Dutch news in brief, Monday 9 March 2009

9th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

CDA wants large numbers of 'generation homes'
De Telegraaf reports on a CDA (Christian Democratic Party) appeal to build 'generation homes', which would house a family and the grandmothers and grandfathers.

CDA MP Mirjam Sterk believes generation homes would be ideal for combining work and care. The grandparents can help baby-sit while parents are at work whereas the family can care for the grandparents when they grow old and frail.

These new homes can be created by building separate living units in existing big houses, or converting two small houses into one.

"Caring for children and caring for the elderly are both demanding tasks. The generation home is a concept designed for the future: It facilitates combining work and volunteer aid," said the MP,

Sterk, who urges Spatial Planning Minister Jacqueline Cramer not to create too many bureaucratic obstacles to the generation homes, does not take into consideration that  many families may not choose to live with their grandparents, and vice versa.

Count your recessional blessings
In a front-page article in de Volkskrant, the paper exhorts us to "Count the blessings of a recession".

"The economic crisis is less severe than it's made out to be. It's just too bad world trade has collapsed."

According to the paper, there is still a huge demand for workers in healthcare, education and in government. Major corporations like Shell, KPN, Unilever, Ahold and Imtech are reporting substantial profits, and consumers have more money in their pockets.

The crisis has burst the bubbles which raised the prices of oil, rice, soy and a host of other commodities to abnormally high levels. The Dutch economy is also set to shrink by 3.5 percent this year.

De Volkskrant reports that if you can hang on to your job, you will be just as rich as you were in 2007 by the end of the year. The occasional recession is thought to stimulate innovation, which is a precondition to survival at an economic low tide.

Parliament supports appointment of white chief of police
AD reports that a majority in parliament believes Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst is going too far by blocking the appointment of a white man as chief of police in Dordrecht.

Ter Horst blocked the appointment because of an agreement she concluded with all mayors - under Dutch law responsible for their local police force -  which stipulates that half of all senior police posts should go to women and candidates from ethnic minorities.

In the past few years, 17 candidates appointed to senior positions were white men and the minister wants to end that.

The interior minister has put the appointment on hold and would reportedly be willing to accept the current candidate on condition that the next three vacancies for top jobs would go to women or ethnic minorities.

 However, Coskun Çörüz, a CDA MP of Turkish descent, said: "It's about the best candidate for the job. We have enough problems finding suitable candidates for police vacancies as it is."

Changing habits to lead to revamped shopping areas
Trouw writes that a reorganisation of most of the nation's shopping streets looks inevitable as consumers take to internet shopping.

In a recent survey conducted by the Locatus research bureau, dramatic reductions in the number of visitors to shopping streets in many towns were revealed. Even popular shopping street like Amsterdam's P C Hooftstraat has seen a 32-percent reduction compared to three years ago.

"There is a time bomb underneath the pool of shops. The age of fun shopping is over," said Locatus Director Gerard Zandbergen.

Large-scale shopping centres are not the answer to consumers' changed shopping behaviour as Megastores mall in The Hague which opened 10 years ago is also facing a major reorganisation.

The Netherlands has about 110,000 shops. According to Trouw, changing shopping patterns and the disappearance of possibly thousands of shops may have serious consequences for local employment and the liveability of residential districts.

Amsterdam bids farewell to 1960's anarchist
De Volkskrant publishes a photograph to honour the 1960's anti-establishment leader and self-styled anti-smoking magician Robert Jasper Grootveld, who died last week at the age of 76. He was one of the founders of the Provo movement (derived from the verb to provoke) which had aimed to provoke the establishment by staging playful 'happenings' in central Amsterdam.

The photograph shows two men dressed in bright red gowns and masks, the latter adorned with the three white St Andrew's crosses which are featured prominently in Amsterdam's city arms. The two, surrounded by a large crowd, are waving fire extinguishers to put out a fire they have lit on top of Grootveld's wooden coffin.

Fellow Provo founder Luud Schimmelpennink said: "Without Jasper, the image of Provo would never have become what it is today".

A fleet of 20 boats accompanied Grootveld’s coffin down the city canals and the Amstel river to the Zorgvlied cemetery, a few kilometres south of the city.   

Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica

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