Chinese expatriates have been buying up large amounts of Dutch baby formula and shipping it to their families in China for the past few years.
After the melamine scares 2008 and latr, it appears that Chinese parents no longer trust the formula from their own brands, even if it is made by Dutch manufacturers. Apparently there is a scarcity of baby formula in the Randstad region. Not just the Netherlands but also Germany, the UK, Australia and New Zealand suffer from Chinese bulk purchases, Gelderlander wrote last week.
Manufacturers and supermarkets have asked Minister Sharon Dijksma of Economic Affairs to interfere, NRC says. Dijksma has asked the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority to study the grey market. Producers of formula have promised to increase production in the meantime.
According to retail expert Paul Moers the shortage of formula in Dutch supermarket is not because of Chinese parents buying all the product. Moers says according to Gelderlander that Nestlé, Nutricia and Unilever can simply make more money by selling to Asian countries:
“Multinationals are focussed too much on profit. How can it be that the Netherlands, where the product is made, has a shortage of baby formula? Doing business should also be based on morality and ethics.” Moers used be a manager for Unilever in Asia.
See also: Chinese buying up Dutch baby milk powder (RNW, 2010)
(Photo of a poster protesting Nutricia by Martijn van Exel, some rights reserved)
Tags: baby formula, China, infant formula, Nestlé, Nutricia, parenting, Paul Moers, Unilever
The police of Amsterdam has made a list of all the ‘crazies’ it suspects might disrupt the inauguration of King Willem Alexander next Tuesday, nu.nl reports.
The news site quotes TV news show Eva Jinek op Zondag which interviewed Mayor Eberhard van der Laan. The mayor said that there are people roaming the city with psychological problems: “They are all right most of the time, but sometimes have psychotic episodes and then blame the royal house for everything. A day like next Tuesday is like a magnet for them.”
“There are not that many of them. The police has plans for help and supervision for every one of them.” The mayor is not considering preventative detainment. “But if any of these people still have prison time left from previous convictions, it would be useful if they could serve a day on 30 April.”
On Tuesday 30 April, Queen Beatrix will abdicate and her oldest son Willem Alexander will ascend the throne. The inauguration ceremony will take place in Amsterdam.
(Photo of the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, by the Dutch government, via Wikimedia Commons. Yes, I know what you were thinking. No, he is not one of the crazies. At least, not officially.)
Tags: Eberhard van der Laan, inauguration, King Willem Alexander, psychosis
The euthanasia hospital in The Hague, Levenseindekliniek, is too popular.
Parool reports that there is a waiting list of four months. The clinic, which caters to people with a death wish and whose own doctor refuses to help them, has had to expand from six teams to seventeen, but still has difficulty catering to the demand. Last year more than 700 patients applied, but on 31 January only 94 people had been killed. Almost twice that number, 180, had been refused.
The strict Dutch euthanasia law makes it difficult to get euthanized. A request for euthanasia must be made repeatedly and patients must be of sound mind when they make such a request. Requests must be verified by at least two doctors. These criteria make it difficult for example to euthanize people with dementia, although it is apparently possible. Doctors who break the euthanasia law by not applying the six criteria of due care face stiff prison sentences.
The Levenseindekliniek was founded by the Dutch Association for a Voluntary End to Life (NVVE, 1973) in order to enable people to “say goodbye to life in a humane manner while surrounded by loved ones”. Currently the clinic is funded by its members and getting euthanized is free, NOS reports. There doesn’t seem to be an actual building associated with the clinic, it’s more of a roaming death teams type of thing.
See also: Mobile euthanasia units to perform home deaths
(Photo by Wikimedia user Incry, some rights reserved)
Tags: death, dementia, euthanasia, NVVE, right to die
In the Achterhoek, a part of the eastern province of Gelderland that protrudes into Germany, water pipe cafés are apparently popping up like weeds, if we believe what the papers are saying.
‘Hookahs’ (aka water pipes) let people smoke flavored tobacco called ‘shisha’ in which the smoke is passed through a glass water basin before it is inhaled. Yes, it’s still smoking and it is unhealthy, but it is legal and currently circumvents the smoking ban. Hookahs can be smoked in public spaces and shisha lounges as long as there are no drugs such as hashish (soft drugs) in the pipe.
Even Crown-Prince Willem-Alexander does it. I vaguely remember trying it a while back with apple flavoured shisha, and just like smoking cigarettes, it didn’t agree with me.
(Link: www.gelderlander.nl, Photo of Hookah bar by now picnic, some rights reserved)
Tags: Achterhoek, Gelderland, hookah, smoking, water pipe
Planned for this year Dordrecht will have the very first modern day baby hatch where unwanted babies can be safely left for them to become foundlings. Modern day because it has been a practice since the Middle Ages and, depending on one’s beliefs, there’s also the Bible telling us about Moses who was adopted as a foundling by the Egyptian royal family.
The Netherlands currently does not have a place for mothers who do not want to keep their children, and the baby hatch in Dordrecht plans to fill that void. Since Belgium allowed baby hatches in 2000, three babies have been ‘dropped off’. During the same time span some 278 babies in Germany have been ‘deposited’. At the moment, Dutch law forbids abandoning babies for them to be adopted as foundlings.
On the one hand, more help could be given to these women for them to keep their infants, on the other hand, sometimes it is the father, step-father, other family members or even pimps that give away the baby for them. There must be a plethora of reasons why someone would give up a child, but considering the process is anonymous, actually finding out what those are is difficult, making way for much speculation and easily blaming the mothers for everything.
Although the UN claims opening baby hatches goes against the rights of children, even the Vatican has a baby hatch or ‘baby box’ as they are sometimes called.
(Links: www.trouw.nl, www.bbc.co.uk, Illustration by Leonardo da Vinci)
Tags: babies, baby hatch, Dordrecht
Boffins from Wageningen University, together with more boffins from the Radboud University Nijmegen have recently published a study showing that cry babies produce different feces than other babies. One to two-week-old cry babies apparently have twice as many proteobacteria in their poo and much less of other types of bacteria as compared to other babies, although the study does not say why. It also says that by giving cry babies probiotics, which are found in baby food, these babies will cry much less.
(Link: opmerkelijk.nieuws.nl, Photo of Crying baby by Chalky Lives, some rights reserved)
Tags: babies, feces, infants, poo, Radboud University, University of Wageningen
Dutch coffin manufacturers are saying that the demand for large coffins is growing due to the increasing obesity of Dutch people. These coffins are far more expensive than the regular ones as they have to be made by hand. Moreover, 60% of Dutch crematoria have adapted their ovens to be able to cremate obese people, a bit like revamping your fire stations to make sure your big new fire trucks fit in them.
The National Organization of Crematoria says that businesses are now equipped to burn big people throughout the Netherlands, a process that lasts longer than normal due to the surplus fat and able to do so, as it is more difficult. Obese people should preferably be cremated at the beginning of the day when the oven is not yet at full temperature.
(Link: badnewsfromthenetherlands.blogspot.nl, Photo: Salem graves by by Alanna Ralph, some rights reserved)
Tags: coffins, obesity
According to Dutch television show ‘Spuiten en Slikken’, which talks candidly about drugs with young adults, the picturesque fishing village of Volendam uses more drugs per capita than cities like Milan, Paris and London. The sewer water, which was tested by the KWR Watercycle Research Institute, came up with the equivalent of one line of cocaine per 40 inhabitants. With XTC, Volendam takes the No. 3 spot in Europe, just behind the cities of Amsterdam and Eindhoven.
In July we already told you that Amsterdam had sewers full of hard drugs, but Volendam only has 22,000 inhabitants, although it attracts a lot of weekend drug users. Volendam is not as much the butt of jokes as the town of Urk, where kids drink and snort their religion-induced boredom away, but is home to many Dutch music artists that people either love or find annoying, making this discovery an excuse to make fun of Volendam.
(Link: www.rtvnh.nl, Photo: DEA)
Tags: cocaine, drugs, Volendam
All four dermatologists of the Catharina Ziekenhuis in Eindhoven were running a cosmetic dermatology company on the side without the hospital’s permission and are being fired for it, albeit not on the spot, as they have six months more to go.
Some 168 patients paid out a total of 24,000 euro in cash or by invoice, and some even paid for costs already covered by their insurance. The specialists also used hospital equipment and letterhead, but a separate bank account to keep it on the down low.
Tags: Eindhoven, hospitals
Out of every 20 men that get convicted for possession of child pornography only one will ever rape a child, sexologist Erik van Beek told newspaper Trouw two weeks ago.
A colleague, Rik van Lunsen of the AMC hospital, says that there is a group of paedophiles that they call the ‘healthy’ group. These men report themselves to the AMC and are clearly struggling with their conscience. They are afraid they will end up doing things to children that they don’t really want to do. Van Lunsen believes that the first step for these men is to stop the struggle against their feelings: “It’s like telling somebody that they should not think of a purple crocodile. Such a person will end up only thinking of purple crocodiles.”
Van Lunsen added that paedophiles cannot be cured: “Sexual preferences are set in stone once you turn eight.”
Both sexologists plead for allowing the production and possession of realistic, virtual child pornography. Apart from providing the ‘healthy group’ of paedophiles with a safety valve, they hope this will disrupt the market for real child pornography.
Realistic virtual child pornography was outlawed in the Netherlands in 2002. The Dutch tend to differentiate between paedophiles (adults sexually attracted to children) and child rapists (‘pedoseksuelen’). Lolicon, manga that depicts sex with children, may not be illegal in the Netherlands.
Photo by Jason Rogers, some rights reserved.
Tags: child pornography, pedophile, virtual reality