Dutch news in brief, Thursday 12 November 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Dutch should save more
AD reported millions of Dutch households are in the financial danger zone because they are not saving enough.
The Nibud, the National Institute for Family Finance Information, said the situation makes these households extremely vulnerable in case of financial setbacks.
The institute recommends people to always make sure they have a buffer of several thousands of euros, but about 3.5 million households fail to do so.
A recent survey showed about four in 10 Dutch households, or 37 percent, had difficulty making ends meet. About 25 percent of those interviewed were always in the red at the end of the month.
One in five do not have savings for unexpected expenses and about one-third have to make substantial monthly payments on a loan taken out to buy a car, to redecorate their house or for a course.
Nibud Director Gerjoke Wilmink said the situation is worrisome.
“In particular during a crisis it is very important people watch their expenditures and maintain a financial buffer.”
She was particularly shocked that so few people look to the future. “In times of crisis it is always advisable to know what your fixed expenses are because that makes it easier to handle setbacks. However, four in five people do not chart future expenses.”
The Nibud, which celebrates its 30th anniversary Thursday, recommended people use a cashbook or a computer programme to keep track of their expenses.
“Our survey shows that people who conscientiously keep their books have fewer financial problems. And people who manage their finances well are also happier.”
Health minister threatens to take GPs to court
AD reported Health Minister Ab Klink is threatening to take GPs who began vaccinating certain groups of patients against the A(H1N1) virus ahead of the agreed date to court.
Some doctors started inoculating children between six months and five years old even though it has been agreed this would be done at regional health centres in two weeks.
However, a number of doctors believe it is not necessary to wait any longer now that the vaccines are available.
The health minister argued that their actions may lead to a shortage of vaccines for the elderly and people with underlying conditions.
The health inspectorate also reprimanded football clubs AZ and NAC for vaccinating their squads. Both clubs have offered their apologies, and NAC doctor Cees Joosen said on regional radio his decision was “a bit dumb” because football players should not take precedence over other people.
Those ‘other people’ do not include staff at day care centres, many of which have begged and pleaded with the authorities to get their workers vaccinated. Despite the fact that they have day-to-day contact with large numbers of small children, staff at day care centres have not been included in the health ministry’s list of high-risk groups.
A spokesperson for the Health Council of the Netherlands, the main government advisory body, said “a line had to be drawn somewhere”.
Police to introduce state-of-the-art cameras
De Telegraaf wrote that the police intended to install state-of-the-art 360-degree rotating video cameras in the fight against the increasing violence on the streets.
The cameras, which will be introduced nationwide in 2010, will be installed on the roof of police cars.
Currently, some police vehicles are equipped with video cameras but they are located inside the vehicles and have limited functions.
The police will first test out various types of cameras in five regions before determining which video camera is the most suitable.
The cameras, which are expected to have a preventative effect, can be used during riots, but also in entertainment centres or at major events.
The video cameras are also intended to make police officers feel safer, particularly when large groups of people turn against them.
The state-of-the-art equipment – estimated at EUR 5,000 apiece - can be controlled both from a patrol car and from a central dispatch. They will be made as ‘asshole proof’ as possible.
“Although eventually you can break anything. On the other hand, the closer a hoodlum gets, the easier it becomes to identify them,” said a police spokesperson.
Carnivalists gathered in Maastricht to welcome new season
De Telegraaf published a series of photographs of people with their faces painted in brilliant colours and wearing all kinds of strange hats.
On Wednesday, thousands of ‘carnivalists’ gathered in the Vrijthof Square in the city of Maastricht to exuberantly welcome in the new carnival season, which officially started on 11 November. The huge number of people gathered in the square led to it being temporarily closed, but De Telegraaf wrote: “It was a real party, without serious incidents.”
Schools in the city had been warned to be extra vigilant about absenteeism, but no school reported an unusual number of students being absent from classes.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica