Amsterdam news roundup | March 2019

Written by on 13/04/2019

Here’s a news roundup for Amsterdam this month …

Amsterdam’s Hemweg power station will already close by the end of 2019, five years earlier than the government agreed with energy company, Nuon, last year. Het Parool newspaper reported in March that, due to a change in the law aimed at reducing the Netherlands carbon emissions, Nuon’s coal-fired power plant, based in the Westpoort area of the city, must stop using coal for the production of electricity at the end of this year. The plant has about two hundred employees and the company say they will do their best to find alternative jobs for them. Negotiations are underway for compensation to Nuon for the closure of the coal-fired power plant. The company intend to keep their site at Westpoort though; they already have a gas-fired power station there and they plan to use the new space for sustainable energy.

Seven possible locations for the reception of asylum seekers | As reported by Het Parool newspaper, in March the gemeente shared a list of seven possible locations they have identified for 24-hour care centres for undocumented asylum seekers in Amsterdam.

These are:

  • Zeeburgerdijk 269 (housing possibly 7-15 asylum seekers)
  • Pieter Aertszstraat 5 (in De Pijp)
  • Gerard Doustraat 156 (in De Pijp)
  • Daniel Theronstraat 2 (Oost, in the premises of the Boost meeting center which is already a meeting place for refugees and local resident to intregrate.)
  • Mariëndaal 13 (in Buikslotermeer in Noord)
  • Van Leijenberghlaan 11 (opposite the Gelderlandplein shopping center)
  • Marnixstraat 2 (near Haarlemmerplein)

There will eventually be 500 reception places, in accordance with an agreement that was concluded between the government and five municipalities (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Groningen and Eindhoven) at the end of last year to commence a three-year trial.
In Amsterdam undocumented migrants will stay in the shelter for a maximum of one and a half years. They will be spread over a maximum of 23 locations, with room for 30 people on average per location. The city is now entering into dialogue with local residents and will present the possible locations to the college at the end of April, with the first centres opening in July. After three years, scientific researchers compare the results and see which approach is the most effective.

Amsterdam to remove 1,500 parking places a year from the centre | By 2025 the city plans to remove a total of 11,000 parking spots. Permits for specific spaces are already required but these places are being reduced and the costs for parking permits will also rise. With the extra street space, we’ll see more trees, bike parking, and wider sidewalks. As an article from Citylab.com points out, these developments follow the results of the municipal elections which gave the Groenlinks party the largest share of the coalition running the Amsterdam city council.

Amsterdam has allocated over €23million to tackle the city’s teacher shortage | This extra money amounts to €5.8m per year for the period 2019-2023. Het Parool newspaper reports that this is less than in the previous four-year period. Also, the plans do not include a city bonus to account for the higher living costs in Amsterdam, which many argue is needed. In primary schools, there’s currently a shortage of 175 FTEs which affects at least 200 classes and 5,000 students. The city says this must be reduced by 2023. Measures being introduced include: extra parking permits, a more extensive travel allowance, teaching scholarships and €10,000 euros per school director for support. Affordable housing for teachers is an issue, most teachers earn just too much to be entitled to social rental housing. One of the ideas being considered includes the conversion of school buildings for teachers’ homes.

Amsterdam’s animal ambulance the Dieren Ambulance, is looking for volunteers, and especially for night work at their emergency room and in their ambulances. They are looking for committed, stress-resistant volunteers with an affibity for animals and, preferably, a category ’B’ driver’s license. As well as injured dogs and cats, the volunteers have run-ins with pythons, fish and more. See dierenambulance-amsterdam.nl

In 2018 there was a 35% increase in fines for waste-related offences, following the city of Amsterdam’s decision to increase the number of enforcers. A total of 6,865 fines were issued last year, which is hopefully a deterent to those tempted to break the local rules for household waste. Or a motivator to find out what the rules are. (Here they are: amsterdam.nl/en/waste-recycling/household-waste/)

The ramps that run down from Central Station metro station are unsafe in the rain | Het Parool newspaper reports that, during rainy weather, a number of serious falls have occurred on the moving ramps. There have not been any accidents on the ascending ramp, however. Therefore only the descending ramp is not running for now. The Vervoerregio Amsterdam is investigating whether it is possible to place a roof over the metro entrances so that the moving walkways stay dry. This proposal had been rejected earlier, because a roof would ruin the look of ‘Stationsplein’. The Rokin and Vijzelgracht metro stations also have entrances without a roof, but they only have escalators and not moving walkways, and there have been no accidents at those stations so far, so it’s not thought necessary to add roofs over the entrances at those stations.

Eurostar will run a third daily train from Amsterdam to London, from June 2019. This is to meet the growing demand from consumers, and follows the announcement of a third extra train on the London to Amsterdam leg earlier this year. And when the Dutch and British governments have introduced border controls for the Amsterdam-London route, the company hopes to add even more trains.

In March 2019, Amsterdam Marketing, the foundation behind the city’s motto, “I Amsterdam” and the marketing of the city, was renamed ‘Amsterdam & Partners’. The organisation also has a new director, Geerte Udo who previously worked for Amsterdam Marketing for 12 years.
According to Het Parool newspaper, Udo says they “will no longer focus on promoting the city, but on guiding visitors and residents towards the undiscovered places in the city and in the region.”

NB Ever wanted to be a news reader? We’re looking for volunteer news correspondents for online and radio. Get in touch with us at info@broadcastamsterdam.nl.

Sources: Het Parool / AT5 / NLtimes.nl / Dutchnews.nl.

 

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