NETHERLANDS BACKGROUND CHECK

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General Information

GDP USD853.54bn (World ranking 17, World Bank 2013)
Population 16.8 million (World ranking 63, World Bank 2013)
Form of state Constitutional Monarchy
Head of government Mark RUTTE
Next elections 2017 (House of Representatives); 2019 (Senate)

 

CURRENT LOCAL TIME

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PRODUCTS IN NETHERLANDS

Data Protection

Contribution Details

Richard Van Schaik

Partner

Prof. Jan Kabel

Law

The Netherlands implemented the EU Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC on 1 September 2001 with the Dutch Personal Data Protection Act (“Wbp”). Enforcement is through the Dutch Data Protection Authority (“College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens”).

Definition of Personal Data

Any data relating to an identified or identifiable natural person.

Definition of sensitive Personal Data

Personal data regarding a person’s religion or philosophy of life, race, political persuasion, health and sexual life, trade union membership, criminal behavior and personal data regarding unlawful or objectionable conduct connected with a ban imposed as a result of such conduct.

National Data Protection authority

Registration

Unless an exemption applies, data controllers who process personal data by automatic means must notify the College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens so that their processing of personal

data may be registered and made public. Changes to the processing of personal data will require the notification to be amended.

The notification shall, inter alia, include the following information:

■     name and address of the data controller;

■     purpose(s) of the processing;

■     data subjects or categories of data subjects;

■     data or categories of data relating to these data subjects;

■     recipients or categories of recipients;

■     proposed transfers of personal data to countries outside the European Union; and

■     a general description of the security measures the data controllers is planning to take. If any of the following changes occurs, the data controller must notify the College

Bescherming Persoonsgegevens of these changes within one year after the previous notification. This concerns changes in:

■     the purpose or purposes of the data processing;

■     the data subjects and recipients or categories of data subjects and recipients;

■     the security measures; and/or

■     the intended transfers to countries outside the European Union.

However, this is only required if the changes are not of a purely incidental nature.

Also, any change to the name or address of the data controller should be notified to the College

Bescherming Persoonsgegevens within one week.

Data Protection officers

Companies, industry associations, governments and institutions can appoint a data protection officer. There is no legal requirement in the Netherlands to do so. The data protection

officer ensures that processing of personal data will take place in accordance with the Wbp. The statutory duties and powers of the data protection officer gives this officer an independent position within the organization.

Collection and Processing

Data controllers may collect and process personal data when any of the following conditions are met:

For collecting personal data:

Pursuant to the Wbp, a data controller may only collect personal data if he has a purpose for this.

The purpose must be:

■     specified;

■     explicit; and

■     legitimate.

A data controller may not collect data if he has not clearly specified the purpose.

For processing personal data:

■     the data subject has unambiguously given his prior consent thereto;

■     the processing is necessary for the performance of a contract to which the data subject is party;

■     the processing is necessary in order to comply with a legal obligation to which the data

controller is subject;

■     the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject;

■     the transfer is necessary or legally required in order to protect an important public interest; or

■     the processing is necessary for upholding the legitimate interests of the data controller or of a third party to whom the data is supplied, except where the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject, in particular the right to protection of individual privacy, prevail.

In addition, personal data may not be further processed in a way incompatible with the purposes the data was collected. Whether further processing is incompatible depends on different circumstances, such as:

■     the relationship between the purpose of the intended processing and the purposes for which

the data originally was obtained;

■     the nature of the data concerned;

■     the consequences of the intended processing for the data subject;

■     the manner in which the data have been obtained; and

■     the extent to which appropriate guarantees have been put in place with respect to the data subject. Also, personal data may only be processed, where, given the purposes for which they are collected or

subsequently processed, they are adequate, relevant and not excessive.

Finally, the Wbp sets out strict rules in relation to sensitive data. The main rule is that such data may not be processed, unless the data subject has given its explicit consent to it.

Transfer

Transfer of a data subject’s personal data to non EU/European Economic Area countries is allowed

if the countries provide “adequate protection”. For transfer of data to the United States, companies

which adhere to the US/EU Safe Harbor principles are deemed to offer adequate protection.

Data controllers may transfer personal data out of the European Economic Area to countries which are not deemed to offer adequate protection if any of the following exceptions apply:

■     the data subject has unambiguously given its consent thereto;

■     the transfer is necessary for the performance of the contract between the data controller and

the data subject;

■     the transfer is necessary in respect of an important public interest, or for the establishment, exercise or defence in law of any right;

■     the transfer is necessary in order to protect the vital interests of the data subject;

■     the transfer occurred from a register that was set by law and can be consulted by anyone or by any person demonstrating a legitimate interest;

■     the transfer is based on unchanged Model Clauses as referred to in article 26(4) of Directive 95/46/EC on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data; or

■     a permit thereto has been granted by Minster of Justice, after consultation of the College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens. In order to obtain such permit, certain conditions should be met. One of these conditions can be implementing Binding Corporate Rules (BCR).

BCR are internal codes of conduct regarding data privacy and security, to ensure that transfers of personal data outside the European Union will take place in accordance with the EU rules on data protection.

The use of BCRs is not obligatory. It will however bring benefits to both processors and controllers.

Once BCRs are approved they can be used by the controller and processor, thereby ensuring compliance with the EU data protection rules without having to negotiate the safeguards and conditions each and every time a contract is entered into.

Security

Data controllers and processors must implement appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect personal data against accidental or unlawful destruction or accidental loss, alteration, unauthorised disclosure or access.

Breach Notification

The Wbp does not yet provide for a data security breach notification duty.

Mandatory Breach Notification

There is no mandatory requirement in the Wbp. However, a legislative bill introduces the obligation to report such a data breach as soon as possible to the College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens. If a data breach is not reported, the College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens can impose a fine up to EUR 200,000.

Enforcement

In case of possible violations of the Wbp, the College Bescherming Persoonsgegevens can

impose the following sanctions:

■     Enforce an administrative order. The data controller would be forced to change its policy

with immediate effect;

■     Administrative fines up to a maximum of EUR 19,500 may be imposed by the Authority in case of violation of the notification duty; or

■     Penal sanctions could be punished with a fine of the second category in case of contravention of:

–  the duty to designate a person or body in the Netherlands to act on party who are not established in the European Union, but make use of means situated in the Netherlands;

–  the notification duties mentioned before;

–  transfer of personal data to a country outside the European Union that is not considered to guarantee an adequate level of protection, or transfer without permit to those countries.

Electronic Marketing

Electronic marketing is partially regulated in Article 11.7 of the Dutch Telecommunications

Act. In the context of this Article electronic marketing could be defined as SMS, e-mail, fax and similar media for the purposes of unsolicited communication related to commercial, charitable or ideal purposes without the individuals’ prior express consent.

Electronic marketing directed to corporations does not require prior consent if:

■     the advertiser/electronic marketer uses electronic address data which are meant to be for this particular purpose;

■     if the individual is located outside the EU, the advertiser/electronic marketer complies with the relevant rules of that particular country in this respect.

On the basis of Article 11.7 electronic marketing to individuals is in principle prohibited. If certain conditions are being met, such as prior express consent, electronic marketing directly to individuals can be allowed. Furthermore, electronic marketing to individuals is also allowed if it is restricted to the marketing of existing customers and restricted to similar products/services of the advertiser/electronic marketer. In the last case, the advertiser/electronic marketer is obliged

to provide opt-out possibilities to his customers when obtaining the data from the customers and

in every marketing message sent.

Online Privacy (including cookies and Location Data)

Traffic Data – Traffic Data is regulated in Article 11.5 of the Dutch Telecommunications Act. Traffic Data held by a public electronic communications services provider (“CSP”) must be erased or anonymised when it is no longer necessary for the purpose of the transmission of a communication. However, Traffic Data can be retained if:

■     It is being used to provide a value added service; and

Consent has been given for the retention of the Traffic Data. Traffic Data can only be processed by a CSP for:

■     The management of billing or traffic;

The prevention of fraud;
The provision of a value added service (subject to consent); or
Market research (subject to consent).Location Data (Traffic Data not included) – Location Data is regulated in Article 11.5a of the

Dutch Telecommunications Act. Location Data may only be processed:

■     If these data are being processed in anonymous form; or

 

■     With informed consent of the individual.

Cookie Compliance – The amended E Privacy Directive requires the user to consent to the use of cookies. On 5 June 2012, the Netherlands implemented the E-Privacy Directive through the Dutch Telecommunications Act in Article 11.7a. (hereinafter: Article 11.7a). The Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority (“OPTA”) is entrusted with the enforcement of Article 11.7a.

The main rule is that the website operator needs to obtain prior consent from a user before using cookies (opt-in). It is necessary to obtain the informed agreement of website visitors to the use of cookies by way of an “I agree” button or a similar arrangement. Implicit consent is

not sufficient under Dutch law. Please note that the website operator is entitled to refuse website visitors access to its website(s) if no consent is given.

The requirement to obtain prior consent from a user does not apply where such storage or access is strictly necessary for the provision of an information society service requested by the subscriber or user. An example is that of where a user of a site has chosen the goods they wish to buy and the user clicks the “add to basket” or “proceed to checkout” button, the site remembers what they have chosen from the previous page. This cookie is deemed “strictly necessary” to provide the service requested by the user, therefore no consent to the storage of such a cookie is required.

As per 1 January 2013, the information collected through cookies are to be considered ‘personal data’, unless the party which places the cookies can prove otherwise. This goes only for

tracking cookies, whereby the surfing behaviour of customers on several different websites is being observed (and the information obtained is being used for commercial purposes).

In case of violation of electronic marketing or online privacy legislation, the OPTA can impose fines up to EUR 450,000 per violation.

Location Data (Traffic Data not included) – Location Data is regulated in Article 11.5a of the

Dutch Telecommunications Act. Location Data may only be processed:

■     If these data are being processed in anonymous form; or

■     With informed consent of the individual.

Cookie Compliance – The amended E Privacy Directive requires the user to consent to the use of cookies. On 5 June 2012, the Netherlands implemented the E-Privacy Directive through the Dutch Telecommunications Act in Article 11.7a. (hereinafter: Article 11.7a). The Independent Post and Telecommunications Authority (“OPTA”) is entrusted with the enforcement of Article 11.7a.

The main rule is that the website operator needs to obtain prior consent from a user before using cookies (opt-in). It is necessary to obtain the informed agreement of website visitors to the use of cookies by way of an “I agree” button or a similar arrangement. Implicit consent is

not sufficient under Dutch law. Please note that the website operator is entitled to refuse website visitors access to its website(s) if no consent is given.

The requirement to obtain prior consent from a user does not apply where such storage or access is strictly necessary for the provision of an information society service requested by the subscriber or user. An example is that of where a user of a site has chosen the goods they wish to buy and the user clicks the “add to basket” or “proceed to checkout” button, the site remembers what they have chosen from the previous page. This cookie is deemed “strictly necessary” to provide the service requested by the user, therefore no consent to the storage of such a cookie is required.

As per 1 January 2013, the information collected through cookies are to be considered ‘personal data’, unless the party which places the cookies can prove otherwise. This goes only for

tracking cookies, whereby the surfing behavior of customers on several different websites is being observed (and the information obtained is being used for commercial purposes).

In case of violation of electronic marketing or online privacy legislation, the OPTA can impose fines up to EUR 450,000 per violation.

(Came into effect on: 3 March 1881, amended on: 9 December 2004)

Article 126

1. A person who, on the occasion of an election duly called under the law, bribes another person by means of gifts or promises, in order to cause him either to refrain from exercising his or another person’s suffrage or to cause him to exercise that right in a particular way, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months or a fine of the third category.

2. The punishment in section 1 is also applicable to a voter or a proxy who allows himself to be bribed to so do by gifts or promises.

Article 177 Offences against public authority (Bribery of officials)

1. Punishment in the form of a prison sentence of no more than four years or a fine in the fifth category will be imposed on: 1st. whoever makes a gift or a promise to a civil servant or provides or offers him a service with a view to getting him to carry out or fail to carry out a service in violation of his duty; 2nd. whoever makes a gift or promise to a civil servant or provides or offers him a service in response to or in connection with a service, past or present, that the official carried out or failed to carry out in violation of his duty;

2. The same punishment will apply to anyone who commits an offence as described in the first paragraph, under 1st, against a person who has prospects of an appointment as a civil servant, if the appointment as a civil servant is followed.

3. Removal of the rights stated in article 28, first para., under 1st, 2nd and 4th can be pronounced (Sr 84, 328ter, 362v.) (13-12-2000, Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469).

Article 177a Bribery not in violation of official duty

1. Punishment in the form of a prison sentence of no more than two years or a fine in the fourth category will be imposed on: 1st. whoever makes a gift or a promise to a civil servant or who provides or offers him a service with a view to getting him to carry out or fait to carry out a service that is not in violation of is duty; 2nd. whoever makes a gift or a promise to a civil servant or who provides or offers him a service in response to or in connection with a service, past or present, the official carried out or failed to carry out, without this being in violation of his duty.

2. The same punishment will apply to anyone who commits an offence as descried in the first paragraph, under 1st, against a person who has prospects of an appointment as a civil servant, if the appointment as a civil servant is followed.

3. Removal of the rights stated in article 28, first para. under 1st, 2nd and 4th, can be pronounced.

Article 178 Bribery of a judge

1. Whoever makes a gift or a promise to a judge or provides or offers him a gift with a view to exerting influence on his decision in a case that is subject to his judgment will be punished with a prison sentence of at the most six years or a fine in the fourth category.

2. If the gift or promise is made or the service is provided or offered with a view to obtaining a conviction in a case, the guilty person will be punished with a prison sentence of at the most nine years or a fine in the fifth category.

3. Removal of the rights stated in article 28, first para. under 1st, 2nd and 4th can be pronounced. (Sr 84, section 2, 126, 364; RO 11, 24, 29) (13-12-2000. Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469)

Article 178a Extended definition of a civil servant

1. With regard to articles 177 and 177a, persons working in the public service of a foreign state or an organisation governed by international law are equivalent with civil servants.

2. With regard to articles 177, first section, under 2nd and 177a, first section, under 2nd former civil servants are equivalent to civil servants.

3. With regard to article 178, judges in a foreign state or an organisation governed by international law are equivalent to judges. (13-12-2000, Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469)

Article 328

1. A person who, in a capacity other than that of a public servant, either in the service of his employer or acting as an agent, accepts a gift or promise in relation to something he has done or has refrained from doing or will do or will refrain from doing in the service of his employer or in the exercise of his mandate, and who, in violation if the requirements of good faith, conceals the acceptance of the gift or promise from his employer or principal, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than one year or a fine of the fifth category.

2. The punishment in section 1 is also applicable to a person who makes a gift or a promise to another person who, in a capacity other than that of public servant, is employed or who acts as an agent, in relation to something that person has done or has refrained from doing, or will do or will refrain from doing in his employment or in the exercise of his mandate, the gift or promise being of such nature or made under such circumstances that he might reasonably assume that the latter, in violation of the requirements of good faith, will not disclose the gift or promise to his employer or principal.

Article 362

1. Punishment in the form of a prison sentence of not more than two years or a fine in the fifth category will be imposed on the civil servant: 1º who accepts a gift, promise or service, knowing that it is made to him in order to induce him to act or to refrain from acting in the execution of his duties, in a manner not contrary to the requirements of his office; 2º who accepts a gift, promise or service, knowing that it is made to him as a result or as a consequence of something he has done or has refrained from doing, in the execution of his duties, past or present, in a manner not contrary to the requirements of his office; 3º who asks for a gift, promise or service, in order to act or to refrain from acting in the execution of his duties, in a manner not contrary to the requirements of his office;

4º who asks for a gift, promise ore service, as a result or as a consequence of something he has done or has refrained from doing, in the execution of his duties, past or present, in a manner not contrary to the requirements of his office.

2. The same punishment will apply to anyone who has the prospects of an appointment as a civil servant, if the appointment as a civil servant is followed, commits an offence as described in the first paragraph, under 1 and 3.

3. A person who commits a offence as described in the first paragraph in one’s capacity as minister, state secretary, royal commissioner, member of the provincial executive, mayor, aldermen or member of a public representative body, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than four years or a fine of the fifth category. (13-12-2000, Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469).

Article 363

1. Punishment in the form of a prison sentence of not more than four years or a fine in the fifth category will be imposed on the civil servant: 1 who accepts a gift, promise or service, knowing that it is made to him in order to induce him to act or to refrain from acting in the execution of his duties, in a manner contrary to the requirements of his office; 2 who accepts a gift, promise or service, knowing that it is made to him as a result or as a consequence of something he has done or has refrained from doing, in the execution of his duties, past or present, in a manner contrary to the requirements of his office; 3º who asks for a gift, promise or service, in order to act or to refrain from acting in the execution of his duties, in a manner contrary to the requirements of his office; 4º who asks for a gift, promise ore service, as a result or as a consequence of something he has done or has refrained from doing, in the execution of his duties, past or present, in a manner contrary to the requirements of his office.

2. The same punishment will apply to anyone who has the prospects of an appointment as a civil servant, if the appointment as a civil servant is followed, commits an offence as described in the first paragraph, under 1 and 3.

3. A person who commits a offence as described in the first paragraph in one’s capacity as minister, state secretary, royal commissioner, member of the provincial executive, mayor, aldermen or member of a public representative body, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than six years or a fine of the fifth category. (13-12-2000, Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469).

Article 364

1. exercise influence on the decision in a case that is before him for judgment, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than nine years or a fine of the fifth category.

2. A judge who asks a gift, promise or service, in order to exercise influence on the decision in a case that is before him for judgment, is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than nine years or a fine of the fifth category.

3. Where a judge, aware of the fact that it is made to obtain a conviction in a criminal case, accepts such gift, promise or service, he is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than twelve years or a fine of the fifth category.

4. Where a judge, in order to obtain a conviction in a criminal case, asks such gift, promise or service, he is liable to a term of imprisonment of not more than twelve years or a fine of the fifth category. (13-12-2000, Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469).

Article 364a

1. With regard to articles 362 and 363, persons working in the public service of a foreign state or an organisation governed by international law are equivalent with civil servants.

2. With regard to articles 362, first section, under 2º and 4º, and article 363, first section, under 2º and 4º, former civil servants are equivalent to civil servants.

3. With regard to article 364, judges in a foreign state or an organisation governed by international law are equivalent to judges. (13-12-2000, Law Gazette 616, effective date 01-02-2001/parliamentary document 26469).

Police Background Check Procedures

Who can apply?

•  The application must be filled by both the applicant and prospective employer.
•  A third party representative (relative, friend) may apply with a letter of consent, address to
send certificate to and copy of subject’s ID document.
•  The employer cannot directly apply, but is advised to fill the form, and then pass it onto the
applicant to fill and send.

Where?

Local applicants must apply through the local Population Affairs Department.
•  Overseas applicants who (a) left before 1 October 1994 must apply directly to the Central Office
of Registry for Certificate of Good Conduct
•  (COGVOG).
•  Overseas applicants who (b) left after 1 October 1994 must apply through the local Population
Affairs Department at their previous municipality.
•  Embassy/Consulate will not receive applications.

What must the applicant supply?

Applicant must supply:
•  Full name
•  Date of birth
•  Municipality and country of birth
•  Address of which to supply certificate to (applicant or employer’s address)
•  Legible copy of valid passport/ID document
•  Proof of payment receipt
•  Dates residing in Netherlands (overseas only)

The prospective employer must additionally supply:

•  Name of organisation
•  Name of representation
•  Business address and telephone
•  Purpose of application and job description (state “pre-employment screening”)

What are the costs / turnaround times?

•  €30.05 (approx. GBP£ 27.00), with up to 4 weeks turnaround.
•  Payable in person at local Population Affairs Department, or at COVOG if applying directly.
Contact COVOG for bank details.
•  No Fast track service available.

Contact Details

The form can be downloaded here:http://www.justis.nl/producten/vog/information-in-english/
(English)
COVOG
Postbus 16115
2500 BC The Hague
Tel: (+70) 370 7234
Website:http://www.justitie.nl/vog
Email:frontdesk.justis@minjus.nl
Royal Netherlands Embassy
38 Hyde Park Gate
SW7 5DP
London, United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7590 3200
Email:lon@minbuza.nl
Website:http://unitedkingdom.nlembassy.org/passports-visas–consular/consularaffairs/criminal-record-checks-in-the-netherlands.html
Monday-Friday 09:00-17:00

Netherlands – Know Your Customer (KYC) Rules

The Netherlands is a major financial center and consequently an attractive venue for laundering funds generated from illicit activities, including activities often related to the sale of cocaine, cannabis, or synthetic and designer drugs, such as ecstasy. Financial fraud, especially tax-evasion, is believed to generate a considerable portion of domestic money laundering. There are a few indications of syndicate-type structures in organized crime or money laundering, but there is virtually no black market for smuggled goods in the Netherlands. Although under the Schengen Accord there are no formal controls on national borders within the European Union (EU), the Dutch authorities run special operations in the border areas with Germany and Belgium to keep smuggling to a minimum.

Six islands in the Caribbean fall under the jurisdiction of the Netherlands. Bonaire, St. Eustasius, and Saba are special municipalities of the country the Netherlands. Aruba, Curacao, and St. Maarten are countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

KNOW-YOUR-CUSTOMER (KYC) RULES:

Enhanced due diligence procedures for PEPs:

A PEP is an abbreviation for Politically Exposed Person, a term that describes a person who has been entrusted with a prominent public function, or an individual who is closely related to such a person. The terms PEP, Politically Exposed Person and Senior Foreign Political Figure are often used interchangeably

    • Foreign PEP: YES
    • Domestic PEP: NO

Netherlands – KYC covered entities

The following is a list of Know Your Customer entities covered by Dutch Law:

    • Banks
    • Credit institutions
    • Securities and investment institutions
    • Providers of money transaction services
    • Life insurers and insurance brokers
    • Credit card companies
    • Casinos
    • Traders in high-value goods
    • Other traders
    • Accountants, lawyers and independent legal consultants
    • Business economic consultants
    • Tax consultants
    • Real estate brokers
    • Estate agents
    • Civil-law notaries
    • Trust and asset administrative companies

Netherlands – Suspicious Transaction Reporting (STR) Requirements:

Number of STRs received and time frame: 117,000 in 2010

Number of CTRs received and time frame: 66,000 in 2010

The following is a list of STR covered entities covered by Dutch Law:

    • Banks
    • Credit institutions
    • Securities and investment institutions
    • Providers of money transaction services
    • Life insurers and insurance brokers
    • Credit card companies
    • Casinos
    • Traders in high-value goods
    • Other traders
    • Accountants, lawyers and independent legal consultants
    • Business economic consultants
    • Tax consultants
    • Real estate brokers
    • Estate agents
    • Civil-law notaries
    • Trust and asset administrative companies

MONEY LAUNDERING CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS/CONVICTIONS:

Prosecutions: 1,300 in 2010
Convictions: 812 in 2010

ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION ISSUES AND COMMENTS:

In June 2008, the Netherlands Court of Audit published its investigation of the Government of the Netherland‘s policy for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The report criticizes the Ministries of Interior, Finance, and Justice for: lack of information sharing among them; too little use of asset seizure powers; limited financial crime expertise and capacity within law enforcement; and light supervision of notaries, lawyers, and accountants. Similar deficiencies were seen during the more recent mutual evaluation of the Netherlands. The ministries agreed in large part with these conclusions and have taken steps to address them, including hiring financial crime experts in law enforcement and introducing new laws to strengthen the ability of law enforcement to tackle money laundering.

The Netherlands has established an “unusual transaction” reporting system. Designated entities are required to file unusual transaction reports (UTRs) with the FIU on any transaction that appears unusual (applying a broader standard than ―suspicious‖) or when there is reason to believe that a transaction is connected with money laundering or terrorist financing. The FIU investigates UTRs and forwards them to law enforcement for criminal investigation; once the FIU forwards the report, the report is then classified as a STR. Draft legislation is pending to strengthen the reporting regime and enact stronger KYC rules.

In response to criticisms concerning the operational independence and effectiveness of the Dutch financial intelligence unit (FIU), a discussion on how to ensure FIU operational independence is underway. The FIU is currently part of the police, which itself is undergoing reforms.

In September 2011 the Dutch parliament passed a bill modernizing the supervision of notaries. Comprehensive supervision will be conducted by an independent supervisory body with investigative powers, with the use of confidential information about clients strictly limited to action against notaries. A similar legislative proposal is being prepared concerning the supervision of lawyers and is expected to be introduced in parliament in 2012.

The United States enjoys strong cooperation with the Netherlands in fighting international crime, including money laundering. One provision included in the U.S.-EU mutual legal assistance agreement, which the Netherlands has ratified, will facilitate the exchange of information on bank accounts. The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice and the National Police work together with U.S. law enforcement authorities in the Netherlands on operational money laundering initiatives.

Due to legal and political changes, asset seizure has become a priority in money laundering cases. The assignment of dedicated money laundering prosecutors is bringing change to historically low asset seizure rates. A Steering Committee has been created to discuss and assign cases to the appropriate investigative unit. To further increase the confiscation of criminal assets, the Dutch Minister of Security and Justice introduced a new law including confiscation as a standard procedure of any money-driven criminal case, aimed at increasing law enforcement agencies‘ capacity to take such action.

A Rotterdam Court sentenced seven people in February 2011 for involvement in international drug trafficking and money laundering. The main suspect was sentenced to three years and nine months, and €4.5 million (approximately $5.927 million) cash was forfeited. The convicted group had direct connections with Colombian drug cartels. In April 2011, a court in The Hague sentenced a Dutch man to six years and four months for money laundering, blackmailing, violent robbery, and other serious crimes. Eleven other people in the same case received sentences of from 30 months to five years.

Travel Risk

Security

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Violent crime rarely occurs. However, petty crime (pickpocketing, bag snatching) occurs in the larger cities, particularly in Amsterdam, where it constitutes a major problem. Tourists are frequently victims of robbery. Be vigilant at all times and pay attention to your surroundings.

Thieves operate on trains and time their activities to coincide with train stops, for a quick exit. Victims who resist have been physically assaulted. Be particularly cautious on trains to and from Schiphol Airport.

In Amsterdam, thieves are also active in restaurants, around the De Wallen district (red-light district) and at Central Station, as well as on public transportation, especially tram routes 1 and 5, between Central Station and the museum district.

Organized gangs of thieves often use distracting techniques. Typically, a member of the gang will soil the victim’s clothes or ask directions while others rob the victim.

Passports and other valuable documents are often stolen from youth hostels in Amsterdam.

Terrorism

On March 13, 2013, the Dutch Government raised its national terrorism threat level from œlimited to œsubstantial. While stressing that there are no reliable indications that terrorist networks are currently plotting attacks in the Netherlands, the Dutch authorities have raised their levels of vigilance given their assessment that there is a realistic possibility that an attack will take place in the Netherlands. Exercise caution and maintain a high level of personal security awareness at all times and in all places. Consult the Ministry of Security and Justice for more information on threat levels.

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery. Such incidents have been reported.

Road safety

Roads are excellent, although road congestion is common in areas around Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam, where rail is a convenient alternative. There is a chronic lack of parking spaces throughout the country, and fines for illegal parking are severe.

Public Transportation

Public transportation is excellent.

Taxi service is generally safe but expensive.

Trams and cyclists have priority over other traffic. Motorists and pedestrians must pay attention to cyclists and cycle paths. The centre lanes of many urban two-way streets are reserved for buses, trams and taxis.

Rail is convenient in the areas of Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam. Consult the Dutch website Holland by train for more information.

See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur periodically in larger urban centres such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings as they have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

General safety measures

Exercise normal safety precautions. Ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not carry valuables or large sums of money. Do not leave baggage or personal belongings unattended in vehicles at any time.

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Tourist Assistance Services (TAS) offer help to travellers in difficulty. Dial 020-625-3246 to reach the TAS in Amsterdam, and dial 070-42-44-000 or email TAS-HOLLAND@hotmail.com for the TAS in The Hague.

Address Format

RECIPIENT

STREET_NAME HOUSE_NUMBER
POSTAL_CODE LOCALITY
NETHERLANDS

Sample

Vincent Toonder
Nieuwebrugsteeg 5
1012 AG AMSTERDAM
NETHERLANDS

Summary

Calendar GMT Reference Actual Previous Consensus Forecast
2015-02-13 07:30 AM Q4 1.0% 1.0% 0.6% 0.52%
2015-03-26 02:15 PM Q4 1.4% 1.0% 1.0% 1.0%
2015-05-13 08:30 AM Q1 2.4% 1.4% 1.2% 1.3%
2015-06-25 08:30 AM Q1 1.4% 2.4% 2.4%
2015-08-14 08:30 AM Q2 1.48%
2015-09-24 08:30 AM Q2
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