Even though the legal obligation has been abolished long ago, courts across the country still have portraits of Queen Beatrix. The exception is the court at the Parnassusweg in Amsterdam, Merel Thie reported in NRC Handelsblad yesterday, where all but 2 portraits have been replaced with ‘highly neutral art, such as woven tapestries with fanciful lines’. The official portraits have been returned to the state.
In response to questions from council members Jan Paternotte and Sebastiaan Capel (D66), the municipality says there has been a ‘remarkable growth’ of the number of nights tourists from emerging countries such as China and Russia spent in hotels in Amsterdam. However, those data are for the first 10 months of 2011. Over the years 2005-2011, growth in tourism from China (18%) lagged behind the growth in tourism from all countries combined (22%; taking 2006 as a starting point would result in a more positive development).
Highly-skilled immigrants from Brazil, Russia, India and China value living in Amsterdam, according to a thesis by a student who has done a work placement with the town planning department. Respondents are often from large, polluted and congested cities and consider it a ‘unique selling point’ that all destinations in Amsterdam can be reached on foot or bicycle. A woman from India:
As of Friday next week, mopeds riding through the Westerpark will get an 80-euro fine. In spite of a ban, many mopeds ride through the park, causing dangerous situations, the district argues. For that reason, the district and the police plan to step up enforcement.
If elections were to be held now, the Grachtengordel (i.e. residents of the central canals) would vote a bit more leftist than in the elections for Parliament in 2010. This can be concluded from a poll held by Parool and O+S to test the myth that the Grachtengordel is a bulwark of the left-wing elite.