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Dutch News
Dirty, sleazy, too full: Rijksmuseum chief''s warning for Amsterdam 8/3/2014

Amsterdam is becoming dirty, sleazy and too full and if changes are not made, the city will be unable to cope with its millions of tourists, the director of the Rijksmuseum says in an open letter in NRCnext. The city authorities need to be given all the room they need to ensure the city remains liveable and while the first steps have been taken, much more remains to be done, Wim Pijbes said in his letter.The number of visitors to the city’s Museum square has now reached five million a year. ‘Nowhere else in the Netherlands do so many people come together in such a tiny space,’ he said. ‘On top of that there are day trippers, visitors and people just passing through without visiting the museums.’ QueuesThe limits to the city’s growth as a tourist destination are now being reached, he wrote. ‘Everyone who visits the city on a daily basis sees it: the litter, the irritations, the queues’.In particular, the city should clamp down on illegal short-stay rentals and the ‘shameful abuses in prostitution’. Drugs policy needs to be tackled and something done about the growing plague of ''beer bikes'', segways and other forms of transport. There need to be more bike parking facilities and an end to the ‘medieval way of disposing of rubbish’. ‘In the richest parts of the city, rubbish bags are torn open by gulls, rats and other vermin’, Pijbes wrote. VenicePijbes is not the only person to warn about the impact of tourism on Amsterdam. Earlier this year, chairman of Amsterdam Centrum borough council said a careful balance needs to be struck to make sure the volume and type of tourists in Amsterdam do not become a problem for its residents.Research last year showed many city centre residents are unhappy about the growth in tourist numbers. Some 85,000 people live in central Amsterdam but on a daily basis, the population swells to around 200,000 people.''If people like you and I visit the city, no-one has a problem,'' Oranje told Trouw. ''But there are a lot of tourists who view Amsterdam as a sort of Disneyland experience. Or take the stag and hen parties which move around with enormous penis hats on. That does create problems.''

Moroccan and Jewish boats debut at Gay Pride canal parade

Despite the threat of storms, tens of thousands of people turned out to watch the 19th Gay Pride boat parade on Saturday, which this year included a Moroccan boat for the first time. The start of the boat parade was brought forward by almost an hour because of the weather and started with a moment’s silence to remember the people who died in Malaysia Airways flight MH17.The Aids Fonds charity and research group lost several prominent members in the disaster and led the procession with two boats. Banners on the side read ''Remembering our colleagues on MH17'' and ''Our work goes on. Together we will beat the virus''.‘Taking part was a special memorial to the five Dutch Aids fighters and all the other victims,’ said a spokesman. Jewish boatIn total, 80 boats took part in the parade. They included - for the first time - specifically Moroccan boat and a Jewish boat with transsexual singer Dana International. There was also a boat full of members of the armed forces and a city council boat with mayor Eberhard van der Laan and dozens of council officials. Amsterdam police also had a boat, staffed by officers carrying placards which read ‘we listen,'' pink in blue’ and ''Call us.''Among the famous faces taking part were tattoo king Henk Schiffmacher and Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst.

Billions of euros needed to strengthen Dutch dykes

The infrastructure ministry will publish plans for a massive dyke strengthening problem when the government outlines its 2015 budget in September, according to current affairs show Nieuwsuur. In order to protect the country against flooding, a 35-year project to raise and reinforce the dykes along the bigger rivers will be needed, the programme quotes ministry documents as saying.While the current network of dykes is safe, it is not safe enough. Climate change and rising sea levels make billions of euros of investment imperative, the ministry believes.

''Hundreds of Dutch Moroccans involved in gangland killings'' (update)

Hundreds of Dutch Moroccan youths are involved in at least six gangland killings in the Netherlands and Antwerp as well as a string of violent robberies, not just a few dozen as thought earlier, the Volkskrant reports on Thursday. The group includes drugs dealers, gunmen and ''facilitators'' who are all linked to each other and live in both the Netherlands and Morocco, the paper quotes Amsterdam detectives as saying.The paper bases its claims on a police investigation into a string of gangland killings which began in 2012. The robberies take place in the Netherlands and then the perpetrators move to Morocco which does not deport its nationals, the paper says. The money they earn through their crime spree is also taken out of the country. TangiersDetectives claim between 25% and 33% of the new appartments under construction in Tangiers are funded with criminal proceeds. Dutch detectives visit Morocco on a weekly basis as part of their investigations and have so far sequestrated property and other possessions totalling some €100m, the paper says.The public prosecution department has now signed an agreement with the Moroccan authorities to make it easier to prosecute people suspected of crimes in the Netherlands under Moroccan law – with the exception of the death penalty.Last week, Hamza B, suspected of a double shooting in Amsterdam in December 2012, became the first person to go on trial in Morocco under the new agreement. Two other suspects are being tried in the Netherlands.The killing is said to be part of a dispute centering on 200 kilos of cocaine. The public prosecution department issued a statement on Thursday afternoon stating the treaty with Morocco was signed in December 2012 and that the justice ministry not the public prosecutors were responsible.

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