Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 28 July 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Abortion boat activists could face criminal charges
The Netherlands has long been known as a bastion of liberality and freedom but just how liberal and free is the Netherlands in 2009?
On the one hand, it appears as though the ideal of equality for all is being embraced by the governing conservative Christian Democrats: MPs from the party will be taking part in the famous Gay Pride canal parade for the first time in the event's 14 year history.
On the other hand, the government is evidently taking a tougher stance on abortion.
Several papers report that the Dutch abortion boat run by Women on Waves (WoW) could face prosecution for handing out abortifacient pills in 2008.
"Dutch health inspectorate files charges against WoW," writes NRC Handelsblad on its front page, a headline echoed by its sister publication NRC.next.
Both papers report the health inspectorate (IGZ) has called on the public prosecutor’s office to prosecute WoW for handing out abortion pills on a rented yacht moored off the Spanish coast.
"WoW is only licensed to distribute abortion pills from its floating clinic. As WoW did not request the licence be transferred to a yacht, they were breaking the law," said an IGZ spokesperson.
The organisation's director, Dr Rebecca Gomperts, said the IGZ's call to prosecute her organisation is "quite remarkable" and proves that "resistance to abortion is growing in The Hague".
Christian Democrats join Gay Pride parade for first-time
De Volkskrant reports Christian Democrats will be joining Gay Pride for the first time in 14 years. "Christian Democrats on holy boat during Gay Pride" headlines the paper.
Trouw covers the same story but leaves the word gay out of its headline.
Both papers report CDA MP Corien Jonker will take part in Saturday's canal parade, sailing with gay and lesbian Christians on a 'holy' boat. It is the first time that the CDA Christian Democrats – one of the two large parties in the current three-party government - have joined the parade to increase dialogue between Christian and non-Christian homosexuals as well as between the church and homosexuals.
De Volkskrant writes Emancipation Minister Ronald Plasterk of the Labour Party will join the parade again this year.
The third member of the governing coalition, the Christian Union, will not be taking part. A CU spokesperson said: "We do not view the parade as a way to increase emancipation. We will not be discussing the decision to take part in the parade with the other coalition members".
Natural gas reserves larger than previously thought
AD reports Dutch natural gas reserves are larger than previously thought. TNO, a major research institute, reported Monday that oil and gas companies have discovered 33.1 billion cubic metres of gas which cost about EUR five billion in new fields under the Netherlands.
Trouw writes "Gas production in the Wadden Sea set to increase".
According to estimates by the Netherlands oil and gas company (NAM), there is an extra six to 10 billion cubic metres of gas under the Wadden Sea – the narrow strip of water that lies between the northern Dutch coastline and the Wadden Islands and North Sea beyond.
"That's enough gas to supply Amsterdam and Rotterdam for seven or eight years," said a NAM spokesperson.
Bicycle chaos at train stations
The government has been encouraging people to ride bikes but have failed to invest in facilities for cyclists as cycle racks outside train stations have been overcrowded for years
Trouw prints a picture that is all too familiar to cyclists and train users: a woman with a bicycle looks around in desperation amid the chaos of bicycles parked outside a train station. There is nowhere to park her bike.
The paper also reports ProRail plans to solve the shortage of bike racks - estimated at 100,000 places - at 150 stations over the coming four years. The paper also asked if it will be enough to satisfy the ever-increasing demand for a safe place to lock up a bicycle.
More stressed pets on the run during holidays
Its holiday season in the Netherlands and many people are off enjoying the sun while the family pet is at home being looked after by friends or neighbours.
AD reports "Stressed pets run away from carers" as the animal ambulance and Amivedi, the alarm centre for missing animals, have been inundated with reports of pets that have legged it.
An Amivedi spokesperson said: “We get dozens of calls every day about dogs or cats that have run away from the sitters".
The paper also prints a few handy tips for pet sitters: Don't leave the door open. If the animal dies while the owners are away, don't ring and tell them, as the news will just ruin their holiday. Just get the vet to freeze the body and give it to the owners when they get back.
Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica