Dutch news in brief, Friday 13 March 2009

13th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Dutch cabinet suspends crisis talks
The cabinet was due to announce a package of measures Friday to curb the current economic crisis faced by the country.

However, it's Friday the 13th, which according to de Volkskrant is not a good omen. Talks have been suspended until Monday.

The coalition parties had been optimistic that they could find a solution to the crisis quickly. But by Tuesday the coalition had reached an impasse and the three parties have not convened around one table since then.

Trouw reports the crisis talks have become a personal quest for the prime minister to demonstrate his statesmanship.

Meanwhile in parliament, the speaker of the house is annoyed that the coalition party factions have "an unequal information position".

The divisions are clear. The Labour Party wants to pump money into the economy in the hope of an early recovery. The Christian Democrats, with an eye on the huge budget deficit, want to make cuts in spending now. And the Christian Union is hovering somewhere in the middle.

Former soldier returns to Srebrenica
Former Dutchbat soldier Rob Zomer is planning to emigrate with his family to an unlikely destination, reports Trouw.

Zomer is going back to Srebrenica – a Bosnian city linked to the killing of 7,000 Muslim men and boys by the Serb army in 1995.

Back then, Srebrenica was an UN-protected safe area with 400 armed Dutch peacekeepers. The failure of the Dutch troops to prevent the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II has long drawn criticism.

But the Srebrenica veteran is not going back to ease his conscience: "We did the right thing, so we have nothing to make up for."  Nor is it therapy.

Zomer hopes to help local builders back to work and rebuild some of the devastated houses in the city. He also wants to rent the houses to tourists, some of them Srebrenica veterans like himself.

Zomer has even thought up an unusual attraction: rides in a bordeaux red Hummer with his brigade's emblem on the bonnet and the names of Dutchbat soldiers who died on the grill.

Archaeologists oppose excavation of ancient Dutch burial sites
Plans to excavate one of the cultural historical treasures of the Netherlands are causing a commotion, reports AD.

Archaeologists oppose plans to excavate ancient burial sites in the northern province of Drenthe, known as the Hunnebedden while the managing director of a museum next to one of the 54 remaining burial sites hopes the excavation will reveal the secrets currently hidden under the piles of boulders.

The Hunnebedden date from 3500 before Christ, but were reused by other peoples in the Stone Age and Bronze Age.

In 1983, a teenager discovered parts of a skull and bits of pottery. His illicit digging inadvertently revealed that people were still being buried there 2,000 years after it was built.

Many tombs are covered with concrete to prevent grave robbers from stealing from them after 1968 when the last official excavation took place.

A spokesperson for the government agency which will decide on whether to excavate explains: "Keeping it in the ground is the best guarantee of conservation."

Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica

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