Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands has just announced in a recorded statement that she is to abdicate her throne on April 30 – 33 years to the day since she took over from her mother, Juliana, who also abdicated.
The queen will be 75 on Thursday.
Her son, Crown Prince Willem- Alexander will ascend the throne.
The queen's, or king's, position in the Netherlands is largely ceremonial with little real political power.
We'll provide more details as they come in to CNN.FULL STORY
Paintings by famous modern artists disappeared from an exhibition in the Netherlands in a predawn art heist Tuesday, shutting down an exhibition in the Kunsthal Rotterdam, where works by Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Claude Monet are on display.
Paintings of "considerable value" disappeared in the museum theft, spokeswoman Mariette Maaskant said on Netherlands public radio.
The Kunsthal's alarm system went off shortly after 3 a.m. local time, alerting the exhibition hall's private security detail. When security staffers arrived by car, they saw that the paintings were missing, Rotterdam police spokesman Roland Ekkers said. They informed police, who started an investigation.
The works belong to a private collection that is being shown for the first time to the public, according to a Kunsthal statement.FULL STORY
Four Nigerian farmers and the environmental group Friends of the Earth took oil giant Shell to court Thursday in the Netherlands to demand a proper cleanup and compensation for pollution in the Niger Delta.
The farmers want the Anglo-Dutch multinational to "clean up the oil pollution in their fields and fishponds" and make sure their pipelines are maintained and kept secure to prevent leaks in the future.
The civil case has been filed against the Nigerian subsidiary of Shell, the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), and its international headquarters in the Netherlands, Royal Dutch Shell.
Based on "years of oil pollution in three villages in the Niger Delta," it could have "major legal consequences internationally," the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth, known locally as Milieudefensie, said in a statement ahead of the first hearing.
The three villages concerned are Goi, hit by a spill in 2004, Oruma, affected by a spill a year later, and Ikot Ada Udo, hit by various spills in 2007, according to Friends of the Earth.FULL STORY
[Update 10:30 p.m. ET] A ship filled with activists who say they are there to help women receive abortions was escorted out of the Moroccan port of Smir after the government initially blocked the harbor and prevented residents from accessing the vessel.
Abortion is illegal in Morocco, and the country's Health Ministry said in a statement that it had not authorized the vessel's visit or any procedures by nonresident doctors.
The "abortion ship" is run by Women on Waves, which was founded in 1999 by a Dutch doctor to provide abortions to women in countries where the practice is illegal.
The Women on Waves ship takes women into international waters to perform the abortions, which are legal under Dutch law, until 6.5 weeks into the pregnancy.
But authorities in the predominantly Muslim country seemed to effectively block the activists efforts on Thursday.
Ratko Mladic, who is accused of orchestrating a horrific campaign of ethnic cleansing during the bloody civil war that ripped apart Yugoslavia, goes on trial Wednesday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.
Prosecutors say Mladic's campaign included the massacre of 8,000 Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
The 70-year-old former Bosnian Serb general has been indicted on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in the 1992-95 war.
On Monday, his lawyers filed a petition to delay his trial by six months, contending the prosecution failed to share evidence in a timely manner and that the presiding Dutch judge was biased because of his role in other trials of Serbs.
The court, however, said the trial is set to open as scheduled on Wednesday morning.FULL STORY
The defense for Charles Taylor is expected to submit its counter-recommendation Thursday after prosecutors said the former Liberian president deserves an 80-year sentence for a war crimes conviction.
Taylor was found guilty last month of aiding and abetting war crimes in neighboring Sierra Leone's civil war.
"Should the trial chamber decide to impose a global sentence, 80 years' imprisonment would be appropriate," said Brenda Hollis, chief prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
In the statement last week, the prosecutor said the sentence reflects the gravity of the crimes.
"But for Charles Taylor's criminal conduct, thousands of people would not have had limbs amputated, would not have been raped, would not have been killed," Hollis said. "The recommended sentence provides fair and adequate response to the outrage these crimes caused in victims, their families and relatives."
Last month's landmark ruling by the international tribunal was the first war crimes conviction of a former head of state by an international court since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders after World War II.
Taylor, 64, was found guilty of all 11 counts of aiding and abetting rebel forces in a campaign of terror that involved murder, rape, sexual slavery, conscripting children younger than 15 and mining diamonds to pay for guns.FULL STORY
Editor's note: iReporters all over the globe are showing us what Occupy Wall Street is like in their towns and cities through the Open Story: from the Aleutian Islands to Raleigh, North Carolina; from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Zadar, Croatia. Check out a map of the reports, videos and pictures here.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which swept across the United States as thousands demanded that government institutions change to help fix a struggling economy, gained a major boost as the world began to come together in solidarity over shared economic frustrations.
As the sun rose on each country, one-by-one in the same way each stock market would open, protesters took to the streets. What began as a movement that was largely ignored by the mainstream media can't be dismissed anymore, not when thousands of people are sharing rally cries from Zucotti Park in New York to City Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark. Perhaps that's what organizers hoped for when they called the global day of protest "Solidarity Saturday."
But that global push may not end with the one day of solidarity. Some would say it has bolstered the ambitions and confidence of those who began Occupy Wall Street. It was a hint that, with the right support and organization, they can spread the message they've so desperately tried to get across: They want change, and they want it now. And even though the frustrations and complaints may differ from country to country, the theme remains that governments aren't handling economic crises properly.
The protests spread amid the growing financial troubles for several Western countries. Maybe that's why it's no surprise the global movement came during a G20 meeting of ministers and bankers in Paris. Finance ministers with the Group of 20 pledged Saturday to take "all necessary actions" to stabilize global markets and ensure that banks are capitalized.
Europeans turned out to protest amid debt troubles and austerity plans in Greece, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Portugal and Germany. And in an increasingly intertwined global economy where Americans watch what happens in the Greek debt crisis, the world too is watching to see how the United States is handling its economic issues.
In the spirit of that solidarity, thousands stepped out to support the frustrations of the unemployed in the U.S. and, in some cases, to share their own grievances.
We're taking a look at scenes from across the world to find out more about the main frustrations being lodged and how the protests are drawing support from each other through the lenses of our reporters and iReporters around the world.
The movement gained traction in London especially because of the presence of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Some Brits, who have not been shy to share their frustrations with their economic situation during riots months earlier, echoed American sentiments that governments need to focus not just on the rich but on the little man.
Amedeo d'Amore , an iReporter, was at a demonstration near St. Paul's Cathedral, where he said there were about 1,500 to 2,000 protesters along with a few hundred police officers.
"Essentially, they are very disappointed by the current economic system," he said. "From my understanding, they feel that governments have done too much to protect companies while doing very little to assist the average citizen."
[Updated at 1:59 p.m] When you want to get your name out there - sometimes you've got to come up with clever ways to do it.
That's something Rotterdam tattoo artist Dex Moelker and his company clearly hoped for when they were named as the ones who inked the Facebook tattoo requested by a Dutch woman of 152 of her Facebook friends. And boy, did it work. The story spread like a wildfire online. After newspapers and major online outlets, including CNN.com, put the story out – it was a hot-button topic. Ironically, as of this moment more than 7,000 people recommended this story on Facebook – perhaps in part because they thought it was ridiculous. And it turns out, that's just what it was.
The tattoo that sparked the Web frenzy isn't real. First off, I think a few people can give a sigh of relief that it isn't real. And we haven't really gone that far off the social media deep end to where our Facebook walls are displayed "Matrix"-style on our arms. As we said before, it wouldn't have been the first time someone tried to capture fame by using a social network site to name their kid or to get a tattoo. In this case it was all about publicity.
Moelker just came clean to the Dutch newspaper the Telegraaf, saying it was in fact a publicity stunt. The woman in the video didn't have the tattoo inked during a 30-hour period as the video claimed.
"It is a try out tattoo, a transfer, that washes off in a couple of days," he told them.
Phew. It may take some scrubbing to get it off, but I guess on the bright side that's all it will take. When it comes to viral videos, you never know what you're going to get (I'm looking at you, Rebecca Black. I still don't get if that song is real). But ironically, in this case, the ink shop got just what it wanted – a lot of free press. Hats off for an international viral campaign. It's not great when media outlets worldwide are duped by viral videos or stories – but if you're looking at it from a marketing perspective – you've got to "like" how well they pulled it off.
[Original blog posted at 11:24 a.m.] There are some people who "like" Facebook. And then there are people who are so devoted to their social media circle that they'll find some pretty extravagant ways to show it.
Mark down one woman in the Netherlands in the latter category. She's literally armed herself with the power of Facebook – in the form of a tattoo sleeve of her friends on Facebook.
The International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia announced Friday that it had convicted two Croatian generals of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Ante Gotovina, who commanded Croatia's Split military district during the mid-1990s war that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia, was sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Mladen Markac, who headed the Interior Ministry's Special Police, received an 18-year prison term.
A third general, Ivan Cermak, was acquitted of all charges and ordered released as soon as possible.
Gotovina and Markac participated in an ethnic cleansing operation in Croatia's Krajina region between July and September 1995, the court found. Under the leadership of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, the generals and others attempted to clear the Krajina of ethnic Serbs and repopulate it with Croats, the court said.
Tudjman, who died in 1999, never was officially charged with any crime.
The trial in The Hague, Netherlands, started in March 2008 and involved 145 witnesses and 4,819 evidence exhibits, the court said.
The verdict was greeted by boos and hisses from crowds gathered in the central square of Croatia's capital, Zagreb, the BBC reported. The generals are regarded by some as national heroes.
At least two people were killed in a shooting at a shopping mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, in the Netherlands, early Saturday, eyewitnesses tell CNN affiliate NOS.
Dutch researchers found the wreck of a World War I German submarine in 2009 but kept the discovery secret until this week, Radio Netherlands Worldwide reported.
The crew of the research ship HNLMS Snellius hoped they'd found a Dutch submarine that disappeared in 1940, but the vessel turned out to be much older. A brass plate indicated the sub was the German U-106, which sank during World War I, the radio report said.
The announcement of the discovery was delayed while German officials confirmed the sub's identity and sought out relatives of crew members, according to the radio report.
A Dutch navy spokesman told Radio Netherlands the U-boat would not be raised but would be designated a war memorial.
A Dutch documentary about a mentally ill and potentially dangerous 18-year-old has prompted lawmakers in the Netherlands to re-examine the permissible treatment of those in psychiatric care.
The documentary, which was produced by the Lutheran-run Evangelical Broadcasting Company and aired on public television Tuesday, followed Brandon van Ingen, a patient at a mental hospital in Ermelo. Since 2007, van Ingen has spent part of his days tethered to a wall due to the danger he poses to others, according to State Secretary for Public Health Marlies Veldhuijzen van
The program prompted widespread outrage across the country and sparked a national debate over the care of the mentally ill.FULL STORY
Dutch authorities have arrested 12 men of Somali origin they believe were about to carry out a terrorist attack, authorities said Saturday.
The country's intelligence service provided information that led to the arrests in Rotterdam, Public Prosecution Service spokesman Wim de Bruin told CNN.
No weapons or explosives were found, he said. The suspects are in police custody.
"The attack was said to be imminent so the national police started an investigation which led to the arrest of 12 Somalis later on Friday in Rotterdam," de Bruin said. "We are not sure about what the target was, how they were going to carry out the attack or when."
A Dutch counterterrorism office spokeswoman said the immediate threat to the country has been removed and the terror alert level will remain "limited," or relatively low.
"We are now following the information that comes out of the interrogations with these 12 individuals to see if there still remains a threat from this plot," said Judith Sluiter of the National Coordinator for Counterterrorism.
The men, between ages 19 and 48, were arrested in various locations. Police have searched a pawn shop, four homes and two hotel rooms, de Bruin said.FULL STORY
Sinterklaas - that's Santa Claus to Americans - has gone green in the Netherlands.
Giving large chocolate alphabet letters is a Dutch yuletide tradition. Sinterklaas leaves children's initials hidden in shoes and other surprising places, and bosses give them to employees.
Oxfam Novib, the Dutch branch of Oxfam International, started a campaign in 2007 to encourage people to give letters made with fair-trade chocolate.
Traditional chocolate production has exploited children's labor, including child trafficking. In the Ivory Coast alone, 150,000 children, 12,000 of whom have been trafficked, work in cocoa production under horrific conditions, according to Oxfam Novib.
Fair trade provides a fair price for products from developing countries, produced under good working conditions and sparing tropical forests, the organization says.
Five major grocery store chains and one of the Netherlands' leading producers of chocolate, Royal Verkade, have joined the campaign. The result: 96 percent of the 23 million letters that will be bought by December 5 (the day the Dutch celebrate Sinterklaas), will be made from all or partially sustainable products, Oxfam Novib says, according to De Telegraaf. Last year, just 15 percent were, Oxfam says.
Dutch forensic experts are analyzing a bone found on a beach in Aruba to see whether it's human and if so, whether it came from missing American teen Natalee Holloway, a Dutch newspaper reports.
"We are investigating some bone material sent from Aruba from the prosecutor's office," Inge Oevering, spokesperson for the NFI forensic institute in The Hague, Netherlands, told CNN. "We are trying to identify whether these bones are human. Once we establish if the bones are human we will try to get a DNA profile. All the findings will be sent back to the prosecutor's office, who will decide whether they are released."
The Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf said the bone was a jawbone and was found near Aruba's Phoenix hotel, a location previously noted by Joran van der Sloot, the prime suspect in Holloway's disappearance.
He is in jail in Peru, charged with murdering another young woman.
[Updated at 5:25 p.m.] An all-clear was given early Friday for Delta Flight 70 from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Mumbai, India, after a full emergency had been declared due to an unidentified object in plane's cargo hold, according to a Mumbai airport spokesman.
[Updated at 3:40 p.m.] Delta has said the plane is an Airbus A330 and it was carrying 235 passengers and 12 crew members. The flight originated at New York's John F. Kennedy International airport before stopping in Amsterdam.
A spokesman for India's Central Industrial Security Force had put the number at 247 people earlier.