August 3, 2011

The best places to live in the Netherlands

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 9:42 am

In a tongue-in-cheek article, daily De Pers figured out the ideal Dutch towns to live in for large groups of people:

For the poor, Vaals (in the Southernmost tip of the country), because it is apparently easy to get social security there. The town wants to crack down on social security tourism though.

For the gays, Hillegom (South of Haarlem), of which the Pink City Guide of Bureau Movisie says it’s the gay friendliest town in the country. The municipality is working on a policy to support eldery gays, amongst others.

For the elderly, Kerkrade (Limburg). The paper quotes a citizen as saying: “Perhaps we can even draw older people from the rest of the country or even from abroad, because growing old in Kerkrade is fun.” It doesn’t say why it is fun.

For muslims, Alblasserdam (near Rotterdam). The town sports the highest percentage of muslims in the country.

For the handicapped, Huizen (East of Amsterdam), which is quick in allotting funds for medical needs.

For the Polish, Venray (Limburg), which realizes it will always need seasonal workers, so why not be nice to them.

For the drug addicted both Amersfoort (near Utrecht) and Utrecht (near Amersfoort). Junkies get free beer in the former town, and free methadone in the latter. (Pretty girls get free beer in Weert, Limburg. From the bar owners, that is.)

For the students, Sittard (Limburg), as it has the cheapest student housing of the country.

And finally, for sailors, the devoutly religious town of Urk (near nowhere in particular) which refuses to charge boat owners money for delivering electricity and water on Sundays, as that would constitute working on a Sabbath.

(Photo: an abandoned looking factory in Huizen)

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July 29, 2011

Limburg town to refuse EU nationals without income

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Orangemaster @ 1:20 pm

Drielandenpunt (Vaalserberg), is where Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands meet, also the highest point of the Netherlands. Way back before 2002 you could pay your Dutch, German or Belgian fries (yes, three separate stands) with either Dutch guilders, German marks or Belgian francs.

The wee town of Vaals, Limburg, where back in the pre-euro days, my German friends from Aachen went shopping to buy Dutch food products, is now taking a firm stand on EU nationals eating up their welfare benefits. Vaals wants to refuse residency rights to those who do not have a job or enough income to support themselves as of September 2011.

Before critizing Vaals, let’s do the math. Vaals has a population of about 10,000 and claims that 40% of the 300 townspeople on welfare benefits (120 people) are from other EU countries. The town council says that’s a higher number than even Rotterdam, and is costing them a whopping €Â 400,000 a year. Out of every 100 people who want to live in Vaals, nine of them ask for benefits, mostly Poles and Romanians who do not yet speak the language.

Ironically, all this movement within the EU and within the Netherlands tends to expose all kinds of problems that nobody would have noticed if it wasn’t for EU nationals trying to work the system.

In nearby Plombières, Belgium, they’re already applying a European guideline to restrict residency for EU nationals without work or income. If and when Vaals does this, they will be the first Dutch town to do so.


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