Coffee Shop Closed

posted Dec 17, 2011, 6:54 AM by Terri Chapman   [ updated Dec 17, 2011, 6:56 AM ]

Alkmaar - On Thursday 8 December the court decided that the Stepping Inn (in Heerhugowaard) and Stepping Out (in Alkmaar) coffee shops can be shut down while waiting for the final court decision on their appeal against the temporary closing. Stepping Out in Alkmaar is therefore closed down for a period of 4 months beginning on 9 December 2011.

On 4 September a large stock of drugs (hemp and hash) was found at Stepping out during a check by the North Holland region police and the KLPD. 52 kilos was found while the legal limit according to the opium law is a maximum of 500 grams.
Alkmaars Nieuwsblad
14 December 211
(note: A 'coffee shop' in Holland is a cafe where soft drugs are sold.)

Only 65 windows will be closed

posted Sep 9, 2011, 5:34 AM by Terri Chapman

Not 92, but 65 windows will be closed on the Achterdam. Mayor Piet Bruinooge made that announcement on Wednesday. last month the appeals court had determined that 92 of the 120 prostitution windows on the Achterdam had to close, but the city has agreed to let 27 remain open. In addition, 7 new prostitution windows will be added.

As a result, there will be 62 prostitution windows. The Achterdam conflict started in 2008 when the mayor of Alkmaar refused to renew the business permit for the Nool firm because the units were apparently bought with funds earned via criminal activities. The court in Alkmaar found that there was not enough evidence to prove that claim, but the appeals court ruled otherwise. In the appeals court decision it was noted that 27 of the 92 units were not purchased with criminally obtained funds. For that reason, the city is allowing those windows to remain open.

In 'good consultation' the mayor and the business owners (of the units) agreed to concentrate the prostitution trade as much as possible in the Achterdam. Opportunities for housing and retail trade  are freed up on the ends of the street. The mayor declared that he has one goal: "We want to reduce the amount of criminal activity. For this reason, we are trying to work with the prostitution business owners. With less windows, everything is easier to control." Bruinooge will include other agreements in a covenant between the city and the owners. The city issues permits for just a year. So every year the city can check to see that the owners are holding up their end of the bargain.

Mayor Bruinooge: Closing windows is the 'start sign' for a new Achterdam

posted Jul 21, 2011, 5:37 AM by Terri Chapman   [ updated Jul 21, 2011, 5:50 AM ]

ALKMAAR Mayor Piet Bruinooge van Alkmaar sees the closing of 92 of the 140 prostitution windows as a start sign for a new Achterdam (the prostitution street in Alkmaar). As far as he is concerned, activities besides prostitution should also be available in the street.

Thus was his reactions Wednesday to the decision of the court of appeals. The 140 prostitution windows that are currently on the Achterdam in Alkmaar is, according to Bruinooge, too many for a city of 90,000 residents. The mayor believes that around 50 prostitutes is enough for this town. 

“It is certainly not my intention to ban window prostitution ”, says  Bruinooge. “I want to keep the prostitution visible by only allowing it on the street front of the Achterdam and not in all the back alleys off of it. It needs to be a street with varied activities with space partially for prostitution and partially for other things.' 

'Fighting the nuisance'
Bruinooge realizes that the prostitutes may move to some other location in the city, or even outside of it. 'But my main goal was to fight against crime and nuisances in and around my city. I am convinced that the closing of the windows will contribute to reaching that goal.' 

The Alkmaar mayor is thrilled with the decision of the appeals court that ended the years long legal battle witht Koos Nool, the owner of prostitution business that is being shut down. “I have always believe that this would end well.”

This article appeared originally in Dutch on the website from RTV - N-H (North Holland)

Prostitution street in Alkmaar can be partially shut down

posted Jul 20, 2011, 6:25 AM by Terri Chapman   [ updated Jul 20, 2011, 6:37 AM ]

The prostitution street in Alkmaar will be forced to be partially closed. The 92 windows from Koos Nol which were denied a permit by the mayor in 2008 will be affected. 

The high court has determined that the decision to deny the permit was a good one. The report showed that the units had been purchased with criminal money and that the the possibility of future criminal activity exists. 

Apparently a part of the ransom money that was received when  Freddy Heineken was kidnapped in 1983 was used to buy 

This article was originally published in Dutch on the website of RTL News.

De Dobber youth center

posted Jun 17, 2011, 5:25 AM by Terri Chapman

Earlier this month friends of ours were able to help out with a community event at the Dobber youth center...one of the stops on the Ark Plein walk. It was a wonderfully positive event that drew a large number of young people and their parents. Pray that positive events like this can continue to be a part of life in this neighborhood.

Arkplein update

posted Jun 17, 2011, 5:23 AM by Terri Chapman

Not only is there still a problem with the youth hanging in the area and causing problems, but there is now a couple living in one of the apartment buildings on Ark Plein who are having major fights! It is to the point that the neighbors are afraid and have even had to call the police. After one incident the woman ended up in a cast and on crutches. Pray for a resolution to the conflicts within this home.

Arkplein update

posted Apr 8, 2011, 12:36 PM by Terri Chapman

We received  this note recently from friends who live just off of Arkplein:
"Unfortunately we have some trouble again with the hangjeugd (youth who are hanging out). About 3 to 4 times a week they are very rowdy on the Arkplein and in our car park. We are still praying for our neighborhood. We had one incident where a resident came after them with a baseball bat because he asked them to go away as they were smoking drugs in front of number 26. They gave the guy a big mouth several times so he went after them. The police was called and came with 2 cars and later an ambulance arrived. But nobody was severely hurt. We can understand his actions and frustration but we do not believe this is the solution as the youth becomes then the victim instead  as then the police will side up with them and not the residents anymore."

City council falls

posted Mar 11, 2011, 11:46 AM by Terri Chapman   [ updated Apr 8, 2011, 12:39 PM ]

ALKMAAR The Alkmaar city council collapsed on Thursday afternoon over the question of the Alkmaar Medical Center (hospital) moving to Heerhugowaard. During an emergency meeting of the total city government council a majority of members voted a lack of trust in the council.

A majority of the Alkmaar politicians don''t want Alkmaar to end up without a hospital and thinks that not enough has been done to keep the hospital in Alkmaar. A broad spectrum of political parties has joined together and submitted a motion indicating lack of trust in the governing council.

The motion received the support of yet another political party which resulted in the support of a majority of the city rulers. Mayor Bruinooge especially hard hit during te meeting. One party even asked for his resignation. Bruinooge didn't want to discuss his own position on Thursday evening. He is going to Haarlem on Friday to discuss the situation with the queen's comissioner, Johan Remkes.

Two political parties have blown up the council based on assumptions rather than arguments, Twittered another party leader, Paul Verbruggen on Thursday evening. The council in Alkmaar is a coalition of 5 political parties.

5 more years of medical clinics
The governing council of the city chose the new location for the hospital in Heerhugowaard last week after discussing it with the Oversight council. The operating rooms, intensive care, cardiology intervention center, emergency care, obstetrics and nursing departments will be relocated here. It is expected that the first building phase will be completed in 2015. The medical specialty clinics will most likely remain in Alkmaar for 5 more years.

The hospital has wanted to expand for a number of years, but that can't happen in it's current location in the Alkmaarder Hout. There were other potential locations discussed in Alkmaar and the Schermer, but because they couldn't be built on as quickly, they were dropped from consideration. 

Translated from an article published on the RTV N-H (Radio + TV Noord Holland) website on 10 March 2011

Alkmaar mayor fears that prostitution will move into neighborhoods

posted Mar 9, 2011, 5:06 PM by Terri Chapman   [ updated Mar 9, 2011, 5:22 PM ]

ALKMAAR The dropping of the requirement for prostitutes working out of their homes to get permits could lead to prostitution moving into residential neighborhoods. At least that is the fear of Mayon Bruinooge in Alkmaar.

The proposed law 'Prostitution Regulation' includes dropping permitting requirements. Mayor Piet Bruinooge wrote a letter about this issue to the government ('The second room') on Friday. The government will be debating the issue and the potential new law soon.

The sex industry is creative
The city of Alkmaar released the letter on Monday. It is obvious in the letter that Bruinooge fears that it is just a matter of time before prostitution moves into residential neighborhoods, particularly areas with lower cost housing. "The creativity in the sex industry will result in those running the prostitution trade realizing that selling their services in a regular residence is attractive and easily accessible for clients."

Originally published on the RTV N-H (Radio + TV Noord Holland) website on 7 March 2011

National Week of Prayer

posted Jan 10, 2011, 4:14 AM by Terri Chapman

January 16-22 is the national week of prayer in the Netherlands. The theme this year is "Faithful and Committed" Will you join us in praying for this country this week?

We have translated the prayer guide put out by the Evangelical Alliance into English for you to use.

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