The Netherlands Hub

European Scientist To Cook And Eat His Own Lab-Grown Hamburger

Dr. Mark Post

Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands has grown his own hamburger. Not from a cow but from bovine stem cells in his laboratory, and will be cooking and eating his own project. This endeavor for lab-grown meat took years of research and cost €250,000 to make, but could change the meat industry if proven viable. The factory-farmed meat industry is inefficient, cattle and pork in particular, and requires massive amounts of resources for the amount of meat harvested. The process also results in substantial negative environmental impacts as well as almost universal inhumane treatment of livestock.

Lab-grown meat, if proven tasty enough to take off in the consumer marketplace, could mitigate these negative impacts, perhaps most notably by reducing the amounts of CO2 and methane that are released into the atmosphere from factory farms. Additionally, the cost of meat could be lowered and more could be made to feed the earth's ever-growing human population, which is expected to hit 9.5 billion by 2060.

Safety for human consumption is also a concern that a spokesperson for the UK's Food Standards Agency, which is analogous to the FDA or USDA, addressed by stating,

Any novel food, or food produced using a novel production process, must undergo a stringent and independent safety assessment before it is placed on the market. Anyone seeking approval of an in vitro meat product would have to provide a dossier of evidence to show that the product is safe, nutritionally equivalent to existing meat products, and will not mislead the consumer. This would be evaluated under the EU regulation for novel foods, prior to a decision on authorisation. There have been no such applications to date.

The taste-test is scheduled to occur this Monday, shortly after lunchtime.

Meet The Four Dutch Citizens Arrested Under Russia's New Anti-Gay Law

Kris-van-der-veenNews spread quickly shortly after four Dutch citizens were the first foreign citizens to be arrested under Russia's anti-gay "propaganda" ban recently signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Now, the Washington Blade is releasing some more details surrounding the event in question, as well as the individuals themselves. 

It was previously reported that the four were arrested at a summer camp in the city of Murmansk on Sunday. Said arrests took place during a human rights seminar, which included a local LGBT rights organization among others. The four dutch citizens were guests of the seminar and members of the Dutch advocacy group "LGBT Groningen". One of them, Kris van der Veen, president of the organization, was there to give a lecture, as was confirmed recently by the Blade.

The group also explained that the four members were also there to film a documentary on gay life in Russia. Local media reported them interviewing a 17-year-old gay teen before being taken into custody by local authorities. According to reports, the four were scheduled to appear in a Murmansk court on Monday, and were released after being fined 3,000 rubles, which equates to approximately $93 USD. Van der Veen wrote on his Facebook profile, shortly thereafter: "We are still in Murmansk...It is about the documentary, gay propaganda. It is good, but it’s still very vague what’s next." It is not yet known exactly when the four expect to return to the Netherlands. 

While van der Veen and company are the first foreign citizens to be arrested under the new anti-gay propaganda law, they are not the first to be arrested. 40 LGBT activists were previously arrested in St. Petersburg after a demonstration on June 29, and 30 were arrested on May 24 after protesters tried to stage a pride celebration outside of Moscow city hall. LGBT advocates from St. Petersburg are scheduled to go on trial this Thursday. 

Activists such as Harvey Fierstein have already referred to such acts as this as a "declaration of war on homosexuals". Many are subsequently calling for a boycott of the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi. While the U.S. State Department and European Union have expressed their disapproval of all Russia's recent anti-gay legislation, it is still unclear whether any action will be taken. 

Dutch Lesbian Couple Hides As Foster Son's Turkish Parents Demand Return

TCustody2There may be an international incident brewing in The Hague, Netherlands, where a lesbian couple raising a Turkish foster son have gone into hiding to avoid returning the son to the biological parents from whose care he was ordered removed (pictured).

According to NPR, the 9 year-old boy, Yunus, was a baby living in The Netherlands with his Turkey-born parents when child services removed him from their care. Two other children were also meant to be removed but the parents took them back to Turkey before child services could intervene.

Now, as Turkish politicians rally against the concept of same-sex parents raising Muslim children, Yunus' parents are calling for his return, a call that comes just as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares for an official trip to The Netherlands.

While hardliners back home want Erdogan to fight for Yunus' return, his government doesn't really want to get involved, particularly because Yunus' placement with the couple was an official child service's decision. From NPR:

Lodewijk Asscher, the Dutch vice prime minister, told reporters Friday that the issue is an internal Dutch matter and that political interference from Turkey is "inappropriate."

Child social services in The Hague said there was no specific threat against Yunus or his foster parents, but he has been kept home from school as a precaution since the interview aired.

The Hague Youth Services Agency has decided it is better for Yunus and his foster parents "to stay at another address for a time, partly in connection with the visit of the prime minister next week," spokeswoman Tanja van Dijk said in a telephone interview with national broadcaster NOS. "For safety, and also because of the quiet that both Yunus and his foster parents of course now need."

Asscher also praised the lesbian couple for raising a child that was "in danger" in his biological parents' care. "People who are willing to take care of somebody else's child deserve our admiration," he said.

Dutch Catholics Getting 'De-Baptized' To Protest Anti-Gay Pope

PopeBenThousands of Dutch Catholics have had enough of Pope Benedict's constant verbal attacks on gay people and are reportedly looking for a way to protest the homophobic pontiff by leaving the church all together.

Tom Roes, whose website allows people to download the documents needed to leave the Church, said traffic on – "" – had soared from about 10 visits a day to more than 10,000 after Pope Benedict’s latest denunciation of gay marriage this month.

"Of course it’s not possible to be ‘de-baptized’ because a baptism is an event, but this way people can unsubscribe or de-register themselves as Catholics," Roes told Reuters.

He said he did not know how many visitors to the site actually go ahead and leave the Church.

About 28 percent of the population in the Netherlands is Catholic and 18 percent is Protestant, while a much larger proportion – roughly 44 percent – is not religious, according to official statistics.

In addition to protesting homophobia in the church's ranks, Roes says he's also furious over the Vatican's sexual abuse cover-ups. Another group of activists performed similar "de-baptisms" in The Netherlands last year.

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Blasts Pope's Anti-Gay Politics

PopebenfingerFrans Timmermans is not amused by Pope Benedict's repeated attacks on gay people.

Speaking with RTL News, the Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister wondered how the Pope and his pals at the Vatican claim to respect everyone's uniqueness while simultaneously trying to squash sexual diversity.

"If every person is unique... then why should that unique person not have the right to stand up for their own sexual orientation?" said Timmermans. "Why can Romeo marry Julia but not Julius? Marriage between two people of the same sex is having respect for the uniqueness of the individual."

Of course, in the Vatican's eyes, sex is not so much about the individuals (married male and females, naturally) involved as it is about the individual is could - and they say should - create.

Dutch Caribbean Island Saba Legalizes Marriage Equality


Though The Netherlands approved marriage equality in 2001, they gave their various island municipalities more time to overcome local opposition. One of those islands, Saba, managed to do just that: officials held their first same-sex marriage there earlier this month, and it seems more are on the way.

From the Washington Post:

A speck of an island in the Dutch Caribbean has become increasingly popular with gay couples after legislators legalized same-sex marriages in a region still openly hostile to gays and lesbians.

Two men were recently married in Saba, marking the first ceremony of its kind in the region and setting off a frenzy of calls from gay couples in other Dutch Caribbean islands seeking to marry, said Julietta Woods with Saba’s Civil Registry office.”People keep calling me every second,” she said by telephone this week.

While Saba currently stands alone in approving same-sex marriages, Bonaire and St. Eustatius are expected to follow.

The other Dutch Caribbean islands of St. Maarten, Curacao and Aruba have to recognize same-sex marriages but don’t have to legalize them because they have a more autonomous relationship with the Netherlands.

The paper reports France's Caribbean holdings Martinique and Guadeloupe are going to debate the matter as French authorities lay the groundwork for equality there.


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