What's new on 1 May?

On 1 May, the Flemish public broadcaster VRT starts with a third channel, which will focus on children's programmes between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Dutch so-called "coffee shops" should only sell soft drugs to Dutch citizens, while chemists have to offer clients the cheapest type of antibiotics.
  • The VRT is launching a third channel today, a digital channel which will host the children's and young people's channel Ketnet (photo) non-stop between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. The separate channel means that the children's programmes will no longer have to be interrupted by live coverage for sports events. These will stay on the second channel, Canvas. After 8 p.m., the third channel will be called "OP 12" and there will be room for a special programme aimed at reaching an international audience. The programme will be in English and should start in autumn. It targets expats and people who do not speak Dutch, with the aim of making them more familiar with life in Flanders.
  • The so-called "coffee shops" in the Netherlands, cafés selling soft drugs, are no longer allowed to sell to foreign consumers. Only Dutch citizens can buy soft drugs, and they have to hold a special "weed pass", a kind of membership card of the cannabis café. The restrictions only apply to the Dutch coffee shops located in the border area, with the aim of reducing drug tourism in the Netherlands. However, some claim that this will not solve the problem, as the drugs will be sold in the illegal circuit and in other places. This could cause even more nuisance, it is feared. Belgian police have stepped up efforts to carry out border checks. The ban will later be extended to all Dutch coffee shops.
  • Chemists are obliged to offer the cheapest type of antibiotics to their clients. The measure was taken by the federal government to save money in the health sector.