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8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

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31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

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27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

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24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

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21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Four trips to China

4 May 2008 - The Amsterdam municipality made four official trips to China in 2006 and 2007, an RTL Nieuws investigation revealed. The real globetrotters are in the Rotterdam government.

"The result of these trips, paid for by the tax payer, is often unclear", RTL Nieuws concludes, only to suggest an answer itself: "So what are these outings to yield? Or are these just facility trips to pamper the civil servants?"

Many official trips are related to trade promotion, others are about maintaining city partnerships or learning about foreign experiences. Most trips cost a few thousand euro, some cost tens of thousands euro. For example, Eindhoven managed to spend 60,900 euro on a trade mission to China.

Interestingly, former Amsterdam alderman Ahmed Aboutaleb of Social Affairs and Education - not exactly a travelling portfolio - frequently visited foreign countries as well. Destinations included Casablanca, Milan, Washington, New York, Lisbon and the Moroccan Larache.

It is a well-known fact that the Rotterdam government frequently travels abroad to promote the port and to engage in 'relationship management'. The city managed to find something for aldermen with no ties to the port as well. For example, Jeannette Baljeu (Traffic, Transportation and Organisation) got to travel to Oslo on the occasion of the cutting of the 56th Christmas tree (the trip cost 1,245 euro).

Mayor Gerd Leers of Maastricht got to travel to Toronto at the city's expenses in order to attend the premiere performance by popular violin player André Rieu. His wife accompanied him at her own expense.

RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). See also: Outcome study trip unclear. Image: return visit of Mayor Wang Quishan of Beijing to Amsterdam (photo Amsterdam Municipality)


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