August 11, 2013

Open season on sperm donors in the Netherlands

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 1:19 pm

City governments are pressuring single mothers to reveal the name of the fathers of their children, so that they can then force said fathers into paying some sort of alimony, Dutchnews reported last Friday.

Apparently a man from Rotterdam, Eric van Deurzen, was ordered by a court to pay either the city or the mother 486 euro a month. (If I am being vague it’s because my sources are.) Volkskrant quotes two law professors, Paul Vlaardingerbroek and André Nuytinck, as saying that only the mother can bring suit.

Professor Nuytinck told Gelderlander that this also puts certain kinds of sperm donors in a tough situation: “Sperm donors who haven’t gone through a sperm bank may have difficulty proving that they did not conceive the child. For conception [as a legal term–Branko] there needs to have been intercourse.”

Since everybody is being so incredibly vague I had to do my own homework here.

Title 17 of Book 1 of the Dutch Civil Code (Burgerlijk Wetboek) states that “he who conceives a child that only has a mother […] is obliged to contribute to the cost of rearing and caring for the child until it reaches the age of majority […].” Although the law does differentiate between a father, a conceiver (verwekker) and a donor, it does not state that there is a difference between a donor and a conceiver when it comes to financial responsibility for raising a child.

Several websites and professor Nuytinck do make that distinction though, which leads me to believe that there must be a separate, more specific law detailing the rights and responsibilities of sperm donors somewhere. Not all the cost of artificial insemination are covered by basic health insurance and in 2010, a lesbian couple was refused treatment by a hospital in Leiden.

The law I quoted above seems to have especially dire consequences for gay couples. The partner who is not the parent only has rights if they’ve gone through official, sometimes homophobic channels and the donor has expressed the wish to remain pseudo-anonymous (in the Netherlands a child always has the right to know its father once it turns 16).

It is still not clear to me why a municipal government would have standing in a case where they ask for the determination of fatherhood.

(Photo by Gniliep, some rights reserved)

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May 11, 2013

Dutch government mapping the Chinese grey market for baby formula

Filed under: Food & Drink,Health by Branko Collin @ 11:47 pm

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 of 2008 and later, 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 supermarkets 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)

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October 22, 2010

Dread saint allowed to continue rampage

Filed under: Film by Branko Collin @ 4:08 pm

The advertising authority (Reclame Code Commissie) has given the poster for Dick Maas’ new horror film Sint the green light this afternoon, NOS Nieuws reports.

‘Concerned parents’ had complained about the poster for being too scary and for being contrary to the traditional way Saint Nicholas (Sinterklaas) is viewed in the Netherlands. The advertising authority pointed out, correctly in my view, that nothing in the way Sinterklaas is portrayed in the poster (see illustration) deviates much from the way the good (or in this case evil) saint tends to be depicted.

However, the movie is a different story. Since that one is rated age 16 and older, nimby parents would have had little to complain about. I hope Sint puts the whiners all in the sack this year, and carries them back to Spain for further punishment—it is the traditional way!

The movie will be released November 11 in the Netherlands and Belgium. Rumours have it that Sint will already be lurking the cobblestone streets of these misty lands by then. Unofficially, of course.

(Source photo: Facebook / SintdeFilm. Source video: YouTube / Parapromo)

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December 2, 2009

Today’s kids reflect bad values, parents to blame

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:42 pm

Children in the Netherlands

Last year around this time, we wrote about Dutch kids being happy because they’re egocentric and in 2007 some Dutch mothers I know justified giving up work and career by pointing out that Dutch children are the happiest in Europe. If you read these two articles, you’ll see that parents teach them to be hedonistic and not take others into consideration and that children almost rule the family. I’m not saying this is true, but where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

However, it’s terribly easy to pick on young people because they’re growing up with more choices, technology and social pressure that previous generations. Hell, the pornography and sex they are exposed to considered normal in advertising and videos (hypersexualisation) scares me as an adult. Having more choices is bad because it makes choosing more difficult. And then mom gave up working just to take care of you and dad is burning out to keep it all together for you as well. That’s a lot of guilt to handle. I’d run out and put my iPod on loud too to drown that out.

Since the 1970s in the Western world, youth have always been called greedy, selfish and whatever, so that’s nothing new. Lack of respect for authority, well, even the authority here has a lack of respect for others and themselves, saying they don’t have the power to do whatever needs to be done and police letting people go because they can’t be bothered. And why would kids obey their parents or even their teachers if their parents and the schools let them walk all over them? Why should they try any harder if there are no consequences to their actions? And we’re back to turning up the iPod really loud.

(Link:, Photo: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

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August 29, 2009

Lauragate: solo sailing school girl to be tested for two months, says judge

Filed under: Sports by Branko Collin @ 1:28 am

The verdict is in. Laura Dekker, the girl that wants to set a world record by becoming the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a sail boat all by herself, will be put under supervision for two months while a psychologist will try and determine whether this 13-year old is fit for that feat.

Dekker’s parents will retain custody, but will have to ask permission from supervisor Bureau Jeugdzorg (the executive branch, so to speak, of the child protection industry) for major decisions pertaining her, a Utrecht court ruled today. The judge stated emphatically that Dick Dekker was not a bad father for supporting his daughter’s ambitions, reports Volkskrant (Dutch). Amsterdam psychologist S. Moonen will now try and find out whether Laura is mentally fit for such a huge undertaking, and whether it is possible for her to be schooled from a distance.

Laura was not present during the reading of the verdict. She tried to avoid the media, and instead gave an exclusive TV interview to Jeugdjournaal (children’s news show of NOS, Dutch). In it she said she was not afraid of the psychological examination, because she would not have gone if she wasn’t ready. She also denied reports that claimed she would be alone for two years in a row, explaining she would go to shore regularly, and she would be surrounded by other sailors taking the same routes because of storm seasons and so on. (Not that fellow ‘yachties’ always stick to the unspoken code of writing poems about flowers and being nice to puppies.)

(Photo by Wikimedia user Jonathunder, some rights reserved)

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April 28, 2007

Single mom with 10 kids terrorises neighbourhood

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 10:29 am

Women in the former USSR used to get a medal for cranking out lots of kids and women in Qu&#233bec, Canada would finally be left alone by the priest after about 10 for fulfilling their Catholic duty. But in the neighbourhood of Slotervaart in the west of Amsterdam, one woman’s 10 kids have been wreaking havoc for 9 years and counting. The children enjoy breaking and entering, stealing, arson and defecating in entrance halls of other people’s flats. It’s so bad that three families have already moved away. About 10 different help organisations work with the family, but it’s not helping, even though the house was renovated, the mother was taught how to clean her house and make sandwiches for her children.

Mayor Job Cohen was even asked to intervene, but he can’t do much. He says that even if the family were to be moved, the problems would just move as well. The owner of the block of flats has run out of patience and wants the children to be placed in foster homes.


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April 13, 2007

Rent a rabbit

Filed under: Animals by Orangemaster @ 9:45 am

Coba Beugeling who works for the animal welfare centre in Lelystad, Flevoland is planning to let children lease rabbits for a month. First, the child gets a speech on how to care for the bunny and if after a month they still get along, the child can keep it, with their parents’ permission of course. Proefkonijn (roughly ‘test rabbit’ although in English we say ‘guinea pig’) was initiated so that people don’t just release rabbits into the wild when they don’t want them any more. Guinea pigs and hamsters will soon be part of the leasing fleet as well.


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