Is it actually there?

Economic times are uncertain. Stock markets around the world are on a downward trajectory. Ordinary citizens watch the evening news and hear stories of bankers operating without any sense of integrity or responsibility, other then their own pay-check and perks. They see their leaders throwing away massive, inconceivable amounts of money we can't afford to begin with, mortgaging an economic future that is perceived to be considerably less sunny then the talking heads on our screens want us to believe.

Central banks all across the western world are running rough-shod over their own national currencies with misguided neo-Keynesian wet farts. Measures whose effect is always less then predicted and a lot less lasting to boot (Greek bail-out I and II, anyone?). World-wide the calls for re-introduction of the gold standard are increasing.

In such times is it any wonder that the traditional, time-tried means of wealth-storage are finding new popularity? The modest KV household portfolio is made up of silver, gold and oil related shares. And doing quite nicely, thank you. Even in the midst of the economic storm currently blowing. As such it is re-assuring to read that the Dutch government has 615 tonnes of gold (2010) in reserve, some 60% of the total foreign exchange reserves.

Or is it? The Dutch National Bank (DNB) is rather secretive about its gold reserves. It won't tell us, for instance, how much of the 612 tonnes is held physically and how much of it is held in claims. That distinction is rather important. It is the difference between having money in your pocket, or having a piece of paper with IOU scribbled on it. Physically held gold has value, outstanding claims may turn out not to be worth the paper they are written on.

This is not just a Dutch issue. Elsewhere, in the US the same worry has been expressed rather forcefully by congressman Ron Paul.
"The Treasury Department has been less than transparent with the results of its gold audits. It is asking the American people to trust that all the gold is there, while not allowing site visits and not publishing all the data it holds on its audits and assays," Paul said in a press statement. "Since most of this gold was originally seized from the American people in the 1930s, they deserve more transparency than a handful of financial statements."
This would equally apply to us, Netherlanders. The gold reserve DNB is claiming to hold, is it actually there?

In a bid to find out, De Vrijspreker has started a petition asking for an investigation into the Dutch gold reserves. As soon has the 1,000 mark is hit, a formal request for such an investigation will be filed. The petition is here. Head on over and sign it. It is certainly worth to at least try to find out, isn't it?

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