Drenthe residents react after Netherlands police discover family locked away for years – video
Residents of Drenthe, a province in the north-east Netherlands, reacted to the discovery of a group of people believed to have spent years living in the cellar of a remote farmhouse 'waiting for the end of time'. 

Six adults were removed and being taken care of, police confirmed, while a 58-year-old-man who was renting the farmhouse was arrested after refusing to cooperate with their inquiry.  Continue reading...

Six freed after years living in Dutch cellar 'waiting for end of time'
Six adults removed from house and man, 58, arrested
A group described by local media as a man and his adult children have been found after spending several years living in the cellar of remote farmhouse in the north-eastern Dutch province of Drenthe "waiting for the end of time".
The group of six were discovered after the oldest son, 25, visited a local bar, the Kastelein cafe. On the first occasion, 10 days ago, he "ordered and drank five beers on his own", the owner, Chris Westerbeek, told broadcaster RTV Drenthe. When the man reappeared last Sunday, he "looked confused", Westerbeek said. "He was unkempt, with long tangled hair. We got talking. He said he had run away and needed help, and that he had never been to school. Then we called the police." Continue reading...

Blooming fakes: Amsterdam tourists hit by tulip scam
Millions of visitors duped at floating market as only 1% of bulbs bloom, inquiry shows
Tourists are being ripped off at Amsterdam's famous flower market, with just 1% of bulbs sold at the floating bazaar ever producing a blossom, investigators have said.
An inquiry commissioned by the Dutch capital's municipality and tulip growers also found often only one flower resembled the pictures on the packaging, and that there were fewer bulbs than advertised.
Related: Dutch fence off tulip fields to stop selfie-takers crushing flowers Continue reading...

Hottest ticket in town: the mega sauna hosting a Euro theatre contest
A drama competition for 200 naked people in a giant sauna? Our writer gets a sweaty taste of ‘aufgass' in the Netherlands
I am standing behind a partition rope, waiting for the theatre to open. An excited hum rises off the crowd, and there is jostling when the stewards throw open the doors. As a theatre critic, I have stood in countless such queues. I should not feel the fear that I do, but there is one vital difference here: audience members are wearing nothing more than bath robes and flip-flops.
And then they're not even wearing those. All clothes are discarded as they race to claim a seat on the tiered wooden benches inside the auditorium and lay down towels to mark their spot. In a matter of minutes, there is a neatly arranged room of almost 200 naked people sitting in a heated amphitheatre, waiting for the show to begin. I am as disrobed as the rest of them.
The first acts seem to be channelling Las Vegas pizzazz crossed with Eurovision camp, but I slowly put my cynicism aside
He gets a standing ovation, which is a bold move from a naked audience Continue reading...

Dutch PM urges middle powers to help fix 'flawed' international order
Mark Rutte says the world trade system and the UN have not kept pace with global change and the rise of China
Middle-power nations need to do more to reform flawed and failing global institutions such as the UN Security Council and the World Bank, not disengage from them, Netherlands PM Mark Rutte has told an Australian audience.
Speaking in Sydney on Thursday, Rutte said middle powers had grown safer and more prosperous under the rules-based order that emerged after the second world war, but that the 20th-century international order held structural flaws for the 21st century. Continue reading...

Shell, Nigeria and a 24-year fight for justice – podcast
In 1995, the Nigerian government executed the Ogoni Nine – environmental activists who were trying to fight Shell's exploitation of their homeland. Now, four widows are taking the oil company to court. And: Dan Sabbagh on the ramifications of Trump's shock decision to withdraw from the Turkish-Syrian border
Earlier this year, a Dutch court ruled it had jurisdiction to determine whether Royal Dutch Shell was complicit in the Nigerian government's 1995 execution of the Ogoni Nine – environmental protesters who fought against widespread pollution in the Niger Delta. This week, Shell's alleged role in the killings is finally being examined by a court in The Hague.
The Guardian reporter Kate Hodal talks to Rachel Humphreys about the original trial, which was widely discredited as a sham, and the alleged collusion between Shell and the Nigerian government. Humphreys also talks to Esther Kiobel, whose husband, Dr Barinem Kiobel, was among the nine executed, and who has been fighting for justice ever since. Channa Samkalden, the lead lawyer on the case, explains the implications it might have for Shell. Continue reading...

Artificial womb: Dutch researchers given €2.9m to develop prototype
Model from Eindhoven University will surround baby with fluid and deliver oxygen and nutrients via umbilical cord
Attempts to create an artificial womb for premature babies have been given a boost by the award of a €2.9m (£2.6m) grant to develop a working prototype for use in clinics.
The model, which is being developed by researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, would provide babies with artificial respiration. However, unlike current incubators the artificial womb would be similar to biological conditions, with the baby surrounded by fluids and receiving oxygen and nutrients through an artificial placenta that will connect to their umbilical cord.
Related: Artificial womb for premature babies successful in animal trials Continue reading...

Dutch government ditches Holland to rebrand as the Netherlands
As part of new strategy, the Netherlands will be official name at Eurovision in May
The Dutch government has decided to stop describing itself as Holland and will instead use only its real name – the Netherlands – as part of an attempted update of its global image.
The national rebranding, which has been signed up to by business leaders, the tourist board and central government, will be rolled out later this year. Continue reading...

Faces on the ferry: an Amsterdam commute – a cartoon
Artist Rachelle Meyer uses her 12 minute ferry commute from Amsterdam Noord to sketch her fellow commuters and the city's changing seasons
I started sketching fellow passengers on the NDSM ferry after I moved to Amsterdam Noord, which is separated from the city centre by a body of water called the IJ. The trip takes about twelve minutes, and it seemed like a great drawing exercise for the mornings. I'd loosen up with a speedy pencil portrait on the boat, cycle to my studio, and finish it up with fineliners and markers over a cup of coffee. This daily doodling evolved into an interesting study of how we choose to spend our time. We're all in this state of suspension on the ferry, floating on the water, in a limbo between destination points. I was particularly drawn to people who were absorbed in reading books. These "dedicated readers" remained quite still through the journey, and it's a loving testimony to the power of print. This original tiny sketchbook filled up from January to May 2017.
When I flipped back through the sketchbook, I discovered that it also told a story of time passing on a larger level as winter opened up into spring. This gave me the idea for the Faces on the Ferry art project, which consists of a film of the original sketchbook and sixteen silkscreen prints extracted from sketches made on the ferry over the course of a year, four for each season. The prints each use a four colour palette, with one colour that carries through to the following season. This creates a flow, expressing the observations I made about time, as well as a series of vivid modern portraits of the diverse public of the ferries. Continue reading...

Belgium's first sighted wolf in a century feared killed by hunters
There has been no sign of Naya or the pups she was carrying since May
The first wolf to have been sighted in Belgium for more than 100 years has not been seen since May, and environmentalists believe she is likely to have been killed.
The wolf, given the name Naya, was first sighted in Belgium in the north-east province of Limbourg in January 2018. She was fitted with a collar containing a transponder to track her movements.
Related: Pioneering wolf becomes first sighted in Belgium for a century Continue reading...

Activists set sail across the Atlantic to Chile to demand curbs on flying
Sailing ship leaves Amsterdam for COP25 climate summit with 36 campaigners on board
A group of environmental activists have set sail from Amsterdam on a seven-week voyage to South America to attend the UN climate conference.
It had been raining on the Amsterdam waterfront on Wednesday but the sun came out in the early afternoon as a small crowd waved farewell to the 36 activists and five crew on the boat. Continue reading...

Wim Crouwel obituary
Leading Dutch typographer and graphic designer who created the Gridnik and New Alphabet typefaces
Wim Crouwel, who has died aged 90, defined the look of the modern Netherlands. He became an influential graphic designer, establishing one of the first professional Dutch design offices, Total Design, with Benno Wissing, a fellow graphic designer, and the furniture designer Friso Kramer, in 1963. "We designed all of Holland, more or less, or at least that is what our competitors said," Crouwel told one interviewer.
And indeed, he is responsible for its stamps; the signage system for Schiphol, its main airport; the identity of its biggest bank; two decades' worth of posters for the Stedeljik Museum, Amsterdam; and even the Dutch team football strip for the 2014 World Cup. He was also an influential teacher at the Technical University in Delft and, from 1985 to 1993, the director of the Boijmans Van Beuningen art muiseum in Rotterdam. In 2011, the Design Museum in London staged a Crouwel retrospective under the title A Graphic Odyssey. Continue reading...

Relatives of Dutch colonial victims in Indonesia to get day in court
Court to hear compensation claims after landmark ruling lifts statute of limitations
The relatives of five men summarily executed during the final years of Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia will have their case heard in court after a ground-breaking decision to lift the statute of limitations.
The court of appeal in The Hague found there was sufficient evidence that language differences and social disadvantage had stood in the way of claims being made against the state.
Related: Netherlands apologises for 1947 Rawagede massacre in Indonesia Continue reading...

Austrian elections offer latest sign far right's rise is faltering in Europe
Freedom party's vote collapses to 16%, as others stall in Italy, Spain, France and elsewhere
The slump in support for the nationalist Freedom party (FPÖ) in Austria's elections on Sunday is the latest indication that if the tide has not turned against Europe's far-right populists, it does seem – for the time being, at least – to have stopped rising.
Sebastian Kurz's conservative People's party (ÖVP) won 37.1% of the vote, its best score since 2002, while the share held by FPÖ, until May his junior coalition partner in government, collapsed to 16.1%, down a full 10 percentage points.
Related: Austrian elections: support for far-right collapses Continue reading...

British American Tobacco issued with £900m Dutch tax bill
Maker of Rothmans and Dunhill brands accused of avoiding tax on money channelled via Netherlands
British American Tobacco is being pursued by the Dutch authorities for £902m in unpaid taxes, as the maker of Rothmans, Dunhill and Lucky Strike cigarettes stands accused of avoiding tax on money channelled through the Netherlands.
The claim relates to taxes the company is said to owe between 2003 and 2016 and concerns internal fees paid by Dutch subsidiaries for loans provided by its UK holding company. Continue reading...

'We live in a narco-state': murder of Dutch lawyer prompts fear and fury
Lawyers in gangland cases given emergency protection after unprecedented killing
Lawyers and prosecutors in major gangland drugs cases in the Netherlands have been given emergency protection after the unprecedented murder of a top defence lawyer prompted police and the media to claim that government naivety was turning the country into a narco-state.
Derk Wiersum was gunned down in the street as he left his home in the Amsterdam suburb of Buitenveldert on Wednesday morning. Police are searching for a 16- to 20-year old man in a black hooded top who fled the scene on foot.
Related: Dark web blamed for rise in drugs sent by post from Netherlands Continue reading...

Murder of lawyer in gangster case shocks the Netherlands
Derk Wiersum, 44, was gunned down in an Amsterdam street in broad daylight
The murder of a lawyer for a key witness in a major Dutch organised crime trial has sparked outrage and calls for a tougher crackdown on violent underworld gangs.
Derk Wiersum, a 44-year-old father of two, was gunned down in the street shortly after leaving his house in Amsterdam. Police are hunting a hoodie-wearing assailant who fled on foot.
Related: 'We live in a narco-state': murder of Dutch lawyer prompts fear and fury Continue reading...

Dutch Saint Nicholas parade to replace blackface with 'sooty faces'
The Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes, who accompany Sinterklaas have been the subject of protests
After years of debate and at times violent protest, this year's Christmas-season Saint Nicholas parade in the Netherlands will not feature white people in blackface makeup, the public broadcaster that organises the event has said.
The Zwarte Pieten, or Black Petes, who accompany Sinterklaas in the annual televised parade, which this year takes place in Apeldoorn on 16 November, will instead have sooty faces, the broadcaster said, in what it called "a logical next step". Continue reading...

Documentary follows Pastafarians as they strain for recognition
Film-maker has spent three years showing how the colander-wearing religion is more than a joke
Some time next year, the European court of human rights will decide on the case of a Dutch woman who feels unfairly treated because her country's highest court has told her she cannot wear a plastic colander on her head for her ID photo.
It may combine Mienke de Wilde's plea with that of an Austrian former MP, Niko Alm, who proudly wears the offending kitchen utensil on his official documents but now insists his country recognise Pastafarianism – the faith both follow – as a religion.
Related: Pasta strainers and pirates: how the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was born Continue reading...

End of Golden Age: Dutch museum bans term from exhibits
Debate over Netherlands' colonial past resurfaces with switch to ‘17th century' as alternative
One of the Netherlands' most prestigious museums has fuelled fresh debate over the the country's colonial past by deciding it will no longer use the term Golden Age to describe the 17th century when it was at its pinnacle as a military and trading power.
The Amsterdam Museum said that in an attempt to be "polyphonic and inclusive", the common description of the century in which the Netherlands bestrode the world stage would be banned from its exhibits.
Related: Nazi design exhibition in Netherlands raises fears of glorification Continue reading...