Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 4 March 2009

4th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Serious errors in new Amsterdam metro line
Several papers cover the release of a report by the Amsterdam Ombudsman, which says the city council acted inappropriately with regard to the construction of the north-south metro line (N-Z Line) in the capital.

The N-Z Line which has been a controversial long overdue project had cost a more than originally estimated.

The ombudsman's report coincides with the collapse of Cologne's city archives, a collapse that has been linked to work on the city's new north-south metro line.

Both Trouw and De Volkskrant note the similarities between the two N-Z Line projects and while neither paper predicts a similar collapse in Amsterdam, they don’t seem to rule it out either.

Police nab gang dumping old electronic goods in Ghana
De Volkskrant reports that Ijsselland police arrested eight people and rolled up a network illegally dumping broken electrical goods in Ghana despite a European Union ban on dumping electrical junk in Africa.

Many old appliances containing valuable components, including copper, aluminium and iron, but removing the metals releases toxic chemicals. Many of the 'workers' removing metal from the junked appliances are children.

In the Netherlands, a removal and recycling contribution (known as VB) is included in the price of all new electrical appliances. Shops pay the VB to the municipal authorities who in turn collect the old appliances and deliver them to licensed recycling companies.

However, De Volkskrant says shops in the east of the Netherlands were selling old appliances to the network, which had apparently been illegally dumping goods in Ghana for several years.

Police raided four warehouses and seized more than 1,200 old televisions and over 1,100 old washing machines and refrigerators.

The director of the interregional investigation squad that rolled up the network had planned to investigate the entire network but decided to launch the raid after seeing a television report about children in Ghana working on rubbish tips: "I couldn't allow any more dumping after seeing children in a cloud of toxic fumes pulling copper wire out of old appliances".

Five Dutch papers now in foreign hands
The Dutch newspaper landscape was shaken up Tuesday afternoon with news of  Flemish De Persgroep purchasing a 51 percent stake in PCM Uitgevers - publishers of Trouw, NRC Handelsblad, NRC.next and De Volkskrant.

The Belgian company already owns Het Parool and has stakes in AD.

The latest acquisition means that five Dutch papers are now completely in foreign hands. De Telegraaf is the sole remaining Dutch-owned paper.

According to NRC Handelsblad, PCM made a number of disastrous investments and owes a consortium of banks EUR 120 million. PCM had warned that it would be unable to meet its financial obligations as of 1 April, which would have had disastrous consequences for Dutch papers.

AD's coverage also focuses on PCM's woeful financial position but does so far more bluntly: "Belgian company saves desperate PCM papers".

Media Minister Ronald Plasterk told De Volkskrant he has "mixed feelings about the takeover". He is scheduled to meet with the chairman of De Persgroep later today and is expected to stress: "Media plurality is very highly valued in the Netherlands".

Minister Verhagen threatens to boycott UN racism conference
Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen says the Netherlands will not attend the United Nations conference on racism - due to be held in Geneva from 25 -30 April - unless the final written declaration is changed.

Verhagen told De Volkskrant: "It is absolutely outrageous for a document against racism to use such racist language, " adding, "we cannot accept a text that puts religion above individual choice, approves of discrimination on grounds of sexual preference, permits anti-Semitism and puts Israel in the dock but ignores others".

The foreign minister told the Human Rights Council: "We refuse to allow ourselves to be a tool in the propaganda circus created by a number of countries that themselves have such poor human rights records.
Too few women promoted to professorships: researcher
Dutch universities are failing to appoint women to professorships because they overestimate the competence of male applicants and underestimate female candidates, according to a researcher at the University of Nijmegen.

Most headhunters and talent scouts are men and they tend recruit from the 'old boy networks', said Marieke van den Brink 

"Men are just trusted more; if they're not competent in one area then they get sent on a weekend course but women have to be excellent at everything before they are even considered for a post," said Van Den Brink.

Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica

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