Dutch news in brief, Friday 20 March 2009

20th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Crèche is newest source of noise pollution
NRC-next reports on the latest culprits of noise pollution to terrorise urban neighbourhoods: shouting, laughing and crying toddlers.

The paper reports that the number of childcare facilities has risen dramatically in the Netherlands, with a 58 percent rise between 2006 and 2008. But so has the number of complaints about the noise the children make.

Residents living near the crèches are becoming ever more aggressive as tempers fray. There have been reports of eggs, flour and oranges being hurled into playgrounds and one irate neighbour even resorted to a megaphone to complain about the racket made by the "bleep-ing kids".

In principle, all companies are subject to a noise maximum of 50 decibels, but the authorities make an exception in the case of childcare.

"Public sentiment is against us," sighed one resident. "If it was a workshop or a disco, the local authorities would have acted long ago."

But the needs of working parents is a political hot potato.

As one childcare representative argued: "If the government wants more women to work, we need more childcare centres in convenient locations. What are we supposed to do, move them all to an industrial estate?"

Let us pray for bankers and Dutch government
With the Dutch government coalition parties still at each other's throats when it comes to finding solutions for the economic crisis, Trouw reports that some people in the Netherlands are turning to higher powers for comfort.

At the cathedral in Den Bosch yesterday the faithful filed in to "pray for the banks" and put their trust in Saint Joseph – the patron saint of workers.

 Joseph is a model example, according to the pastor. "When he heard that Mary was with child, he did not say 'that's not my problem', but he was prepared to play his part in God's plan. Just like Joseph, we should not shirk out duty in these difficult times."

The prayers offered up included "Let us pray for the government leaders. May they arrive at wise agreements with one another” and “Let us pray for the bankers. That they will carry out their duties for the benefit of all”.

Google Street View reveals Netherlands’ shady operations
Logging on to the Internet to take a peek in any street around the world may sound like a wonderful and harmless idea, but AD reports that the addition of a number of Dutch cities to Google's Street View database has added a whole new dimension to the project.

The paper reports that Google's street photos are the terror of the red light district as the new web service has sparked a digital hunt for naked flesh and cheap thrills.

Maverick website Geen Stijl (No Taste) - appealed to its loyal followers to spot naked bodies, suspicious goings-on and stray celebrities on Google’s Street View.

Though the faces of people caught on the photos have been blurred, the eagle-eyed web browsers still managed to identify a local TV presenter outside his front door. And within hours of the launch, users have discovered the first bare breasts along with a host of photos of prostitutes and their customers and even a possible drugs deal.

Dutch national football can beat anyone
As the Dutch national football team gears up for its first World Cup qualifying match, AD finds coach Bert van Marwijk in an optimistic mood.

"The Netherlands can beat anyone," he crowed, adding, "I reckon a lot of our opponents are afraid of us."

However, this isn't necessarily a good thing for the Dutch football fans. Van Marwijk explained: "We're third in FIFA's world rankings. All our opponents are adapting themselves to our game and that leads to predictable matches."

The Dutch team has been in a fancied position before and failed to deliver the goods.

Team spirit is the key, reckons Van Marwijk: "From day one I've been trying to instil the feeling that we're really going to give this all we've got, right up to the summer of 2010."

"I can feel myself becoming more and more fanatical. I want to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. Nothing's going to stand in my way," admitted the committed coach.

Queen Beatrix has her say
De Telegraaf leads with the news that Queen Beatrix has her say when it comes to appointing people to top jobs in the Netherlands. "Former ministers tell all," it promises juicily.

But oddly enough, no one seems particularly bothered by this possible threat to Dutch constitutional democracy.

Bram Peper, former Labour interior minister, shrugged: "I'm only saying what a small group of people have known for a long time. Why should I lie about it? Especially since the Queen isn't doing anything wrong."

The crux of the matter is: when does royal advice become undue influence?
Peper responded: "The important thing is for a minister to hold firm when making appointments. And even if someone did succumb to pressure, there are checks by parliament."

De Telegraaf wonders just how willing ministers are to rub the royals up the wrong way and cited the case of Pieter Kooijmans, former Christian Democrat foreign minister, who says he would not have taken up his post without express permission from the Queen. "As a minister you are a servant of the Crown".

However, it would appear that the monarch is not all powerful in such matters. The paper also notes the Queen's reaction when Peper turned down her suggested candidate for the post of Auditor General.

"She didn't make a fuss," he revealed. "Her Majesty knows her place."

Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica

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