Dutch news in brief, Thursday 9 July 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.A 425-year-old royal murder mystery unfolds
The death of William of Orange, a forefather of Queen Beatrix, is a 425-year-old murder mystery.
Every schoolchild knows Baltasar Gerards killed William but no one knows how the murder was committed.
Trouw reports the Prinsenhof Museum in Delft has called in forensic experts to re-examine two bullet holes in the wall as the museum wants to make an animation film of the event.
However, many pictures depicting the historic scene give a false impression. William is shown walking down the steps towards his assailant, which doesn’t explain why the bullet holes are low down in the wall behind the gunman.
“Absolutely impossible,” said Henk van Nierop, Professor of History and author of a number of books on the subject. The ‘father of the fatherland’ is also shown to be alone, but in reality was always accompanied by bodyguards and a page after a failed attempt was made on his life. The whereabouts of his bodyguards were not known when he was murdered.
The mystery will be unfolded on Friday’s Dutch television programme Blue Blood.
Robert Gesink out of Tour de France
Dutch hopes in the Tour de France have been dashed now that Robert Gesink is out of the race due to a broken wrist.
In AD, the Rabobank team member is pictured with blood streaming from his knee and a gash on his elbow after he somersaulted and crashed into a ditch 70 kilometres from the finish.
An hour later, the team heard the race was over for their best man for the mountain climbs.
“We’ve lost our trump card,” said team leader Frans Maassen.
It was Gesink’s debut in the Tour. Nevertheless, the Dutchman was looking on the bright side: “At least I can go to my father’s 50th birthday party tomorrow,” he said.
But all is not lost for the Netherlands. A second Dutch team, which is making its debut in world’s most famous cycle race, Skil-Shimano, has impressed Tour manager Christian Prudhomme.
Farmers take gruesome measures against geese plague
A rather gruesome picture is published on the front pages of Trouw and AD.
Farmers are hanging up dead geese on the fences of their fields to scare off the feathery fowl from their harvests.
Agricultural organisation LTO said the measure against this age-long problem is ineffective and could even attract the birds. It is also not a nice sight along the Netherlands’ busy cycle paths.
Geese do well in the low lying land where there are plenty of waterways, grass, and well-stocked fields for them to breed and live on.
However, as their numbers increase, so does the damage they do to farmer’s crops. In 2008, farmers claimed EUR 1.2 million in compensation after geese gobbled their harvests.
In some provinces, farmers are allowed to shoot the birds, although others want other tactics to be tried out first.
The Dutch bird protection society said shooting should be the final option. Instead, famers should first try keeping down the population by shaking the eggs or fencing off their breeding areas. It is mainly grey geese that are causing all the trouble.
“A hundred years ago grey geese had almost died out. Now they are suffering from their own success,” said a spokesperson for the society.
De Efteling more popular than ever
Theme parks seem to be crisis proof as an increasingly number of people are staying closer to home for their summer holiday, according to nrc.next.
Turnover at fairy-tale theme park De Efteling in the south of the Netherlands was up 25 percent in the first half of this year. The Netherlands’ biggest and probably most popular theme park expects to see record numbers of visitors exceed the 4 million mark by the end of the year.
The park also launched a huge advertising campaign and discounts via Albert Heijn earlier this year.
However, it is not just a fairy-tale ending for theme parks in the Netherlands.
At De Efteling, use of the hotel and congress centre bookings are down, while Six Flags in the northern Flevo polder was forced to apply for bankruptcy in June and Het Land van Ooit (which roughly translates as The land of Yesteryear) in the southern Province of Brabant went bankrupt at the end of 2007 – long before the recession kicked in.
Small pubs delighted with new ruling over smoking ban
Small pubs around the country are raising their glasses at Health Minister Ab Klink’s decision not to send the inspectors round small bars and pubs as the anti-smoking legislation does not apply to pub owners without staff.
Meanwhile, Minister Klink plans to change the formulation of the legislation to make the ban watertight. New legislation will be presented on 21 September, three weeks after the parliamentary recess, which takes health risks and fair competition into account, as large pubs do have to comply with the smoking ban.
It could take up to a year for the new legislation to be introduced.
Meanwhile, small pubs need not pay for their fines.
An anti-smoking ban organisation is pleased with the development but thinks the minister should resign over the matter: “The government makes itself totally implausible by changing the law against two court rulings.”
Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica