Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 14 October 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Coalition nears deal on raising the retirement age
De Telegraaf, de Volkskrant and Trouw cover news of the retirement age negotiations with "coalition close to agreement on pension age," while AD writes "the over 55s dodge pension bullet".
All the papers report the coalition partners - the Christian Democrats, the Labour Party and the Christian Union - are close to hammering out an agreement on raising the retirement age.
According to de Volkskrant, "insiders say the retirement age will be raised to 66 in 2020 and gradually increased to 67 by 2026". People who have reached the age of 55 by 1 January 2010 will be allowed to retire at 65 while all under 55 will have to keep working until the age of 67.
There are one or two stumbling blocks: what to do about people who started working at an early age, and those who work in physically demanding jobs.
AD quotes an unnamed insider: "It's a complicated puzzle. If we can't reach an agreement on adjusting the retirement age for people doing demanding jobs then the date of introduction could be up for renegotiation".
Last day of withdrawals for DSB customers
All papers report on the fall of the privately-held DSB bank. The bank is now in receivership and several papers report Wednesday is the last day that customers will be able to make withdrawals.
The bank has been the subject of controversy for some time; in June, it was fined for lending people more than they could afford to borrow. Many of those borrowers are now facing a great deal of uncertainty and don’t know where to turn.
de Volkskrant writes: "Conflicting advice leaves DSB victims hanging". NRC.next opens its coverage of the story with the question that is surely on many people's lips: "What's going to happen to my savings?"
UK court overturns ban on Wilders
AD reports Dutch MP Geert Wilders has won his appeal against a UK government ruling banning him from entering the country.
In February 2009, the far-right MP was invited to attend a screening of his film Fitna in the House of Lords. However, two days before he was due to leave for a London, the Home Office banned the leader of the right-wing Freedom Party from entering the country on grounds that his "presence would threaten community harmony and public order".
A panel of judges in London ruled the decision violated freedom of expression and freedom of movement and dismissed the government's evidence as, "thin and vague".
According to Trouw, the Freedom Party leader said the ruling was "fantastic news" and that he plans to travel to England as soon as possible to discuss Fitna with British MPs.
Dutch companies lose billions due to poor language skills
NRC.next writes that several studies have discovered that the Dutch have a tendency to overestimate their foreign language proficiency, something that is "good for a laugh in the pub but disastrous during business negotiations".
According to an internal study conducted by the Limburg Chamber of Commerce, Dutch companies doing business in Germany miss out on contracts worth around EUR 8 billion annually due to poor language skills.
The paper prints about a dozen of the most common language blunders such as "In Groningen, gas comes out of our bottom," and, "How do you do and how do you do your wife?"
Meteorite streaks across Dutch skies
A meteorite shot across the skies early on Tuesday evening and De Telegraaf prints a photo of the event under the headline "star falls into the North Sea".
Many people in the Netherlands witnessed a fireball in the heaven at around 19:00.
An astronomer tells the paper the meteorite was "about the size of a lorry," adding, "you see a meteorite of this size about once every 10 or 15 years". The KNMI national weather centre also received a large number of calls reporting the event.
AD prints a much better photo of the meteorite and writes, "A mysterious fireball in the sky caused quite a commotion yesterday".
The paper says people in the north of the country also reported hearing loud bangs, and quotes the same astronomer as saying: “You can compare the noise to that of a fighter jet going through the sound barrier".
Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica