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Dutch News
Work experience student ‘forged 13 passports’ in Utrecht 5/3/2015

An 18-year-old student on a work experience placement at Utrecht city council is suspected of forging 13 passports and handing them over to people who had no right to them, news agency ANP says on Friday. The forgeries were made in November 2014 and January this year and the youth was picked up by police in early April. It is unclear how the student went to work or who received the forged passports. The youth was released after being questioned by police and the public prosecution department is now considering if he should face charges. The case came to light after one person reported their passport had been wrongly listed as missing. The council then carried out an internal investigation which led back to the student.

Basic health insurance cuts don’t generate expected savings: audit office

The government’s decision to remove birth control pills, anti-cholesterol pills and sleeping pills from the basic health insurance package generated fewer savings than expected, the national audit office says. Scrapping funding for some drugs cut the national medicine bill by just €250m a year between 2008 and 2013, which is only half the estimated savings, the audit office said. For example, the health ministry had estimated stopping paying for anti-cholesterol pills would save €97m a year, but the actual saving was only €18m. The government has made numerous changes in the make-up of the basic health insurance package in an effort to cut spending on healthcare.

Education minister to get tough on fake universities

Education minister Jet Bussemaker is to introduce fines of up to €810,000 for educational institutes which wrongly call themselves universities or hbo colleges (hogeschool). ‘These sort of organisations abuse the good name of the Dutch higher educational system,’ she said. ‘They charge students money for a diploma which is worthless and that must no longer go unpunished.’ According to the Volkskrant, this means the private Hogeschool Geesteswetenschappen in Utrecht will have to change its name, as will the Alhuraa University in The Hague and Dutch University College in Wilp. ‘University’ and ‘University of Applied Science’ – used by hbo colleges in English – will also be protected names in Dutch law. The new law will also ensure that only officially recognised universities and colleges can award bachelor and master’s degrees, Bussemaker said. However, some institutions, such as the Volksuniversiteit, which offers cheap adult education classes and the Universiteit van Nederland, which provides free online lectures by top academics, can continue to use the title, Bussemaker said.

12% of current Dutch population witnessed end of World War II

Almost 12% of the current Dutch population of nearly 17 million were alive at the time of the end of World War II 70 years ago, the national statistics office CBS said on Friday. Almost two-thirds of them were over the age of five. The highest concentration of survivors live in Laren, Bergen and Rozendaal, where around 20% of the population are over the age of 70, the CBS said. The lowest percentage – 6%- are in the fishing village of Urk and in the new town of Almere. The CBS estimates that in 10 years’ time, around 5% of the population will have been alive during World War II. By 2045, when the centenary of the end of the war is celebrated, the CBS expects there will be 12,000 survivors in the Netherlands. The Netherlands celebrates the end of World War II every May 5, which this year is a public holiday. Events kick off in Wageningen – where the German capitulation was signed – and the Liberation flame is lit shortly before midnight. Torches are then taken by runners, cyclists and inline skaters to other Liberation fires all over the country. There are also Liberation Day festivals, featuring top pop acts – one in each province and one in Amsterdam.

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