February 27, 2020

Dutch government loses track of 2.3 million workers

Filed under: General,Weird by Orangemaster @ 1:39 pm

Since 2014 the Dutch government has lost track of some 2.3 million seasonal workers, all foreigners who don’t have to register where they live if it they come over for less than four months, making them difficult to track down. However, that also means nobody can check whether they are being exploited or mistreated. They do have an identification number (in Dutch, ‘BSN’) to be able to receive their salaries in their bank accounts, but that’s it.

Have they stayed in the Netherlands, have they gone? No idea.

As explained by Dutchnews.nl, people planning to live in the Netherlands for more than four months are required to officially register with their local authority using a formal address. As explained by my personal experience of 20 years in this country, people make up addresses or use ones that have 20 people registered in it, which is illegal, but often goes unchecked.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo of wilted tulip by Graham Keen, some rights reserved)

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February 4, 2018

Groningen Rhapsody, protest song about earthquakes by Maartje & Kine

Filed under: Music,Nature,Sustainability by Branko Collin @ 4:37 pm

The ninth largest gas field in the world is located under the Dutch province of Groningen and extensive exploitation has led to an instability of the ground. In 2015 local comedy duo Maartje & Kine wrote this parody of a famous rhapsody in which they lament the troubles the region has seen.

groningen-rhapsody-maartje-kineThe lyrics are in Dutch, but you could try your luck with YouTube’s automated translation. Here are some quotes to get you going.

“Open your eyes, look at your barn and see… [a crack].”
“Our cows only produce milkshake these days.”
“He is the minister, evil and sinister.”

Last month, Groningen was hit by a gas exploitation induced earthquake that registered 3.4 on the Richter scale. It was the strongest quake in Groningen since 2012 and the fifth quake that month. As a result, 3,000 citizens filed insurance claims, on top of the 100,000 claims made earlier.

(Illustration: partial screenshot of the video, YouTube / Maartje & Kine)

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February 12, 2016

Toilet attendant ‘sacked’ but not an employee

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 3:49 pm

A Dutch chain of cafeteria-type restaurants has been sold off, and one of the things the new owners have done is get rid of their ‘volunteer’ toilet attendants.

Dutch toilet attendants are more often than not female pensioners of modest background who ‘beg’ for change in exchange for keeping an establishment’s toilets clean, the toilet paper stocked, and so on. I say ‘beg’ because they usually don’t ask for money directly, as Dutch social etiquette dictates we should pay them the amount suggested usually indicated next to a collection dish. A lot of people have issues with this, as they find it exploitative and because going to the toilet shoud be free and part of the service.

These women are apparently not appreciated enough to be hired as employees although they work for companies like fast food chains and what not that are swimming in money. In the case of the cafeteria-type restaurants, they’ve decided to actually hire employees to clean toilets like in train stations and elsewhere, and also believe toilets should be used for free.

While it is sad that a toilet attendant is being ‘dismissed’, it’s still sadder that rich companies feel it is perfectly OK to exploit these vulnerable people, a non-job that’s traditionally female and as devalued as a non-job can be with begging, buying their own cleaning supplies (!) and ‘working’ long hours. The fact that a company would rather pay people to properly clean toilets means they are cleaning up their act, not taking away someone’s government-subsidised non-livelihood.

Letting someone perform work for small change is the definition of modern-day slavery and should be abolished.

(Link: www.telegraaf.nl)

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October 12, 2009

Alcoholics wanted as tour guides

Filed under: Weird by Branko Collin @ 11:51 am

A tour company in Amsterdam claims it wants to hire alcoholics as guides, writes Z24 (Dutch).

Amsterdam Excursions believes that habitual drunks know where to find the bars for its tour of Amsterdam watering holes. In order to test suitability the company lets applicants fill out a questionnaire, open a beer bottle without an opener, and do a breathalyser test.

So far it appears only people who drink in the street or quietly at home have shown up, not the ‘kroegtijgers’ (bar flies) the tour company was hoping for.

This is the same company that organized an economic crisis themed tour.

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