Netherlands Ends Free Contraception Program

The Netherlands recently ended its policy of providing free contraception to all women over the age of 21.

The free contraception policy, in combination with aggressive sexual education programs, was widely credited with the Netherlands having the lowest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in Europe.

Teen pregnancy and abortion in the Netherlands has grown in recent years, but that increase is largely due to immigration — 60 percent of abortions in the Netherlands are obtained by members of ethnic minorities.

The government cited the high cost of maintaining the birth control subsidy as the reason for eliminating it.


Dutch abandon free contraception for all. Angus Roxburgh, BBC News, January 15, 2004.

Netherlands’ Unilateral Justice for Crimes Against Humanity

According to the BBC, the Netherlands is proceeding with a trial against former Democratic Republic of Congo Col. Sebastien Nzapali.

Nzapali was appropriately nicknamed “The King of the Beasts” and was in charge of a military base that trained death squads to terrorize opponents of then DR Congo president Mobutu Sese Seko.

When Nzapali was arrested in the Netherlands he was instead charged in that country with violating the 1994 United Nations Convention against torture. That convention gives individual states the explicit authority or pursue such prosecutions.

So why not turn Nzapali over to an international tribune? Well, rebels who took control of the country in 2002 wanted just such an international tribune, but — surprise! — the rest of the world wasn’t interested. According to Human Rights Watch,

The government became a state party to the Rome Convention for the International Criminal Court and also called for the establishment of an international criminal tribunal to try crimes against humanity committed in Congo before the date when the ICC came into being. Other actors, too, called for an international tribunal in the agreement reached as a conclusion to the inter-Congolese dialogue, but the international community showed little interest in this.

The international community failing to hold state actors responsible for crimes against humanity? Say it isn’t so!

Go get ’em Netherlands.


Dutch hold Congo war crimes trial. The BBC, January 7, 2004.

Human Rights Watch 2003 World Report: Democratic Republic of Congo.

Netherlands Police Arrest Dozens of Activists in Fur Farm Attack

Dutch police arrested dozens of animal rights activists after a September 5 attack on a fur farm that resulted in the release of more than 6,000 animals.

According to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, a group of about 120 animal rights activists from several different countries arrived at the fur farm in Putten, The Netherlands, arriving in two buses and several personal vehicles.

According to witnesses, the activists clashed with the farmers and neighbors, broke an alarm system at the farm, damaged vehicles, threw stones at buildings, and released about 6,000 mink.

Forty-nine activists were eventually arrested after a quick-thinking farmer blocked one of the buses by parking his tractor across a road that the bus was attempting to leave by. Another bus, however, managed to leave the area.

Unfortunately, Helsingin Sanomat never publishes the names of accused criminals, but it did report that,

Helsingin Sanomat has information according to which the group compromises hard-line activists who have been arrested or convicted of crimes related to animal rights activism.

Seven of these previously registered activists are believed to be Finns. One of them faces charges related to a farm raid in Finland two years ago.

The arrests apparently also generated quite a bit of controversy in The Netherlands from farmers who wonder why the attack wasn’t prevented since Dutch police admitted they were aware the activists were meeting in The Netherlands as part of an event sponsored by Justice for Animals and, moreover, were aware of threats of just such raids. As Dutch Member of Parliament L.J. Griffith asked,

If the police cannot even trace animal activists, when [sic] what about al-Qaeda?


Finnish animal rights activists arrested after mink farm raid in The Netherlands. Helsingin Sanomat, September 10, 2003.

Four Finnish animal rights activists still held in Dutch jail. Helsingin Sanomat, September 12, 2003.

Dutch mink farmer upset by Finnish animal rights activists. Helsingin Sanomat, September 16, 2003.

Animal Rights Activist Loses Murder Appeal

Dutch animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf recently lost his appeal to reduce his prison sentence for the 2002 assassination of politician Pim Fortuyn.

For the pre-mediated, cold blood assassination of a major political figure, van der Graaf was sentenced to only 18 years in jail. He and his lawyers believed even that was too long and appealed in an attempt to get it reduced to 12 years. Prosecutors also appealed, arguing that the political nature of the crime demanded life imprisonment.

The appeals court, however, let the 18 year sentence stand. With good behavior, van der Graaf should be out of prison by 2014. That’s just bizarre — imagine if Sirhan Sirhan had been released in 1980! If you’re into political murders, the Netherlands is apparently the place to be.

There were a couple of new revelations at the appeal. The prosecutor argued that van der Graaf’s primary motivation for killing Fortuyn was Fortuyn’s promise to lift the ban on fur farms. When questioned about this, van der Graaf conceded that it was a factor in his decision to kill Fortuyn, but that it was not his primary motivation.

The issue of van der Graaf’s connection with another murder also resurfaced after a Dutch television station broadcast a story on the similarity between the assassination of Fortuyn and the still-unsolved murder of environmental officer Chris van de Werken.

Previous reports said that van der Graaf had been questioned in that murder, but a Dutch television report claimed that, in fact, van der Graaf had never been questioned by police about van de Werken’s murder. The Fortuyn List Party formally asked Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner to re-open the investigation into van de Werken’s death.


Van der Graaf loses sentence appeal. Expatica.Com, July 18, 2003.

Court rejects appeal by Dutch Fortuyn’s killer. Wendel Broere, Reuters, July 18, 2003.

Dutch court upholds term in assassination of Fortuyn. Associated Press, July 19, 2003.

Dutch Court Hears Assassination Appeal. Associated Press, July 1, 2003.

No change for killer. Radio Netherlands, July 18, 2003.

Major Supermarkets in Netherlands to Stop Selling Eggs from Hens Raised in Battery Cages

NamNews reports that major supermarkets in the Netherlands have reached agreements with animal rights groups there to stop selling eggs produced by hens raised in battery cages,

Supermarkets in the Netherlands will stop selling eggs from laying hens, who live in battery cages, from 2004, Dutch animal rights foundation Wakker Dier has said. All large supermarkets in the country will sell eggs only from poultry farms raising birds in open barns or in other free-range systems, Wakker Dier said. The foundation has been protesting over the past 30 years against the selling of eggs from battery cages. Dutch supermarkets of the Schuitema and Laurus retailer concerns declared in the week starting June 2, 2003 they would ban sale of battery cages eggs as of 2004. Supermarket chains like Albert Heijn, Aldi, Dirk van den Broek, Lidl, Bas van der Heijden and Digros already had promised to sell only free-range eggs. Dutch consumers in general do not accept battery cage eggs and they are willing to pay more for free-range eggs, an official of Dutch supermarket organisation Centraal Bureau Levensmiddelen, M. Jansen, said.


Netherlands: Supermarkets To Ban Battery Eggs From 2004. NamNews, June 9, 2003.

Prosecutors Outline Case Against Volkert van der Graaf

Prosecutors in the Netherlands recently outlined their case against Volkert van der Graaf who is charged with murdering Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn. Van der Graaf is a vegan animal rights activist who as a teenager founded a branch of the Animal Liberation Front and had spent his adult life fighting animal agriculture in court.

In a televised hearing, prosecutors offered what seems like overwhelming evidence of van der Graaf’s guilt. Van der Graaf was seen by multiple witnesses fleeing the scene. When he was caught, there were gun powder stains on his coat and on the latex gloves he was wearing. Ballistics tests of the gun found in his position establish that it was likely the murder weapon, which was strengthened by the fact that blood from Fortuyn was also found on the gun.

A search of van der Graaf’s house turned up maps of the area where Fortuyn was killed as well as evidence that van der Graaf had been accumulating information about Fortuyn’s movements for months.

Police also turned up bomb-making material in van der Graaf’s home. Investigators found sulphuric and hydrochcloric acid, condoms filled witih potassium chloride and sugar, and a timer.

Police also announced they are seeking a second possible suspect. Analysis of the gun turned up not only DNA for Fortuyn and van der Graaf, but also a third man who is known to police and has previously committed a crime. The prosecutor did not identify the man in court, but said it was pursuing the lead to avoid conspiracy theories later (the implication being that police believe that van der Graaf purchased his weapon from a known criminal).

Van der Graaf’s trial is expected to start in about three months.


‘Second figure’ may have been involved in Dutch assassination. Andrew Osborn, The Guardian (London), August 10, 2002.

Accomplice sought in Fortuyn murder. Andrew Osborn, The Guardian (London), August 10, 2002.

Dutch watch case against Fortuyn suspect on live TV. Marie Devine, The Independent (London), August 10, 2002.