Dutch economic growth set to reach 3.3% this year, says CPB

Dutch economic growth set to reach 3.3% this year, says CPB

The government’s macro-economic policy unit CPB on Wednesday revised its growth forecasts for the Dutch economy upwards to 3.3% this year and 2.5% in 2018. The increase is due to the ‘very strong second quarter’ and would mark the ‘the first time since the beginning of the crisis (2007) that growth is higher than 3%’. The figures are contained in a preliminary version of the annual macro-economic outlook which is always published to coincide with the budget on the third Tuesday in September. The new figures are a sharp rise on the June forecasts and mainly due to the ‘very favourable’ development in Dutch exports, the CPB said. The agency also sees unemployment falling to 4.9% this year and again to 4.3% in 2018. Inflation will remain around 1.3%. Prime minister Mark Rutte spoke to reporters about the figures while on his way to the ongoing coalition negotiations. ‘Today we can celebrate the fact that the Netherlands has put the economic crisis behind it and that we have the fastest growing economy in the western world,’ he said. ‘We are growing twice as fast as the US or Germany.’ Main figures for 2017 and 2018 Economic development: growth of 3.3% in 2017 and 2.5% in 2018 Decreasing unemployment: 4.9% in 2017, further decreasing to 4.3% in 2018 Inflation: 1.3% in both 2017 and 2018 Increasing budget surplus: the EMU balance will be 0.6% of GDP in 2017 and 0.9% in 2018 Government debt will continue to decrease: 57% of GDP in 2017 and 54% in 2018 Download the full preliminary report  More >

Road safety groups criticise crossbar bike

Rise in sales point to a comeback for the humble cassette The traditional crossbar on men’s bikes is unsafe and should be avoided by some groups, say traffic safety organisations Veilig Verkeer Nederland (VVN) and TeamAlert. The organisations warn that the design is putting fathers with young children and older men at greater risk in case of an accident. Swedish crash tests have shown that cyclists on a crossbar bike tend to hit their heads first when they fall because they tend to bend over more than they would on bike without one. Mounting and dismounting is also a problem. ‘As people get older getting on and off the bike isn’t as easy. It’s the moment when most accidents occur, especially on e-bikes, and the consequences of a fall can be very serious for older people,’ VNN spokesperson José de Jong says. The time that a crossbar strengthened the bike is long past. ‘That may have been true in the 19th century but now women’s bikes are as strong as men’s because the design has changed,’ TeamAlert spokesperson Juliën L’Ortye says.  More >

Wilhelmus lessons loom at Dutch schools

New coalition ‘will make national anthem lessons compulsory at Dutch schools’ The Dutch national anthem, the Wilhelmus, will become a compulsory part of the school curriculum when the new government takes office, the AD said on Wednesday. It is the second day in a row the AD has opened with a leak about the ongoing cabinet formation talks. On Tuesday, the paper said that a deal had been reached on how to proceed with euthanasia and embryo research, much to the annoyance of party leaders. The AD says that children will learn about the text, the meaning and the tune of the Wilhelmus and that the importance of the lessons should be anchored in the constitution. Lessons on the national anthem and constitution would focus on 'elements which are important for the national identity', the paper quoted the discussion document as saying. In addition, all teenagers will be given a book about Dutch history on reaching the age of 18, the paper said. However, a call by Liberal democratic party to make lessons on colonialism and slavery compulsory did not win acceptance. Trust Following Tuesday's leak, which ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers described as extremely irritating, prime minister Mark Rutte said that the four parties negotiating the new coalition agreement still trusted one another. It is unclear who has leaked to the paper. During the election campaign, the Christian Democrats said lessons about the Wilhelmus should be compulsory. But party leader Sybrand Buma evoked scathing comments for suggesting children should sing it in class every day. The AD says the four parties are still debating calls by the two Christian parties for the introduction of some form of 'service to society' which all youngsters would be required to do.  More >

Volunteers clear 15 tonnes of beach waste

Rise in sales point to a comeback for the humble cassette Volunteers have picked up almost 15,000 kilos of rubbish from Dutch beaches in the past two weeks, foundation De Noordzee said on Wednesday. In total, 2,748 people combed the North Sea coast from Cadzand in the south to the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog. Most of the waste collected was made up of plastic - including empty drinks bottles, tops and balloons. But volunteers also found a mattress, a pregnancy test and an armed forces dummy bomb. This year for the first time volunteers cleaning a piece of beach by Scheveningen were asked to pick up as many cigarette ends as they could in 20 minutes. They found a total of 3,733. Cigarette filters are made up of tiny pieces of plastic which enter the marine environment when butts are left on the beach. 'The results of our waste investigation, which we have been carrying out since 2004, show that there are an average of 375 items of waste on every 100 metres of beach,' foundation director Floris van Hest said.  More >

1.3 million want a job or more hours

Rise in sales point to a comeback for the humble cassette The Dutch unemployment rate may have dipped below 5% this year but there are still 1.3 million people who would like a job or who would like to work longer hours, the national statistics agency CBS said on Wednesday. Nevertheless, the number of people classed as 'unused potential' has gone down 200,000 over the past year. Of the 1.3 million, some 451,000 are officially unemployed, a further 436,000 would like a job and are looking for work, and 460,000 were part-timers who want more hours, the CBS said. The CBS puts the Dutch working population at nine million, of whom 4.1 million work part time and 4.4 million have a full time job. A further 3.9 million people aged 15 to 75 are not in work and not looking for a job, mainly because they are retired (1.56 million) or claiming some form of invalidity benefit (750,000). A further 440,000 people are still in education.  More >