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Aug 21, 2012

Dutch homeowners slapped with surprise medieval tax

This story gives the saying "going Dutch" a whole new meaning.

Homeowners living near the 13th century Renwoude castle east of Utrecht in The Netherlands have been given a surprise tax to renovate the castle. Thirty households in the village of Kamerik have been given a tax totaling one million euros ($1.25 million).

The tax, known as the "dertiende penning" or "13th penny" dates back many centuries to when the area around Utrecht was uncultivated. People who wanted to buy land had to pay their feudal overseer a percentage of the purchase price.This tax has been waived for many years, perhaps centuries, but now the noble family that owns Renwoude is enforcing it to pay for renovations.

The residents, needless to say, are fighting the tax.

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