Dutch news in brief, Thursday 20 August 2009

20th August 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

House fire in Kampen claims four children
Thursday’s papers cover the horrific news of a fire in a house in Kampen in which four young children died. The AD says they were brothers aged 8, 6, 4 and 1, and were asleep in the attic of the house when the fire broke out at 2:30 am on Wednesday.

The older children and mother (the father was working away from home) tried to put out the fire and, by the time they called for help, there was no hope for the four brothers. The family are strict Christians and Kampen, a traditionally Christian area. “They have great need now of the strength of the Lord,” the local Protestant minister tells the paper.

“No chance in the inferno” reports de Telegraaf which says sleeping in the attic is popular, but dangerous. “Narrow and steep stairs leading down and a dormer window high off the ground. People must realise that they should be able to get out of that window in an emergency,” said a fire safety expert.

“The smoke from house fires is thick, hot and toxic. It becomes extremely difficult to find a way out. A smoke alarm and emergency ladder are a must. And, people need to practice using them, that goes for children too,” he added.

Little progress on women in top jobs
De Volkskrant reports the number of higher management positions filled by women increased to 26.3 percent last year from 24.5 percent in 2007.

The figures, which are based on a survey carried out by the paper, scrutinised 29 leading Dutch firms which pledged to increase the number of women in top jobs in 2008.

Philips is singled out as a company where women have a hard time getting to the top.

The temp agency, Randstad, on the other hand is doing well. “Eighty percent of vacancies are filled internally,” explains a spokesperson. “That helps women to move up. We also hold annual ambition interviews to find out what career moves people want to make.”

Shortage of homes for autistic adults
Trouw covers the upsetting story of Emmy de Groot and her quest to find a suitable home for her 25-year-old autistic daughter.

In 2006, the young woman should have left the clinic where she is living. Since then, however, she has been on the waiting list for a work-home, where she would be given the supervision and structure she needs to lead a happy life.

The clinic is suggesting she move to a home for people suffering from psychiatric and addiction problems.

De Groot points out such a place would not provide anything like the calm her daughter so badly needs: “Someone with autism actually needs as little stimulation as possible. The people walking around there are just too unstable.”

De Groot’s problem is not unique; the paper says one in seven autistic adults are in need of a suitable home. And, the situation is not getting any better.

A spokeswoman for the work-home involved in De Groot’s case explains that there is little movement in the system: “The people who come here are often between 20 and 30, and stay for the rest of their lives.”

Beach rescue figures are hyped up
With the hot weather of the past few days, the papers have lots of photos of people by the sea. Nrc.next goes one further and runs a story on the beach rescue service (not to be confused with the lifeboat service).

The paper reports the public is always hearing about “record numbers of rescues” nowadays and asks whether swimming has become more dangerous.

The figures tell otherwise: so far this year, 995 people have been rescued from the water; the figure for the whole of last summer was 3116.

The paper puts the plethora of news items about beach rescues down to a new high-profile campaign by the largely voluntary service. Orange cars, a house style, a single logo and name and, most importantly, a decent PR policy.

A communication expert said the service had “an animal-ambulance image” and “suddenly looked sexy” after the makeover.

Extreme weather expected in the Netherlands
Still with the weather, the AD runs Thursday’s official weather alert. Temperatures in places are set to rise to the mid-30s Celsius and vulnerable groups and people doing sport are being told to take precautions.

Meanwhile, there is a 60-percent chance of “extreme” weather, with fierce storms developing dangerously quickly in the afternoon. These may bring winds of up to 110 kilometres per hour, hail and large amounts of rain.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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