Dutch news in brief, Friday 20 November 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Balkenende to work harder to restore confidence
The announcement that Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy has been named European Union’s first president was no surprise. The question is how much the speculation has damaged the Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, whose name also circulated the corridors of power in Brussels.
de Volkskrant reported relief dominated the reactions in The Hague as it meant the cabinet can carry on tackling the financial crisis.
But the paper pointed out the Dutch PM has not come out of this totally unscathed. Although he never admitted he was a candidate, he never said he wasn’t available either.
During the Budget debate in September, his poor performance was put down to his mind being on Brussels. de Volkskrant said he would now have to “to prove he will work for NL ltd with the same amount of passion”.
According to Trouw, the prime minister can return to The Hague without much damage but have to make sure he secures a high-ranking post on the European Commission for Dutch MEP Neelie Kroes, who is currently the European Commissioner for Competition. The paper asked whether the Brussels lobby switched its attention to her future in the EU on time.
Meanwhile reactions from the Dutch opposition were mild.
The Socialist Party said the PM has not lost face, but it was a pity there won’t be a general election.
Geert Wilders called Jan Peter Balkenende “wounded game” and said he should stand down.
The coalition parties were relieved although There are serious doubts he will lead his Christian Democrat party into the 2011 elections, now that he has shown his ambitions lie beyond The Hague.
Some Christian Democrats would have liked to have seen Balkenende take the Brussels exit to avoid a messy leadership challenge.
Vodafone malfunction brings half of Netherlands to a halt
Technical problems put Vodafone out of the air on Tuesday and Wednesday and as a result half of the Netherlands was out of action.
At least a quarter of the telecom company’s 4.7 million customers had problems with their phones. Trouw reported that its editorial office was quieter without ringtones and text message peeps. Trams in parts of Utrecht were brought to a standstill as they rely on Vodafone for their communications. Politicians in The Hague couldn’t be reached and police in Zeeland were incommunicado.
Consumer watchdog the Consumentenbond is furious about the subsequent “deafening silence”coming from the country’s second largest mobile phone company.
“After all it is a communication company.” Shop personnel were told not to tell customers anything. The telephone helpdesk ran a recorded message. There was no report of the malfunction on the website, which was impossible to reach later.
The consumer organisation wants Vodafone customers to be compensated. Some customers got around the problem via the internet messaging service, Twitter. One customer wrote “Wonderfully quiet, no phone….”
Documentary film shocks ministry
De Telegraaf highlighted a film which was premiered in the International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA) on Thursday.
The film Longstay portrays the lives of serious criminals who are committed to clinics after sitting out their prison sentences in the TBS prison.
One of the matters that was highlighted in the documentary was sex services being hired for the inmates. A therapist has made inquiries about the possibility of hiring prostitutes.
The paper reported the ministry of justice is appalled by the film and wants to make it clear that the government doesn’t pay for these kind of services. The ministry is also angry that the prisoners are recognisable on screen. It even wanted some of the more shocking parts of the film to be changed.
The documentary tries to show that these people are serving hidden life sentences because their “treatment” goes on indefinitely. But one of the prisoners accepts his life inside, “I try to be free within these walls.”
Lingerie war sparks battle of the boobs
According to De Telegraaf, the demand for bigger bras has sparked off a lingerie war. Dutch bra designer Marlies Dekkers has accused newcomer to the sector Sappr of copying her sexy bra designs.
The battle of the boobs is being fought out in the “top segment” of the sector, as Dekkers is the lingerie queen in sizes F, FF, G and GG.
The two brands have gone to court over the matter.
Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica