Dutch news in brief, Thursday 5 March 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Pilot error caused Schiphol crash
Today's papers are dominated by the preliminary results from the enquiry into the cause of last week's crash at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. "Human error" proclaims populist De Telegraaf in huge black letters on its front page while AD goes with "pilots responded too slowly."
De Volkskrant reports that data from the flight recorders show that one of four radio altimeters in the cockpit was defective; the left radio altimeter indicated that the Boeing was flying at minus eight feet, which caused the automatic pilot to shut down the engines.
At a packed press conference, Dutch Safety Board chairman Pieter van Vollenhoven told journalists "The pilots had time to correct the problem but they failed to respond in time".
NRC.next writes that data from the flight recorders show that the same problem occurred on two previous flights but the radio altimeter had not been repaired. The voice recorder shows that the pilots had been warned about the problem.
Coalition partners begin economic crisis talks
The cabinet is due to begin talks on tackling the economic crisis today, and insiders in The Hague say the coalition government won't emerge from the talks without showing serious strain.
De Telegraaf sums up the mood in the cabinet neatly with, "tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife." The paper writes that two delegates from each of the three governing parties will, "cross swords" for the first time this afternoon and continue meeting for the next 10 days to hammer out a series of "painful measures."
De Volkskrant reports that the youth divisions of the three coalition parties have already met to discuss ways of tackling the economic crisis: "Youth divisions agree on economic measures," writes the left-wing daily. De Volkskrant also reports that the youth parties have offered "their cabinet" some advice: "Set party interests aside for the good of the country." Sound advice it would seem.
Holidays at home solution to economic woes?
AD covers Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Frank Heemskerk's novel solution to the economic crisis: "Holiday at home," says the minister, adding, "spending your euros in the Netherlands will help lift the economy out of the doldrums."
AD writes that three million Dutch holidaymakers spend their summer vacations in the Netherlands while nine million go abroad.
The paper reports the minister as saying that if half of all Dutch holidaymakers spent their summer vacations at home, it would give the economy, "an enormous boost." That's all very well, but can he do anything about the atrocious weather?
School buildings in sore need of repair
An enquiry conducted by an organisation representing demoninational and other special schools has revealed that almost half of school buildings are in desperate need of maintenance and repair. AD quotes a teacher, "We can grow mushrooms in some of the classrooms because of the damp."
The investigation has also revealed that the vast majority of classrooms are too small to accommodate computers and have not yet been adapted to meet the requirements for after-school childcare.
The organisation behind the enquiry has called on the government to launch a major investment plan for the country's schools, noting that it would not only help improve educational standards but also give the economy a boost.
Car sales fall dramatically
There's more economic doom and gloom in de Volkskrant: "Sales of new cars plummet" is the grim headline on its front page. This year's February sales were 31 percent lower than last year's, and two automobile industry organisations have called on the government to introduce measures to stimulate car sales.
Dutch motorcar sales figures contrast sharply with those in Germany; new car sales across the border were up by 21 percent in February 2009 on the year before. The increase is due to the German government's 'scrap' bonus: scrap your old car for a new environmentally-friendly model and get a one-off payment of 2500 euros.
Dutch motoring organisations have called on the government to implement a similar plan to help, yes you guessed it, boost the economy.
Radio Netherlands/Jacqueline Carver/Expatica