Dutch news in brief, Monday 8 December 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.Hundreds of innocent children linger in jail
De Telegraaf reports of “hundreds of children lingering in jail because there is no place for them in a clinic where they can receive much-needed treatment. It sounds like a story from a Third World land, but it is our own country”.
The revelations were made in a Dutch television programme on Sunday evening by National Ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer.
In the programme, he revealed that more than 800 children who have not been convicted of a crime are incarcerated in juvenile penitentiaries. They are for mostly unruly children whose parents say they cannot cope with them.
De Telegraaf writes that “these are mostly children in need of intensive psychiatric care. Without this kind of care nearly all of these children will go astray…Due to the shortage of facilities to treat these children they are placed in a prison instead. What a travesty of justice. These children do not belong in a cell; they need help.”
The paper points out that Family Affairs Minister André Rouvoet has promised to expand the number of places in treatment facilities, but it will take “at least until 2010” before there is sufficient capacity. “This delay cannot be tolerated, and certainly not until 2010.”
Migrants don’t sponge off us
“They work hard and don’t want to kill us” begins an article in de Volkskrant entitled ‘Migrants don’t come here to sponge off us’. The opinion piece was written by the two authors of the book ‘Coming and Going. Immigration and Emigration in the Netherlands from 1550 onwards.’
To their dismay, Piet Emmer, the author of the article from the previous week (‘They work hard and don’t want to kill us’) used material from their book to demonstrate that Polish migrants are not parasites – contrary to migrants from Turkey and Morocco. The quote ‘They work hard and don’t want to kill us’ was originally made by an English minister to praise Polish migrants.
In his opinion piece, Piet Emmer argued that Moroccans and Turks have not succeeded. He provides a number of statistics to show that their integration has failed and that a disproportionate number of older ‘guest workers’ are on the dole.
In today’s rebuttal, the authors of the book on migration to the Netherlands argue that the statistics have been taken out of context because the older ‘guest workers’ are compared to native Dutch, but not to people with the same educational and socio-economic background.
Polish guest workers to receive cardboard houses
“Poles and Romanians who come to the Netherlands to do seasonal work will no longer have to share a stuffy and damp room with 20 other compatriots. They will be able to live and sleep in a neat fireproof house made of recycled cardboard.”
AD writes that the first model house is being erected today on a farm in the town of Anna Paulowna. “The house, made from a do-it-yourself package…weighs between two and three tonnes and will be ready for use in a number of hours.”
AD reports that the arrival of large numbers of seasonal workers has led to unrest amongst the inhabitants of Anna Paulowna “who feared an invasion of Poles and Romanians”.
The town decided to change its housing laws so that farmers could house up to 20 guest workers on their own land. “A house for six to eight people with two bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen costs EUR 10,000 upwards.”
Psst, wanna buy some magic mushrooms?
“While ministers and mayors are contemplating the question of how they are going to enforce the ban against magic mushrooms,” writes AD, “users (of the drug) are already hearing in the streets of Amsterdam ‘psst, magic mushrooms.”
The trade in do-it-yourself kits to grow the hallucinogen has ground to a halt since 1 December. AD interviewed sellers of the kits, who are not sure if they are legal and have decided to stop. The Public Prosecutor’s Office told AD that it is not sure if the kits are illegal, since they do not contain any active psilocybin.
Sellers of magic mushrooms and grow-kits say the decision to ban the drug was based on wrong assumptions. “Last week we read an interview in [the weekly] Vrij Nederland with Health Minister Ab Klink. He said he had decided to ban magic mushrooms after a man had skinned his dog while under influence.” After looking into the original report about the dog skinner, “it turned out that the man was a known psychotic.”
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]