Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 3 November 2009

3rd November 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Another non-candidate for EU president
Trouw reports "Balkenende's EU chances slump," while AD goes for the more direct "Belgium's van Rompuy formidable opponent for Balkenende".

Trouw writes Belgian Prime Minister Herman van Rompuy has been "tipped as favourite for the post of EU president".

The Protestant daily reports Monday an unnamed European diplomat told AFP press agency that none of the 27 EU leaders raised any objection to the Belgian PM during last week's European Union summit.

"They agreed on him, something of a rarity among the 27 EU leaders. None of the other candidates can count on unanimous support".

Whether van Rompuy would take the job is another matter entirely; the paper writes. When his name first came up in September, the prime minister declined comment over the offer.

AD writes speculation has been rife in the Belgian media over the last few days, a situation mirrored here in the Netherlands.

A column in NRC Handelsblad compares the smokescreen thrown up by all the non-candidates with "the conclave of cardinals choosing new pope at the Vatican".

Mudslinging in The Hague: Wilders hits back
AD reports that another round of mudslinging between Freedom Party (PVV) leader Geert Wilders and the rest of the Dutch political establishment kicked off at the weekend after three sociologists published an article in de Volkskrant saying the PVV is an extreme right-wing party and Wilders is a threat to democracy.

AD writesWilders responded angrily: "I'm furious, they're absolutely crazy. We are democrats in heart and soul".

In response, D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said: "Wilders is a racist and an extreme right-winger," and Integration Minister Eberhard van der Laan said: "the PVV is a threat to the state".

The far right leader in turn called Pechtold and Minister Van der Laan "the political accomplices of Mohammed Bouyeri" - the Muslim fundamentalist who murdered filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

According to a reader's poll in De Telegraaf, 75 percent of respondents say “the threat posed by the PVV is exaggerated” and it is "nonsense" to call Wilders an extreme right-winger.

Website to reveal unqualified teachers
AD covers Wednesday's launch of a new education ministry website that will allow parents to see how many unqualified people are working as teachers at their child's school.

The launch comes two days after a new teachers union, Teachers in Action (LIA), announced that unqualified teachers conduct 25 percent of lessons. LIA board member David Geneste told the paper: "The situation has been like this for years, but nothing has been done to resolve it."

The organisation said there are around 25,000 teachers who do not possess a teaching certificate or have the right qualifications.

Geneste said this has a negative impact on the quality of education: "Eight out of 10 unqualified teachers do a good job, but two don't."

There is a chronic shortage of teachers in the Netherlands and the LIA said allowing unqualified people to teach masks the shortage.

One social studies teacher told the paper: "I've been giving geography lessons and I know a gym teacher who has been teaching maths".

Huge rise in number of girls in crime
NRC.next reports girls in crime are rapidly catching up with the boys in the last 13 years as seen in the latest figures from the Dutch Statistics Office.

In 1995, the Public Prosecutor's Office and the courts dealt with just over 2,200 cases involving girls but that number had risen to just over 6,800 in 2008.

Trouw reports the number of criminal cases against boys during the same time period also rose but not as fast.

In 1995, there were 21,000 cases brought against boys as compared to 31,000 in 2008.

The paper says the number of criminal cases against minors also rose from nine percent in 1995 to 15 percent in 2008.

Sinterklaas’ celebration hit by recession
The recession works in mysterious ways and has hit a peculiarly Dutch institution: Sinterklaas.

AD reports Saint Nick Centre has been hit hard by the recession as the number of bookings by schools and companies has dropped dramatically because "EUR 300 per hour is far too expensive".

The Saint Nick Centre, which operates mainly in the wealth Gooi area, provides "deluxe Saint Nicks" who wear beards and wigs made from real hair and velvet tabards lined with gold silk.

The owner, Job Janse, is not lowering his prices because "quality costs money," adding, "children aren't stupid, they can spot a fake Saint Nick".

Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica

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