spend 461,000 euros to fence off king's Greek holiday home
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[August 21, 2014]
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The Dutch
government paid 461,000 euros ($615,000) to erect a fence around King
Willem-Alexander's seaside villa in southern Greece, RTL News reported
on Wednesday, drawing media criticism and demands for an explanation.
The Dutch monarchy remains popular one year after Willem-Alexander
ascended the throne after the abdication of his mother Queen
Beatrix, but critics say it costs too much, especially at a time
when the country is struggling to emerge from recession.
The RTL broadcaster published documents showing a neighbor had
received 461,000 euros for allowing the Dutch the right to erect a
fence on two strips of land bordering the property. The strips of
land had a market value of only about 35,000 euros.
Dutch media jumped on the report, with popular web portals
questioning the use of taxpayers' money. "Dutch state ripped off,"
read one headline. "Dutch state forks out half a million for fence",
On Wednesday, opposition MP Alexander Pechtold said he would seek
clarification about the need to spend so much on a fence.
It is the second time this summer that spending by the Dutch royals
has made the headlines. In June, questions were raised in parliament
about a 900,000 euro renovation at one of the family palaces.
The House of Oranje, or Orange, was Europe's most expensive monarchy
last year, costing 39.9 million euros.
It declined to confirm the financial details of the fence.
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"The Dutch state will have the right to enact any kind of security
measures that the state thinks necessary, including the planting of
trees, the building of walls and the placing of any other kind of
security construction," according to the contract published by RTL.
Willem-Alexander bought the holiday retreat in 2012, the year before
he ascended the throne as the Netherlands' first male head of state
in more than a century.
(Reporting by Thomas Escritt. Editing by Anthony Deutsch and Gareth
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