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Dutch News
Utrecht is again Europe''s most competitive region 8/24/2013

Utrecht is the most competitive region in the European Union, according to the EU''s 2013 competition ranking, which is currently being finalised. The draft version puts Utrecht above the London metropolitan area and an area of rural England around Oxford. Noord-Holland (including Amsterdam) and Flevoland are in fifth place and Zuid-Holland, which includes Rotterdam, is 10th. The ranking of 73 European regions is worked out by looking at the area''s institutions, macro-economic stability, infrastructure, health and school education. These are considered to be ''the key basic drivers of all types of economies'', the report says. The finalised version of the report is due out in September.

Dutch parents underestimate their children''s sex lives

Dutch parents have little clue about their teenage children’s sex lives and underestimate how sexually active they are, according to research by parenting magazine J/M voor Ouders. For example, just 8% thought their 12 or 13-year-old had visited a porn website, but in reality around 22% have done so. By the time they are 16, parents think 44% have seen online porn but in reality the figure is 95%. Some 16% of parents also thought their child had lost their virginity at the age of 16 but 43% of 16-year-olds claim to slept with a partner. The comparative figures come from a survey last year by the Rutgers sexual health foundation.
Gay The research also shows three-quarters of parents think children get involved with sex at too-young an age and one-third refuse to discuss homosexuality with their offspring. In addition, one third of fathers would consider it unacceptable if their child, particularly a son, was gay. The research was based on a representative sample of almost 700 parents, the magazine said.
Open Hanneke de Graaf, a spokeswoman for the Rutgers foundation, said Dutch parents are relatively open about sex. ''They accept that it is part of life, but do make conditions. Their offspring should not be too young, they should be in a relationship and they should keep it safe,'' she said. A random survey of teenagers hanging out at a swimming pool in Huizen by the Volkskrant revealed mixed attitudes to parental involvement. One 15-year-old complained his mother had put condoms by his bed when a girl came over to stay. ''She was just a friend I had known for 13 years. It was so embarassing,'' the boy said.

Court backs 75-year-old who wants to keep working

A garden centre in Halsteren in Noord Brabant has been told by a court it cannot sack a 75-year-old worker on the grounds of her age. The Intratuin outlet said it felt ’75 was a good age’ to end a working career and that it was time to give the job to someone younger, RTL news reported. But a court in Bergen op Zoom refused to agree, saying the garden centre was discriminating against the woman on age grounds. The woman, who is a flower arranger, works one and a half days a week and plans to continue working for a couple more years, RTL news reported.

Half Dutch five-year-olds get pocket money

Almost half of the Netherlands’ five-year olds get pocket money, mostly around 50 cents a week, according to new research by family spending institute Nibud.
Researchers questioned 1,622 parents with children at primary school. They say it is surprising so many five-year-olds get money every week. The institute recommends six as a good age because then children start doing sums at school.
In total, seven out of 10 primary school children get pocket money, averaging between €1.50 and €2.30 a week. Some 14% don’t get pocket money at all because their parents can’t afford it.
The survey also shows one third of primary school pupils have a mobile phone, rising to 64% for children aged 10 and over.

Budget cremations, with no ceremony, increase in popularity

Budget cremations with no ceremony and the cheapest coffins are increasing in popularity in the Netherlands, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
Funeral firms are selling cheaper packages with names such as Budgetuitvaart and Uitvaartdiscount (budget funeral, discount funeral) which can cost as little as €1,200, the Volkskrant says.
A traditional funeral costs around €7,000 on average, including service, reception, cars and cards.
Rene Kaarsemaker, the director of Uitvaart Compact in Amsterdam told the paper he expects to carry out 500 budget funerals over the next year. Other companies also report a rise.
Wladimire van Klinken of Crematie-eenvoud buys his coffins in Poland for €50. ''You can easily pay €500 from a company such as Dela,'' he told the paper. ''There is nothing wrong with a cheap coffin. They just go up in smoke.''
However, a spokesman for funeral insurance group Dela told the paper that ''cremation only'' funerals are borderline. ''Saying goodbye is part of the mourning process,'' a spokesman for the company, which has 3.7 million policyholders and is Dutch market leader, said.
There are some 135,000 funerals in the Netherlands a year. Most Dutch people take out insurance to cover the cost of their funeral.
Earlier this month it emerged an increasing number of people either cannot afford or are not prepared to pay for the funeral of their relatives, forcing councils to foot the bill.

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