Press Review Thursday 29 April 2010

30th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

It is Queen's Day tomorrow and most of the papers have at least one article about the Netherlands' most popular national holiday.

Tight security for Queen's Day after last year's attack Trouw opens with a photo on its front page of huge stacks of metal barriers and dozens of sandbags, all standing ready to be set up to protect Queen Beatrix as the royal family visits Middleburg to celebrate Queen's Day.

The paper writes that the increased security measures are "one of the lessons learned from last year's tragedy in Apeldoorn," when Karst Tates attempted to ram the royal convoy with his car, killing seven people in the process.

Jet set De Volkskrant writes that the royal family's response to the attack dramatically increased their popularity. The queen celebrates 30 years on the throne this year, but the attack seemed to increase the likelihood that Beatrix would abdicate and hand the reins to Crown Prince Willem Alexander.

An analysis by the left-wing daily says although the royal family built up a huge amount of credit with the public with their response to the tragedy and their sympathy for the families of the victims, "Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Máxima squandered the credit by buying large plots of land in Argentina and two luxury villas in Mozambique".

The paper says the global financial crisis hit the Netherlands quite hard and stories about Willem Alexander enjoying an "international jet set lifestyle" angered many people, especially those facing wage cuts or unemployment.

Court allows street sweepers' strike "Street sweepers in The Hague drop their brooms," headlines AD in its coverage of the council workers’ strike that is spreading across the Netherlands. A court in The Hague rejected a plea by the city council to prevent street sweepers from striking today and tomorrow. The council said the strike would be irresponsible as The Hague always celebrates the night before Queen's Day with street parties across the city and "lots of rubbish will be lying about on the streets and it will just stay there because of the strike".

De Volkskrant reports that unions are demanding a 1.5 percent wage increase for council workers and rubbish collectors and street sweepers are also striking in Utrecht and Amsterdam.

Fire service workers held a protest in The Hague yesterday, carrying a coffin through the streets to symbolise the death of the collective labour agreement for council employees. One striking fireman tells the paper, "city councillors get a three percent wage increase every year... telling us to accept a wage freeze is pure hypocrisy".

But there was good news on the strike front, parking wardens in Haarlem went on strike yesterday and everyone could park for free!

Anne Frank Huis celebrates 50 years The Anne Frank Huis museum celebrated its 50th anniversary yesterday and De Telegraaf's front page carries a photograph of Queen Beatrix in the newly opened diary exhibition room.

Anne Frank's diary, written during the Second World War while the family was hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex, will be on display in the new exhibition space. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl has been translated into dozens of languages and is still one of the most popular books in the world.

De Volkskrant writes that a virtual Anne Frank house went on line yesterday as part of the anniversary celebration. Virtual visitors won't have to stand in line for hours anymore; with one click of a mouse, they will be able to tour a re-creation of Anne Frank's room in the secret annex.

Schools ban energy drinks AD reports that several schools have banned energy drinks because "too many teenagers drink the stuff like water and then bounce into the classrooms like hyperactive rubber balls".

According to the head of a school in The Hague, "there is so much caffeine and sugar in the energy drinks that students use them as a pick me up".

However, the ban has not gone down well with the makers of Red Bull, one of the most popular energy drinks. A company spokesman tells the paper, "there's just as much caffeine in a cup of coffee," adding that schools should ban coffee and cola as well.

Economic worries keep Dutch at home this summer Many people are feeling the pinch due to the global financial crisis and AD reports that "many in the Netherlands will be vacationing at home due to the economic malaise". A recent survey found that 2.8 million people plan to spend their summer holiday in the Netherlands, an increase of four percent over last year.

A spokesperson for NBTC-NIPO Research says economic uncertainty is to blame, "unemployment is increasing and massive spending cuts are on the horizon. Spending power has decreased and many people think it's better to be a bit more careful with their money".  

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