NRC.NEXT
nrc.next is a Dutch-language daily published in the Netherlands by NRC Media. It was founded in 2006 and is hedquartered in Amsterdam.
New Climate Alert: "Low Country" Netherlands Facing Major Sea-Level Rise
Green
Meike Eijsberg

New Climate Alert: "Low Country" Netherlands Facing Major Sea-Level Rise

The Dutch meteorological institute has released an alarming report in a country that is particularly prone to flooding.

In its native Dutch language, the Netherlands is called Nederland, which means "low countries" and for good reason: approximately one-quarter of the coastal nation is below sea level, and more than half is susceptible to flooding.

This makes, even more, alarming a new report of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) that sea levels off the Dutch coast will rise between 1.2 and 2.0 meters by the end of this century if the planet does not succeed in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Dutch national broadcaster NOS reported this week.

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Google Street View screenshot of men standing before the ​Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled
Society
Meike Eijsberg

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

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Foreign Students At Dutch Universities Are “Homeless” - Blame Brexit
Society
Meike Eijsberg

Foreign Students At Dutch Universities Are “Homeless” - Blame Brexit

Brexit has doubled the cost of studying in the UK for Europeans, which means many more students are heading to Dutch universities, which offer multiple programs in English. That's caused hundreds to arrive at universities in the Netherlands this month without promised housing.

With their sleeping bags in hand, dozens of students occupied the main administration building of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the Netherlands this week to protest the lack of housing for international students. The situation is dire according to local organisation Shelter Our Students (SOS), as more than 600 international students at Groningen have started their studies this September homeless, Dutch daily NRC reports.

The Netherlands was already an increasingly popular destination for international students as it offers a wide variety of English-taught degrees. But this year, Dutch campuses are particularly overflowing with foreign students for two other reasons: Brexit, which has made UK universities suddenly very expensive for European Union residents looking to study in English; and the end of COVID-19 restrictions is bringing students back to class.

As a result, there are now 344,000 university students nationwide (last year it was 327,000) of which 72,400 (21%) come from abroad, writes het NRC. But some universities had a larger increase than others. The Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in the north, for instance, saw a 25% increase in registrations.

And yes, all of these students need accommodation, especially now that universities are switching back to in-person lectures after a year of online classes. A Romanian student named Paul told the Dutch broadcaster NOS that he's been trying to find a place to stay since he first heard he was accepted back in the spring of 2021. "It's like finding a needle in a haystack," he said. "Of the dozens of website ads, only a few are open to international students. Most student houses don't want foreigners."

Paul has been able to find temporary accommodation with the help of Shelter Our Students, but he's one of the few. Most international students are sleeping on air mattresses in the already tiny dorm rooms of their friends, writes De Volkskrant. Others are staying in hostels or hotels: clean and safe, but not cheap.

A man receives a COVID-19 vaccine in a Healthy Moscow pavilion
Russia
Meike Eijsberg

Moscow Mayor To Service Sector Workers: Get Vaccine Or Lose Your Job

In an unprecedented push to make vaccines obligatory, Moscow's mayor has told employees in the city that they will lose their jobs if they don't get vaccinated, Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reports Monday in the latest move to try to curb the COVID-19 crisis spreading in the Russian capital.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin had already ordered employers of service sectors such as transportation, healthcare, education and hospitality to be sure that at least 60% of their workers were vaccinated by next month. But what was at first presented as a suggestion by employers is now to be made a requirement: those who refuse can be put on indefinite suspension with their salary withheld, while employers face a hefty fine.

This vaccination requirement is the latest, and most extreme, in a series of harsh measurements taken by the Mayor. For months, Russian politicians have rejected the idea of compulsory vaccination, with President Vladimir Putin calling it "impractical and impossible," as reported by The Moscow Times.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin — Photo: Sergei Bobylev/TASS/ZUMA Press

But in his statement, Sobyanin said he was left with no other options as Moscow's cases are rapidly increasing. The Russian capital reached a new daily record of 9,120 infections on Saturday, a threefold increase compared to two weeks ago.

Although Russia was among the first countries to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine, the national vaccination rate at 12% is much lower than elsewhere. Sputnik V was registered in August 2020 and approved for distribution in Russia soon after.

Although initially met with criticism at home and abroad, the vaccine has been distributed in 59 countries as of April 2021. But Russians still harbor a great distrust of Sputnik V because the government has reportedly been downgrading the COVID figures, leaving many to believe that the virus is not such a bad thing.

In an attempt to change Muscovites' minds, writing on his Russian-language personal blog, Sobyanin referred to unvaccinated people entering public spaces as "complicit" in keeping the pandemic ongoing.

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Dutch Paper Pays Homage To Late Soccer Legend Johan Cruyff

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nrc.next, March 25, 2016

"J.C. Superstar" reads the front page of Dutch-language daily nrc.next on Friday, paying tribute to soccer legend Johan Cruyff who died Thursday in Barcelona, following a long battle with cancer. He was 68.

The newspaper's headline — a pun on the 1970s Broadway musical Jesus Christ Superstar — conveys the icon status Cruyff acquired over his career, helping Ajax Amsterdam win three European Cups in a row from 1971 to 1973 before joining FC Barcelona. He was also a key player in the Netherlands national team, and was awarded the Ballon d'Or three times.