Entries in The Netherlands (5)


Dutch Teen Completes Solo Journey Around the World

MARCEL ANTONISSE/AFP/Getty Images(PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten) -- A Dutch teen sailed into the record books Saturday as she ended her yearlong journey, supposedly becoming the youngest person to ever circumnavigate the globe.

Laura Dekker, who was born on a boat  in a New Zealand port and says she spent the first four years of her life at sea, celebrated her 16th birthday on her 38-foot yacht “Guppy” during her voyage. She sailed into port on the island of St. Maarten after travelling 27,000 nautical miles around the world.

Dekker claims to be the youngest person to have completed the trip, but the Guinness Book of World Records and the World Sailing Speed Council refuse to certify her claim because they say they don’t want to encourage any future, dangerous attempts by younger and younger sailors.

“Since (I left) a lifetime of experiences have gone by. It feels like it was just yesterday, but at the same time, it seems like it was an eternity ago,” Dekker wrote on her blog on Friday.

Dekker was greeted by her mother, father, and grandparents, as well as dozens of others who cheered her on as she stepped foot on the dock. She started her journey from the same port in St. Maarten on Jan. 20, 2011.

Dutch officials tried to prevent the trip when a court blocked her original departure at age 14 in 2009. Child welfare authorities asked that Dekker be removed from the care of her father, Dick Dekker, and be placed under state supervision to prevent risks to her safety, but on July 29, 2010, Dekker wrote, according to a translation from the Dutch, “After a one year ‘battle,’ I am allowed to go!! This is so great!”

The round-the-world trip was highlighted with multiple stops in ports around the world. As her trip came to an end, Dekker reflected on her experience.

“I am looking forward to my arrival and to officially end my journey even though I feel like I already accomplished what I set out to do a long time ago,” Dekker wrote. “I have already learned very much about myself along the way and I also have learned very much from all the different places and the many different people that I came in contact with in so many different countries.”

Other teens to have completed the trip include Jessica Watson of Australia at age 16, Michael Perham of England at age 17, and Zac Sunderland of America at age 17.

Abby Sunderland, Zac’s sister, attempted to complete the trip in 2010 at the age of 16, when her boat capsized and was dismasted in the Indian ocean, and she had to be rescued.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mid-Air Matchmaking? Dutch Airline to Let Passengers Choose Seatmates on Facebook?

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(AMSTELVEEN, The Netherlands) -- A new policy by a Dutch airline will allow passengers to choose their seatmates based on Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

KLM hopes to roll out the "Social Seating" policy in 2012, according to a company representative.

The airline will allow fliers to access other passengers' social media information when checking onto a flight online and then choose their seatmate based on similar interests, USA Today reported. They will also be able to link their own social media profiles with their check-in information, allowing others to see and choose them.

The policy would also allow passengers to opt out of the service if they want, the report said.

A KLM representative said the project was still in its development phase and the company could not yet share details on how it would work.

Other attempts to integrate social networking and air travel have floundered in the past, including a failed company called AirTroductions, which offered an online dating service for frequent travelers.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Anger Builds Over Tower Design Resembling 9/11 Explosion

James Hardy/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images(ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands) -- A new building design created by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV is angering people who say the structure evokes the World Trade Center attack during 9/11.

The new luxury building, slated for completion in 2015 in Seoul, South Korea, will featured a “cloud” connecting two towers at the 27th floor.  But some say that The Cloud, which will feature a large connecting atrium, a wellness center, various pools, restaurants and cafes, looks far too similar to the explosion at the World Trade Center on 9/11 after two planes flew directly into the twin towers.

“A real media storm has started and we receive threatening emails and calls of angry people calling us al Qaeda lovers or worse,” the company posted on its Facebook page.

Hundreds of outraged commenters took to the company’s Facebook page, such as Lance Henley, who wrote, “It looks like the WTC exploding on impact, how could anyone be such a moron…if it goes up it’ll come down just as fast.”

But others suggested the comparison was far-fetched.

“Everyone should remember that the World doesn’t revolve around the US or 9/11. They have their own things going on to think about and worry about to honestly remember what the buildings looked like coming down and all that. Stop acting like the world revolves around the US,” wrote Ricky Arellano.

The Cloud was reportedly inspired by a drawing of two towers with a cloud covering the center of the skyscraper.

On their website, the company wrote, “MVRDV regrets deeply any connotations The Cloud projects evokes regarding 9/11.  It was not our intention to create an image resembling the attacks nor did we see the resemblance during the design process.  We sincerely apologize to anyone whose feelings we have hurt, it was not our intention.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


One Dead, Others Injured after Dutch Soccer Stadium Collapses

Anoek De Groot/EuroFootball/Getty Images(ENSCHEDE, Netherlands) -- A soccer stadium roof partially collapsed in the Netherlands Thursday, killing one person and injuring at least 13 others.

The section that came down of the Grolsch Veste stadium in Enschede -- where the soccer team FC Twente play -- fell directly above rows of seats behind one of the goals.  The collapse occured while off-season renovation work was going on.

Enschede Mayor Peter den Oudsten told reporters that one person died, while 10 others were transported to nearby hospitals and three were treated on the spot.  All of the victims are believed to be construction workers.

Den Oudsten also said that sniffer dogs were being used to find any other victims that may be trapped.

The cause of the collapse is not yet known.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Arrest 12 Somalis on Terror Charges

File photo. Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ROTTERDAM, The Netherlands) -- Dutch police have reportedly arrested a dozen Somalis suspected of plotting a terrorist attack in the Netherlands.

Prosecutors say the men - aged between 19 and 48, and mostly from the Rotterdam area - were arrested based on intelligence that alleges they were in the process of preparing an attack in the country.

A number homes were searched, but no weapons or explosives have been found.

Authorities continue to question the men.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio