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Yearbook 2004

Flag - NetherlandsNetherlands. Immigration and integration were the dominant elements of the domestic policy debate during the year. At the beginning of the year, the center-right government decided that 26,000 refugees who had refused their asylum applications should be expelled within three years. The opposition and a large part of the population protested vigorously. However, the noises were changed when the controversial filmmaker and writer Theo van Gogh was murdered by an Islamist fanatic in early November. The murder triggered threats against Muslims and attacks on mosques. According to CountryAAH, the total population in Netherlands is 17,134,883 people in 2020. Many also made demands for immigration stops, even though the Netherlands already sharpened immigration laws in 2001 and the number of asylum seekers has decreased by more than a third since then. A large part of the country's Muslims, about 5% of the population, felt unfairly singled out for the deed they were distancing from. The reactions became stronger than when the right-wing populist Pim Fortuyn was murdered in 2002, partly because the perpetrator this time was a young man of Moroccan origin who appeared to have committed the act because of van Gogh's criticism of violence against women in Muslim families. The fortune was murdered by an animal rights activist.

2004 Netherlands

During the autumn, several strikes were carried out in protest of planned cuts in the 2005 budget. At one time, at least 200,000 people demonstrated against the government's proposal for deterioration in, among other things. health care, frozen salaries for civil servants and raising the retirement age to 67 years. The aim was to reduce the budget deficit and adapt the system to the aging population.

From January 1, the Netherlands received a strict tobacco law prohibiting smoking in public places, such as train and bus stations, as well as on trains and in taxis. In workplaces, smoking may only occur if there are special smoking rooms with fans, and it is not mandatory for the employer to provide them. Restaurants, hotels and bars were postponed until 2005.

At the turn of the year, the Netherlands took over the EU Presidency from Ireland.

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