September 16, 2013

The Netherlands has finally become a police state

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 12:18 pm

Rhetoric? Offensive sloganeering? Have I finally gone off the deep end? No, I am just getting a pun in there. Volkskrant reported last Saturday that the biggest employer in the Netherlands is the police.

In 2012 the police provided jobs to 63,778 people. They passed the military which was the biggest employer in 2011, but had to cut down their numbers due to budget cuts.

The top 5 large employers in the Netherlands are:

  • The police, 63,778 employees
  • The military, 61,749 employees
  • Rabobank, 41,402 employees
  • PostNL, 33,284 employees
  • Air France-KLM, 31,189 employees

According to Volkskrant their top 100 of companies employs about 1 million people in the Netherlands. Their distribution follows a power curve, the top ten employs a third of that million. According to Statistics Netherlands there were 8.68 million people working in the Netherlands in 2012 and 0.66 million unemployed citizens. The self-employed made up 1.25 million of people working. And there were 9.24 million jobs in 2012.

(Photo by FaceMePLS, some rights reserved)

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July 14, 2013

Companies rank Dutch banks as barely sufficient

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:16 pm

One in three Dutch companies wants to break up with its bank, but only one in six thinks this is possible, Z24 reports.

The business news site commissioned a study by DVJ Insights to find out how over 500 entrepreneurs feel about their banks. Most Dutch businesses manage their finances through either Rabobank, ABN Amro or ING, which control about 88% of the market. Of the other banks, German Deutsche Bank is the biggest, or rather, the least small. The big three received grades of around 5.7 out of 10 from their clients—the lowest passing grade. Deutsche Bank, which according to Z24 wants to get rid of its Dutch customers, received a 4.

The article doesn’t mention if any of the smaller banks got high grades.

A third of entrepreneurs is considering switching banks, but about half of them think it would be difficult. A reason given is that they also have a private account with the same bank.

One of the reasons businesses are unhappy with their bank is that banks are reluctant to provide loans. In the past two years a third of businesses requested a loan from a bank, but in 64% of the cases these loans were denied.

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February 18, 2012

Dutch banks won’t employ anti-skimming hook

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 5:56 pm

Banks like ING, ABN Amro and Rabobank refuse to fit their ATMs with special anti-skimming devices that have proven successful on ticket vending machines, Webwereld reported last Wednesday.

This despite the fact that, according to the same publication, skimming is still very much a problem in the Netherlands. In January the police caught a Romanian gang of skimmers that stole from the bank accounts of thousands of people.

Dutch Rail and Amsterdam’s public transport company GVB claim that since they introduced the so-called anti-skimming hook, their ticket vending machines have no longer been misused by skimmers.

The hook lets you insert your bank or credit card. If skimmers manage to remove the hook, the entire machine shuts down.

ING and Rabobank claim that they employ their own anti-skimming technology, ABN Amro says that it isn’t easy to fit existing machines with the hooks. Bank cards both chips and magnetic strips on them, the latter being susceptible to misuse. Banks have started a campaign to encourage consumers to use the chip rather than the magnetic strip. The latter cannot fully be replaced, as magnetic strips are still required in countries like the USA which have yet to adopt the chip-based technology.

(Photo of an anti-skimming hook discovered during a police raid, by Politie Haaglanden)

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October 17, 2011

Occupy Amsterdam: some impressions

Filed under: General,Sustainability by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

“Give us our money back, dude!”

Following in the footsteps of Occupy Wall Street and other recent big city protests in London, Rome and Brussels, Amsterdam started its ‘occupation’ on Saturday, 15 October with some 1500 people. On Sunday, 16 October, only some die hards in tents were left, with many people visiting and listening to speakers in circles sitting on the ground telling stories about capitalism. There was also food and people singing Bob Dylan songs.

Some Dutch tweeps (Twitter users) were wondering how long the people on the Beursplein (our Wall Street, if you will) would 1) stay camping 2) be allowed by the police to keep camping. By Dutch standards, it’s getting cold outside and today some people will have to go to work at some point.

And yes, it looks more like a student protest, but in all fairness, the slogans were good and very much to the point: banks are totally screwing us. The Dutch have had bank troubles with DSB (bankrupt in 2009), ABN Amro (acquired and broken up by the government in 2009) and ING, although the latter paid its debt back in full, if I am not mistaken. The Belgians had a nasty fight with Fortis (partially Dutch owned at the time) and are now in a crisis with Dexia, partially owned by the French.

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March 23, 2007

Pick of the day

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 11:53 am

Dutch bank ABN Amro is currently having all its ATMs cleaned following the results of a nation-wide survey on nose-picking. The survey showed that ATMs and bankcard devices in shops are covered in bacteria coming from people’s noses.

The hygiene survey was conducted by Dutch health magazine GezondNU. Some 90% of the population admits picking their nose. Half of them do it once of several times a day. Men pick their noses much more than women do. Favourite nose-picking places include on the couch and in the car. More than 50% of people deposit their ‘findings’ in a handkerchief. Almost 10% eat them. One third of men roll them into a ball and then flick it away.


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