0918-Covid-19 in Nijmegen

Corona update RIVM: number of positive tests per week decreases in Nijmegen.

In a week’s time, 293 Nijmegen residents were tested positive for the corona virus. This is evident from the new figures from the RIVM. These figures refer to the period from 11 to 17 November. The week before, 332 Nijmegen residents had been tested positive at the GGD. The week before there were 444. The weekly figure is decreasing more and more.

Total number of reports in Nijmegen
Since the start of the corona outbreak until November 10, a total of 4,661 positive corona tests have been registered in Nijmegen. The number of corona patients who died in our city has increased by 8 people in the past week. In total, 111 Nijmegen residents have died of the virus since the corona outbreak. On November 10, the number of hospital admissions due to the coronavirus was 188. Three patients were added in the past week.

The corona measures have been tightened up again, and that causes a lot of questions and confusion. Because what about visitors at home now? Have the rules changed or are you still allowed a maximum of three people? The answer is: a maximum of two people per day. This does not include people who already live in the house, and children up to and including 12 years old. Do you want to receive visitors? Then a maximum of two people may come over, and you must ensure that you keep a distance of 1.5 meters. So no three kisses from uncle Henk (oh how annoying). It is also no longer the intention that you celebrate a “brick birthday”: a different group in the morning than in the afternoon.

Can you be fined if too many people visit? The police may not just invade you, but enforcement can be done. What does that mean? If there is nuisance or a meeting poses a danger to public health. We can read this on the website of the Dutch government.

corona bezoek 1,5 meter

Meet outside
How about outside? Outside, your party may consist of a maximum of two people. Households and children up to the age of 12 are not included. The 1.5 meter distance rule also always applies outside! You have to take into account that enforcement can be done when you are outside with too many people, and when you do not keep one and a half meters apart. Even if it gets too busy in certain places. So pay attention if you want to exercise or chill out in the Beatrixpark with a group.

And what about churches, funerals, markets or shops? For both indoor and outdoor locations, there are certain exceptions for the maximum number of people. You can read this, and an overview with all the rules for inside and outside, on the website of the Dutch government.

0917-Covid-19: Vaccination

Mega vaccination program in the making: 6.5 million vaccinations needed for the elderly and the sick.

The Netherlands needs at least 6.5 million vaccines to vaccinate people over 60, care workers and the sick. Because there are not enough doses immediately, the oldest people with serious conditions are given priority. If they are too weak for a shot, people in the immediate vicinity can be vaccinated, which “vaccine bubble” protects them.

The Health Council writes this this morning in the corona vaccination advice to the cabinet. Minister Hugo de Jonge of Public Health (CDA) says the cabinet will soon come up with a response: “” The elderly and the weak first “is in line with international advice and our current corona policy. Priority for healthcare personnel is also logical. The first vaccines are expected in the coming months, but the Netherlands will not immediately receive enough doses for all people in risk groups. That is why the council proposes first vaccinating the oldest Dutch people with a serious condition, then the rest of the nursing home residents, people over 60 and other ‘medical risk groups’ (including people with diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, immune problems) can be vaccinated. turn into. If they cannot be vaccinated themselves “for medical reasons”, carers and people in their environment could be injected so that these vulnerable people are still protected.

Healthcare personnel
Healthcare workers who work with patients are also given priority. Later, other people with “high-risk professions” and working in vital sectors may be eligible for an injection. Much is still unknown about the upcoming vaccines and the number of available doses. “We cannot predict that. We also do not yet know whether or how the vaccines work, and for which groups, ”said Bart-Jan Kullberg of the Health Council of the Netherlands in an explanation. “More will become clear about this in the near future.”
The cabinet does not want to introduce a vaccination obligation, but there are concerns about the support for an injection: “It is important to make it clear that no steps are skipped when assessing the safety of vaccines,” the council writes. In addition, it is “essential” that vaccinations are registered, especially if several vaccines may be introduced on the market: “Who received which vaccine? That information is needed to understand the effectiveness, impact and safety of vaccines “. That information must be known to, for example, the general practitioner or the GGD, there is no need for a personal vaccination passport, Kullberg said.

Elderly first
The strategy “the elderly and the frail first” is aimed at saving as many lives as possible and preventing hospital admissions, but if the epidemic weakens and there are sufficient vaccines, an approach can also be chosen that actually inhibits the spread of corona. Then groups should be vaccinated with many contacts, such as young people.

Support base
Risky for the vaccination campaign: support for a corona pepper is declining, according to new opinion polls. In June, nearly three-quarters of the participants said they were sure or likely to take a vaccination, now that percentage is 60 percent. For the so-called “critical vaccination rate” of the World Health Organization WHO, 95 percent of a population would have to be vaccinated to eliminate an infectious disease. The bar is somewhat lower for the corona virus, but 60 or 70 percent of the population should still be vaccinated to extinguish corona, experts estimate. The government does not want to make a vaccination compulsory, but it is considering possible “incentives” to persuade doubters. Loosening of corona restrictions could be earlier for vaccinees.

In recent weeks, there have been encouraging reports from major vaccine manufacturers about the effectiveness of their injection. Pfizer / BioNTech is screening with a percentage of 95 percent, competitor Moderna is at 94.5 percent, other manufacturers are likely to follow soon with their results of the final phase tests among tens of thousands of test subjects. The Netherlands is betting on various horses through the European Commission: Brussels is negotiating with manufacturers about hundreds of millions of doses, and hundreds of millions of doses have already been ordered. In proportion to the number of inhabitants, the Netherlands is then entitled to just under four percent of the deliveries. The vaccinations are expected to be available in installments.


Do we want to teach our children that insulting your Muslim classmates is freedom?

When I came to the Netherlands five years ago, we had meetings about the core values ​​of Dutch society. Freedom, equality, solidarity and participation. I have learned that respect for the other is the basis. Once in daily life, I noticed that the Dutch also find that difficult in practice. I was often called after on the street with ‘Allah Akbar or just go back to your own country’. The fact that I am a Muslim has already given me many unpleasant conversations and situations in the Netherlands. Fortunately I have my faith. It keeps me going, gives me strength and helps me move forward.

I was shocked that a teacher in France was murdered for showing a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed. I was even more shocked when I was then approached about it behind the cash register at Aldi. “Why do you do things like that?”, A colleague said to me. Such a terrible terrorist act always creates division. In a way that colleagues ask me hundreds of miles away why ‘we’ do that. Some people think that is cartoons. must be shown at school now, to show that this is possible within our freedom. I find that strange. Because the cartoons also cause more division. Why would we want that? Do we want to teach our children at school that insulting, for example, your Muslim classmates that that is freedom? Freedom should not cause hatred. If we continue to appreciate the differences between us Dutch, then together we make the difference and we continue to enjoy our freedom as a unit.

0915-Scan car

The police have a new weapon to track down vehicles belonging to criminals, activists and terrorists. The The Hague unit is experimenting with a scan car that can directly check the number plates of stationary cars.

Een scanauto van de politie kan al langsrijdend controleren of kentekens voorkomen in de politiesystemen. Foto ter illustratie.

The scan car is on the road for a trial period of one year and is used by the Guarding and Security Department, among others, reports the police magazine “Blue”. While the car is moving, it reads the license plates of parked cars. This allows the police to see whether cars appear in police systems. For example, a license plate can be linked to a drug criminal, an activist or a terrorist. The police also hopes to track down more stolen cars. “Think, for example, of cars that have been” put cold “because criminals want to use them later for an attack or an explosive device,” says team chief Andrew van Essen of the Team Technical Supervision in “Blue”. According to Van Essen, scan cars can also be used around ports and airports or other criminal hotspots.

Privacy protests
The police have been using number plate recognition for some time now, by means of so-called ANPR cameras above the roads. But the police have little insight into parked cars, while more vehicles are standing still than are driving. Because parking services already drive around with scan cars, the police first tried to use that data. However, this turned out to be legally unfeasible. “So we decided to build such a car ourselves.” The scan car is currently being used in The Hague, but other regions have also shown interest. The Amsterdam police are already using a scan car to hunt for stolen cars. Civil society organizations such as Privacy First are strongly opposed to the advancing scan cars at investigative services and are trying to stop them through procedures.


In the Netherlands, a school is like a shop. The students and the parents are the customers.

‘I was bullied once and that’s why I still go to a psychologist’, many Dutch people have already told me. ‘What did the teacher do then?’ I always ask. A teacher in the Netherlands is not allowed to do much. Teaching and watching what they say or do. Otherwise, parents will soon come and get redress. ‘Who are you to address our child in this way’, teachers are told by parents.

In Syria we have two types of schools. Free government schools and paid schools. On the latter, the students are often spoiled. The teachers have less authority over the students, because the parents pay after all. I went to a free school. There were all children from families with little money. The teacher is not only a teacher there, but also an educator. I heard my parents say to a teacher, “His flesh is for you and the bones are for us.” It’s a phrase that many Syrian children have heard in the past. It means that parents give the green light to the school to educate firmly if necessary. I am a Syrian Kurd. When I was little my Arabic was not good. It looks like my Dutch now. I was often bullied with that by other children. Fortunately, teachers intervened. The kids who teased me about my accent were made fun of right in front of the class. The bullying ended immediately. I have no problems at all now that I was bullied. I don’t know if that’s because the teachers got it right or because the really bad things in my life didn’t come until later.

In the Netherlands, a school is like a shop. The students and the parents are the customers, and the customer is king. But a school should be like a palace, where the teacher is the only king.

0913-Concerts start up in Covid-19

Last summer, soprano Katharine Dain and pianist Sam Armstrong recorded a CD in De Vereeniging. They are delighted with the result, the beautiful acoustics of the concert hall are clearly audible. The pair are therefore happy to come back to celebrate the CD release. At the start of the Covid-19 lockdown, Katharine and Sam, musical partners and close friends, decided to go into quarantine together. The lockdown took much longer than expected. The imposed months of home isolation allowed an in-depth exploration of the repertoire for voice and piano. Ultimately, this search led to a song program around a theme: human unrest in intense experiences. Music by Olivier Messiaen is central: Poèmes pour Mi. Flanked by compositions by three contemporaries: Claude Debussy, Henri Dutilleux and Claire Delbos (Messiaen’s wife). Music by the contemporary composer Kaija Saariaho will also be heard.

Katharine Dain – soprano
Sam Armstrong – piano

Saariaho – Parfum de l’Instant
Debussy – De Reve, De Soir
Dutilleux – Regards sur l’Infini
Claire Delbos – Dors & Ai-je pu t’appeler
Messiaen – Action de graces, L’épouse, Les deux guerriers, Le collier, Prière exaucée


Plan A

Following a Dutch-language education in the Netherlands is not easy if you do not yet speak the language well. I often hear from my fellow countrymen, who are studying, that it is not the content but the language. I arranged the latter when I started my training: 25% extra time during the exams. That time is there for people with ADHD, dyslexia and ASD, and now, in addition, the RFS (Refugees from Syria).
When I was a student in Syria, there was an unwritten law between me and my friends. It resembles the Dutch saying “Together out, together at home”. The exams were like war to us. To win them, we had to prepare and implement them together.
In the Netherlands, there appears to be no such cohesion around exams. During my first exams in the Netherlands I sat in the back, so that I could look at questions that I did not know. When the room filled up, everyone appeared to be sitting in the front, with enough distance to take the exams quietly. When the exams started, no one was close enough. How could I still inconspicuously move to a table closer to my fellow students? I remember the first time I did that. I subtly asked for help. I whispered very softly “Question 3?” He was startled and looked remarkably at me and at the surveillance and then stared straight ahead, as if he could not hear me.
Plan B had failed, I had already spread all my extra time, and still had to do it alone. Since then I have known that plan B does not work in the Netherlands.
I had a retake last week that I had to do. The hall was adjusted with the 1.5 meter distance according to the corona guidelines. I am happy that I switched to plan A in time, namely doing everything myself. Otherwise I would be in serious trouble now.

0911-Dance starts up in Covid-19

NDT2 (Dutch Dance Ensemble) brings with Dare to Say two world premieres by two distinctive makers. Alexander Ekman and Dimo ​​Milev challenge the dancers of the second company by working with different approaches to movement and choreography in their new creations. The guidelines surrounding COVID-19 were the guideline.

Former NDT 2 dancer Alexander Ekman (Sweden, 1984) decided to focus exclusively on choreography after his own dance career. He made his last work for NDT, FIT, for NDT 2 in the 2018-2019 season. Ekman often composes the music and develops the set for his choreographies.

After a brilliant career as a dancer, the choreographer Dimo ​​Milev (Bulgaria, 1976) has developed his own choreographic style in pieces by William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin and Hans van Manen, among others. He previously worked with NDT 2 for Up & Coming Choreographers in 2019. His piece for Dare to Say will be his first creation for NDT’s regular programming.

The evening will be musically accompanied by musicians from the Ballet Orchestra.

0910-Pilots are pushing for KLM bankruptcy.

Binnen KLM is onrust ontstaan tussen grond- en cabinepersoneel en piloten.

Survival package (in billions):

€ 3.4 / £ 3.066 /  US$ 4.0 / CA$ 5.24

Tensions are running high among KLM staff, now that the VNV pilots ‘union refuses to sign a wage offer until 2025. In the cockpit, several pilots already had a note with the text:’ On behalf of all other KLM employees and their families , thanks. We will see you at the EIA. (Employee Insurance Agency is a Dutch government agency that is responsible for implementing -among others- the unemployment law)” In private Facebook groups for KLM employees, the criticism is not tender. Ground and cabin crew call the pilots “arrogant” or “snobs”. They blame the pilots for having their jobs at stake because they don’t want to give up enough. KLM employees believe that pilots have “generous salaries” and “shouldn’t eat caviar for a while.” They also argue that less salary is still better than unemployment benefits.

Hard demand
Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra, has set a strict requirement for a support package of 3.4 billion euros (emergency loans and credit guarantees) for KLM. Personnel earning more than average earnings will have to forfeit their wages until 2025, because the government is helping for so long. For some of the KLM staff this means that they lose up to 20 percent of their salary. Five unions signed the clause, FNV (for ground and cabin crew) wants to discuss the requirements with the constituents first. However, the Association of Dutch Airline Pilots (VNV) refuses to sign, because Hoekstra made extra demands last minute. The pilots are willing to give up their salary until 2022 and will do whatever it takes to save KLM after that time. But they do not think it realistic to make a wage offering for such a long time in advance. They feel that they have been put on the spot because on Friday a wage requirement until 2025 was suddenly set. The pilots have to decide in a day to surrender a total annual salary. Moreover, they feel that their personal situation is ignored. They may earn well, but they live accordingly.

The messages have also reached the pilots’ management. They have sent a message to the pilots to encourage them. “We have already seen pamphlets in the operation addressed to us as pilots. We deeply regret this and distance ourselves from the form and content. We understand that this situation also impacts you”, the executives said. They end with the pilots “wishing them good luck in the coming days.” KLM spokesman Lisette Ebeling says there is attention for the unrest within the organization. “It is difficult to say anything about it, but we do everything we can to combat polarization. That doesn’t help anyone.”

Keep silent
For the time being, KLM also does not want to say anything more about the squabbles surrounding the ‘commitment clause’, in which the staff are asked to agree to a wage offer that will not last until 2022, as initially agreed, but until 2025. The airline is now bothering a media silence: ,,Should the situation with the unions and the government give cause to do so, KLM will report this in the media. Insofar as this is not the case, KLM will refrain from commenting.”

Salaries of pilots:

  1. € 275,000 KLM
  2. € 260,000 Lufthansa
  3. € 170,000 Emirates
  4. € 168,000 Transavia
  5. € 136,000 Turkish Airlines
  6. € 135,000 Easyjet, Ryanair
  7. € 132,000 Brussels Airlines, TUI
  8. € 120,000 Qatar

Minister Hoekstra (Finance) does not want to talk to the VNV pilot’s union about a longer wage sacrifice by KLM airline pilots, according to sources from The Hague. A deal on this must be concluded with KLM. According to an insider, the minister sees only KLM as a ‘contract partner’, not the trade union movement. So the Ministry of Finance is now waiting for a message from the airline, as soon as it has come out with the unions itself. Until then, access to a support package will be suspended.
Last night, VNV reiterated on the website “its commitment to the healthy future of KLM”. “Of course we would like to talk to KLM to make additional agreements.” But the union also wants to talk to Minister Hoekstra, or at least a top civil servant. In a letter today to the minister, who holds this newspaper, VNV literally writes: “We request that you consult with us about this in the short term in order to resolve the situation that has arisen. You can then provide clarity about exactly what you are looking for. In that case, we will invite you (or a responsible employee) for a meeting on Monday, November 2.”

Rejection before
The letter also shows that the minister previously did not want to discuss emergency support separately with the trade union movement. “More than six months ago (end of April) we contacted you to get in touch. Unfortunately, the response was negative, on the grounds that the government is not concerned with the terms of employment. KLM and the trade unions should make agreements about employment conditions”, it says. In recent days, a crisis has arisen around the future of KLM. The trade union movement must make a wage sacrifice from Hoekstra until 2025, much longer than current collective labor agreements. In addition, up to 20 percent of the terms of employment is surrendered. Only then will KLM be able to regain access to a support package consisting of emergency loans and credit guarantees of EUR 3.4 billion. Five trade unions – CNV, De Unie, NVLT, VNC and VKP – have agreed to the minister’s demand. FNV (Cabin and Ground) is still considering, but has indicated that it will never risk the future of KLM. Only the VNV pilot’s union refuses to commit for the time being, although the union says it will “take responsibility”.

Impasse remains in place
VNV has previously only made a deal for a wage sacrifice until 2022. The union reiterates in the letter to the minister that it only wants to enter into a discussion about the contribution of the pilots “that the situation requires at that time”. The deadlock thus remains. FNV negotiator Joost van Doesburg says on Twitter: “Today we as FNV have another day full of conversations and agreements about the situation that has arisen at KLM. If there’s any news, you’re going to hear it. “But an airline spokeswoman denies that official negotiations are taking place today. A VNV spokesperson also states that he does not know that the teams will now sit down together, although consultation always takes place. KLM has repeatedly announced in recent days that the company is experiencing the worst crisis in its 101-year history. “Covid-19 has undermined the good results of recent years. To secure the future of the company and the network for the Netherlands, the government loan and guarantees on bank loans totaling EUR 3.4 billion are crucial.”

0909-Life with a walker

Now, in winter time, it is already dark at 5pm. That implies, that I have to re-schedule my training hours. With the walker, the center of Nijmegen is not very nice to go to, because -although there are strict rules about the Covid-19- there are a lot of people in the shopping streets and also in public transport. So I decided to do Pierre’s and mine “first-of-the-season-training” for the Walk of the World: Nijmegen – Berg en Dal – Seven Hills Way – Canadian War cimetary – Groesbeek – Nijmegen, only this time by bus (Nijmegen – Berg en Dal and Groesbeek – Nijmegen) and in between Berg en Dal and Groesbeek the Seven Hills Way, in full autumn colours.