Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 24 February 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Swedish energy takeover well received
News of the Dutch energy company Nuon being taken over by state-owned Swedish energy giant Vattenfall appears to be more welcomed than the recently announced takeover of Dutch firm Essent by Germany's RWE.
De Volkskrant reports of the differences between the two deals. The Nuon-Vattenfall is constructed to safeguard the Netherlands energy interests over the next eight years. During this period, the Swedes will have to accept binding recommendations from an independent foundation regarding all strategic decisions in the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg).
Another difference is Vattenfall's environmentally-friendly reputation. The Swedes have already expressed the desire to be "number 1 in wind power at sea" thanks to the Nuon takeover, and have ambitious CO2-storage plans.
However, Greenpeace cautions that the company "only generates a few percent of its power using wind and biomass."
In its editorial, De Telegraaf reports that "these takeovers leave a nasty taste" and points out the irony of politicians working towards a privatised energy market in the Netherlands only to have a Dutch firm snapped up by a publicly-owned Swedish concern. But as one observer in de Volkskrant noted: "I'd rather our energy was in the hands of a government than some Chinese investor or other."
On a lighter note, nrc-next depicts the Netherlands favourite cartoon ducklings Fokke & Sukke surrounded by the bits and pieces of an Ikea-style self-assembly kit and complaining: "We don't want to be taken over by Swedes. Before you know it, we'll have to put our own gas metre together."
Evolution vs Creationism: the battle heats up
Darwin Year 2009 is certainly not about to pass by unnoticed in the Netherlands. But instead of the considered deliberation of all things evolutionary that the great man might have hoped for, the social debate seems to be descending to the level of pantomime.
Does God exist? "Oh yes he does! Oh no he doesn't." AD hammers the point home with a photo of two massive billboards, sandwiched between ads for an energy company and a home furnishings store. The first billboard reads "God probably doesn't exist" while the second proclaims in even bigger letters "God is love".
The dispute escalated after a massive campaign proclaiming the message that God created the world in six days was launched. The leaflets will be delivered to over six million households in the Netherlands over the next few days. Now an anti-campaign has started up, initiated by a popular blogsite, calling on people to send the leaflets "back to their maker".
"Let these Christians believe what they like," says Bas Taart, the man behind the anti-campaign "but it's about time they stopped annoying us with stories about their imaginary friend."
The man behind the creationist leaflets hits back, dismissing the response as "an insult to the eight million Christians in the Netherlands".
He also added a positive spin on things: "Great, let people send the leaflets back. If we get three million back, we can send them on to the three million Dutch-speakers in Belgium."
Amsterdam's multicultural football team hangs in the balance
NRC-next looks at the predicament of Dutch amateur football club FC Türkiyemspor, which will probably be declared bankrupt in a court case on Tuesday. The paper describes it as "a club with a short yet glorious past ... but with no future" and asks "was it a successful multicultural experiment or a hotbed of criminal activity"?
Despite its name - "Türkiyemspor" means "My Turkey" - former chairman Nedim Imac was adamant that his was not a Turkish club but a down-to-earth Amsterdam club, whose logo incorporates the Turkish and Dutch flags and elements from Amsterdam's coat of arms.
A former player described it as "a warm, crazy, out-of-the-ordinary club, a real melting pot. Turks, Surinamers, Antilleans, Dutch and Africans all played in the top team."
Club Türkiyemspor also has a darker side. Apart from the debts of EUR 800,000, the mystery behind the murder of charismatic former chairman Imac, remains unsolved. The main suspect? A former captain of the team. The authorities are treating the killing as a drugs-related crime.
Where does that leave the club that seemed to be a promising example of successful integration? One young player commented philosophically after Saturday's final youth match: "There's always sunshine after the rain" but nrc-next concludes "if the judge declares the club bankrupt today, then the failure of this multicultural experiment will be a fact".
Star School concept
Trouw reports on an education think-tank which is about to embark on a national tour to spread its concept of Star School.
The concept is based on the fact that every child is an individual, a star, and should have the chance to develop themselves to the fullest.
The new school will consist of laptops and modern equipment, with the aim to achieve education that is geared towards individual pupils: "If little Frank is better at subtracting than adding, then he needs more lessons in adding" and such an approach can only be kept affordable with modern computer-based 'e-learning'.
More radical changes consist of the open, flexible structure of the Star School. Children from seven to 19 will be welcome, the facilities will be open to all local residents, and crèches and childcare will also be part of the package. Parents will be able to choose whether they send their children to school for four or five days a week and also allowed to decide for themselves when their children have a holiday or take a day off.
"Why do schoolkids always have set holidays and Wednesday afternoons off? Because that's what people 100 years ago came up with. Society has changed but education hasn't."
Shoe-throwing craze hits Amsterdam
Shoe-throwing - the protest craze that's sweeping the planet - hit Amsterdam at the weekend as three protestors were arrested for chucking their footwear at Israeli army spokesman Ron Edelheit as he gave a speech at a hotel in the Dutch capital.
De Volkskrant ponders the implications of the incident along with some of the people who were there. One of the pro-Israeli groups who invited Edelheit to give the talk described it as "a premeditated attempt at assault".
A lawyer confirmed that the protestors sought legal advice before launching their projectiles but refuses to say whether shoe-throwing is a criminal offence or whether it makes a difference whether the shoes actually hit their target. "The case is still in its early stages."
A Palestinian sympathiser is more understanding: "It's a peaceful form of activism as long as it's carried out in a certain way. Throwing boots with steel-toecaps would definitely be taking things too far."
Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica