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Dutch News
The Dutch ate 2.5 billion kilos of potatoes last year 2/2/2014
The Dutch ate some 2.5 billion kilos of potatoes last year – or 140 kilos for every man, woman and child - the national statistics office CBS says on Friday.
The total harvest reached almost 3.5 billion kilos last year, of which around one million kilos were probably exported, RTL news quotes the CBS as saying.
The rest was consumed as mash, French fries, crisps and boiled potatoes in the Netherlands itself, which has a population of almost 17 million.

More higher education courses are failing but more are excellent

The number of university and hbo college courses considered to be of poor quality by the joint Dutch-Flemish accreditation board rose from 29 to 45 last year, the NRC reports. At the same time, the number of courses with an ''excellent'' label rose from five to seven and the number considered ''good'' shot up from 16 to 69. The 45 courses branded as failing have two years to improve. However, two are considered so bad their accreditation has now been stopped, the NRC said.

Single parents on welfare benefits ''won''t have to apply for jobs''

The government has agreed to drop plans to force single mothers with young children and on welfare benefits to apply for jobs. Kees van der Staaij, leader of the orthodox Christian party SGP, broke the news during a debate organised by the religious paper Nederlands Dagblad. Talks between junior social affairs minister Jetta Klijnsma and opposition parties on reaching a compromise on the reforms are currently ongoing. Klijnsma wants to shake up the welfare system by making sure claimants are actively looking for work and introducing work for welfare schemes. But she needs the support of opposition parties to get the changes through the upper house of parliament, where the government does not have a majority. Compromises The SGP, ChristenUnie and the Liberal democrats D66 have already worked with the cabinet on several compromises. ''This was important for us,'' Van der Staaij said. ''These parents must be able to choose to look after their children.'' D66 leader Alexander Pechtold, who believes single mothers should work, said the decision to accept the compromise is part of the ''give and take'' needed in this ''special construction''. The talks are set to continue next week.

Dutch savings are down for the first time in 20 years

For the first time in 20 years the Dutch have less in their savings accounts, Nos television says on Wednesday.
Figures from the Dutch central bank, ING and national statistics office CBS show the total amount of savings has gone down €1bn a month since reaching a high point of €330.5bn last summer.
There are four main reasons for the decline, the CBS says: one in 20 households are so hard up they have no more money to put aside; others are using savings to pay off debts and mortgages; investing in the stock market is popular again; and people who have lost their jobs are using up their savings to live on.
ING economist Dimitry Fleming told the broadcaster the reduction in the national piggy bank is both good and bad news. On the one hand, it is a sign people have trust in the economy again and are not saving for bad times, he said.
However, it is bad news for people who have lost their jobs or are struggling as freelancers and are being forced to eat into their savings to maintain their standard of living.
Some 20% of Dutch households own 80% of the savings. Some 41% of households told the ING they had reduced their savings while 25% have put more cash aside.

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