Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 1 September 2009

1st September 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Housing corporations building fewer rental homes
De Volkskrant reports public housing corporations are going to build far fewer homes over the next five years than was earlier predicted.

The number of new rental homes scheduled to be built between 2009 and 2013 is 12 percent lower than earlier estimated, and the number of new sale properties scheduled for construction has dropped by 20 percent.

The report is based on an investigation by the Central Foundation for Public Housing (CFV).

A CFV spokesperson tells the paper the drop in construction is because housing corporations have less money to invest. "Their assets are tied up in bricks and mortar and in order to generate income they have to sell existing properties. However, the economic crisis has made things very difficult".

Dutch not too happy with incandescent light bulbs
The first stage of the European Union ban on incandescent and halogen light bulbs goes into effect Tuesday and Trouw headlines: "greedy bulbs to disappear first."

The initial stage of the EU-wide law bans shops from buying any more bulbs of 100 watts or higher. However, shops are allowed to sell their remaining stock of energy-greedy light bulbs.

Trouw writes not everybody is happy with the ban; energy-efficient light bulbs start slowly and don't give the same warm, friendly glow as incandescent bulbs. Many people find the light generated by the new bulbs "cold and unfriendly" and also extremely expensive when compared to incandescent bulbs.

The paper interviews the owner of lighting shop in Amsterdam who says that while most of his clientele are environmentally-conscious, many "have a huge problem with the price of energy-efficient bulbs and LED lights. A 60-watt incandescent bulb costs EUR 1.75; a comparable energy-efficient bulb costs more than EUR 10. It may work out cheaper in the long run but most people don't think like that."

Bart Melis-Dankers of Visio - an expertise centre for blind and partially-sighted people - says the new lamps won't be a problem for most people.

However Visio has noticed that some partially-sighted people are stocking up on incandescent bulbs for the toilet; "energy-efficient bulbs need time to warm up; by the time the bulb is at full strength most people have finished. Not very handy".

Dutch Rail pleased with rush-hour train experiment
De Volkskrant and AD report that train commuters on the Eindhoven to Amsterdam route were more than content on the first day of a test project running either an intercity or a local train once every 10 minutes during the rush hour.

The test is being run as a joint project by Dutch Rail (NS) and ProRail (the company that manages the rail infrastructure) to ascertain whether it is feasible to run trains outside of the standard timetable on more routes. The Eindhoven-Amsterdam route was chosen, as it is the busiest in the Netherlands.

AD writes most passengers were extremely happy with the new service. However, the extremely tight schedule means that conductors are no longer allowed to wait an extra 30 seconds if they see a passenger sprinting for the train. 

Municipalities making major profits on parking
Several papers report on the huge amount of money generated by parking revenues.

AD and Trouw have virtually identical headlines: "Councils expect to earn EUR 533 million from parking," while de Telegraaf goes with "parking is money machine for councils".

De Telegraaf, quoting from an investigation by Statistics Netherlands (CBS), writes that some municipalities earn so much from parking that a significant proportion of their annual budget is based on projected parking revenues.

The paper writes that the city of Amsterdam - the most expensive place in the world to park an automobile - estimates 2009 revenues from parking will amount to a staggering EUR 131 million. Around 25 percent of Amsterdam's tax-generated income comes via parking meters.

AD reports the projected 2009 income from parking is 10 times the amount generated 20 years ago.

Small tourist towns are also milking the cash cow and free parking is almost unheard of in the Netherlands these days.

Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica

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