Dutch news in brief, Thursday 4 June 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Dalai Lama visits the Netherlands
Photos of the Dalai Lama are published on most newspapers’ front pages this morning. De Telegraaf reports that his security was tightened after internet threats from the “Chinese corner” and de Volkskrant stresses that the Buddhist spiritual leader’s visit is not a political one.
In a press conference, the Dalai Lama played down Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende’s refusal to meet him calling it “no problem”. Instead, he will meet foreign minister Maxime Verhagen and make an appearance in parliament. The paper quotes the Nobel Prize winner clad in red and yellow robes: “I’ve only come to sell my smile.”
Trouw takes on the Dalai Lama’s critics who say Buddhists are not totally non-violent, the Dalai Lama is anti-homosexual and negative about women by interviewing Buddhist scholar Rob Hogendoorn.
Hogendoorn points out that the criticisms are based on clichés. “His tradition has conservative views, but as a person he is progressive.”
The final criticism is that after 50 years in exile he has done nothing for the Tibetans. Theologian Freek Bakker said while the Dalai Lama may not have achieved his goal of more autonomy in Tibet, he has certainly brought the plight of Tibetans to the attention of the world and promoted Buddhism in the West.
Wilders expected to do well in European elections
AD prints photos of two members of the public holding up a white circle in a black square symbolising the Dutch voting slip. One is filled in with red pen, the other is blank.
The paper asks people in a shopping centre whether or not they intend to vote. Helpfully the paper gives an overview of what the Dutch parties stand for, the European parliamentary factions, and the structure of the European government.
Apparently Geert Wilders won in a mock election held in secondary schools across the country in the past two days. Most of the established parties lost votes in the mock election, with the Animal Rights Party and the Democratic D66 gaining slightly on the 2004 result.
Trouw points out voters for the European elections are particularly inconsistent. Losses are expected both among the coalition and the opposition. So Thuesday’s result is unlikely to affect national politics. However, support for Wilders’ Freedom Party will show whether the party has grown as much as some polls have predicted recently.
Meanwhile, the Lower House has voted in favour of changing parliamentary rules so that small parties can win more than 30 seats. The Freedom Party now has nine seats in the Dutch parliament, but would win 32 if a national election were held now.
Shocking crime figures reveal ethnicity
De Volkskrant reports the shocking results that 55 percent of Moroccan-Dutch men aged between 18 and 24 in Rotterdam get into trouble with the police
The figures also show that 90 percent of Moroccan youths re-offend compared to 60 percent of native Dutch youths.
“That is revolutionary,” said criminology professor Frank Bovenkerk who presented the figures.
Bovenkerk has compiled statistics on the ethnicity of criminals in the city. Up to now there has been a taboo on such statistics in the Netherlands.
While migrant groups are known to be over-represented in crime statistics, the stark reality was softened by the fact figures were only compiled over the space of a year.
Since 2002, Rotterdam has compiled data from police, youth care organisations and family health care organisations.
Nevertheless the professor resisted the temptation to put criminal behaviour down to ethnicity and cited a low social-economic position and lack of social control as major contributors to the high crime rates in these groups.
He is against taking ethnicity into account when tackling crime. When Dutch police officers visit Morocco to learn about the Moroccan culture, they are told these “boys are not Moroccan, they are the product of northern European cities.”
Mondrian paintings not to go on loan
Modern art lovers around the world will be disappointed to hear that aging paintings by Dutch artist Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) will not be loaned out for the time being.
According to de Volkskrant, 20 paintings from the Mondrian collection in The Hague’s Municipal Museum are too fragile for transport, most of them are early paintings. The collection is the world’s largest and includes 169 works by the modernist painter.
Meanwhile a restoration project has begun. The museum hopes to restore 100 works within five years.
Conservator Hans Jansen said: “This is an elderly collection, it is not surprising that a little restoration is needed here and there.” He puts the condition of the works down to aging, fragile layers of paint, folds in the canvas and warped frames.
Mondriaan is best known for his compositions using red, blue, and yellow geometric shapes within straight black lines on a white background.
Childless men are happier than fathers
Childless men are happier, claims sociologist Renske Keizer who is affiliated to the Dutch Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute.
In an interview with Trouw, the sociologist said children only make women happier because children are important to their identity.
Up to now not much research had been done on fathers. Now it turns out childless men and men whose children have left home are happier because they have more time and less stress. It is more important to a man’s happiness to have a partner. This funnily enough is different for women. Having a partner is less important to their sense of joie de vivre.
But there is good news for fathers. On average they earn more than childless men.
Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica