Currently H.R.H Prince Willem Alexander of The Netherlands (left) is clean shaven. He will be the first King in over 100 years after his mother H.M. Queen Beatrix (right) will abdicate in favor of him on April 30, 2013. However according to a funny FacBook page Zonder Baard Geen Koning (i.e. No Beard? No King!) which started yesterday and collected some 20,000 likes in its first 24 hours, Willem-Alexander has still 90 days to grow a nice beard.
On October 27, 2012, one year after I shared the speculations about Steve Job’s unfinished super yacht, his Super Yacht Venus has been unveiled in Aalsmeer, the Netherlands ( a stone’s throw from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport) at the Dutch Royal Feadship De Vries yard.
Reportedly the yacht is operated via 7 Imacs. Very daring, I would say, to trust the software so much to have it reign a super yacht. Although I know Oracle’s Larry Ellison reportedly developed his own software to do same with some of his super yachts.
Traditionally on the third Tuesday of September our Queen makes a tour through The Hague in her Golden Carriage. Before the two houses of Dutch Parliament, the Second Chamber or House of Representatives (150 representatives) and the Senate or First Chamber (75 senators), in a Joint Meeting, she voices the Speech of The Throne, highlighting the plans of Dutch Government for the coming Parliamentary Year and declares the new Parliamentary Year open. The Dutch Minister of Finance then presents the Budget for the next year. One could compare it with the State of The Union Address in the US or the Speech from The Throne in the UK.
This year the whole ceremony is a bit weird, because we’ve just had General Elections and tomorrow will see a completely different Second Chamber then today. Also the budget has been prepared by a government that is demissionary which means it operates but has resigned. The newly elected Parliament will (hopefully in a short time) form a new Government. Politically sensitive subjects are not handled by a demissionary Government.
The Dutch name for the day is “Prinsjesdag” or Day of the princes, as it is customary the childs of the king (or queen) sit in on the ceremony next to the Queen. In recent years only Crown Prince Willem Alexander sits in.
Here you see the Golden Carriage leaving the Ridderzaal at the “Binnenhof” were Our houses of Parliament have their seat. Photo via Wikimedia by Dutch Ministry of Defense (R J Essink).
As you may know, my hometown The Hague is the center of Dutch Government.
Today Geert Wilders left the coalition talks that lasted already 7 weeks and were aimed to create an acceptable package of cutting expenditure by Dutch Government.
Wilders stated he withdrew his support for the minority Government led by Mark Rutte.
Less than two years, on another platform I presented Rutte (left on the photo) and Maxime Verhagen (right on the photo) as our new Prime Minister and Vice Prime Minister when they started this adventure. Both with the typical Geert Wilders hairdo. An apt and fabulous caricature I found on FB then.
New General Elections expected in September/Ocober 2012
It is expected that new General Elections will be held in September Oktober 2012. Until then Rutte and Verhagen will remain in office and have a difficult task of getting the 2013 budget accepted by a Parliament that is divided an has too many small political parties.
Again Rutte may need his life vest to keep the Dutch Ship of State afloat.
I expect Rutte’s VVD (Liberal) party to win the elections, but how the landscape will look after the elections is very unsure. Verhagen’s CDA (Christen Democratic) party most certainly will lose. I do hope Wilders PVV party will lose according to a very old Dutch political wisdom: “He who breaks a Coalition Government, will suffer in the elections” . The darkest horse is the conglomerate of left wing (various Social Democrats and Labour) parties. I believe it is likely a new government will consist of Liberals and some left wing parties.
SOPA stands for Stop Online Piracy Act. Currently US Congress and Senate are considering this act together with the The Protect IP Act with hearings and all for enactment.
I’m an independent Hotelier based in Europe. So I only have a slight understanding of all of their implications and ramifications, but I understand Internet giants like Google and Facebook are (among others) heavily lobbying against these two bills. Why would that be? When enacted copyright holders can via very simple measures (a writ to a hosting company) have bad websites cut off from the Internet. Furthermore financial institutions like banks and credit card companies could by the same sort of simple measure to be forced to cut off the bad guys from their income.
Now Google is noteworthy for scraping copyrighted material like photos from everybody’s website and regurgitating same for the “better of search results”. FaceBook does it in a slightly different way: It lets its members publish copyrighted material.
Can I now simply force Google to delete any photo material of my hotel I have the copyright to? Can I force their ISP to cut them off? Can I force their banks to cut their financial resources?
Take this one step further: Online Travel Agents do sometimes scrape copyrighted material. Tripadvisor may do it. Groupon like sites may do it.
Can I as an independent Hotelier force all these power houses from the Internet?
I know, I’m just dreaming of a more organic Internet that is not dominated by search giants or OTA’s, but sometimes it is nice to dream off.