Dutch news in brief, Thursday 18 June 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
National History Museum ‘a bridge too far’
Today’s De Volkskrant leads with MPs’ decision to reject a proposed change to the site for the new National History Museum. Two years ago, a wooded area next to the Open Air Museum in Arnhem was agreed upon as the site. The coupling of the two museums was seen as a major advantage.
However, the museum’s board now feels construction would be plagued by environmental objections and that parking facilities would cost too much. They now propose to build the museum in the centre of Arnhem near the city’s John Frost Bridge, famous as the Second World War’s ‘a bridge too far.’
Culture Minister Ronald Plasterk failed to win MPs over to the new plan yesterday. Their comments were scathing: “An unbelievable mess,” said one. Another thought Plasterk was “building foundations on mud.” The new museum’s director Erik Schilp finds it “strange” that MPs are “meddling in the details.” He goes on to complain that “In the 1990s, the national museums were made independent and responsible for their own finances…You may as well re-nationalise them all.”
Moroccan-Dutch aggression to ambulance staff
An Amsterdam judge yesterday handed a community service order down to a 20-year-old Moroccan-Dutch man for threatening ambulance staff while they were giving his brother emergency treatment last September. NRC Handelsblad profiles two of the very few Moroccan-Dutch people working as ambulance personnel; they are at a loss to understand why youths from their community sometimes display aggression towards the emergency services.
Ambulance driver, Tarik Bensalah, says he felt “strangely enough” responsible after hearing of the incident in September. He brainstormed ways of improving the situation and concluded that information and resuscitation courses for young people would be the best way forward. His colleague El Makki Lemraj agrees, saying such courses should become a standard part of education. “You should go to all schools, so that they understand: if you ring 112 (the emergency services number), this is what happens,” he explains.
Homeless often armed and violent
Trouw today deals with the fallout from the fatal stabbing of a remedial education worker by a resident at a homeless shelter in Amsterdam on Monday. “Most homeless are armed,” warns its headline. It goes on to say homeless people often have psychological problems and that their responses to situations can be more intense and violent than would normally be expected.
Homeless drug addicts feel especially vulnerable on the street and are the ones who most often go armed. One explanation for this is that they do business with drugs dealers who are themselves quick to resort to violence. Most homeless shelters do not want to dissuade those they mean to help by having strict security on the door, making it easy to bring weapons inside.
Mexican flu jab for everyone?
“Flu jab for all too dear,” complains the headline in the AD. The paper reports that the cost of vaccinating the whole population in October against Mexican flu is likely to be considered too expensive by the government. A health ministry spokeswoman finds the cost, at EUR 300 million, “very high” and says “we don’t know if vaccination will be effective.”
Virology Professor Ab Osterhaus believes “vaccinating everyone is more sensible,” and asks “how are you going to explain to half the population that they can’t have the jab?”
Parents hit by their children
De Telegraaf today tells us what we’ve long suspected: parents are increasingly being ill treated by their children. “Kids hitting mum and dad,” its headline screams. A regional domestic violence centre has been researching the problem. The centre’s manager, Gerrianne Rozema, said colleagues in other parts of the country confirm the trouble is nationwide.
“Parents are powerless,” she explains. “We’re seeing more and more kids between 16 and 23 abusing their parents.” Exact figures are hard to come by because much of the violence goes unreported. However, she warns that the problem “should be tackled nationally, otherwise it will go from bad to worse.”
Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica