In papijoe's kingdom...
...Poverty is on the rise
Soup kitchens and bread lines seem out of place in this affluent country long known for its generous welfare system, administered until recently by generations of socialist-leaning governments.
But the growing dependency on private charity by thousands of people reflects how Holland — long admired for its fast-paced growth, high employment and prosperity — is increasingly falling on hard times.
After years of strong growth, the economy has ground to a near standstill and since April 2004, the number of people receiving free food packages at the Dutch Food Bank has jumped from 600 per week to nearly 5,000. Thousands more go without.