Dutch news in brief, Thursday 6 August 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Schools spread swine flu
The Dutch papers continue to report on the expected swine flu pandemic. Today’s AD reports that flu experts are investigating whether an extension of the school summer holidays could help delay an outbreak of the virus.
Ab Osterhaus, one of the experts on the Outbreak Management Team, an advisory body to the Dutch government, said it is “an interesting idea, there is certainly something to be said for an extension of the summer holiday. It’s one of the options we are looking in to.”
Schools are thought to play a primary role in the spread of the virus. Most infections occur in the five to 25 age bracket. “They are young people who have been on holiday to Spain for instance.”
The first Dutch schools will open their doors again after next week.
Hard times for self-employed
De Volkskrant reports the apparently large numbers of self-employed people applying for welfare benefits. Larger Dutch towns report a 100 percent increase in the number of requests for financial assistance. Local councils can extend income support or business credits to self-employed people in financial difficulty.
According to de Volkskrant, self-employed workers are the first to be dismissed in times of economic crisis. This is becoming the case for many workers during the current recession, because many have opted for self-employment in the past few years.
The local councils report that the requests for financial support come from all economic sectors but freelance construction workers, truck drivers and gardeners are overrepresented, as are shopkeepers.
Johan Marrink from the interest group ZZP Nederland (Self employed people Without Personnel Netherlands) said he is not impressed by the increase in requests for support. He estimates that at most five to ten percent of his members are in trouble.
He believes most freelancers have adequate entrepreneurial skills to adjust their business strategies to the recession.
Serious shortage of maternity nurses
According to AD, 'brand-new parents are left to their own devices' as measures intended to quickly increase the number of home care maternity nurses have failed.
More than half the 1,300 women who started a special vocational training course have already dropped out, because they are saddled with huge responsibilities too soon and also because of a lack of adequate coaching.
A member of the executive of a professional association of maternity nurses said “They are being used up so fast that they quit. They have to take care of two or three families a day and sometimes get paid EUR one per hour or even nothing. Infant mortality is quite high in the Netherlands and inadequate maternity care does nothing to help find a solution.”
Maternity care organisations are warning parents they will have to make do with three hours of care a day instead of the required eight. Some organisations are no longer accepting new clients, in order to circumvent the problem.
As a result, an increasing number of mothers are deciding to spend a few weeks at one of two ‘maternity care hotels’ in Rotterdam or the ‘birth clinic’ in The Hague.
Director Hans Reinod of maternity care organisation Careyn said he sees birth centres as the solution to the increasing shortage of maternity nurses. His organisation has plans for birth centres in the towns of Delft and Breda.
Rembrandt painting identified in Belgium museum
De Telegraaf reports that the portrait of Eleazar Swalmius in the Koninklijke Museum voor Schone Kunsten (Royal Museum of Fine Arts) in Antwerp has been proved to be an original Rembrandt. After three centuries of debate, Professor Ernst van de Wetering of the Rembrandt Research Projecth has given a definite answer regarding the painting’s authenticity.
The painting, acquired in 1886, was kept in a depot for decades. After a recent restoration, Professor van de Wetering was invited to take another look at the work.
Van de Wetering’s conclusion is based on the texture of the painting’s linen and signature.
The linen was taken from exactly the same bolt as was used for Rembrandt’s paintings Samson, in the Städelsches Kunstinstitut in Frankfurt, and Danaë, in the Hermitage in St Petersburg
The signature is identical to that on A Polish Nobleman, in the National Gallery of Art in Washington.
The expert also pointed to features of the collar and the beard which are characteristic of Rembrandt’s style.
The painting will be put on display during the Antwerp Museum Night on Saturday 8 August.
Sneek sailing festival
De Volkskrant features a front page photograph of literally boatloads of people in shorts and swimming gear at the starting point of the Hardzeildag (Fast Sailing Day). The event takes place every year on the Wednesday of the Sneekweek sailing festival, held near the Frisian town of Sneek in the north of the Netherlands.
According to de Volkskrant, weather conditions were perfect for the Hardzeildag during the 74th Sneekweek, Europe’s biggest inland sailing event.
The festival also features a boat of the year competition, a fleet show through the canals, as well as sailing races on Sneek Lake during the day, and a funfair and other festivities in Sneek by night.
Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder-Hes / Expatica