Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 5 August 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.5 August 2008
Hospitals in the red
Protestant daily Trouw reports that almost 90 percent of Dutch hospitals are in a poor financial position and that many smaller hospitals are facing an uncertain future.
Strategies in Regulated Markets (SRM) studied the annual reports of 77 hospitals and concluded that many small hospitals in the Dutch urban conglomeration in the west of the country may have to close unless they can improve their finances. Almost 40 percent of the hospitals in urban areas are in the red.
However, the paper assures there is nothing to worry about and quotes one of the investigators as saying: "people don't have to worry about 'their' hospital disappearing. Hospitals experiencing financial difficulties will get taken over or become part of a chain".
Crackdown on holiday sickness
"Extra checks on holiday illness" headlines the populist De Telegraaf on its front page above a report about a new crackdown on absenteeism or in sick to win a few extra days of holiday.
According to the paper, one of the largest Dutch companies specialising in monitoring sick employees has formed a partnership with a private detective firm and is setting up a network to check whether people are really ill or if they just want a few extra days in the sun.
The director of the company says: "There's definitely a market for it. Absenteeism is especially common among Dutch citizens of Turkish and Moroccan origin. People persuade doctors to give them a false medical certificate so they can stay on holiday.
“I expect a visit from one of our detectives will be enough to make a doctor withdraw a false certificate."
Another Dutch company specialising in illness verification set up a similar service in 2007 and says it has been a success as the number of Dutch nationals of foreign origin calling in sick has fallen.
Ruud van Nistelrooy out of national team
News that Dutch footballer Ruud van Nistelrooy will no longer play for the national team made the front pages of several papers this morning.
Both AD and De Telegraaf devote several pages to the "surprising and unwelcome news" that after almost 10 years with the Dutch team the star striker has decided to concentrate his energies on scoring goals for his club.
Van Nistelrooy plays for Real Madrid, one of the top clubs in the world, and AD quotes him as saying: "After studying the schedule, I realised that in order to keep playing at this level, I had to make a choice".
The footballer is now 32 years old, which is close to retirement age at this level of competition.
Hit by four tornadoes
The weather makes it into the news yet again but it was neither sun nor rain this time - the Netherlands was hit by at least four tornadoes over the weekend.
"Sheep were flying through the air" headlines De Telegraaf above a photo of the wreckage wrought by the twister.
According to the paper, a tornado is something one expects to see in a news report from the US Midwest states but not the Dutch provinces of Groningen and Friesland.
One resident from one of the villages hit by the tornado told the paper, "We saw sheep flying through the air. We hid underneath a table, because I saw someone do that in a disaster movie".
AD reports that insurance claim-adjusters are already assessing the damage and according to one, "it runs into the millions".
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]