Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 19 November 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.19 November 2008
Defence department pro-JSF jet fighter?
“The frustration is tangible when speaking with the managers of Saab Gripen in Sweden,” writes de Volkskrant.
“Why did the Defence Ministry invite the airplane manufacturer to join the race against the Joint Strike Fighter if it was not really interested?”
The vice president of Gripen International Bob Kemp tells a delegation of Dutch journalists visiting his factory that he is extremely disappointed with Deputy Defence Minister Jack De Vries. “He acts like a representative of the competition. We have seldom encountered someone with such a strong preference for a plane - the Joint Strike Fighter.”
The JSF will be built in the United States in cooperation with other countries. It is in the running to replace the Dutch air force’s F16s.
The Saab managers also say the deputy defence minister has provided parliament with distorted information, such as saying it was impossible to predict the capacities of their plane - the Gripen Next Generation. “Does he really want to give Saab a chance or did he in fact choose Lockheed long ago and does parliament approve what he is doing?”
Kemp says that the Gripen Next Generation fighter is “much cheaper in price as well as maintenance”. “The Netherlands will save EUR 6 billion on maintenance costs alone during the life of the plane, in comparison to the JSF.”
A defence department spokeswoman says she is surprised by the comments. She says the information about the plane’s capacities was “double checked”. “We are also surprised that Saab is criticising (us) via the media.”
KPN to receive fast internet fibres
Trouw reports that the Dutch telecommunications firm KPN has reached agreement with the Reggefiber company to invest EUR six to seven billion in a glass fibre network which would connect nearly the entire country with fast internet before 2015.
The paper writes that an agreement is expected to be signed later this week. Trouw says the investment of billions of euros “would provide an enormous boost to the Dutch construction industry, which is struggling with a decline in orders for houses and offices.”
Trouw writes that the two firms had reached agreement in May, but they did not have the approval of the Competition Authority NMA and they also needed to wait for the telecommunications watchdog OPTA to change its regulations before receiving the go-ahead.
The paper says: “While in other countries telecommunications firms ask the government for billions of euros in aid for a local glass fibre network, KPN and Reggefiber want to connect nearly the entire country with glass fibres at their own cost.”
Trouw says the firms had been upset with all the bureaucratic delays in The Hague “while the most modern telecommunications network in the world was in a manner of speaking falling into the government’s lap”. The construction of a nationwide glass fibre network “will again place the Netherlands in the lead internationally when it comes to fast internet. “
Trends in Dutch beer drinking
The Centraal Brouwerij Kantoor, the federation of Dutch breweries, has released its annual survey of beer consumption in the Netherlands.
The number of people who prefer to drink beer from a glass has risen sharply in the past year, from just over half to two-thirds.
AD reports that while last year 37 percent of beer consumers preferred to drink out of a bottle, in 2008 the figure dropped to 25 percent. Only 2 percent like to drink beer out of a can, down from 6 percent in 2005.
AD writes that men are usually the ones who shop for beer. In 64 percent of Dutch households men buy the beer. The study also found that “women are satisfied if they have one to six bottles or cans in the house” while “most men feel at ease when they have a crate or box in reserve”. Both men and women found taste the most important, while men also found temperature very important.
Women are more particular when it comes to who they drink with. “If the company is a politician, 21 percent would choose Wouter Bos, 16 percent would like to drink with Femke Halsema and 15 percent with Geert Wilders. Rita Verdonk (12 percent) and Jan Peter Balkenende (10 percent) came in fourth and fifth.”
Netherlands lacks female toilets
“You can judge a country by its toilets and you can determine the position of women in a society by the length of the queues in front of the WC.”
De Telegraaf writes that “In other countries, laws have already been passed concerning the plight of the full female bladder, especially regarding (the number of) public toilets.” The paper points out that New York and 16 other US states have passed “Potty Priority” Laws which say that women should have twice as many toilets as men.
British MPs are calling for similar legislation while in New Zealand “human rights are mentioned when stipulating that no woman should have to wait more than three minutes to go to the toilet”. De Telegraaf says “Now it is the Netherlands turn!” Wednesday is World Toilet Day, which the paper says “makes it a good time for a WC offensive”. “Women are demanding more places to pee.”
“Dutch women often find themselves waiting with crossed legs until a WC is available at the theatre, concert, café stadium or cinema.”
But the paper also looks at the bright side. “However, at least there is a clean toilet. Worldwide there are 2.5 billion people who have no toilet at all.”
The shortage of public toilets in the Netherlands affects men as well. However, De Telegraaf points out that it has been demonstrated that men need 35 second to urinate and women need 60.
The paper also asks: “Have you ever tried to empty a full bladder on Queen’s Day? It is a lot easer for men. They only need a tree or a wall, as well as a pair of eyes to watch out for the cops.”
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]