Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 2 June 2009

2nd June 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Hope fades away in Air France disaster
Tuesday papers lead with the news of the Air France plane that vanished while flying from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris, with 228 people on board including two Dutch nationals.

De Volkskrant, AD, de Telegraaf and Trouw  feature photographs of distraught friends and relatives of the passengers waiting for news at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Trouw reports the French and Brazilian authorities have launched a major search operation but describes their efforts as "a search without hope."

Despite noting that "the chance of survivors is virtually zero", de Telegraaf refers to a report in the Brazilian press that the plane may have gone down near a group of uninhabited islands 1000 kilometres off the Brazilian coast, adding "it is still unclear whether any survivors would have a realistic chance of reaching the rocky islands ... where there is only a lighthouse and a shelter for soldiers and scientists."

Meanwhile, AD speaks to two relieved people at the French airport. "A friend of ours tried everything to get on that flight but was unable to get a seat ... It's a miracle."

De Telegraaf talks to Dutchman Patrick Paap who would have been on the fateful flight but for a problem with the Air France website that forced him to book with another airline.

"I must have an angel on my shoulder," he sighed.

European elections news spells doom for TV ratings
As the European elections move ever closer, de Volkskrant talks to Paul Sneijder who has been the Dutch TV news correspondent in Brussels for the past 10 years.

The good news is that coverage of European news has improved tremendously.

"Ten years ago I was only allowed to make a couple of items for the evening news, now the coverage is up there at the level of the national elections."

But the bad news is that Europe appears to be the kiss of death for TV ratings. "As soon as they hear the word 'Europe', viewers reach for the remote ... Even the sight of the European flag on the news causes a sudden drop in viewers."

Sneijder attributes such behaviour to "much of what's going on here in Brussels today will only be felt in the Netherlands in a few years' time".

The other problem is a lack of real debate.

"Despite a host of party political debates, the discussion never really comes alive. And that's a big shame, because without genuine discussion and debate, you're never going to make the headlines."

Madness, Bruce Springsteen shine at Pinkpop
The Dutch press returns after a holiday weekend of sunshine, sport and music. The Netherlands' biggest rock festival Pinkpop took over Landgraaf, a sleepy corner of the southern province of Limburg.

The papers agree that it was the veteran acts who stole this year's show. "The good old boys shine at Pinkpop" is Trouw's take on the weekend's revelries, praising British group Madness for reviving their 1980s heyday and setting the perfect tone: "sun, beer and a great slice of ska reggae ... the ideal Pinkpop ingredients".

But playing his first ever European rock festival, it was Bruce Springsteen who really won the journalists' hearts.

"'The Boss' is unrivalled" trumpets Trouw. "Springsteen came, saw and conquered" reports de Telegraaf. And AD chimes in with "Springsteen reigns supreme".

De Volkskrant complains that "without Springsteen and Madness, the festival's 40th birthday would have been a little on the wan side" but the other papers are having none of it.

AD contends that "After 40 years, Pinkpop still has plenty of quality and atmosphere to offer" while de Telegraaf concludes "Forty years of Pinkpop? Let's have 40 more!"

With the news that the festival can count on occupying its current location for the next 10 years and that the Dutch public broadcasters have signed up for another three years of coverage, the festival's place in the nation's heart is assured for the time being at any rate.

Russia's Menchov brings glory to Dutch cycling
The cycling-mad Dutch are delighted with the victory of their Rabobank team in the Giro d'Italia. The win comes courtesy of Russian Denis Menchov, who swept to glory despite a dramatic fall less than a kilometre from the finish.

AD features a jubilant Menchov, punching the air, next to the headline "And now for the Tour de France" quoting him as saying "I can do it. I'm one of the best in the world."

But nrc-next columnist Wilfried de Jong offered a word of warning to the Dutch Rabobank team. "Doping scientists are lying in wait for him. He may yet be called to account in connection with illegal blood transfusions in Austria a few years ago".

Rabo is still licking its wounds after their previous star - Denmark's Michael Rasmussen - was forced to pull out of the Tour de France over allegations of avoiding drug tests. "You can almost hear them thinking: first that Dane, now that Russian." Another doping scandal "would really be a punch in the face of the Rabo team managers."

FA Cup victory dance for Hiddink
Another sporting victory with a Dutch connection has come in the shape of Chelsea's FA Cup victory under the leadership of Dutchman Guus Hiddink, who stepped into the breach in February to help the club out.

AD notes "He came as interim coach but he leaves as a popular hero".

Hiddink will now return to his post as Russia's national coach.

 The paper describes Chelsea's victory celebrations as "an intimate, multicultural party".

African music and dancing initiated by the club's Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien soon had everybody shaking their booty, even the straight-laced Dutchman.

"My whole body was moving in perfect time to the African rhythms. Or at least, I kidded myself on that's what was happening. White guys always think they can dance ..." 

Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica

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