Dutch news in brief, Friday 22 August 2008

22nd August 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

22 August 2008

Two more gold medals for Olympics
Pictures of the Dutch Olympic team winning two gold medals on Thursday are splashed all over today's papers. De Volkskrant features two jubilant members of the women's water polo team, slapping hands in victory above the water. They beat the United States 9-8 in a sizzling game, the paper brags.

NRC Handelsblad shows swimmer Maarten van der Weijden ploughing through the water to win gold in the gruelling open-sea marathon.

The AD tells us that Van der Wijden was diagnosed as suffering from leukaemia in March 2001. It goes on to sketch how his golden victory is serving as an inspiration to other leukaemia patients.

"The ultimate evidence that leukaemia doesn't have to spell the end," says a leukaemia patient.

Changes in state fund shock art world
De Volkskrant reports the shock waves going through the music and theatre world in the wake of Thursday's announcement of huge changes in state funding for the sector from 2009 to 2012.

The Dutch Fund for the Performing Arts has announced it is withdrawing its subsidy from 16 theatre groups, 33 orchestras and bands for the next four years. In total, 59 arts organisations will lose their current funding.

Thirty-six new initiatives will be given funding for the next four years.

The paper quotes the accompanying report: "There is little to differentiate this as an addition to what is on offer in early music.[....]

As a business, it is not transparent and is inefficient."

The paper says this blistering attack is not on an insignificant band, but on Ton Koopman's world-famous Baroque Orchestra and Choir.

The new Podium Arts Fund report says the subsidies represent "a sharper selection on quality and the ability to cater to demand".

NRC Handelsblad quotes the fund's director: "We found it very difficult to choose: allow a thousand flowers to bloom, but then the result is a whole field of withering daffodils."

One famous theatre director has already said he is taking his case to court.

Couples with no kids demand for rights
Trouw covers the increasing militancy amongst those who choose not to have children.

One of the authors of the recently published Anti-Child Book explains that "we want to show, in a slightly over-the-top way, that there are people who can't bear the thought of having kids".

The author is upset that only parents receive special treatment such as maternity and paternity leave.

"Parents go home immediately if a child's sick; when my dog had to be sterilised, my partner had to take the whole day off as holiday. Give us the occasional morning off to visit our elderly mother," demands the author.

VAT of 19% to stay
Both the AD and De Telegraaf devote their front pages to the government’s proposed plan to let VAT remain at 19 percent.

The government has planned to raise VAT from 19 to 20 percent earlier but is now considering scrapping the proposal.

The AD explains the economy is doing too badly for the rise. The tax hike was set to raise EUR 1.5 billion n extra government revenue, but the politicians seem to be confident the shortfall can be met.

"I'm confident the search for cash will be successful," says a Christian Democrat MP. A Labour colleague agrees: "It'll be all right."

The extra money was going to be spent on lowering unemployment contributions, and the move, designed to lower unemployment, is still to go ahead.

Employers and unions were against raising VAT and now the government will want something in return. "We expect them to moderate wage claims," says a cabinet insider.

Government plans to tackle pimps
nrc.next reports that the government plans to tackle the pimps. The prosecution authorities will pass confidential information on to the tax office and to local councils so that measures can be taken against those responsible.

Procurator General Herman Bolhaar heads the 'taskforce against people trafficking' and defends the breach of confidentiality.

"The Mafia methods are difficult to identify.[....] There's a reason why testimony is withdrawn, and why the women simply deny the fact that they themselves are the victims," he says.

Guard of honour for Dutch cameramaan
Finally, De Telegraaf and other papers cover Thursday's funeral of Dutch television cameraman Stan Storimans. He was killed in a mortar attack in Georgia.

A photo shows the 'guard of honour', made up of colleagues holding their cameras aloft like swords for the coffin to pass. Two ministers represented the government at the funeral.

The Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili's wife, who was born and brought up in the Netherlands, was asked not to attend: "We'd rather not accent the political side during the funeral," explains a family spokesman.

[El Pais / Mike Wilcox / Expatica]

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