EU is losing patience with Britain, warns Dutch minister

Sigrid Kaag throws further doubt on Boris Johnsons claim he is seeking new deal with Brussels Boris Johnsons claims to be conducting a Brexit renegotiation have come under fresh doubt as the UKs closest EU ally expressed alarm at the breathtaking developments in Westminster and the governments failure to table alternatives to the Irish backstop. The Dutch minister for trade, Sigrid Kaag, described the scenes being played out in London as unbelievable and warned of the EUs waning patience given the impact on European businesses of the continued uncertainty. Johnson committed in early August in discussions with EU leaders to swiftly tabling an alternative solution to the Irish backstop, which would temporarily keep Northern Ireland in the single market and …

Dutch council forces playground to close over noise complaints

More than 4,000 sign petition to overturn decision, which aimed to appease neighbours A national debate has been sparked in the Netherlands after a council ordered a primary school playground to be shut for being too noisy. Questions have been raised in the Dutch parliament and a campaign has been launched to save the playground in the wake of the decision by Nijmegen council. Residents in apartments near De Buut primary school had complained that its pupils regularly exceeded a 70-decibel limit, which applies across the country for residential areas and is enforced by local councils. Official readings reached 88 decibels. The schools director, Janneke Colsen, said the school had been told to close the playground by the end of …

Marker Wadden, the manmade Dutch archipelago where wild birds reign supreme

A silted-up lake has been transformed into the latest addition to the map of the Netherlands and an eco-haven teeming with wildlife It takes about an hour on the ferry, across often choppy waters, to reach the newest bit of the Europe muddied by swirling silt. Visitors on the main island. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Over the decades, the population of freshwater mussels vital for filtering the silt collapsed, along with the numbers of smelt fish, a favourite of local birdlife, including the common tern. It was a worrying sign of things to come. In 2011 Posthoorn, from the Natuurmonumenten, an NGO whose role combines that of the National Trust and the RSPB, tried to find a way through the political …