Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 25 March 2009
Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.Eel faces threat of extinction in the Netherlands
The Dutch parliament has swept aside a fishing ban of eel by Fisheries Minister Gerda Verburg, reports Trouw. Instead, the motion calls on fishermen to take measures to protect the eel species by helping them to circumvent dams so they can swim to the open sea.
Last week the World Wide Fund for Nature reported that the eel population had declined by 90 percent in the past 50 years. In an editorial, Trouw writes that in several years our (smoked) eel will be a thing of the past.
The eel is an exceptional creature which swims every year from its breeding grounds off the coast of Mexico to Dutch waters.
Trouw quotes the WWF report, which blames the Dutch parliament for the decline of the eel population: "They are said to stubbornly ignore all scientific advice on protecting this species. With the result that happy fishermen will soon scoop up the last eel."
The paper concludes the argument that fishermen will protect the species because it is in their best interests is a sympathetic one, but unrealistic.
Dutch feel need for anti-asocial public campaign
About 88 percent of respondents feel that the Netherlands is in need of a public campaign against asocial behaviour, reveals a daily poll by De Telegraaf.
Comments among the 3,300 participants of the survey include “our country has become an egoistic society, where people show no consideration for others", and "our country is going to the dogs".
The photograph next to the article shows a square in Rotterdam covered in litter.
Two out of three participants said they never correct asocial behaviour displayed by others, either out of fear of violence or because it doesn’t help anyway.
Other participants blame television and "well-known Dutch" by setting bad examples in displaying rude behaviour.
The top five annoyances are: aggressive behaviour in traffic, throwing litter on the street, talking loudly in public on your mobile phone, dog excrement on the street, and loud music in public places.
Dutch parliament's day of introspection
Several newspapers have in-depth articles on what nrc.next described as parliament’s day of introspection as the parliament discusses a report on its own relevance on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s parliament discussion is best described by nrc.next who wrote: "What goes on here anyway? Tough luck for parliament: it only serves as a rubber stamp."
According to the paper, there is a lot of dissatisfaction with the way parliament functions. Dutch MPs are heavily influenced by the latest media hypes and call emergency debates too often, while in reality they have little influence.
The paper reports that mention of today’s day of introspection was greeted with jeers, "especially from the side of the opposition…It is painful that we must now think about measures to polish up parliament’s image while we are not even kept informed about drastic changes in the governing accord, appears to sum up what the MPs were thinking."
Only three of the 150 MPs (the parliamentary leaders of the three parties in the governing coalition) played a role in this week’s decision to implement a series of measures to deal with the economic crisis.
"The government rules and parliament regulates – but if everything the cabinet proposes has already been pre-arranged with the heads of the parliamentary factions in the coalition, then parliament has failed in its role (in the system of checks and balances)."
Comparing public health campaigns across a period of 50 years
Free newspaper Spits compares authorities’ efforts to improve public health such as the "Watch out for fat" campaign to similar efforts launched 50 years ago.
In the late 1950s, the former Dutch Zuivelbureau (Dairy Agency) started a campaign aimed at getting milk to shred its childlike image and become more "manly". The aim of the campaign was to help rid farmers of their dairy surplus by raising its popularity among children.
Children, who joined special Milk Brigades, kept a logbook of how much milk they drank. When their books were completed, they would receive an emblem with the letter ‘M’ so they could stitch it on to their clothing.
"M brigadiers were supposed to be strong and helpful: the more milk a child drank, the more of a man he is. Members who did a good deed received a gift such as a radio or a gift certificate for a book."
However as the number of M brigadiers grew to 500,000, the campaign was deemed too costly and was replaced by a comic book hero, Joris Driepinter, who always had three glasses of milk with him.
Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica