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Dutch News
Amsterdammers can rent their homes to tourists via Airbnb after all 1/19/2014
Amsterdam city council has decided to stop handing out licences for short-stay properties in the city but will allow people to rent out their homes for short periods via websites like Airbnb. Last year the city said it planned to take steps to stop people renting out their homes on a temporary basis. New York and Quebec have already made similar moves. However, the city''s aldermen have now decided short-term rentals for up to a maximum of two months a year should be approved if they can be done ‘safely and honestly without causing nuisance.'' This comes after council research showed holiday rentals can be a boost to tourism and the city’s economy. Tourist tax Private rentals should be allowed for up to four people, providing tourist tax is paid, for a maximum of two months a year, the city''s aldermen have agreed. Renting out flats to tourists via intermediaries has become a significant sector alderman Freek van Ossel said in a statement. ‘That is why we also want them [intermediaries] to take responsibility for clearly explaining our conditions to people renting out their properties and their guests.’This includes ‘sending people renting out properties a tourist tax registration form at the end of the year and providing an indication of how much they owe.’The full council will debate the board''s proposals later this month.

Cocaine disappears during school drugs lesson

A vial of cocaine used as a teaching aid during lessons about the dangers of drugs has been stolen from a secondary school in Alphen aan den Rijn, newspaper Leidsch Dagblad reports. The cocaine, owned by the local health board, was kept in a case along with other drug samples but disappeared while at the town’s Ashram College, the paper says. Both health board and school say they do not understand how someone managed to steal the drug considering the case was locked for most of the day and was kept under supervision. The lesson was being given to fourth year pre-university students. Police have questioned the pupils but the mystery has not been solved, the paper said. The school has written to parents informing them of what has happened.

Local councils still oppose care decentralisation plans

The cabinet''s decision to shift a large number of care duties from central to local government and health insurers is still opposed by a majority of city and town councils. Just 35% of the 300 plus councils represented at Wednesday''s local authorities association meeting said they backed the plans. The government is switching responsibility for long-term care services to councils and insurance companies because it wants to encourage people to remain longer in their own homes. It says councils are better placed to offer help to people so they can live independently. Cuts The move is also coupled with a €1.5bn budget cut, which the councils themselves will have to deal with. One example of the likely impact, website nu.nl reports, is that spending on domestic help for the frail elderly will be slashed by 40%. Councils are particularly angry that health minister Martin van Rijn plans to transfer personal care services to health insurance companies, saying this is a key part of home nursing provision. Councils will take a definitive vote on the switch on January 17. The government is also giving local authorities responsibility for youth social services and sheltered work schemes for the disabled.

More Dutch schools to teach Chinese

The number of secondary schools offering Chinese as a subject is set to more than double next year, the Telegraaf reports on Thursday. Currently 35 schools offer classes in Chinese but over 40 more have plans to do so next academic year, the paper says. Pupils will be able to take leaving exams in the Chinese language from 2015. The paper bases its claims on an analysis of the participants at a congress on Chinese in secondary schools which will be held in Leiden later this month.

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