Or however you spell it. The silly Dutch cabinet got a lot of publicity in October 2005 when the evil witch of an 'integration minister' Rita Verdonk said she wanted to ban the burqa on security grounds. Then the issue blew up again at the end of 2006. There is no burqa ban in the Netherlands at the time of writing (January 2008) but the cabinet plans to introduce a ban on the burqa on public transport, for the civil service and in schools - on security grounds.

In my 20 odd years in Amsterdam, I have never seen one. If you do, it is probably being worn by an uncover journalist writing an expose of how horrid everyone is to burqa-wearers. Or a friend of Amsterdam's home grown terrorist group who is avoiding being photographed.

Experts, who ever they are, say there are around 100 burqa wearers in the country. Probably all in Rotterdam.