Dutch news in brief, Thursday 16 April 2009

16th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Wilders and his sequel to Fitna
Populist broadsheet De Telegraaf reports that Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders is going to produce a sequel to his anti-Islam film Fitna.

Wilders said his new film, which will be finished by 2010, is intended to show the Western world how far Islamisation has progressed.

“It is not going to be a copy of Fitna," said the Freedom Party leader who warns that the film would be "no less controversial than the first film".

The first film was mainly an indictment of the Qur'an, but "I now want to show people the consequences of mass immigration from Islamic countries, for which we have opened the door here."

De Telegraaf reports themes in the new film will be freedom of speech and the strict Islamic Sharia law.

"And I will present solutions," said Wilders.

The MP also said professionals from the US will assist him in the production of the film.

"I have received offers from people from New York and Hollywood, people who in the past have made films that were screened in the Netherlands.”

However, De Telegraaf writes that Wilders refused to name any names, and has yet to find sponsors to finance his latest production. He will travel to Florida next week to raise funds and talk about his film.

Development aid organisations to merge
Trouw reports that Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders has sent a white paper to parliament in which he announces a serious shake-up of the development aid sector.

The number of organisations eligible for government support will be reduced from 73 to 30. The paper writes "Doing more with less is the new adage in development cooperation."

For the next five years, a maximum of EUR 500 million – compared to EUR 525 million in previous years – has been earmarked for subsidies to private organisations active in developing countries.

As budget for developing countries is based on a fixed percentage of 0.8 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the shrink in GDP explains the drastic cut in development aid budget.

In the past, a growing GDP meant the sector was never forced to make difficult choices.

However, the new policy will force smaller organisations to join forces, which will prove to be a difficult task as each aid organisation considers itself to be quite unique.

Any organisation, or combination of organisations, which wants to be eligible for government support must spend at least 60 percent of its money in the 33 countries selected by the government as partner countries.

Large number of homeowners expected to default
In the next two years, between 100,000 and 140,000 homeowners are expected to default on their mortgage payments as unemployment rises, reports De Volkskrant.

These numbers were extrapolated from a risk analysis carried out by ING, one of the main mortgage banks in the Netherlands.

The Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis predicts unemployment will rise to 8.5 percent of the workforce.

ING bank, which has 16 percent of the mortgage market, assumes that if it takes no action the number of defaulters will increase to five percent in the next two years, three times as high as last year.

Rabobank, which controls about 30 percent of the Dutch mortgage market, is slightly more optimistic. The bank has not conducted a similar risk analysis, but expects a total number of 4,000 foreclosures this year, twice as many as in 2008.

It expects the number of defaulters will rise, but said: "We believe that the number of five

De Volkskrant names unemployment as one of the main causes for the precarious situation of many homeowners.

Dutch parents warned against pushing toddlers too hard
AD reports on parents who push their pre-schoolers too hard and writes that children under five do not play enough and start too early on reading, writing and arithmetic.

Development psychologist Ewald Vervaet warns parents and schools who are evaluating pre-schoolers to decide whether they are ready for primary school, against making the transition too fast.

"When children are forced to do something that's over their heads they will lose interest. It will foster a fear of failure. The child is forced to push itself to the limit and its schoolwork will suffer."

Most highly educated parents want their children to go to primary school even when they are not ready.

AD writes that experts are arguing for a return to the old-fashioned nursery school.

They believe there is not much point in teaching language and arithmetic lessons to pre-schoolers. Umbrella organisations in primary education acknowledge that an early transition from pre-school to primary school sometimes has an adverse effect, but say that teachers are experienced enough to make a proper evaluation.

A summer's day in spring
The front page of today's de Volkskrant features a big photograph of a couple enjoying the unseasonably warm weather at a campsite in the southeastern province of Limburg.

On Wednesday, temperatures rose to 25 degrees Celsius in the east and southeast of the country. De Volkskrant writes: "Where better to spend such a day than under the pear blossoms, enjoying lunch with your feet on the freshly-mowed grass, the dog safely in his basket and the other campers at a comfortable distance."

However, this summer in spring is not expected to last. Meteorologists are predicting heavy rainfall and lower temperatures for both Thursday and Friday. The weather may improve after that, but summer is over at least till the end of spring.

Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica

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