Dutch news in brief, Thursday 14 August 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.14 August 2008
Fresh revelations on Green Left MP’s break-in
De Telegraaf opens with fresh revelations concerning Green Left MP Wijnand Duyvendak and the now infamous 1985 break-in at the economic affairs ministry.
Last week, Duyvendak revealed that he took part in the break-in, and he and several other activists stole plans for new nuclear power plants. It now appears that Duyvendak also stole a list with the names, addresses and telephone numbers of six senior civil servants involved in Dutch nuclear power activities and gave the list to Bluf, an activist publication involved in the Dutch anti-nuclear campaign.
The battle against nuclear energy was fierce and Bluf published the information along with a call to its readers to "disturb their rest, they're disturbing the environment".
This resulted in the six civil servants being threatened and intimidated and one of them had several windows smashed in.
The MP claims he had nothing to do with the actual threats made against the civil servants although he admits being partly at fault to Bluf's decision to publish the addresses and telephone numbers.
The paper quotes Duyvendak: "I acknowledge my responsibility in connection with the publication. I already admitted to being involved in this in 1996. I'm very sorry that I did it and my apologies to the people involved".
Public more cynical of politicians
There is more political news in De Volkskrant, though it's not very encouraging for politicians.
The national voters survey, conducted by Statistics Netherlands has revealed that two out of three Dutch voters believe that the gulf between the public and politicians has only got deeper and wider in recent years.
A whopping 93 percent of the electorate says politicians knowingly make false promises, and a majority believes that ministers are driven by self-interest rather than the good of the country.
AD reports that cynicism has grown considerably since 1977 and there is a correlation between education level and the degree of cynicism. The paper writes that highly educated people are less cynical than poorly educated ones and that men judge politicians far more severely than young people, the elderly and women.
Insurance companies should be more active
Housing Minister Ella Vogelaar has called on insurance companies to be more active in solving the problems in poor, rundown neighbourhoods after reports that an elderly couple decided to move after their insurance company refused to pay to repair windows that had been broken yet again.
The couple lives in a Utrecht neighbourhood that has been designated as a troubled inner-city area and is part of the housing ministry's plan for turning problem areas into desirable districts.
However, the plans come far too late for this couple, whose windows were smashed six times in 2007.
According to the paper, the first thing the elderly couple do every day is go round the house checking the window and then they check to make sure that their car hasn't been vandalised.
According to Minister Vogelaar: "insurance companies have to invest in problem areas. Where are people supposed to turn if insurance companies refused to pay up?"
EasyJet accuses Schiphol of ripping off customers
NRC.next reports that one of the largest cut-price airline companies has accused Schiphol Airport of excessive price increases and discriminating against passengers flying from the Dutch capital's airport.
According to EasyJet, Schiphol's plan to increase the security surcharge by 61 percent and the passenger surcharge by 13 percent on 1 November is "a complete and total rip-off".
The airline also alleges that the increases are discriminatory as they only apply to people who start their journey at Schiphol, not to people who just stop to change planes.
An EasyJet press release says: "Schiphol is discriminating against passengers beginning their journey at the airport as they pay twice as much as transfer passengers. Dutch passengers are being robbed in order to subsidise transfer passengers.
The paper quotes EasyJet as saying: "Schiphol will be the most expensive airport in Europe".
Sudden appearance of garden gnomes
De Telegraaf reports that police in Castricum are puzzled by the sudden appearance of 24 garden gnomes on the grass in the middle of a roundabout.
The officers were on a routine check of the area when they suddenly came upon the gnomes.
A police spokesperson said the discovery was entered into the system as "24 homeless gnomes found. The men, all small and bearded, were unable to say where they came from". The police locked up the gnomes in a large dog kennel.
Police have started an investigation but don't have any leads yet. "There are loads of gnomes living on a camping site not far from here, but they are all present and accounted for".
The paper concludes that for the police in Castricum it remains “the great gnome mystery”.
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]