Dutch news in brief, Monday 1 September 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.1 September 2008
Dutch foreign minister seeks extra funding
De Telegraaf opens with the news that Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen will call for more money to go to the defence ministry in his speech marking the opening of the academic year in Leiden Monday.
The paper, quoting unnamed sources in The Hague, says that Minister Verhagen believes that "increased defence spending is absolutely essential if the Netherlands is to continue to be a player on the world stage".
According to the populist daily, Verhagen says the extra funding is necessary because the world is changing; international institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are losing both power and prestige and as the world becomes more unstable - defence is becoming ever more important.
De Telegraaf writes that the foreign minister's arguments are given added weight by the fact that he won't be in Leiden to deliver his address in person. Verhagen will be attending the emergency European Union summit on the current crisis in Georgia.
Rotterdam port project starts
AD devotes two pages to the start of work to enlarge the port of Rotterdam. The project, known as the Maasvlakte 2, will increase the size of the port by some 2,000 hectares, making it one of the deepest in the world and increase its competitiveness enormously.
The new port facilities will stand on land reclaimed from the sea and the terminals are scheduled to be working by 2013.
A professor of port economics says: "there is nowhere else in the world that can handle the enormous number of containers from China as efficiently and ecologically as Rotterdam".
However, Friends of the Earth Netherlands says it's "an environmental disaster" as construction of the Maasvlakte 2 will release huge amounts of fine particulate matter into the atmosphere.
Uitmarkt attracts more than half a million visitors
Trouw reports that this year's Uitmarkt Festival, which marks the opening of the Dutch cultural season, attracted more than half a million visitors.
According to the festival organiser, "it was much busier than last year, but that was mainly due to the weather".
De Telegraaf also covers the event and reports that the warm weather actually proved a problem for some of the performers. Several orchestras had to shorten their performances as the heat was making the instruments expand.
The populist paper writes that there was a dark cloud hanging over the festival, less than two weeks ago the ministry of culture announced that 60 music and theatre groups would be losing their funding.
However, the paper reports that the number of people who turned up to demonstrate against the budget cuts was far outweighed by the number of journalists who turned up to cover the demonstration.
De Volkskrant covers the annual debate between Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk and the directors of the nation’s cultural institutions that forms part of the Uitmarkt. The paper reports that the minister, "taking his chances in the lion's den" told the assembled directors that, "the idea that the Netherlands doesn't give much money to art and culture is wrong. Per capita expenditure is far higher here than in Germany, France or Great Britain".
Ride for Roses raised more than EUR 1m
The annual Ride for Roses took place in the province of Zeeland on Sunday and De Telegraaf reports that the 14,000 cyclists taking part managed to raise more than EUR 1 million for the Dutch Cancer Society.
It is the largest amount of money that has ever been raised by the Dutch edition of the Ride for Roses. Cyclists participating in the charity event are sponsored to ride 25, 50 or 100 kilometres.
The Ride for Roses was started by US cyclist Lance Armstrong, former cancer patient and seven-time winner of the Tour de France, and also takes place in the US, Belgium and Curaçao.
Dutch swimmer Maarten van der Weijden, a former cancer patient who won a gold medal in the 10-kilometre open water race at this year’s Beijing Olympics, handed the cheque to the Cancer Society.
Back to bumper-to-bumper traffic
AD reports the cheerful news that the school holidays are over and it's back to bumper-to-bumper traffic.
According to the Dutch Automobile Association, September, October and November are the worst months of the year for traffic jams and the morning tailbacks will resume their normal length of more than 200 kilometres.
Traffic news is now a standard item on most Dutch radio stations and the paper interviews an announcer for two of the country's most popular stations who says: "I've got one minute and 30 seconds to tell people what to expect on the roads. That's just not enough time. I always start the bulletin with, 'there are the usual tailbacks around Amsterdam and Rotterdam' and then go on to the unusual traffic problems."
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]