gelder BV Files Bankruptcy
Crown Van Gelder BV, a paper mill for over 125 years, went bankrupt.
The paper mill was established in September 1896 in Velsen-Noord, North Holland. NU.nl news site also confirms the news that the factory went bankrupt.
Although Crown Van Gelder celebrated its 125th Anniversary celebration late because it was postponed last September due to the corona, the news of its bankruptcy was announced in front of the Noord-Holland Court on Monday. Factory director Miklas Donkers wrote to his approximately 250 employees. In this letter, he stated that although the company achieved a positive result in 2022, there was not enough money in cash and bankruptcy occurred due to increased costs especially in energy and raw materials and the sudden decrease in the number of orders. He also added that there was talk of uncertainty about market developments in the near future. Trustees are investigating whether there is a future for Crown Van Gelder.
NATO’s Innovation Fund center will be established in the Netherlands
The headquarters of the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) will be in the Netherlands.
It was decided to establish the NATO Innovation Fund with a budget of 1 billion euros to encourage innovation and support initiatives within the NATO alliance.
NATO Innovation Fund will be headquartered in the Netherlands
It was announced that strict campaign and diplomacy were carried out and successful for the establishment of the NATO Innovation Funding Center in the Netherlands. It was said that the fact that the fund is in the Netherlands will definitely benefit the start-ups in the country.
It was a close collaboration between the Dutch Foreign Investment Agency Techleap.nl and Defense. The fund’s arrival was announced today. The NIF will be officially launched at the NATO summit in Vilnius in July this year.
The establishment of this fund in the Netherlands is expected to increase the likelihood of innovative Dutch start-ups finding their way to capital. This will foster the development of innovative complex technologies that offer solutions to social and defense problems.
Together, the allies will set aside at least 1 billion euros for the fund, which has a maturity of 15 years. The Netherlands has pledged to contribute more than 55 million Euros during this period.