Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 7 October 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.
7 October 2008
Financial markets fall, while Dutch children learn to manage money
The news from the financial markets dominates the front pages in the Netherlands again Tuesday: "Markets tumble", says NRC Handelsblad, "Crisis complete, confidence evaporates", reports de Volkskrant, "World in panic", states De Telegraaf. But the newspapers agree that "savers are safe" now that the governments of Europe are guaranteeing their citizens’ savings accounts.
Princess Máxima is featured on the front page of AD at the opening of "Money and your life!”, an exhibition aimed at teaching 12 to 16 year olds how to handle their money. De Telegraaf comments, "The exhibition is aimed at teaching young people how to handle money responsibly, a lesson that would not be lost on some financial executives nowadays".
Tax evaders with foreign ABN Amro accounts are concerned over government bailout
De Volkskrant reports on one particular group’s concern over the Dutch government's bailout of Fortis and ABN AMRO: Dutch account holders who tried to avoid paying taxes by depositing their savings in an ABN AMRO account in Switzerland or Luxembourg. The paper notes that Finance Minister Wouter Bos "not only bec[a]me the proud owner of two Dutch banks, but also of hundreds of millions in tax-dodgers' savings".
"I've had quite a few worried phone calls", says one financial advisor. "Their main question is ... should I come clean before I get found out?" The tax evaders are worried that the finance minister can now take their personal information and give it to the tax authourities.
An ABN AMRO spokesperson says, "Customer confidentiality and all other banking regulations will remain in place... Political interference is not permitted and would only make the bank more difficult to sell". But another advisor notes, "Officially, the recently leaked CD with details of secret bank accounts in Liechtenstein should never have found its way to the German tax authourities either ... but it did".
Value of skyboxes at Amsterdam ArenA increases
"A skybox at Amsterdam ArenA means big bucks!" says De Telegraaf.
Anyone who purchased "their own private living room" at the stadium in 1996 can now sell it for EUR 600,000, five times the original price. The value of the skybox is so strong that "even the disappointing results of home team Ajax haven't dented the stadium's popularity".
This large sum doesn't include the price of tickets. The owners also run the risk of being replaced by European football association UEFA, which can claim the boxes for its own important guests during major international matches. Skyboxes are only owned by big businesses: "not a single one has been sold to a wealthy football enthusiast".
Fires in Dutch homes lead to concern over fire safety
Trouw says, "You'd do well to check that your home is fire resistant. Hundreds of thousands probably aren't". Concerns were raised following a domestic fire in the town of Zaandam on 4 October which spread to 11 other homes.
All homes built in the Netherlands since 1991 should be able to contain a fire for 60 minutes, and homes built before 1991 should be adapted to contain a blaze for 20 minutes, "an absolute minimum", according to a fire safety expert.
In the town of Hoofddorp in August a similar fire destroyed at least eight homes.
AD says, "Climate concerns are sexier than fire safety". The paper quotes a fire prevention expert who says, "At the moment the focus is on the climate, energy savings and ventilation systems in homes. Fire safety is taking a back seat".
Professor Ben Ale from Delft University of Technology agrees: "As long as there are no fatalities, it looks like domestic fire safety isn't a priority". He compares fire safety to the current financial crisis: "In America, the supervision of the banks was dramatically scaled back... and now we are paying the price. In the Netherlands, fire safety supervision has been scaled back ..."
Nutritional information on the kroket
NRC.next has a feature on the 'kroket', the thick meat paste coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. According to Martijn Katan, professor of nutrition at Amsterdam's VU University, this Dutch fast food is not as bad as many think. "Compared to a cheese sandwich, a kroket contains less fat and calories, a lot less saturated fat, it's slightly richer in iron and there's not much difference in terms of vitamins".
The paper writes the kroket is so popular that "half of the population of the Netherlands are so grateful they could kiss him". Professor Katan says, "They'll probably put a bronze kroket on my tombstone".
[Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica]