Dutch news in brief, Friday 17 April 2009

17th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Dutch workers willing to trade pay cuts for job security
De Telegraaf reports Dutch workers are so afraid of losing their jobs in the current financial crisis that half of them are willing to accept pay cuts in exchange for job security.

The survey, sponsored by the Randstad temporary job agency, shows three in 10 workers would agree to a one-percent pay cut, while two in 10 workers would agree to a five-percent cut.

Fourteen percent of those interviewed said they would even accept a 10 percent pay cut in exchange for job security. The survey also showed that higher-educated workers were more willing to accept wage cuts.

De Telegraaf writes young people are generally more afraid to lose their jobs compared to older workers. Workers have little confidence they would be able to find another job if they lost their present one, although women and higher educated workers are slightly more optimistic.

The economic crisis has also led to a marked increase in worker loyalty and a willingness to take part in training courses, including retraining for different work.

The organisation which carried out the survey, Blauw Research, said the changed attitudes "open the door to greater worker flexibility and, if capitalised on correctly, may lead to more loyal workers."

Crown Prince Willem Alexander believes in Afghanistan mission
Both AD and De Telegraaf published photographs on their front pages of the crown prince's recent three-day visit to the Dutch troops stationed in the Afghan province of Uruzgan.

The prince, who was accompanied by armed forces commander Major General Peter van Uhm, was on his third visit to Afghanistan.

On his web log, the prince looks back on his visit with satisfaction: "I still have a sense of hope for a lasting peace and development, primarily because of the conversations and experiences of all these brave men and women who I've had the honour to meet here. They believe in their mission, and so do I."

AD has a photograph of the prince being accompanied by a group of officers on a field trip. The helicopter which dropped them off can be seen in the background as it flies away. In an exclusive interview with AD, Prince Willem Alexander said: "The Netherlands is forever inextricably bound up with Uruzgan. We will always continue to follow this province. It is a beautiful land with an extraordinary, old history."

In a speech, the crown prince heaped praise on the heads of the Dutch soldiers: "What you have achieved is unbelievable, impressive. On behalf of 99.9 percent of all Dutch people, I say that I am proud of what you are doing and of your willingness to make great sacrifices.”

AD writes that during his visit, the prince repeatedly mingled with the Dutch soldiers. He ate his meals with them and slept on thin mattresses in steal bunk beds.

Crisis gap between rich and poor grows quickly
The free newspaper De Pers has a report on the rapid growth of the so-called 'crisis gap' between rich and poor and asks about what people think about the recession.

According to De Pers, it's mainly a matter of perspective, as those who are secure in their jobs are already looking forward to next year, when the economy is expected to take off again.

Figures from Netherlands Statistics (CBS) show the answer to how bad the crisis is depends on age, gender, place of residence, educational level and ethnicity.

The conclusion is the winners in this crisis are highly educated, native Dutch women of over 40 from the province of Groningen.

CBS reports that unemployment among women in general actually fell during the first three months of this year. Most of the victims of the economic crisis are low-qualified men under 45 from ethnic minorities.

Unemployment among workers of foreign descent is increasing twice as fast as the rate compared to native Dutchmen. 

Former World War II resistance fighters to dissolve in 2010
Trouw reports that the national organisation of former resistance fighters (NFR), once a formidable pressure group, has decided to throw in the towel. The organisation's executive has unanimously decided to dissolve itself as of 30 June 2010; long enough to take part in the 65th anniversary of the liberation on 5 May 1945, but in time to prevent further decay.

The paper writes that a proposal to dissolve the organisation would have sparked fierce debate 10 years ago, but today, after a year of internal discussions, there is a sense of acceptance and resignation.

The decision was inevitable. The NFR was losing 20 percent of its membership a year due to deaths and infirmity.

After World War II, the organisation had great influence advising the government on sensitive issues such as the release of collaborators and benefits for former members of the resistance and next of kin.

The NFR's main concern is that dissolving the organisation also means the loss of its collective memory. Deputy Chairman Ed Pereboom said: "There is a risk that fantasy will get mixed up with reality, and there will be nobody to say otherwise."

Rijksmuseum may lose top painting to US bank
De Volkskrant features a large reproduction of Gerrit Adriaensz Berckheyde's (1638-1698) painting De bocht van de Herengracht (The Bend in the Herengracht).

The work was painted around 1672, when the famous Amsterdam canals were only a few decades old.

The Rijksmuseum bought the painting from Dutch multi-millionaire and investor Luis Reijtenbagh in 2008. The acquisition was funded with grants from the Shell oil company and the BankGiro Lottery. 

However, the US bank JP Morgan Chase claims Reijtenbagh gave the painting to the bank in 2006 as collateral for a loan, and later illegally sold the painting to the Rijksmuseum.

Documents from a New York court show that the Dutch investor has a 33-million-dollar debt to JP Morgan Chase. The painting is on display at the Washington National Gallery until 3 May.

Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica

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