Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 17 December 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.
Olympic winners dominate sports awards
This year's Olympic winners have dominated the Sports Personality of the Year awards. De Telegraaf prints a photograph of the winners in gala dress holding a festive bunch of tulips wrapped in tinsel and holding a bronze statuette.
The award, which has been named after three-times world champion speed skater Jaap Eden, went to all the gold medal winners at the Beijing Olympics. They are swimmer Maarten van der Weijden, racing cyclist Marianne Vos, wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer and the whole women's waterpolo team, including the coach.
Van der Weijden has been elected sportsman of the year for having win the 10-kilometre race at the Beijing Olympics.
Sportswoman of the year is cyclist Marianne Vos as she won the track points race at the Beijing Olympics as well as the track points race world championship.
The women's water polo team was elected sports team of the year and their coach Robin van Galen became coach of the year.
Wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer was elected disabled sportsperson of the year. In Beijing, she won the Paralympics title for the third time in a row.
Van der Weijden took the opportunity to announce his retirement, saying: "All good things come to an end".
Teachers against shorter holidays
A proposal by an education committee to cut school holidays in order to reduce work pressure for teachers has been met with resistance from teachers' unions.
De Volkskrant, AD and Trouw report that unions say giving children five days off throughout the year so that teachers can attend meetings and follow courses, will not have the desired effect.
On the other hand, a second proposal to reduce the obligatory number of lesson hours from 1,040 to 1,000 a year, has been welcomed by the schoolchildren's action committee LAKS.
The committee organised several demonstrations in 2007 against the practice of herding schoolchildren into classrooms for "homework classes" to make up for the shortfall in lessons.
Deputy Education Minister Marja van Bijsterveldt called the proposals "daring" and said she will respond to them in mid-February.
Tsunami aid impossible to audit
Have you ever wondered what happens to your money after one of those television fund raising programmes?
De Volkskrant reports that the Dutch audit office headed a study by 17 national audit offices on what happened to the millions of euros raised in aid after the 2004 tsunami.
"It's not that the money has disappeared or was spent wrongly, there is no sign of that," said the head of the audit office.
In fact, all the Dutch aid organisations (who received EUR 500 million in total) met the auditing requirements and provided extra information. But each organisation has a different way of reporting on their activities, making the reports impossible to compare.
To compound the problem, international rules on the financial auditing of aid also differ per country.
A possible solution to this problem is to develop a simpler structure of auditing, an idea welcomed by the Dutch Development Minister Bert Koenders.
Searching for Dutch identity in times of crisis
Trouw reports on how people in the Netherlands seek reinforcement of their national identity and take comfort in social cohesion in times of crisis.
A commercial television programme called "I love Holland" attracts a stunning 1.4 million viewers every week while a magazine called Everyday Life which documents the rites and rituals involved in everything from living to dying, has just come onto the market.
Charles de Mooij, managing director of the North Brabant museum explained the phenomenon: "I think in these fast times with the internet and the closeness of other continents, people go in search of what makes them who they are."
[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]