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Dutch report
by Euro Reporter
2015-04-16 09:15:53
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The Netherlands has 1.5 million firms, but most are one-man companies

There are almost 1.5 million companies in the Netherlands, an all-time record, the national statistics office CBS said on Wednesday. The rise is almost entirely due to the increase in the number of one-man firms, which now stands at 1.1 million, a rise of almost 25% on five years ago, the CBS said. The Netherlands has a population of 17 million. The number of limited companies has risen by 30,000 over the past five years to around 360,000.

Nevertheless, there has been an overall drop in the number of firms with a workforce of more than 50. Most of the new firms are based in the business services, healthcare and education sectors. In healthcare, for example, thousands of home helps and nurses are self-employed.

The same pattern is also developing in specialist parts of the education service, such as sports education.


Holland is a leading nation in embedding IT into everyday lives

The Netherlands remains one of the best countries in the world in using IT to stimulate economic growth, innovation, jobs and well-being, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum. The body’s Global Information Technology Report compared the use of IT in 143 different companies and again puts the Netherlands in fourth place in the ranking. Top of the list is Singapore, followed by Finland and Sweden. Norway completes the top 5. Among the Dutch highlights: an increasing number of companies are totally digital and the government’s shift towards online communication with its citizens. ‘The government is taking a leading role in terms of using IT,’ researcher Henk Volberda told the Volkskrant. ‘Take DigiD, the online platform which allows people to deal with officialdom. Even tax returns are fully digitalised now.’


Anti-Semitic Attacks Increase by 71% in Holland

The armed protection of Jewish sites by the military and police officers in Europe is only diverting attention away from rising anti-Semitism, according to the country’s top Jewish leader. Rabbi Benjamin Jacobs, the leader of Holland’s 30,000-strong Jewish population, noted that attitudes towards the Jewish population within the country are starting to shift for the worse, warning that implementing the security measures, while necessary, is akin to taking an aspirin for a headache. Jacobs’ comments come as the country’s main anti-Semitism watchdog, the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (CIDI), this month announced that it had recorded 171 anti-Semitic holland_400incidents in 2014, compared to 100 in the year prior, representing a 71% increase. Half of all the incidents took place during last summer’s conflict between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip. The body said that many of the victims of such attacks were those who visually conveyed their Jewish faith by wearing kippahs and other symbols. “The soldiers, the police in front of buildings in Holland does not solve the problem,” Jacobs says. “If someone has a headache and they take an aspirin, it’s not solving the problem, it’s just pushing away the headache.”

“So how do we solve the problem? Education. We should make sure in schools that children get the right education,” he adds. “There are certain schools where we do not talk about the Holocaust anymore and that should not be tolerated.” Jacobs, who lives in the city of Amersfoort southeast of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, details the different anti-Semitic incidents he has faced, receiving verbal and physical abuse on a number of occasions in the last few years, something he says would never have happened two decades ago. “If I look back, 40 years ago never ever someone could call me a dirty Jew. 20 years ago also not. But slowly we see that it is getting worse,” he says.  Despite having insults such as “dirty Jew” and “Hitler” shouted at him, bricks thrown through his windows and cars regularly beeping him, Jacobs reveals that he has always experienced a large amount of local support following the attacks.

“I’m not scared by nature but I’m worried about it. This intolerance is no good. Do I see a lot of darkness? Yes. I also see a lot of light. I don’t forget the flowers. I don’t forget the support of the people.” Jewish communities in Europe have suffered a number of terror attacks by radical individuals in the last year. Last May, a lone gunman opened fire at a Jewish museum in the Belgian capital, Brussels, killing four people; Amedy Coulibaly, an ISIS supporter, attacked a Kosher supermarket in Paris in January killing four Jewish hostages and in February a Jewish man was killed when a lone gunman opened fire on Copenhagen’s main synagogue.  The attacks have forced European governments to implement additional security measures at Jewish institutions, such as synagogues, and have led to calls from Europe’s top Rabbi for every Jew on the continent to be able to carry a gun and defend against anti-Semitic attacks. While considering the idea of moving to Israel, Jacobs is defiant that his decision to stay or leave Holland will not be dictated by threats directed towards him and the Jewish community. “I am Dutch, generation after generation, if I want to leave here it is my decision. It is to be made by me, myself and not by terror. I do not want to be the captain leaving the first ship. Besides the fact that I decide, I am a Rabbi and I am here for my people,” he concludes.



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