Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 7 January 2009
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.Coldest Dutch winter since 1996
The freezing temperatures and ice skating dominate Wednesday's papers - all five morning dailies’ front pages published at least one photograph of people skating, falling off their bicycles or flinging snowballs.
The populist De Telegraaf published three photographs of people enjoying the snow and ice and a photo of a rather contented-looking polar bear lounging in its snow-covered enclosure at Berlin Zoo.
However, some people are having trouble coping with the winter – the coldest since 1996.
Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the number of people coming in with broken bones, reports De Telegraaf. Most of the young victims fell while skating but almost all of the elderly victims were simply trying to do their shopping.
On its front page, NRC.next reminds people to "oh stop moaning, it's only minus 20 Celsius, in Moscow they'd be dancing a polka in the streets".
Dutch Justice Minister to ban troublemakers on streets
De Telegraaf reports on measures taken by the Dutch justice minister in tackling street terrorism
Hirsch Ballin is going to introduce legislation that will allow persistent troublemakers to be banned from loitering in neighbourhoods for weeks or even months, according to the paper.
The justice minister is due to announce his plans on Wednesday at a press conference in Gouda, a city in the west of the country that "was terrorised by Moroccan youths last year".
The new legislation will allow magistrates to impose a street ban in combination with a fine and community service. It will also speed up the process of dealing with problem youths who persistently terrorise a particular area, resort to violence or assault bus drivers and emergency service personnel.
Rents to fall as more houses are up for rental
NRC Handelsblad reports that the problems afflicting the real estate market are beginning to affect the rental market as well.
The home rental market is swamped at the moment and analysts expect prices to fall. "The number of rental properties has increased by 30 percent over the last two months and that will certainly influence prices," said a rental agency owner.
De Telegraaf reports that homeowners attempting to sell their properties now, "shouldn't be surprised if they haven't closed a deal by this time next year".
The paper quotes an independent consumer website: "Anyone attempting to sell a traditional terraced house should have at least a year's worth of patience stored up". The paper adds that anyone wanting to sell a detached house should expect to see a ‘for sale’ sign in the garden for at least two years.
Big cities up in arms over Sunday shopping
Four largest cities in the Netherlands are refusing to co-operate with the cabinet’s Sunday shopping plan, reports AD.
The cabinet that is under pressure from the minor coalition partner, the Christian Union, is likely to vote in favour of measures tightening the laws governing Sunday shopping.
However, The Hague, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam, are refusing to co-operate with the plan, which will reduce the number of shopping Sundays to just 12 per year unless it is a region with substantial tourism.
The big four are sending representatives to Economic Affairs Minister Maria Van der Hoeven to deliver the message.
“The city council is more than capable of weighing the economic factors and deciding whether to allow shops to open. We certainly don't need mother Maria to tell us what's what," said one councillor from The Hague.
Drastic shortage of tenors in Netherlands
The Netherlands is suffering from an acute shortage of tenors in choirs across the country as women sing in the men's section.
De Volkskrant reports that most choir directors refuse to countenance the idea of allowing women to cross the divide and join the tenors. "If singing was macho, there'd never be a shortage of tenors," said one director.
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]