Present and Past: Legislation on fireworks


On 23 May 2014 it was ruled that the sale and setting off of fireworks will be restricted. As of 31 December of this year, fireworks may not be set off until 18:00. Furthermore, the sale of fireworks will be reduced from three to two days. The new legislation was followed by a moderately positive response. Medical organisations see the new restriction as a move in the right direction, but they also indicate that they will continue to fight for a ban on the private use of fireworks.

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Present and Past: Eurovision Song Contest


On Saturday 10 May, the Netherlands almost won the Eurovision Song Contest. The duo The Common Linnets, who performed their song 'Calm After the Storm', ended in second place. The Austrian singer Conchita Wurst took home the gold with his song 'Rise like a Phoenix'.

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Present and Past: Female cabinet ministers in the Netherlands


A research done by the British newspaper The Guardian has shown that the Netherlands has an above average amount of female cabinet ministers. In the Netherlands, five out of eleven ministerial posts are occupied by women. This represents 45.5% of the ministers, which is almost twice the European average (25.6%). This places the Netherlands in fourth place in Europe, behind Sweden, Finland and France.

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Present and Past: Two-hundredth anniversary of the Constitution


The 200th anniversary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is being celebrated since 2013. Some people say however, that this celebration should start in 2015 as the country didn't become a kingdom until 1815. In the period of 1813-1815, the country was referred to as the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands.

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Present and Past: council elections


Today is 19 March, day of the council elections. In almost every town or village in the Netherlands, people will decide about the future of their local administration. Because of this, both local and national politicians have been campaigning heavily in the past few weeks.

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Present and Past: launching of the largest ship of the Netherlands navy


On 8 March 2014, cabinet minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert christened the largest ship of the Netherlands navy and named it Karel Doorman. It is the fourth time that a warship was named after Doorman. The ship has a length of 204.7 meters. It can be used, among others things, to supply other units at sea.

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Present and Past: ProRail warns about railroad crossing


On 25 February, railway company ProRail uploaded a video on YouTube, which shows how a woman narrowly escapes death. The woman tries to cross the railway line at the village of Oisterwijk, completely ignoring the closed barrier.  When she suddenly sees the oncoming train, she jumps back in terror and is only missed by inches by the rushing train. A lot of people were shocked by these images, and many spread the video through the social media. At this moment, the video has been viewed almost 300,000 times.

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Present and Past: Gold at the Winter Olympics


The Dutch ice skaters at the Winter Olympics surprised friend and foe alike. Saturday 8 February Sven Kramer, Jan Blokhuijsen and Jorrit Bergsma won the gold, silver and bronze medals in the 5,000 meter long track respectively. On Sunday it was Ireen Wüst's turn to win a gold medal in the 3,000 meters. This winning streak continued on Monday, when Michel Mulder, Jan Smeekens and Ronald  jointly climbed the podium in Sochi after the 500 meter sprint. Last but not least, Margot Boer managed to win bronze at the 500 meters for women.

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Present and Past: Thank you Beatrix


Saturday 1 February Princess Beatrix was thanked for her work as queen of the Netherlands. In Rotterdam the princess was honoured with a musical tribute a day after turning seventy-six. A total of thirty-three performances were shown, one for each year she fulfilled her role as a queen.

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Abraham van Stolk's birthday (1814-1896)


24 January 2014 it was exactly two hundred years ago that Abraham van Stolk was born. Van Stolk,  the man behind the Atlas Van Stolk, was born on 24 January 1814. In those days nobody could have imagined that his personal collection would eventually  develop into a prime collection of more than 250,000 images on Dutch history.

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