Dutch news in brief, Monday 31 August 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Netherlands is blackmailing Iceland
An opinion piece in de Volkskrant argues European Union countries such as the Netherlands and Great Britain are forcing Iceland and other nations to take measures which will make them nearly bankrupt.
It points out that the acute financial crisis in Iceland was partially caused by the banks and the foreign creditors, “and not only the Icelandic government and the population which must now foot the entire bill”.
The writer say the EU countries are making the same mistake that the Allies made after WWI when they forced Berlin to sign an agreement which ruined Germany’s economy and impoverished much of the population.
“The problem is that creditors such as Great Britain and the Netherlands have chosen to act as bailiffs for their banks and citizens. Consequently, they try to use international organisations to act in their favour by threatening that (Iceland) will not gain support from the IMF or receive EU membership.”
“It is remarkable that the public debate in the Netherlands…views this kind of blackmail as entirely justifiable...The government and people (of Iceland) must, if need be, tighten their belts.”
The author quotes Groningen University’s Professor Dirk Bezemer, who said total claims against Iceland amount to 240 percent of the country’s Gross National Product.
“No country has ever been able to repay such a debt.” Reykjavik can only abide by the conditions by taking out more loans. “A dead-end road.”
Employees of housing corporation often being threatened
Physical and verbal violence against the employees of housing corporations has risen to “alarming levels”, writes de Telegraaf.
The Dutch Labour Inspectorate reports that 45 percent of employees have encountered aggression and violence from clients.
The newspaper writes that maintenance workers and personnel who attempt to collect unpaid rent are often attacked or verbally threatened.
“Dissatisfied tenants sometimes threaten personnel for months. Personnel at the housing corporations’ offices are often subjected to physical violence… In 70 percent of the cases the housing corporations failed to protect their personnel from aggression and violence. The Labour Inspectorate says the situation is serious and is demanding immediate measures.”
Paparazzi should respect for privacy
De Volkskrant’s editorial lauds the ruling of an Amsterdam court on Friday forbidding AP from publishing pictures of Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his family on their ski vacation in Argentina.
“Public figures also have a right to have a private life.”
The paper does not believe allowing public figures to have a degree of privacy contradicts press freedom. Instead most media agencies are motivated by higher profits and circulation figures, not press freedom.
“The death of Princess Diana, chased by paparazzi, was a tragic low-point.”
Rotterdam’s cement walls see new graffiti
Nrc.next reports on the work of nine Brazilian graffiti artists, whose colourful paintings on 10 Rotterdam cement walls brighten up what many consider the Netherlands’ ugliest city – the city centre was destroyed in the last war and replaced by modern buildings.
The artists’ paintings resemble those of Gustav Klimt, Picasso, and Keith Haring.
The graffiti artists, who have been sent to the Netherlands by the Caramundo Foundation, which usually organises cultural projects in Brazilian slums, are painting their works on Rotterdam’s cement walls with the approval of various municipal departments.
Nrc.next writes the colourful works are more diverse than the typical Dutch graffiti, which have changed little since the 1980s. The paper believes the joyful street paintings are the best manner to combat the city’s greyness.
Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica