New EU legislation on internet copyright 'a disgrace' says Dutch lobby group

Dutch digital rights lobby group Bits of Freedom said on Tuesday that new copyright legislation backed by the European parliament earlier in the day 'will have a huge negative impact on the range and quality of public discourse and entrench the existing tech monopolies.' The legislation, which includes the highly controversial Article 11 and Article 13, was backed by 348 to 274 MEPs and there were no votes on amendments, despite the best efforts of campaigners. The law must now be incorporated into national legislation, a move which is expected to take several years. 'Article 13 favors well-established tech monoliths over innovative startups, and will stifle creativity and innovation,' said the lobby group's executive director Hans de Zwart. 'Today the European parliament has further normalised a situation in which our public discourse is held captive by a handful of North-American multinationals. It’s a disgrace.' Copyright Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake, who has campaigned against the new law, said the legislation will lead to a lot of work for lawyers specialising in intellectual property. The new legislation holds technology companies responsible for material posted on their website which breaks other people's copyright. Many musicians and others say the rules will make sure artists get proper compensation for their work. Others say it will destroy user-generated content such as memes. Didn’t the term ‘take back control’ lose any possible appeal after seeing the #Brexit meltdown... I worry many (young) people lost faith in European solutions for the open internet today. Hope they see the #copyright vote as the result of political choices, not as ‘EU failure’ ↘️ — Marietje Schaake (@MarietjeSchaake) March 26, 2019 Article 11 states that search engines and news aggregate platforms like Google News should pay to use links from news websites - which would benefit a site such as, whose material is often used by other websites without payment. Article 13 holds larger technology companies responsible for material posted without a copyright licence and means they would have to filter all content before it goes online. This means may have to stop with its Best of the Web service, which highlights interesting stories about the Netherlands from other sources. Read the Verve's article on the legislation  More >

'ABN Amro is after a US banking licence'

ABN Amro is making preparations to ask for a banking licence in the US, the Financieele Dagblad said on Tuesday. The paper bases its claims on sources close to the bank who have confirmed the plans following a report in the Financial Times. ABN Amro, which is still 56% in the hands of the Dutch state, has several offices in the US, including a branch with 500 workers in New York. The New York office focuses on clearing and on financing in the energy and commodities markets, as well as advising Dutch firms. ‘The bank is growing in the US and it would be handy to have its own banking licence,’ one source told the FD. ‘A licence would make it easier to finance in dollars but there are no plans to actively enter the US retail market.’ Before it can apply, ABN Amro has to go through a number of procedures via the European and Dutch central banks. The bank has so far declined to comment on the reports.  More >

EU backs end to putting the clock back

A majority of the European parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of plans to stop resetting the clock in spring and autumn by 2021. If European member states, including the Netherlands, also back the plan, then the EU will begin phasing out the change in a 'coordinated and harmonised' way. Christian Democrat MEP Annie Schreijer-Pierik, who has campaigned against putting the clock forward in spring and back in winter, said on her website she is 'extraordinarily happy' with the vote. 'The health of some 500 million EU inhabitants will benefit,' she said. 'Scientists have shown that it hits our biorhythms and some people develop high blood pressure and heart problems,' she said. Four in 10 of the Dutch would like to switch to permanent winter time which means it would get dark earlier in the summer, according to a snap poll of 1,800 people by the home affairs ministry last year. There are currently three time zones within the EU. The clocks go forward in the Netherlands this weekend.  More >

Anti-smoking alliance under fire

The Dutch anti tobacco lobby Alliantie Nederland Rookvrij has ended its relationship with two lung specialists because, it says, they are too confrontational in their approach, Trouw reported on Tuesday. The Alliance is made up of 155 companies, local authorities, hospitals and medical associations and wants to be a unifying force, chairman Floris Italianer told the paper. Trouw says the cracks in the relationship with Wanda de Kanter and Pauline Dekker first emerged last year when they lobbied against the appointment of former MP Jolande Sap as chairwoman of a working party. Sap, De Kanter and Dekker argued in an article on their website, is a supervisory board member of KPMG which has carried out research into the impact of tobacco smuggling. That research, they argue, has been used by the industry to lobby against increasing the tax on tobacco products. The Dutch cancer charity KWF Kankerbestrijding wanted the article to be removed, arguing it was damaging to the alliance's lobbying efforts. When they refused, the charity withdrew their funding for the website, Trouw said. The two doctors run a website which seeks to expose the involvement of everyone in the tobacco industry, taking a 'naming and shaming' approach. Health warning: the government's smoking policy kills Now the alliance has removed the doctors' own lobby group Stichting Rookpreventie Jeugd from the organisation's list of partners, saying in a letter to other partners that the aim is 'to work from a positive perspective: to be a unifying factor, to stimulate, motivate and take advantage of opportunities.'  More >

Hot summers fuel 'beach side' recreation

Beach bars with sand, parasols and lounge chairs are becoming more popular in places far removed from the Dutch sea side, according to new research published on Tuesday. The number of beach pavilions has increased 4% to 413 over the past five years, hospitality advice bureau Van Spronsen & Partners found, and there are no signs growth is slowing down. The beach pavilions are proliferating inland in particular, researcher Guido Verschoor told broadcaster NOS. ‘You see them in cities, or on the banks of rivers such as the Lek.’ ‘Summers are getting longer, with 50 sunny days and 40 reasonably sunny days. That will do me,’ Richard Fick, owner of Beachclub Klein Scheveningen on the banks of the Lek near Utrecht, told NOS. ‘This place came on the market five years ago and as the weather is getting better and better I thought why not.  Fick, whose club is open year-round, says some 1,000 to 1,500 people come to the river on a good day. However, most beach pavilions are still to be found on the coast, with Scheveningen, Zandvoort and Veere in the top three, the research showed.  More >

Woman arrested for Baudet threats

A 21-year-old woman from Nijmegen has been arrested on suspicion of making threats against Forum leader Thierry Baudet at last weekend's anti-racism demonstration in Amsterdam. The woman, with short blonde hair and her face partly covered with a scarf, was seen on social media chanting' if you want to gun down Thierry, just say bang!', surrounded by a group of similarly dressed protesters. The footage led prime minister Mark Rutte and politicians from across the political spectrum to condemn the group and to question why police had not intervened at the time. Forum's victory in the provincial elections has generated a stream of opinion pieces and columns as well as social media reaction, as commentators grapple to decide if Baudet is a far-right nationalist or not. In Tilburg, D66 alderman Marcelle Hendrickx survived a motion of no confidence on Monday night after warning people who vote for Forum that they are voting for racism, the dismantling of democracy, hatred and division. Ik hoop dat mensen in Tilburg zich realiseren dat een stem op Hans Smolders, lijstduwer Forum v Democratie, een stem tegen onze inclusieve stad is. Het is een stem voor racisme, afbraak rechtsstaat, haat & verdeeldheid. Dat heeft Baudet afgelopen weken weer duidelijk laten zien. — Marcelle Hendrickx (@marhendrickx) March 20, 2019 Hendrickx said during the council debate that she had not been painting Hans Smolders, a Noord-Brabant council hopeful and former driver for populist politician Pim Fortuyn, as a racist. 'I am sorry that my message came over differently than it was intended,' she said. Last week Utrecht University suspended a lecture for writing 'Volkert, where are you' on Facebook. Volkert van de Graaf served 12 years in jail for shooting Fortuyn dead in a Hilversum car park just days before the 2002 general election.  More >

Blaricum has highest average home price

The gap between the cheapest and most expensive places in the Netherlands to buy a home has never been so wide, according to new calculations by national statistics office CBS and the land registry service Kadaster. The average price of a home in Blaricum, near Hilversum, was over €900,000 - 6.3 times the average cost of a home in the Groningen town of Delfzijl (€142,000). The €750,000 difference between the cheapest and most expensive places to buy is partly due to the different sorts of housing on offer. The top five - Blaricum, Laren, Bloemendaal, Wassenaar and Heemstede - have far more large detached homes than Delfzijl and the other cheaper local authorities, the CBS points out. Three other Groningen towns - De Marne, Pekela and Oldambt - and Den Helder in Noord Holland complete the list of cheapest places to buy a home.   More >