Dutch news in brief, Monday 24 August 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Free dance festival ends in tragedy
The main news on all front pages report on Saturday night’s shooting at a free dance festival near Rotterdam which left one person dead and eight injured.
Both Trouw, AD and de Telegraaf feature photographs of paramedics treating injured visitors at an aid services emergency tent. AD also has a photograph of three police officers standing back to back with their guns drawn to keep the crowd at bay. De Volkskrant has a photograph taken the next day, showing two people sunbathing close to the festival’s main stage which is being guarded by a police officer.
The exact circumstances of the shooting are not clear, and it is not yet known who fired the lethal shot. One person is known to have been shot by police officers.
De Volkskrant writes hundreds of people turned on the police when they took action after fighting broke out among the audience.
According to Trouw, the police received information on Saturday that football hooligans intended to visit the free dance festival. The police then decided to deploy its special ‘Football Team’.
Around 80 hooligans were at the festival, but their role in the incident is not clear, although Trouw writes the “atmosphere at the festival was grim right from the start”.
The paper argues that inadequate frisking of visitors in combination with the use of pills, cocaine and large quantities of alcohol were instrumental in turning the free festival into a ‘horror festival’.
AD reports the police union ACP said security at major free events is inadequate, and is demanding an extensive investigation into the incident.
ACP Chairman Gerrit van de Kamp said: This kind of festival attracts all kinds of people and there is no way of keeping the situation under control. Maybe free festivals are simply no longer possible in this country”.
Restrictions on child benefits to foreign countries
De Telegraaf reports the cabinet wants to end ‘the unrestrained export of child benefits to Turkey and Morocco”. Child benefits for children living outside the Netherlands will be cut drastically.
At present, parents with children living abroad receive double the standard amount of child benefits. In future this amount will be linked to the standard of living in the country where a child attends school. At present, the benefits paid out for one child living in Morocco are sufficient to support an entire family.
Outraged MPs demanded the government take action following the publication of a report by the Sociale Verzekeringsbank (SVB), the organisation that implements national insurance schemes in the Netherlands. The SVB report shows many parents claim their children are living abroad while in fact they are living in the Netherlands.
According to Youth and Family Minister Andre Rouvoet, the export of child benefits to Turkey and Morocco cannot be stopped completely because of treaties that cannot be unilaterally revoked. In 2007, a total of EUR 15 million in child benefits was exported: 6.2 million for around 6,000 children living in Morocco and 2.7 million for around 2,500 children in Turkey.
Juvenile court to rule on 13-year-old’s plan to sail around the world
AD reports on a 13-year-old’s plan to sail around the world. Laura Dekker from Wijk bij Duurstede came under media scrutiny when her plan to sail around the world alone on 8 August.
The teenager, who said both she and her parents learned about the hearing via the media, have no information on when or where it will be held. She will not attend today’s court hearing.
The child welfare authorities claim to have had a conversation with Dekker, but she denied this. “I think it’s strange they did not talk to me. It’s about me, after all. I’m the one who is supposed to make this trip”.
Meanwhile, her boat, the Guppy, is nearly ready. “I’m not sure whether I will be able to leave on the intended date of 1 September. When it comes to sailing, you are never sure when exactly you will be able to leave, but it is still my target date”.
When informed that Dekker wants to give up school for two years to embark on her sailing journey, Deputy Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt said the teenager should not make the voyage because she is of school age and not “mature enough”.
The local school attendance officer said he could not stop the 13-year-old, but reported the matter to the child welfare authorities, who passed the case on to the juvenile court.
The judge could appoint a guardian to ‘assist in her upbringing’ and would have the authority to decide whether she can leave.
Dekker is not much worried about the impending court ruling: “I won’t let them stop me, why should I?”
Feared anti-fur activists turn out to be well-behaved
Against all expectations, Saturday’s demonstration outside an expensive fashion store in the centre of Maastricht took place in a calm atmosphere.
Ahead of the demonstration, the Dutch Fur Institute warned that: “Anti-fur activists have two faces, the first one, polite, understanding and eloquent is used for public appearances, the second one, radical, intimidating and ruthless is for behind the scenes”.
Maastricht Mayor Gerd Leers initially banned the demonstration after anti-fur activists sent shopkeepers a ‘contract’ to remove fur from their stores. Those who failed to sign would face a ‘special campaign’.
De Volkskrant writes that if the above is true, the dozens of activists of the Respect voor Dieren (respect for animals) action group had clearly put on their first face. They quietly unfolded their banners and politely offered passers-bay leaflets on the animal suffering caused by the expensive fur collars on display in the shop windows behind them.
One of the few shopkeepers who engaged in debate with the activists praised them for the way they held their protest, but told them they were fighting a losing battle: “Look around you, this is a still-born child”.
Shoppers in the street appeared to prove her right, most of the leaflets were casually accepted and equally casually discarded just a few seconds later.
Crown Prince Willem Alexander’s real estate project under fire
De Volkskrant reports on the problems surrounding the prince’s real estate project in Mozambique.
The Socialist Party said the problems prove that the choice of Mozambique was an unfortunate one and the royal family should withdraw from the project after all.
The party’s remarks come after Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende and Prince Willem Alexander decided last week to create some legal distance between the prince and the project.
The construction of a holiday villa for Willem Alexander has been plagued by problems and suspicions of fraud. It is feared they could harm the crown prince and indirectly the government.
The crown prince has handed over his stake in the project to a foundation. Some sources say the prime minister put pressure on Prince Willem Alexander to agree to the move.
Socialist Party MP Ronald van Raak said: “This only confirms that the choice for Mozambique was unfortunate. Security is bound to become a problem as well”.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica