Category : The Netherlands

(DN) Amsterdam’s mayor: ‘prostitutes should not be a tourist attraction’

Amsterdam’s mayor Femke Halsema has called for changes to the city’s red light district, arguing that turning prostitution into a tourist attraction is ‘humiliating’ and ‘unacceptable’. The mayor, who took office last June, told Het Parool she wanted to consider all options for reforming the area, including the status quo, but gave a clear signal that the current situation was untenable. ‘The circumstances in which women have to do their work have worsened. So I can understand why a lot of Amsterdammers think: this is not the way we want prostitution to be or how it was supposed to be,’ she said. There has been growing concern that the number of tourists flocking to the red light district has made it more difficult for prostitutes to work in the area and compromised their safety. Unlicensed prostitution remains a problem in the city and has been linked to human trafficking.

Read more at DutchNews.nl:

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Posted in City Government, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Politics in General, Sexuality, The Netherlands, Urban/City Life and Issues

Richard Mouw on the Lordship of Christ

Recently someone asked me what Christian thinker had most influenced my social-political thinking. I did not hesitate for a moment in coming up with the answer; Abraham Kuyper. Kuyper, who lived from 1837 to 1920, founded a Christian political party, and he even served as prime minister of the Netherlands during the early years of the twentieth century….

[Kuyper believed passionately that Jesus was king over all.] He insisted that God wants Christians to be active in showing forth the divine rule. Jesus is king, we are his subjects. This means that we must try to be obedient to the reign of Jesus in all areas of our lives:family relationships, friendships, business, politics, leisure time, art, science, farming. In whatever we do, we must seek to glorify God.

My favorite Abraham Kuyper quotation comes from a speech that he once gave before a university audience in Amsterdam. He was arguing that scholarship is an important form of Christian discipleship. Since scholarship deals with God’s world, it has to be done in such a way that it honors Christ. Kuyper concluded with this ringing proclamation: “There is not one square inch of the entire creation about which Jesus Christ does not cry out, ‘This is mine! This belongs to me!'”

This strong sense of Christ’s cosmic Lordship is thoroughly biblical.’For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him’ (Col 1:16 NIV). To emphasize Jesus’ Lordship this way is very important for a healthier understanding of what we have come to think of as “the ministries of the laity.” The home, the brokerage firm, the auto dealership, the gym and the concert hall–all belong to Christ. Our work in these settings is as much Christian ministry as anything that goes on in a church building.

When Kuyper pictured Jesus as crying out that everything belongs to him, he was not suggesting that the Lord is a self-centered property owner. Jesus isn’t like a toddler who screeches “Mine!” as he yanks toys away from his playmates. Kuyper knew that for Jesus ‘This is mine’ expresses a love so deep that he was willing to suffer and die in order to rescue his creation from sin.

–Richard Mouw, Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World (Downer’s Grove, Ill. Inter-Varsity, 2010 2nd ed), pp. 160-161; and quoted by yours truly in the morning sermon

Posted in Books, Christology, The Netherlands

(BBC) Dutchman, 69, brings lawsuit to lower his age 20 years

A Dutch “positivity trainer” has launched a legal battle to change his age and boost his dating prospects.

Emile Ratelband, 69, wants to shift his birthday from 11 March 1949 to 11 March 1969, comparing the change to identifying as being transgender.

“We live in a time when you can change your name and change your gender. Why can’t I decide my own age?” he said.

A local court in the eastern city of Arnhem is expected to rule on the case within four weeks….

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Psychology, The Netherlands

(Independent) Dutch court rules third gender should be recognised

A court in the Netherlands has said a third gender should be enshrined in law in a ground-breaking ruling for people who do not identify as either male or female.

The Limburg District Court in the city of Roermond decided an unnamed applicant could be recorded on their birth register as “gender undetermined”.

Until now, Dutch citizens have had to be registered as either a man or woman.

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Posted in Anthropology, Law & Legal Issues, Sexuality, The Netherlands

(Economist Erasmus Blog) For Dutch Jews, an overdue reassurance and an ancient dilemma

Amsterdam’s’S city hall, built in the 1980s, sits amid what were once the dense slums of the city’s old Jewish neighbourhood, just off the Jodenbreestraat (“Jew Broad Street”) and across from the stately Portuguese synagogue (pictured). Jews began moving to Amsterdam in the 16th and 17th centuries, fleeing persecution in Iberia and Poland, and they played a crucial role in developing the city’s culture of religious tolerance and political liberalism.

By 1941 they numbered 79,000, a bit under 10% of the population. The city’s Jewish heritage is still heard in its Yiddish-influenced slang, its nickname (Mokum, from the Hebrew “makom”, or place), and the chants of its football fans: the local team, Ajax, is popularly known as “the Jews”. But when Amsterdam holds its city-council election on March 21st, the Jewish vote will be a negligible factor. Three-quarters of the city’s Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, and by 2013 the community had shrunk to under 6,000, less than 1% of the population.

Nevertheless, on March 6th Amsterdam’s Jews scored a big political gain. In a ceremony at the city’s Jewish Cultural Centre, candidates representing all ten significant parties running in the local elections signed an accord promising to honour the concerns of the Jewish community. The parties pledged to respond decisively to anti-Semitic incidents, provide security to Jewish residents and institutions, and ensure that every student in the city is taught the evils of anti-Semitism and the history of the Holocaust. “Nothing like this agreement has been done anywhere else in Europe,” said Ruben Vis, secretary of the NIK, the Dutch umbrella organisation of Jewish communities, which negotiated the accord.

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Posted in Judaism, Religion & Culture, The Netherlands

(Guardian) ‘Any taboo has gone’: Netherlands sees rise in demand for euthanasia

This year, 18,000 requests for help to die have been made, including 2,500 – up from 1,234 in 2015 – to the Levenseindekliniek – the only medical facility in the Netherlands that specialises in euthanasia.

The clinic is a charity whose costs are covered by a standard Dutch health insurance policy.

Steven Pleiter, director at the clinic, said that in response to growing demand he was now on a recruitment drive aimed at doubling the number of doctors and nurses on his books willing to go into people’s homes to administer lethal injections to patients with conditions ranging from terminal illnesses to crippling psychiatric disorders.

Pleiter has 57 doctors on call but he believes he could need more than 100 by the end of next year with a growing number of people in Dutch society seeking an organised death.

Read it all (emphasis mine).

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, The Netherlands

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Saint Willibrord

O Lord our God, who dost call whom thou willest and send them whither thou choosest: We thank thee for sending thy servant Willibrord to be an apostle to the Low Countries, to turn them from the worship of idols to serve thee, the living God; and we entreat thee to preserve us from the temptation to exchange the perfect freedom of thy service for servitude to false gods and to idols of our own devising; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in Church History, Denmark, England / UK, Missions, Spirituality/Prayer, The Netherlands

(AP via CBS) Euthanasia deaths becoming common in Netherlands

Euthanasia has become a common way to die in the Netherlands, accounting for 4.5 percent of deaths, according to researchers who say requests are increasing from people who aren’t terminally ill.

In 2002, the Netherlands became the first country in the world that made it legal for doctors to help people die. Both euthanasia, where doctors actively kill patients, and assisted suicide, where physicians prescribe patients a lethal dose of drugs, are allowed. People must be “suffering unbearably” with no hope of relief — but their condition does not have to be fatal.

“It looks like patients are now more willing to ask for euthanasia and physicians are more willing to grant it,” said lead author Dr. Agnes Van der Heide of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Children, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, The Netherlands, Theology

(NBC) Thursday Morning Inspiration–From War Orphan In Sierra Leone To Dutch National Ballet Soloist

Posted in Children, Poverty, Sierra Leone, The Netherlands, Violence

(NYT) Dutch Fertility Doctor Swapped Donors’ Sperm With His, Lawsuit Claims

Twelve people who were conceived with sperm from a Dutch fertility center have filed a lawsuit asserting that its longtime director is their biological father, and that over several decades, he swapped donors’ sperm with his own.

The 12 people, and 10 mothers who suspect that their children were conceived using the clinic director’s sperm, filed a lawsuit on Friday asking a court in Rotterdam to give them access to the DNA of the clinic director, Dr. Jan Karbaat, who died last month at 89.

“I’m hoping that the judge will allow us to extract the DNA so we can use it to find out if we are his children,” one plaintiff, Moniek Wassenaar, 36, said in an interview. The 12 people are 8 to 36 years old. Some of the 10 mothers in the suit conceived children who are still minors.

From 1980 to 2009, Dr. Karbaat ran a sperm bank in the rear of his stately yellow brick house in the Bijdorp section of Schiedam, near Rotterdam. He became well known in the field of assisted reproduction. About 10,000 children are estimated to have been conceived at the clinic.

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Posted in Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Science & Technology, The Netherlands

(Catholic Herald) Most euthanasia deaths linked to loneliness, says Dutch study

A majority of people killed by euthanasia in the Netherlands for so-called psychiatric reasons had complained of loneliness, a new study has found.

Researchers in the U.S. found that loneliness, or “social isolation”, was a key motivation behind the euthanasia requests of 37 of 66 cases reviewed, a figure representing 56 per cent of the total.

The study by the National Institute of Health also revealed that the Netherlands was operating a de facto policy of euthanasia on demand, with patients “shopping” for doctors willing to give them a lethal injection for the most trivial of reasons.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Politics in General, Psychology, The Netherlands, Theology

(Daily Mail Online) Sue Reid–The country where death is now just a lifestyle choice

Everyone in the Netherlands, where a right-to-die law was passed in 2002, seems to know of someone who has lost a loved one through a mercy killing.

As many as one in 33 people now use euthanasia to end their lives, and the number of cases rose from 1,923 in 2006 to nearly 5,000 in 2013. It is thought that in 2014 around 6,000 people could have chosen to die by this means.

You might be entitled to think that what people do in Holland is their business and nothing to do with us in Britain. But you could not be more wrong.

If campaigners have their way, the law will be changed here, too, to allow those who wish to end their life to do so at a time of their choosing. For opponents of euthanasia, this raises grave moral questions, as well as concerns that unscrupulous relatives might take advantage of elderly family members ”” whose estates they might covet ”” by encouraging them to end their lives.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, The Netherlands, Theology

(NPR) Joep Lange, Who Died On Flight MH17, Changed The Way We Fight AIDS

The AIDS community is in shock over the news that dozens of its members were aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight that was apparently shot down Thursday. The sorrow is particularly widespread over the death of , a Dutch researcher and advocate, who played a pivotal role in the AIDS movement for more than three decades.

“We’ve lost one of the giants in our field,” says Dr. , who heads the Harvard School of Public Health AIDS Initiative. “We’ve lost a voice that I don’t think is easily replaced.”

Colleagues of Lange said his career embodied some of the most important shifts in the way scientists have approached the fight against HIV/AIDS: He gave patients and advocates more of a say in setting the research agenda, and he worked with governments and businesses to ensure that breakthroughs in treatment become available to even the poorest patients.

Read or listen to it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Europe, Health & Medicine, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, The Netherlands, Ukraine

One short video of what it meant to Argentina fans to see their Team Beat the Netherlands

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Globalization, South America, Sports, The Netherlands

The Netherlands win 3-0 over Brazil to secure 3rd place in the World Cup

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports, The Netherlands

A Preview of Today's World Cup Match Semifinal between the Netherlands and Argentina

The second semi-final at Brazil 2014 features another tussle for supremacy between Europe and South America, with the Netherlands and Argentina renewing acquaintances in Sao Paulo. The two teams most famously contested the Final in 1978, when Argentina won 3-1 after extra time to record their only success in four FIFA World Cupâ„¢ meetings with the Oranje.

Their hopes of posting a second could well depend on Lionel Messi, who has driven the team forward in Brazil and regularly made the difference, with a haul of four goals and one assist so far. Performing a different role than he does for Barcelona, Messi pulls the strings for La Albiceleste thanks to his exceptional ball protection, devastating bursts of speed and precision passing.

He will have to make do without injured lieutenant Angel Di Maria, but the player whose absence will arguably be felt most is Nigel de Jong….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Argentina, Europe, Globalization, Men, South America, Sports, The Netherlands

The Dutch Survive a Mexico Scare to go on to the World Cup Quarterfinals

It was really quite a game.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Europe, Men, Sports, The Netherlands

The Dutch Stun World Champions Spain 5-1

Wow.

Still sitting here in eerie silence. Robin Van Persie’s first goal changed that game.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Brazil, Europe, Globalization, South America, Spain, Sports, The Netherlands

Holland boss Louis van Gaal has been named the new manager of Manchester United

Looks like a 3 year contract–check it out and there is more there.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports, The Netherlands

David Keen–The Pressure to Die

“Many people ask me, several times a week… if I ever contemplate (assisted suicide). It makes one feel like I should be contemplating it for the sake of the health service, for my family watching what I’m going through. I’m afraid that it will extend into the social conscience that people will almost expect assisted dying…. a (new) law will pressurise people.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Anthropology, Belgium, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, The Netherlands, Theology

(Washington Post) Mars Cramer–Euthanasia was the right decision for my wife

As a rule, the family doctor who has known the patient for years is the best judge of her condition and of the earnestness and independence of her request. But he must also consult another doctor, an outsider, for an independent assessment; that doctor must also put his views in writing. Afterward, both reports are submitted to a monitoring committee, which may ask for further explanation and can refer problematic cases to the Inspector of Health and the Public Prosecutor. But their annual reports show that the monitoring committees do this only very rarely ”” in 2010, at the rate of one in every 300 reported cases.

We called for the consulting doctor, who spent the better part of an hour with Mathilde. Afterward, he called our family doctor and said he was not sure she was suffering enough.

What is unbearable suffering? It is an impossible question. The monitoring committees have given up trying to define it and adopted the view that the patient’s own judgment is decisive, provided the acting doctor is convinced of its earnestness and sincerity….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ethics / Moral Theology, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, The Netherlands, Theology

(Guardian) Jon Henley–The village where people have dementia ”“ and fun

Hogewey’s 152 residents ”“ never, warns Van Zuthem, “patients” ”“ have all been classified by the Dutch NHS as suffering from severe or extreme dementia. Averaging 83 years of age, they are cared for by 250-odd full- and part-time staff (most of them qualified healthcare workers, the rest given special training), plus local volunteers. They live, six or seven to a house, plus one or two carers, in 23 different homes. Residents have their own spacious bedroom, but share the kitchen, lounge and dining room.

Two core principles governed Hogewey’s award-winning design and inform the care that’s given here, says Van Zuthem. First, it aims to relieve the anxiety, confusion and often considerable anger that people with dementia can feel by providing an environment that is safe, familiar and human; an almost-normal home where people are surrounded by things they recognise and by other people with backgrounds, interests and values similar to their own. Second, “maximising the quality of people’s lives. Keeping everyone active. Focusing on everything they can still do, rather than everything they can’t. Because when you have dementia, you’re ill, but there may really not be much else wrong with you.”

So Hogewey has 25 clubs, from folksong to baking, literature to bingo, painting to cycling.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Economy, Europe, Health & Medicine, Politics in General, Psychology, The Netherlands

(Washington Post) David Ignatius–Europe’s gathering economic storm

With Socialist leader Francois Hollande likely to become the next president of France, Europe’s hot populist anger is about to confront the cold austerity measures required by the euro zone, with a predictable result: a storm that rattles the foundations of the European economic house.

Financial traders and treasury ministers are debating this week just how much damage this political-economic collision will bring. Some argue that it could take down the structure entirely. Others insist that Germany, for all its insistence on austerity, will never let the structure collapse ”” and will make the necessary concessions to keep the common currency intact.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, --European Sovereign Debt Crisis of 2010, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Credit Markets, Currency Markets, Economy, Euro, Europe, European Central Bank, Foreign Relations, France, Germany, Politics in General, The Banking System/Sector, The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--, The Netherlands

ICC landmark ruling finds Congo militia leader guilty

Judges have convicted a Congolese warlord of snatching children from the street and turning them into killers.

The ruling is the International Criminal Court’s first judgment 10 years after it was established in The Hague as the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal.

Thomas Lubanga did not react as presiding Judge Adrian Fulford read out the verdicts Wednesday. He now faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment….

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Republic of Congo, Teens / Youth, The Netherlands

England versus the Netherlands Friendly–Wow

I turned it on to see England trailing 2-0. They tied it up 2-2 with two late goals and then Robin got a spectacular winner off his left foot for the 3-2 victory. Quite the finish.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK, Europe, Men, Sports, The Netherlands

(Lifesite News) Dutch Guidelines Compel Doctors to Refer for Euthanasia

Guidelines proposed by the pro-euthanasia Dutch Medical Association (KNMG) call on doctors in the Netherlands to refer patients for euthanasia ”” even if they have moral or religious objections to the practice of killing patients.

The Dutch medical group released the proposal, “The Role of the Physician in the Voluntary Termination of Life,” a position paper saying, “Patients, too, often have difficulty telling a physician they have an authentic wish to die. Physicians, for their part, are under an obligation to take such requests seriously. This also means that if a physician cannot or does not wish to honour a patient’s request for euthanasia or assisted suicide he must give the patient a timely and clear explanation of why, and furthermore must then refer or transfer the patient to another physician in good time.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Aging / the Elderly, Death / Burial / Funerals, Europe, Health & Medicine, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, The Netherlands

Albert Mohler–The PKN in the Netherlands, a Laboratory for Christianity’s Destruction

As the BBC reports, some church leaders in the Netherlands want to transform their small nation into a laboratory for rethinking Christianity ”” “experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith.”

Religious Affairs Correspondent Robert Pigott tells of Rev. Klaas Hendrikse, a minister of the PKN, the mainstream Protestant denomination in the Netherlands. Pastor Hendrikse doesn’t believe in life after death, nor even in God as a supernatural being. He told the BBC that he has “no talent” for believing historic and orthodox doctrines. “God is not a being at all,” he says, but just an experience.

Furthermore, as Pigott reports, “Mr. Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Europe, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Faiths, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Secularism, The Netherlands, Theology

(BBC) Muammar Gaddafi subject to ICC arrest warrant

The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi, accusing him of crimes against humanity.

The court had grounds to believe he had ordered attacks on civilians during Libya’s four-month uprising, it said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Europe, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Libya, The Netherlands

How Rembrandt Reinvented Jesus

Did Christ really have awesome abs? Western art has frequently stumbled over the contradiction between the ascetic figure of Jesus of Nazareth and the iconography of Christ inspired by the heroic, Hellenistic ideal: Christ as beautiful, tall and broad-shouldered, God’s wide receiver; blue-eyed, fair-haired, a straight aquiline nose, Christ as European prince.

Rembrandt van Rijn, in a career rich with artistic innovation, begged to differ. A new exhibition at Paris’s Louvre museum””and coming to Philadelphia and Detroit later this year””shows in dozens of oils, charcoal sketches and oak-panel studies how the 17th-century Dutch painter virtually reinvented the depiction of Jesus and arrived at a more realistic portrait.

As “Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus” shows, before Rembrandt painters tended to reiterate the conventional imagery of Christ. Catalog authors Larry Silver, of the University of Pennsylvania, and Shelley Perlove, of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, call this “the predictable majesty” of the subject.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Art, Europe, France, History, Religion & Culture, The Netherlands

(BBC) Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers.

The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team’s mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Australia / NZ, Austria, Canada, England / UK, Europe, Finland, Ireland, Religion & Culture, Switzerland, The Netherlands