Dutch news in brief, Friday 14 August 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
More economic doom and gloom in the Netherlands
Friday papers report the latest official figures show the Netherlands doing worse than France and Germany. Trouw writes the neighbouring countries show economic growth of 0.3 percent while the Netherlands was still in recession to the tune of 0.9 percent in the second quarter of the year.
The paper thinks this is due to French and German government measures to stimulate their economies. It points out since the Netherlands is a trading nation, much of its business is relied on goods produced elsewhere. Major production economies such as Germany will have to recover before the Netherlands can.
De Volkskrant is also gloomy, informing us that recent official Dutch predictions of growth in 2010 take for granted that world trade will recover quicker than initially expected. However, the paper believes present growth is due to companies having to restock and that this is providing only a temporary upturn.
“There comes a time when the consumer will have to take over and start buying goods, but the question remains whether this will happen given rising unemployment. The recovery will be slow and extremely fragile,” an economist warned.
Regional community hit by spate of suicides
Nrc.next reports of the possible reasons why there are so many cases of suicides, drugs and alcohol abuse in the West Friesland region of North Holland.
In “Around here, we don’t talk about our problems”, the paper highlights the area has a suicide rate three times the national average.
In less than a year, three local young people have killed themselves.
The latest teenager who threw himself under a train appeared to be happy: he was studying maths in Amsterdam, did lots of sport and had lots of friends.
A psychologist tells us young people can seem happy “on the outside but can feel dark or lonely inside”.
Underage drinking is seen as tough by the local community and parents turn a blind eye. However, the expert points out that readily available drugs and alcohol “actually makes feelings of depression worse”.
The local culture of ‘cut the crap and get down to work’ is also another factor.
“They find it hard to deal with dark emotions […] so these are suppressed. This can sometimes lead to a kind of emotional deafness,” added the psychologist.
Parents want better school security
The AD reports “Parents want safer playgrounds” as research shows almost 50 percent of parents think there is easy access to primary school playgrounds and there is lack of proper security.
A researcher explained: “Many playgrounds are not fenced in. Anybody can walk there; it’s difficult for schools to keep tabs on it.”
Traffic around schools also worries parents, who don’t like their children cycling or walking to school as a result.
However, that particular problem appears to be caused by parents themselves who dropped off and picked their children up by cars.
Fire service wants night sky lanterns banned
The fire service is apparently calling for a ban on sky lanterns. De Telegraaf says the craze for the flame-powered paper lanterns at weddings and birthdays are a fire risk for buildings and woods.
Low-flying lanterns can also be a motoring hazard, distracting drivers from the road.
“The lanterns are made of flimsy materials at the mercy of the weather. This means they can easily be blown onto objects,” said a fire service spokesman, urging people to use their common sense.
“But these lanterns are usually set off at parties. The question is whether people have much common sense after a drink.”
Dutch navy causes splash in Spain
The AD sports a front-page photo of Spanish police looking angry on a beach, to a backdrop of bemused holidaymakers and a rubber speedboat. “Dutch navy a menace to seaside in Spain,” reads the headline.
Seven Dutch, five Belgian and three British members of a NATO squadron spent a free day racing four rubber boats and a water scooter for two hours off a beach in northern Spain. Holidaymakers were terrorised by the shenanigans, while orders from local police to stop were ignored.
A local government spokesman said: “Some of them were drunk.”
A major diplomatic incident was only averted when four NATO commanders offered abject apologies at the local town hall, promising to discipline the men..
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica