Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 12 November 2008

12th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

12 November 2008

Historian's book focuses on Queen Juliana’s marital strife
The long-awaited publication of historian Cees Faseur's book on the 1950's crisis in the Dutch monarchy is the main news on nearly all front pages today.

De Telegraaf claims that "Bernhard saved the monarchy, while de Volkskrant focuses on "Marital strife at Soestdijk". NRC Handelsblad writes that "Resistance threatened to liquidate Greet Hofmans".

In his book, Fasseur, the first historian ever to be granted access to the royal archive, covers the first 20 years of the often difficult marriage between former Queen Juliana and her husband, Prince Bernhard. The main focus of the book is the so-called Greet Hofmans affair.

Greet Hofmans, a pacifist faith healer who had a strong influence on the queen, sparked a marital crisis at Soestdijk Palace. Prince Bernhard leaked the story to the German press to force the Dutch government to take action and remove a potential threat to the monarchy.

However, it took a second government commission as well as threats against the life of Greet Hofmans by former resistance fighters to persuade the queen to break all ties to the controversial faith healer.

Christian Democratic seeks paternity right
Trouw reports that Christian Democratic MP Mirjam Sterk has submitted a proposal to legally register both parents of a child born outside a marriage or a registered partnership.

Youth and Family Minister André Rouvoet wants parents who split up to draw up a parenthood plan in which they lay down their arrangements for parental access. However, his proposal does not include the children born outside marriage or registered partnerships.

Sterk says that more than 50 percent of all children are born outside a legally registered relationship. In informal relationships, the mother is automatically the legal guardian, but "If something serious happens to the child, the father has no standing. This also applies to situations .... in which a father is denied access to his children, or a father shirks his responsibilities or refuses to acknowledge being their father".

However, the Christian Democratic MPs proposal does not say how it will deal with a number of potential problems, including sperm donors and children who do not want to have anything to do with their father. It is also not clear whether men can be forced to take a paternity test.

Minister Rouvoet will react to the proposal on Monday.

Aboutaleb’s remarks spark controversy
Today's AD reports that Deputy Social Affairs Minister Ahmed Aboutaleb's call to local Labour party officials to present a EUR 50 million handout to minimum wage earners as a "spectacular Labour action" has sparked controversy in parliament.

The EUR 50 million, which the cabinet earmarked for minimum wage earners in June, is to be distributed before Christmas.

In an email to local party officials, the deputy minister writes that the measure proves: "the effectiveness of the Labour party".

"We can come up with something that within six months leads to EUR 50 in people's bank accounts. At a local level, you can promote this action as a Labour action. This way the success will rub off on your local organisation."

The conservative VVD is outraged and demands an emergency debate on the issue. According to the party, the deputy minister abuses his office for party politics. "As a minister, Aboutaleb must serve the people, not the Labour party". Socialist Party leader Agnes Kant says that "Apparently, Labour feels that promoting itself is more important than helping minimum wage earners".

In a reaction, Aboutaleb said the email was intended to ensure that the money really ended up in the pockets of minimum wage earners. The money is to be distributed by local councils. A spokesperson said: "The deputy minister thought it important to point this out to local officials".

Amber Alert in Netherlands
De Volkskrant writes that as of Wednesday, the police can sound a nationwide full alert for a missing child.

The new alert system, which makes use of text messaging email and screens at railway stations and airport terminals to make the data of a missing boy or girl known to the public, was officially introduced on Tuesday.

Initiator and software company director Fred Hoen says that this way: "At the push of a button", the whole Netherlands becomes "one huge missing person poster".

The new system, named Amber Alert, was modelled on a similar system which has been in use in the US since 1996. The police expect Amber Alert will be used five to 10 times a year. The authorities are still considering also using the information screens over the nation's motorways.

Incorrect usage of contraceptives
Trouw reports that two-thirds of the women who underwent an abortion in 2007 did use contraceptives, but incorrectly. Particularly young people are often unaware of the consequences of a forgotten pill, or how to use a condom properly.

The Rutger Nisso Groep, the Dutch Expert Centre on Sexuality, says that the number of abortions in the Netherlands has remained fairly stable since 2002, at 8.6 per 1,000 women.

Researcher Ciel Wijssen argues that family doctors and schools should give better information about the use of contraceptives.

Young people of Antillean, African and Surinamese descent are particularly at risk. They become sexually active at a young age and are therefore more vulnerable.  

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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