All posts filed under “Europe

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Amsterdam Traffic Jam

Amsterdam is drowning in tourists and (new) city dwellers. The city saw some 17 million tourists and (Dutch) visitors in 2016, up from 12 million in 2012. Some say the number of visitors could hit 30 million by 2025. And: every year 10,000 people move to the Dutch capital. The gif above, based on a video shot by photographer Thomas Slijper, shows crossing of the Kort Prinsengracht and the Haarlemmerstraat – about 5 minutes by foot from Amsterdam Central Station. Especially biking has become a balancing act. (source)

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Roads in Ireland

OpenStreetMap (OSM) is a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. Users of the app upload the data of their daily travels to OSM, and these roads show op the empty canvas. In 2006, this project started in Ireland, and as seen in the video above, roads lighten up the canvas and start to show the entirety of the island.

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Rethinking Dutch Economics Education

Last week, the Dutch branch of Rethinking Economics published a study on the build-up of  Dutch economics curricula (bachelor’s). Rethinking Economics is an international network of students, academics and professionals whose goal it is to diversify and renew contemporary economic thinking. The major conclusion this study draws is that Dutch economics education is dominated by the study of market mechanisms among rational, utility-maximising actors. This stems from the supremacy of neoclassical economics in Dutch economics education, with 86% of the theory course time assigned to that economic school. None of the other schools of economic thought have more than 4% of course time. Another area the study focuses on, as seen in the figures, is research methods. Rethinking Economics NL criticises the lack of qualitative analysis, and conclude that ‘students are effectively blinded by to all aspects of the economy which cannot be expressed in numbers’. Lastly, another big complaint is that three-quarters of the curriculum is dominated by abstract theory and methods, and not by real world economics. (source)

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Mapping the Dutch Old ‘Boys’ Network

The Dutch data visualisation company ‘Datagraver’, has mapped the network of over a 1.000 active leaders in Dutch corporate, (semi-)government and NGO society. The network shows more than 18.000 relations (‘edges’), and further analysis in Gephi resulted in a top 25 of the most influential, well-connnected. Pauline van der Meer Mohr, a former university president and currenty chairing the Supervisory Board of Ernst & Young, tops the list. 8 out of the top 25 are women, which is quite surprising, as well as the number of relatively unknown (i.e. unmentioned in the media) entries in this list. (source)

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Greece’s Biggest Banks Pass Stress Test

Greece’s four largest banks – the National Bank of Greece, Alpha Bank, Eurobank and Piraeus Bank – have passed the latest ‘stress tests’ applied by the European Central Bank. The banks appear to have sufficient capital buffers to weather an adverse scenario (three years of negative/slow GDP growth). The ECB shows the average core capital ratio (CET1 ratio) would drop by 9 percentage points. These Greek banks were put through an accelerated timetable, because the thrid  in order to complete the test before the third aid package for Greece runs out in August. (source)

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The Evolution of EU Spending

This week, the European Commission presented its proposal for the budget for the period 2021-2027 – the so-called Multiannual Financial Framework. The size of the proposed 7-year budget is  EUR 1,279, about 1,1% of the EU-27 gross national income. The graph above shows the last 30 years, priorities have shifted from agriculture and cohesion to “other programmes”, like innovation, climate change and migration. (source)

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No, Strikes Are Not Making A Comeback

On the first of May, we celebrate International Workers’ Day, a commemoration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement. One of the ways the labour movement (via unions) impacted society, was through strikes. In the last decades, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease of strikes throughout the world:

These stats go hand-in-hand with the decline of trade unions; according to data from the International Labour Organization, the labour union density (percentage of amount of workers in trade unions vs all workers) has decreased in all major economies. However, workers in The Netherlands have bucked that trend in the last couple of years. According to data published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) today, the amount of strikes surged since 2011 and was at its highest in 2017 since 1989, whereas the labour unions grew thinner and thinner. Although this was quite the headline, looking at the amount of lost working days, this was nothing more than an anomaly. The amount of strikes in The Netherlands have risen over the last seven years, but the amount of one-day strikes was a big part of that: looking at lost working days, the statistics have roughly remained the same. The role unions play in the strikes have remained the same: in eight of the ten cases were part of the strike. In conclusion, although the headlines in Dutch news make you believe that strikes are making a comeback, they roughly remained the same. (source in Dutch)

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The Berlin Housing Boom

Source: Immowelt.de

According to data from Immowelt.de, a real estate company, the average rent in Berlin has risen by over 50% between 2012 and 2017. It is cause by the huge influx of new city dwellers. The biggest price hikes are found in Kreuzberg (+74%), Wedding (+64%) and Treptow (+63%). Germans are, compared to other Europeans, more likely to rent and public-sector subsidies and private-sector development have resulted in a relatively stable and attractive rental market. But this changing. (source – in German)

 

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Housing Prices Surge Across The EU

On Wednesday, the European Union published data on housing prices across the EU for the fourth quarter of 2017. Housing prices across the EU surged on average by 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2017, year on year, according to Eurostat. As shown in the graph, the highest annual increase in house prices in the EU for the fourth quarter of 2017 was recorded in Ireland (+11.8%). Interestingly, looking at Dublin alone, housing prices have increased by a whopping 90% since 2007. Only Italy saw it’s housing prices decrease compared to Q4 of 2016: a decrease of 0.3%. (source)

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Closing Up Shop in the UK

Although it looks as if the worst of the financial crisis is over, more and more physical stores are closing in the United Kingdom, according to data by the Local Data Company (LDC) for PwC. Subsequently, fewer shops are opening up. On an average day in 2017, eleven shops would open in the UK, while sixteen would close. The biggest victims of this development were fashion and footwear stores. According to PwC, most of the decline can be attributed to the fact that wage growth failed to keep up with inflation, the volatility of the pound since the Brexit decision and the ongoing rise of online sales. Not all is lost for physical stores: there was a rise in the number of beauty shops in 2017, while cafes, coffee shops, ice-cream parlours and bookstores also increased in number.