Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 29 October 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.29 October 2008
Dutch spend less
Today's AD reports that "Purse strings are being tightened" by Dutch consumers, who, according to the paper, are making preparations for an economic crisis.
Figures published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) show a decrease in turnover at supermarkets, hotels, bars and restaurants as well as in the electronics sector.
Chief CBS economist Michiel Vergeer says: "Consumers are taking a step back".
In the past two months, consumers spent three percent less in bars and restaurants.
The CBS also sees black clouds gathering over the electronics, furniture and clothing sectors. Vergeer says: “Turnover in these sectors has been crumbling, but has not yet collapsed.”
Car sales are also expected to feel the effects of the crisis: "People are still buying the same number of cars, but the average price is dropping and the cars are smaller.”
The National Institute for Family Finance Information reports that people are economising "rather painlessly" by simply postponing a number of major outlays.
Major cutbacks in spending are not expected until large numbers of people start losing their jobs.
Transport sector hit by financial crisis
De Telegraaf reports that Dutch hauliers have "hit the brakes". The paper writes that the transport sector, one of the mainstays of the Dutch economy, has taken a merciless beating as the result of the economic crisis.
Figures published Wednesday by Transport and Logistics Netherlands (TLN) show that the sector has had its worst third quarter in six years. Of all Dutch hauliers, 46 percent report a drop in activity compared to 2007.
Among internationally operating hauliers, this percentage is as high as 54 percent.
At least 100 companies will have to close their doors before the end of the year and several thousands of people will be let go as a result.
TLN Chair Alexander Sakkers says: "We will counsel and support hauliers whenever necessary. In addition we will ask companies to help each other. Cooperation is the new creed."
Development aid crumbles
De Volkskrant reports "Labour is nervous about crumbling support for development aid".
According to the paper, an internal report shows the party is fighting hard "to turn the tide" and Development Cooperation Minister Bert Koenders' budget "is under pressure".
There is growing concern among Labour MPs about the growing criticism of Minister Koenders.
A confidential report says that development aid, one of the 'jewels in Labour's crown' is being undermined by the continuing discussion on its usefulness.
Its author, Labour official Peter Heintze, took the initiative at a recent meeting between the minister and Labour party members in senior positions at aid organisations such as Cordaid, Hivos and Plan Nederland (formerly Foster Parents Plan).
The meeting, which was intended to answer the question “how best to support the minister”, instead sparked criticism for allegedly creating a conflict of interests because the aid organisations Koenders sat down with are subsidised by his ministry to the tune of millions of euros a year.
An increasing number of MPs are arguing for cutting the development aid budget, and research shows support for development aid is eroding.
In his report, Heintze writes the party must do all it can to turn the tide. "In 2008, the importance of, and dedication to international solidarity should not be mere folklore to a Social Democratic movement."
First olive grove in Holland
Today's AD has a photograph of a worker of Vineyard De Veluwe tending one of the trees in the first Dutch olive grove.
The truly impressive 800-year-old olive tree in the picture is one of a total of 18 trees, four of them are between 700 and 800 years old, the other 14 between 100 and 200 years.
The trees were imported from the Pyrenees mountains in the north of Spain and are reportedly suited for the Dutch climate.
[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]