Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 9 June 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Alternative presented for Amsterdam’s North-South line
De Telegraaf reports on a proposal by the Socialist Party (SP) faction in Amsterdam to build a cheaper alternative to the North-South line metro tunnel project, whose initial costs have soared from EUR 1.4 billion to EUR 3.1 billion.
The project, which began in 2003 and has met numerous delays due to severe subsidence which caused damage to historic houses, was originally scheduled for completion in 2012.
According to the latest projections the new metro will not be ready before 2018.
The SP presented a proposal by the consultancy firm TransTec to complete the project by 2013 for less than EUR 300 million.
Instead of building a tunnel to Amsterdam South and the World Trade Centre, the firm advises constructing a quick tram link with seven additional stops. The tunnel under the IJ river separating North Amsterdam from the centre would be completed as proposed.
Several days ago, a committee headed by former Agriculture Minister Cees Veerman recommended Amsterdam continue with the project despite the soaring costs and delays so that money spent will not go to waste.
Amsterdam’s international prestige will also be heightened if the metro is completed and allow easy access within the city.
In an article in NRC Handelsblad, Professor of Philosophy Gijs van Oenen writes that although the Veerman Commission presented cost estimates and proposals, it did not answer any of the essential questions concerning technique and construction.
"After all, that was the major concern, that more historic buildings would sink, or even collapse – such as the dramatic example of the city archives in Cologne where two people were killed (in the construction of a similar metro)."
Instead, the commission proposes better organisation and agreements with constructors, "which appears in every report by any commission on any arbitrary subject".
In nrc.next, lawyer and publisher Menno van der Veen also objects to the conclusions of the Veerman Commission, saying the report appears to "do the municipality of Amsterdam’s dirty work. The recommendations are certainly music to the municipality’s ears."
Van der Veen writes the report parrots the city's claims that the North-South Line is essential for Amsterdam's prestige without providing valid reasons.
"Nowhere are the arguments substantiated. Why would an underground attract tourists to a city fit for walking with an intricate tram network?"
Floods of abuse against Muslims on internet
AD writes the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the internet reported 899 instances of insulting and discriminatory remarks on the internet, of which 524 targeted Moroccans and Turks. Another 213 were anti-Semitic.
In most cases the insulting comments were immediately removed by the administrator. The paper writes that most discriminatory remarks appear on news sites where readers can respond.
"Non-native Dutch" feel unwelcome
The free newspaper Spits reports growing concerns among allochtonen (a term to describe non-native Dutch of non-Western origin) about the rise of the populist Freedom Party of the fiercely anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders. Opinion polls show the Freedom Party is currently the largest in the Netherlands.
"Not only the older generation, but also the youth feel themselves more and more an unwelcome guest," said Umar Mirza, editor of the weblog wijblijvenhier.nl (weareheretostay.nl).
"A few years ago non-native Dutch thought the Wilders phenomenon was a passing fad. After the recent elections, he is being taken seriously."
Marianne Vorthoren, member of a Muslim organisation in Rotterdam said she finds it troubling that Muslim youths do not feel welcome in the Netherlands.
"While they were born and bred here; this is their country. Hm, but why do the Dutch media categorise people who were born and bred here by referring to them daily as "non-native Dutch"?
Shooting with camera prevents Israeli violence
The free newspaper Metro writes about a photographic exhibition to be held in Amsterdam and The Hague this week which will display video fragments from the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem (In the Shadow).
"Palestinian video activists who face violence from Israeli settlers and soldiers do not shoot back with weapons, but with cameras."
The paper writes that complaints by Palestinian shepherds and families about abuse from Israeli settlers and soldiers are usually not taken seriously by the Israeli public until the incidents appear on film.
"An incident in which Israeli soldiers beat a blindfolded demonstrator and shot him in the foot caused a lot of commotion when it was broadcast on Israeli television." The incident was later condemned by the Israeli defence ministry.
The video was shot by a 14-year-old Palestinian girl, who along with hundreds of others of video activists, has been trained by B’Tselem.
"The violence has decreased since videos of violent incidents began to regularly be broadcast," said Oren Yakobovich, director of B'Tselem’s video department. "In any event when there are cameras around."
Ecological burials is latest trend
The free quality newspaper De Pers writes about the first "ecological" burial site in the Netherlands.
People can be buried in a biologically decomposable grave, reports the newspaper.
“Those who prefer to be buried ecologically are placed in a grave covered in a shroud, or an 'eco-coffin' of sustainable ash-wood, braided reed or even carton.”
An eco-funeral is also cheaper
“A carton coffin is much cheaper than a wooden one and the fact that there is no tombstone saves a fortune,” said Theo Veenstra of the Natural Death Centre.
"I think this should appeal to the (thrifty) Dutch."
Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica