February 16, 2016

Dutchman fined with car full of meat in Switzerland

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 12:40 pm

To save some money while on vacation, a twentysomething Dutch guy decided to bring 160 kilos of meat into Switzerland, a country that only allows you to bring a kilo with you. He could have looked it up before trying to play bluff poker with Swiss border guards.

Customs found a veritable butcher’s shop in the boot of the car: spareribs, roasted pig, steaks and cold cuts. After claiming to have nothing to declare, the guy was fined a few thousand Swiss francs. Since we like price tags, 2,000 CHF is about 1,814 euro, 3,000 CHF is 2,721 euro), which means he probably ate dry bread for the rest of his vacation.

There’s nothing wrong with the Dutch bringing cheese, drop (Dutch liquorice sweets) and coffee on vacation as comfort food, but don’t pull stunts with the Swiss – they’ve seen it all. They’re not part of the EU or the European Economic Area like Iceland or Norway, and they don’t do Schengen. They will search the shit out of your car and fine you quicker than James Bond skiing away from the baddies down the piste at Gstaad for speeding.

(Link: nos.nl)

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September 27, 2015

Money for dogs exists! It is used by Dutch customs to train sniffers

Filed under: Animals by Branko Collin @ 11:22 pm


This fake bank note is what Dutch customs officers use to train their sniffer dogs for detecting large quantities of cash.

According to the customs’ Facebook page, where we found this photo, “we’ve been using special training bank notes since 2014. The ink and paper are the same as those of real bank notes, so that the dogs are still able to make a positive match.”

The customs department uses fake money because some of the training sessions are performed in the wild. Using large amounts of real money would be risky in those cases.

(Photo: Facebook / Douane Nederland; link: Vice)

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August 26, 2015

A Dutch marriage tradition partially disappears

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 4:03 pm

Yesterday a Dutch wedding tradition was updated: the custom of ondertrouw, which is said to be the equivalent of getting a marriage licence. In the Netherlands, a couple has to go to town hall to announce their intention of getting married, a pre-marriage legal requirement in Belgium as well.

As of September 1, couples can announce their intent to marry by filling out a form online in their municipality free of charge, saving some 10 to 20 euro. I would imagine it saves time and frees up one’s diary around a busy planning period as well.

The new electronic document is still needed two weeks before the actual wedding to have the right to marry, giving bureaucrats time to check the partners’ personal details. And just like before, this ‘permission to marry’ expires after one year.

(Link: www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl, photo of wedding figurines by ValentinaST, some rights reserved)

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May 5, 2009

Illegal impounding of laptops at airports

Filed under: General,Technology by Branko Collin @ 9:12 am

Patent lawyer Arnout Engelfriet says (Dutch) that searches of mobile phones and laptops at the airports by the marechaussee, a form of military police, may be illegal. He refers to the fact that the powers of the marechaussee are the same as those of the regular police, and regular police may only perform searches when they have good reason to suspect a specific wrongdoing. The marechaussee’s actions are part of a test started last year in the hope to lessen the smuggling of child pornography.

According to tech news site Tweakers.net (Dutch), the justice department wanted to keep the test a secret because of expected “legal complications.” Journalist Brenno de Winter discovered that although 900 mobile phones, 62 hard disks and sundry other digital devices were searched, none of the victims were prosecuted on the basis of these searches.

The marechaussee was installed in 1814 by later king Willem I as a successor to Napoleon’s reviled gendarmerie. Its tasks have included policing of citizens from the word go. When the civil police reorganized in 1988, guard and police duties at national airport Schiphol got assigned to the marechaussee. The organization took over guard duties for the royal familie in 1908, a job hitherto performed by the palace’s gardening staff.

(Photo: colargol87, some rights reserved.)

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October 25, 2008

Man harassed by police for 13 years after identity theft

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 8:39 am

A Dutchman of Surinamese decent has been fighting the police, customs and the DoJ for the past thirteen years after a criminal junkie kept pretending to be him, says the national ombudsman. The anonymous man has a criminal record of 43 crimes, none of which he committed. Although the police knew almost from the start that a criminal junkie kept using the man’s identity, they never succeeded in entirely clearing his name. Instead, the treatment the victim received over the years at the hands of the police and customs got worse and worse. Among other things the man was arrested for reading a newspaper and his house was searched in the presence of his two young children.

When the man asked the police what they were going to do to clear his name, he bluntly got told to change his identity.

The ombudsman concludes:

“Kafka'” and “Kafka-esque” are terms in danger of becoming over-used when describing government actions, but in this case the label is entirely deserved.

The government will introduce a law next year that should miraculously help minimize mix-ups such as these by limiting civil freedoms even further and by increasing the number of points of failure, though the ombudsman seems quite happy with (part of) the proposal.

(Edit 22-5-2018: replaced link to Ombudsman press release by link to Ombudsman news article)

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