Dutch news in brief, Friday 11 September 2009

11th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Heated debate on cost of immigrants continues
Immigration and integration were once again debated in the Dutch parliament Thursday as MPs gathered to discuss how much non-Western immigrants are costing the Netherlands.

Dutch Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan told MPs that he has properly answered questions on the cost of immigrants in the Netherlands “do not want to keep tabs on various groups in society”.

"We do not keep accounts on the value of human beings," said Eberhard.

However, Geert Wilders' Freedom Party, whose hard-line position on Islam and integration has been dominating the political discussion on these issues, demanded for more information.

Freedom Party MP Sietse Fritsma called the cabinet's position disgraceful.

According to NRC-next, the Freedom Party lambasted the government for "not giving a damn about democracy", while the D66 Democrats and GreenLeft slammed the Freedom Party for having "abject intentions" and "only being interested in its own political message".

The paper also points out Wilders' party succeeded in putting his political rivals in "a tricky, ambivalent position".

On the one hand, MPs accuse the party of "creating divisions in society" and "backing certain groups into a corner". But on the other hand, they were forced to concede the point that the Dutch constitution defends every MP's right to demand the best possible information from the government.

The Socialist Party, the conservative VVD and Rita Verdonk are backing the Freedom Party's request for more information.
NRC-next also wrote the government is not revealing the entire truth despite the Dutch statistical office had carried out a study into the cost of migration as part of a parliamentary inquiry back in 2003.

The minister went on to compound the problem by admitting that the government's decision not to answer fully all questions submitted by the Freedom Party was "partly a political one".

The paper concludes the debate has given Wilders enough ammunition to reinforce his anti-establishment position, one that still has him riding high in the opinion polls.

Dutch infant death due to hospital’s errors
AD reports the Health Inspectorate is launching an investigation at the Westfries Hospital in the town of Hoorn, following an official inquiry into the tragic death of a two-day-old baby girl in May.

Under the headline "Major errors suspected after death of four babies", the paper reveals that three other child fatalities have since been reported, one by the hospital itself and two by concerned parents.

 In May, the hospital sent the parents home even though contractions had started and the mother was suffering from diabetes and had a problematic pregnancy when expecting her first child.

When they returned the next day, a conflict between a midwife and gynaecologist when complications arose meant help came too late and resulted in the death of a newborn baby.

The paper says that "reading between the lines of the dry medical terminology ... the report gives a chilling account of events". It points to "a string of wrong decisions. If that negative chain of events had been broken at some point, all would have been well".

Film of 1953 North Sea food hits big screen
Trouw reports of the filming of the worst natural disaster to hit the Netherlands in 1953.

Termed as the North Sea flood of 1953, the combination of a spring tide and a fierce northwesterly storm inundated much of the southern Netherlands and claimed 1,836 lives.

The paper reports that while every Dutchman and woman has seen archive footage of the disaster on TV, it has taken 56 years for someone to adapt this national trauma for the big screen.

The reasons for the delay were not just because of the sensitivities involved, “but also due to the sheer cost of recreating the disaster. It was only in 2008 that computer technology became advanced enough to recreate images of farmhouses being torn apart and water swirling over the dykes."

The film is being premiered in Vlissingen this evening at the town's Film by the Sea festival.

Trouw points out that while most audiences will experience The Storm as an exciting disaster movie, some spectators still remember the events first-hand.

MP Kees Slager, who was 14 at the time and attended the first showing of the movie complained the film doesn't capture the disaster as he remembers it.

"I missed the intense cold and the biting wind. The water was freezing and many of the victims died of hypothermia. No one went into the water unless they had to. But the heroine of the film wades right through it and you barely see her teeth chatter," he said after he gave the filmmakers credit for the production of the movie.

Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica

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