Dutch news in brief, Friday 15 May 2009

15th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

The Toppers fails to qualify
De Telegraaf laments the fact that the Dutch entry fails to qualify for the Eurovision Song Contest in spite of a spectacular show.

The Toppers trio is pictured wearing sparkly grey suits and having a white light in the palm of their hands while performing Shine. Behind them stand the backing singers in white dresses with blond wigs and columns of fire shoot up in front of them.

The trio, made up of three well-known Dutch singers Gordon, Rene Froger and Jeroen van der Boom, were disappointed.

While Jeroen  pointed out that the Baltic States voted for one another, Gordon said he was happy to fulfill the dream of a lifetime.

“We have put the contest back on the map in the Netherlands,” he said.

The Dutch Eurovision entry has never made it to the final since the semi-finals were introduced five years ago. 

Public service broadcaster NOS said it will televise the final in spite of earlier threats to pull the programme if force is used to prevent a banned gay rights demonstration also taking place in Moscow on Saturday.

Gordon has decided not to take part in the illegal demo after both the gay rights organisation involved and the Russian authorities said his safety could not be guaranteed.

Curacao awaits autonomy referendum
Curacao is holding a referendum on future autonomy of the island.

In the proposal, the Netherlands agrees to scrap 70 percent of the island’s EUR-1.7-billion debt, as long as the former colonial power can retain control over Curacao’s spending.

De Volkskrant reports it is a neck-and-neck race and the people have been so emotionally-charged it is likely there could be rioting once results are announced. 

According to Trouw, the divisions run along traditional lines. The rich islanders and the white community are in the coalition’s Yes camp and the island’s poor support the opposition’s No campaign.

The paper questions the change in attitude as there was a large majority in favour of a separate status in a referendum in 2005. However, the condition of strict supervision of the island’s finances only became apparent in negotiations later, fanning a deeply-rooted sense of distrust.

“You don’t think the Netherlands will really give us independence?” said an old man dismissively.

Sympathy for Somali pirates
The first-ever piracy trial in the Netherlands will be held on Monday.

Nrc.next reports on how the pirates’ lawyers are seeking publicity to help their case. Piracy is the only way to escape poverty and debt in Somalia following 18 years of civil war, Islamic extremism and famine. The lawyer defending the five pirates said: “They are in a safe environment for the first time in their lives”.

Far from being hardened cut-throats, the men say they have been forced by desperation to become pirates. No longer able to make a living from fishing, they were lured into piracy by stories of easy money on the radio. Corrupt businessmen provide them with equipment and weapons.

According to the United Nations, even the local authorities are involved. Gang leaders with foreign contacts control the pirates who only get part of the huge ransoms received. 

The five suspects admitted planning to hijack a ship, but said they abandoned the idea long before being taken prisoner by a Danish frigate.

In spite of the serious charges they face, they know they cannot be deported by the Dutch authorities easily and are looking forward to a better future in the Netherlands.

Naarden opens photo exhibition
The fortified town of Naarden opens the 11th edition of its partially-open air photo exhibition on Saturday reports Trouw. This year there is no overall theme for the photographs, but they all tell a story according to the paper.

A photo of a teenage girl dancing to house music in a dilapidated theatre illustrating the dark side of Russia’s new wealth is exhibited. In his quest to tell this story, the photographer, Rob Hornstra, discovered places where nothing appeared to have changed since the Soviet era.

Likewise, Petra Stavast photographed a deserted house with clothes and memories scattered on the floor, as she focused on the exodus of the population of the Calabria region in the southern toe of Italy.

The exhibition which aimed to play an important role in developing young talent features works of budding photographers.

High-earning presenters named and shamed
It’s that time of year again reports AD, when the discussion about public service television presenters’ salaries re-emerges along with the publication of the annual reports of the Dutch media.

In spite of MPs’ protests to keep presenters’ salaries below the Balkenende norm, many still still earn way above that amount. The Balkenende norm is the prime minister’s level of salary - EUR 181,000 according to the paper.

The paper names and shames a number of popular presenters, but one TV star argued that presenters do not have a long professional life span and besides, “people who cost a lot, bring a lot of advertising money in.”

Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica

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