Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 17 September 2008

17th September 2008, Comments 0 comments

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

17 September 2008

Budget Day
Most of today's front pages feature a photo of the Queen, either smiling and waving from the Golden Carriage or smiling and waving from the balcony of Palace Noordeinde on Tuesday.

The papers also devote several pages to the Queen's speech - outlining the cabinet's plans for the coming year - and then several more pages to the budget that will be presented in parliament Wednesday.

The papers say the same thing; families and people with jobs will be the chief beneficiaries of the government's plans to cut taxes and Finance Minister Wouter Bos believes the Netherlands will be able survive the global economic turmoil without too much belt tightening.

Trouw quotes Minister Bos as saying, "when storms rock the global economy, the Netherlands gets wet. Even though the Dutch economy will not do as well as we hoped in 2009, the choices that this cabinet has made will ensure that the Netherlands performs far better than other countries in Europe".

De Volkskrant writes that the world's economic problems will test the finance minister's abilities to the utmost and notes that the global credit crisis was barely mentioned in the Queen's speech, even though the Amsterdam stock exchange had dropped four percentage points while the Queen was delivering a speech.

Medical marijuana
On Tuesday, the Dutch high court ruled that a man suffering from multiple sclerosis is allowed to grow his own marijuana in order to counteract the serious consequences of his disease.

De Volkskrant writes that court's ruling is "sensational", given that growing marijuana is forbidden under Dutch opium laws, although the government does turn a blind eye to anyone growing five plants or less and to the sale of five grams per person per day by coffee shops.

Trouw reports that in 2005, a court in Assen convicted Wim Moorlag and his wife for growing marijuana. A higher court overturned the conviction in 2006 after experts testified that the cannabis grown by Moorlag was purely to counteract the severe pain and muscle spasms caused by MS.

The High Court ruling on Tuesday confirms the earlier ruling and frees the couple from any further prosecution. The High Court wrote that the societal demand to maintain law and order were outweighed by the personal needs of the MS patient.

Dutch masters recovered
Several papers report that five Dutch masters stolen from a Haarlem Museum in 2002 were recovered in a daring police operation at the weekend.

De Volkskrant carries a photo of the joint police and museum press conference announcing the return of the masterworks, which include paintings by Jan Steen, Adriaen van Ostade and Cornelis Dusart. 

The photo shows the police and museum functionaries seated at an ordinary Formica table while behind them some EUR 3 million worth of artwork are displayed on easels.

De Volkskrant interviews the curator of Haarlem's Frans Hals Museum who says: "I had given up hope that they would ever be returned. I'm retiring soon and the return of his works is a wonderful parting gift."

Hats and shoes
Coverage of the Queen's speech usually includes coverage of the hats worn by the various royals and politicians in attendance. However, this year the populist (and royalist) De Telegraaf has expanded its coverage to include shoes.

The paper prints about a dozen photos of some of the more spectacular hats but it's the women's page that features photos of several pairs of shoes. The paper has even created a competition asking readers to match the hats to the shoes.

[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]

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