Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 25 February 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.
Plane crash Schiphol
Clearly, Wednesday morning's plane crash at Amsterdam Schiphol airport was not covered by any of today's early morning papers, though it will clearly be front-page news this evening and in all of tomorrow morning's papers. Radio Netherlands Worldwide's website will be following the story throughout the day.
Ensure the preservation of European jobs
One story that made the papers today was the protest by the Dutch Retail Council against import duties on goods coming from outside the European Union. The council argues that the duties make products unnecessarily expensive.
In today’s editorial, the mass-circulation De Telegraaf argues that the European Union is very careful when it comes to imposing extra duties and does so only in cases of unfair competition, “for instance, when companies which receive government subsidies dump products in Europe at below the cost price.”
The paper writes that the Dutch Retail Council should be glad about the duties “which ensure the preservation of European companies and jobs. Or would the council prefer the destruction of our businesses as a result of unfair competition? We will be left with shops full of cheap products, and an unemployed labour force without the money to buy these products.”
The populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam, the city’s second largest, has launched a new website www.burenterreur.nl (burenterreur = terrorised by neighbours). Leefbaar Rotterdam was once led by populist leader Pim Fortuyn, who was assassinated in 2002. City councillor Robert Simons, who set up the website, says it will help people vent their “underbelly” feelings.
Leefbaar Rotterdam argues that native Dutch Rotterdammers feel discriminated against in their own city. He says there is a deep-seated fear among police and other municipal officials of being accused of racism. “The result is that (problems) are not dealt with.”
The city councillor says native Dutch Rotterdammers are still not taken seriously. “I am talking about Rotterdammers who have sometimes been living for 30 years in the same block of flats. Residents who after complaining to neighbourhood police officers about the noise in the next-door apartment – where sometimes nine Poles or Bulgarians are squeezed together – are told that they are too ‘proper’ for their neighbourhood and should move.”
Queen Beatrix to step down?
Giveaway newspaper Spits writes about an unconfirmed report that Queen Beatrix is planning to step down on 9 September and hand the throne to Crown Prince Willem Alexander. Spits bases its report on an article which appeared on the website of the Belgian magazine Humo, which quotes an anonymous source close to the crown prince and his wife, Princess Maxima.
The Government Information Service refuses to confirm or deny the report. The queen's mother Juliana, who stepped down when she was 71, announced her abdication on her daughter's birthday. The source says that Queen Beatrix, who is now 71, will announce her abdication on Willem Alexander's birthday on 27 April.
Specialist shop caters for 'growth' market
In the past five decades the Dutch have become the tallest people in the world by far, and they are still growing. The government has had to adjust building codes to raise the height of doorframes and ceilings, railways and airlines have had to take measures to deal with longer legs, and shoe stores cater to the country's growing market for large-size shoes.
Another of the country's free newspapers, Metro, reports that a specialist shop in Amsterdam, the Condomerie, has found a new niche in the market. "An increasing number of Dutch men need a condom which fits better (is not too tight)."
"The growth in the size of the male organ means, for example, that more latex is needed." The owner of the Condomerie says: "It has been scientifically proven that condoms which don't slide off or break offer the consumer more pleasure and safety."
Radio Netherlands/Frank Scimone/Expatica