Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 16 December 2009

16th December 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Postive turn in economic figures for 2010
The Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (CPB) reported the economy will grow by 1.5 percent in 2010, on its front page.

Estimated unemployment in 2010 is expected to drop to 5.8 percent from an earlier forecast of 9.5 percent. de Volkskrant explained that despite suffering a 4 percent recession, the improvement in expected unemployment figures indicates the Dutch employment market is more flexible than experts thought.

The paper discussed several reasons for the improved outlook. A government scheme which shortened the working week and covered part of the wages bill may have made a difference, but the paper noted the scheme was not implemented extensively.  

Dutch workers have become accustomed to long overtime hours since 2008, and firms have decided to cut these in stead of laying people off.

Also, East European workers have found fewer sources of employment and have returned to their countries of origin.

However, the paper then pointed to a hidden factor which helped prepare job markets for recession. It said over recent years, many people have set themselves up as self-employed, working as sole traders.

NRC.next mentioned the same factor and quoted CPB director Coen Teulings: "The bad news is that some of the pain of the crisis has hit the growing group of self-employed people who don't employ staff. Their suffering has been hidden." The paper finally reported that the budget deficit is set to rise by 5.8 percent in 2010.

Teenage victim of prank in Zutphen
NRC.next pointed out how easy it is for youngsters to go off the rails with their headline "Adolescents who kill adolescents’.’

The latest case involved three teenage boys and a girl who are on trial in the small town of Zutphen for shutting a deaf 16-year-old in a shipping container on an industrial estate. The boy died two days later and may have died of asphyxiated after he started a fire for heat.

The report quoted an expert who said youngsters, especially boys, "have a limited ability to control impulses. Look at the way they drive and drink." He added: "They underestimate risks and overestimate what they can achieve". They are also easily influenced by "delinquent" friends.

The paper interviewed a lawyer who spoke on the thin line between misbehaviour and crime. He said, if kids throw stones from a viaduct and nobody is hurt, the most they receive is a warning from a passer-by but if a driver is killed as a result of his or her stupidity, the results are dramatic. A judge will blame "dysfunctional families, psychological make-up and education".

Child beatings in Mosques
De Telegraaf, and the AD had front-page pieces on children being beaten during Qur'an lessons in mosques in The Hague.

The AD said local medical authorities have reported nearly 50 cases of suspected assault to the police. Parents are said to have reacted in different ways; some removed their children from the classes, and others denied the beatings had taken place. No parents were willing to make official complaints of abuse to the authorities.

A councillor told De Telegraaf: "I just can't believe that the mosque authorities didn't know children were being so badly mistreated". Another added: "If the mosque refuses to take responsibility, the public prosecutor will have to deal with it".

A church made of bamboo
Trouw printed a photo of the nave of a Gothic church made of huge arching bamboo poles. The church without religion designed by architect Simón Vélez is under construction in Cartegena in Colombia.

The artist will receive the Principal Prince Claus Award, worth EUR 100,000, in Amsterdam Wednesday. The paper said the architect has become the standard-bearer of ecological architecture.

Vélez, who uses mostly bamboo in his work, told the paper he doesn't see himself as "an ecological ambassador or saviour of the planet", but rather as "a craftsman who has discovered the potential of bamboo".

Skating madness
Many papers reported on the skating madness in the Netherlands. After a few days of sub-zero temperatures, the Dutch are preparing for the first skating races on ‘natural’ ice.

de Volkskrant printed a front-page photo of two youngsters skating in the country, with an old windmill in the background. The headline read; "first scrapes on thin ice".

De Telegraaf reported on the "Ice battle reaching boiling point," a contest between skating clubs throughout the country to stage the first ice race. The paper also printed a photo of two men measuring the thickness of the ice.

Radio Netherlands / Mike Wilcox / Expatica

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