Motorbike gang member arrested for anti-tank missile attack on office


A 41-year-old motorbike gang member has been arrested for firing an anti-tank missile at an office block housing the Panorma and Nieuwe Revu magazines late on Thursday evening. The man, who was arrested at 6am, is said to come from Woerden and, according to broadcaster NOS, is president of the Woerden chapter of biker gang called Caloh Wagoh MC Main Triad. It is still not clear what the motive for the attack is, but it could be connected to a publication about two members of the gang in Panorama earlier this year, NOS said. 'We are taking it very seriously,' Panorama editor in chief Peter van de Kraats said. 'We assume it was meant for us, but we don't know where it came from.' Damage caused by the missile was limited and journalists are back at work,  Van der Kraats said.  More >



One dead, police officer injured in fire

One person was killed and a police officer seriously injured after fire broke out in a block of flats in the Kanaleneiland neighbourhood of Utrecht on Thursday evening. Video footage shows the police officer climbing out of a second floor window and then dropping to the veranda roof, where he is helped off by three young men. The fire started in a first floor flat and spread quickly to other flats in the complex. The body of a 70-year-old woman was found later by police in the flat where the fire had started. According to the AD, the woman had been stabbed prior to the blast. The paper says one person has been arrested, possibly her husband, but this has not been confirmed by police.   More >



Vesteda buys NN rental housing portfolio

Vesteda, the largest residential property investor in the Netherlands, has acquired a large property portfolio of rental homes from insurer NN Group for €1.5bn, NN said on Friday. The transaction involves a portfolio of 5,983 existing homes and 794 units in development projects, both part of the former residential real estate portfolio of Delta Lloyd which was acquired by NN in December 2016. The rental properties are located in Amsterdam, Amstelveen and Utrecht. The deal is expected to be completed this month. Vesteda is financing the acquisition by paying about 25% in cash and the remainder in Vesteda participation rights. NN will thus remain an indirect investor in the property sector. The single family houses and apartments are in non-rent controlled sector and rent for between €700 and €1,000 per month. After the takeover Vesteda have a portfolio of 27,000 rental homes worth €6.3bn  largely in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Eindhoven and Maastricht.  More >




D66's Thom de Graaf gets Council of State

Thom de Graaf, a former D66 minister, Nijmegen mayor and a current senator, has been appointed deputy president of the Raad van State (Council of State), the government’s highest advisory body. The job is currently held by Christian Democrat Piet Hein Donner who is due to retire. The council has two main tasks and two separate divisions: one advises the government on new legislation and the other acts as the highest administrative court in the country. King Willem-Alexander is the honorary chairman of the organisation.  More >


Minister signals shift to train travel

Some two million journeys between the Netherlands and nearby European cities will  be made by train rather than plane within the next five years, if junior transport minister Stientje van Veldhoven has her way, the NRC said on Friday. On an average flight with 150 passengers, that would save 13,000 take-offs and landings at Schiphol airport, the minister told the paper after publishing a new policy document on boosting the railways. Opposition parties, green groups and the head of Dutch state railway firm NS have called for more effort to boost train travel. Eurostar launched a direct train service to Amsterdam from London earlier this year. According to research by the government's mobility expertise centre KIM, five cities offer good options for train rather than air travel: London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. London KIM looked at 13 cities with 20 airports within a 800 kilometre radius of Amsterdam. The researchers concluded that by 2030, 1.9 million flights could be replaced by the train, on condition that journey times are shorter and services are more frequent. Some three quarters of the total would come from London. The minister, however, says she believes this can be done more quickly, because the Netherlands is not alone in realising that air travel needs to be reduced. Van Veldhoven says she now plans to talk to foreign governments and rail companies to try to reduce the number of stops on cross-border trains and says increasing the cost of air travel is also an option.  More >



PSV confirms Cocu's move to Turkey

PSV Eindhoven manager Philip Cocu is moving to Turkey to join Fenerbahce, the Dutch club confirmed on Friday. The Istanbul-based club made a formal approach to PSV` last weekend for the 47-year-old, who has won three league titles in his five seasons in Eindhoven. Three years Cocu has signed a three-year deal with the Turkish side, who finished second in the Turkish league last season. He is the third Dutch coach to take the helm in Istanbul - Guus Hiddink and Dick Advocaat also had spells at the club. PSV director Toon Gerbrands said he understands Cocu's decision to leave after five years in Eindhoven.  'We are extremely grateful to Philip for the past few years and the results he has had with PSV,' he said in a statement. Mark van Bommel will take over at PSV, the club said. Van Bommel, 41, is currently at the World Cup as assistant coach to Bert van Marwijk with Australia.  More >


Booking.com moves into new territory

Amsterdam-based Booking.com is expanding its activities with the aim of becoming a complete travel ‘department store.’ Customers from around the world will be able to book flights, attractions, food and drink offerings as well as local travel through the Booking-com website, the Financieele Dagblad reported on Friday. For years Booking,com has offered only hotel rooms and other accommodation. CEO Gillian Tans told the paper the company is poised to enter the broader travel market partly due to the rise of smart phones. Tans: ‘People have more confidence in smart phone technology so that they book more last-minute deals.  They believe it is no longer necessary to plan far ahead. I’ll just go. Book the first hotel when I arrive in Bangkok and then see what happens.’ Amsterdam Booking.com captured a good share of the hotel booking market shortly after it was founded in Amsterdam in 1996. As a result, the number of tour operators and travel agencies fell back as travellers began booking hotel rooms on their personal computers. Now the company is investing millions in new technologies used in machine learning and artificial intelligence to personalise bookings. Booking.com needs to change course as competition increases from sites like Airbnb which also offer tourist attractions like historic walks, offbeat concerts and kayaking.  Airlines like Ryanair and KLM are also expanding their range of offerings with deals that include car hire and accommodation. US bourse-listed Priceline acquired Booking.com for $135m in 2005 ad is now one of Priceline’s best performing units. It is about to change its name to Booking Holding. The bourse valuation of the company is more than $100bn.  More >