Dutch news in brief, Monday 20 July 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Fire destroys Anne Frank barrack
Several papers report on the fire that almost completely destroyed the work barrack where Anne Frank and her sister Margot were forced to dismantle batteries in WWII before they were transported to the gas chambers and died.
Trouw prints two photos; the first shows a wooden building plonked down in a grassy field, the building is bathed in sunlight and it looks so ordinary. A second photo shows two firefighters attempting to put out the flames that engulfed the building.
The paper writes that the building was the last known work barrack from Westerbork, the Dutch WWII concentration camp where 107,000 Jews, along with 400 Roma and Sinti, were imprisoned before being sent to extermination camps in Germany. The building was dismantled in 1957 and taken to Veendam where it was used as a storage shed for agricultural machinery.
Westerbork Memorial Centre's director, Dirk Mulder, has been trying to get the building back for some 20 years but the Veendam council was not particularly co-operative. The farmer owning the shed wanted to donate the barrack to Westerbork but the town council refused to grant him a licence to construct a new storage shed, so the building stayed where it was.
In 2008, Mulder renewed attempts to get work barrack number 57 back and the council finally agreed to co-operate. Plans to move the building were almost complete when the fire destroyed about 70 percent of it.
Trouw writes the blaze destroyed a unique piece of history and asks Mulder why he did not make a more concerted effort to get the building.
"We just did not realise how important it was to keep the concrete, physical evidence from the WWII. For a long time people thought that preserving such things would just re-open old wounds," said Mulder.
Municipal credit banks hit by global economic crisis
De Telegraaf reports "Credit banks in crisis" and that municipal credit banks, which are supposed to help people resolve their financial problems, are experiencing huge problems because of the dramatic increase in the number of people asking for help.
The paper writes that there is now a four-month waiting list due to the "flood of people asking for debt relief".
The organisation representing debt relief and social banks, NVVK, said it expects the number of people experiencing financial problems to "increase dramatically" after the summer holidays.
However, there is a silver lining: de Telegraaf writes due to the huge number of people asking for debt relief and financial help, municipal credit banks have been forced to hire more staff.
FNV kicks off campaign against raising the pension age
AD reports the largest trade union in the Netherlands, FNV, has started preparing its campaign against government plans to raise the pensionable age from 65 to 67.
FNV director Henk van der Kolk tells the paper that the first step will be a nationwide 65-minute work stoppage on 7 October. If the first campaign fails to deliver the message, a massive protest in The Hague or Amsterdam will be held.
According to Van der Kolk, the cabinet is "not to be trusted" because they are already preparing the bill allowing the government to raise pensionable age when they had promised to wait until the Social Economic Council had issued its advice on the matter.
"The cabinet had promised to wait but Social Affairs Minister Piet Hein Donner has already prepared the bill and is trying to garner support for it. That was not in the agreement," said the FNV director.
Dutch doctors unable to cope with flu epidemic
AD reports Dutch doctors are unable prioritise treatment should the global flu epidemic it the Netherlands.
According to the paper, hospitals are insufficiently prepared to deal with a massive influx of people suffering from swine flu or (A)H1N1 and doctors seem unable to determine treatment priorities.
The paper's report is based on a large-scale pandemic exercise conducted three years ago by Amersfoort's Meander hospital, the only such exercise ever conducted by a Dutch hospital.
According to a hospital spokesperson: "doctors had a real problem choosing which patient to treat first".
Google Earth does it the Dutch way - on a bike
Trouw reports when Google Earth starts photographing tourist attractions in the Netherlands in September, they'll be doing it in typical Dutch fashion - on a bike.
The photographs will be added to Street View, a 3-D map system. A Google team will be riding through the Netherlands for a month on a three-wheel bike developed in the US to negotiate terrain that is "problematic for automobiles".
According to the paper, the company expects to be able to document three locations, and Internet users will be able to choose the one that makes it on to the site.
Trouw writes the team will only have time to visit a few locations and take good photographs of them. Good photographs have to be taken in perfect weather - not too sunny and no rain.
Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica