Press Review, Wednesday, 6 February 2008

6th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.

Press Review, Wednesday, 6 February 2008
by Mike Wilcox

It's not often the NRC Handelsblad, one of our quality papers, has a picture of a musical on its front page but this is Anne Frank, the musical, and it's causing a stir.

The show is due to premiere in Madrid at the end of the month and the paper asks whether the most famous victim of the Holocaust should be the subject of a "light" musical. The Anne Frank Trust in Basel thinks not: "It's a sad story and could be made into too glamorous a spectacle," says a spokesman.

De Volkskrant reports that Anne Frank's nephew 82-year-old Buddy Elias is angry and believes her father "Otto would be in floods of tears".

However, Amsterdam's Anne Frank House backs the show. A spokesperson says: "The producers have shown care and integrity. It's also useful, because not a lot is known in Spain about the Holocaust." The Amsterdam organisation is providing background information to Spanish schools attending performances of the musical.

All the papers report that Dutch telecom giant KPN is launching ambitious plans to push its profits up from the present 12 billion euros a year to 15 billion. quotes KPN boss Ad Scheepbouwer: "To achieve this, we're setting senior management extremely ambitious goals, and, if they achieve these, they will share in the profits," he crows.

There is of course the inevitable downside, and a headline in the AD says it all: "Unions shocked by job losses at KPN". In the next two years, 2,000 jobs are to go. A union boss says that it's "a thunderbolt out of the blue".

The paper quotes another union man: "On the one side, they're making good profits and yet, on the other, they're scrapping 2000 more jobs". The unions plan to approach management and are already talking about industrial action.

In a disturbing piece on its front page, De Volkskrant reports the case of two brothers, one white and the other black (one of the young men was adopted). The white man has driven a car for nine years and has been stopped by the police once. His brother, who is of Indonesian origin, has been stopped at least 200 times over the last ten years.

An explanation may be his taste for racy cars. He can understand why he's stopped in his souped-up BMW with its tinted windows. However, his father still asks if it's racism: "They always stop him. In his brother's car, in mine, when I'm in the passenger's seat, they haul him out. They even turn the police car round in busy streets."

Fake bomb
The AD devotes much of its front page to a report about television journalist Alberto Stegeman who smuggled a fake bomb onto a plane at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. "If I'd been a al-Qaeda operative, I could've blown up that plane and its 226 passengers with ease," he tells us.

The paper says that 45 million travellers pass through Schiphol in a year. Mr Stegeman says they feel safe because of checks by 2,500 security staff but explains, "ground personnel can just walk in and out". The airport's response is terse: "The airport meets European regulations. Everything was in order when we were recently checked," says a representative.

On its front page, Trouw goes for a softer scoop. The news is that 21 out of 91 species of birds are no longer nesting in the Oostvaardersplassen wetlands nature reserve to the east of Amsterdam. Apparently, large grazing animals, brought in to keep vegetation down and allowed to live as in the wild, are doing too good a job.

Ornithologists say birds that should be protected are having their habitat destroyed by the wild cattle. The paper quotes one expert who's not just worried about birds: "Field mice are important for the ecosystem but are rarely to be seen here. Insects are also doing badly," he complains.

Finally, De Telegraaf saddens us with the news that the sparkle has left many Dutch relationships. An internet Valentine's Day survey of over 2,500 people found that one in five thought their partner would have an affair if given the chance.

Many couples display cynicism, with only half of those questioned believing their relationship had got better since its tender beginnings. Most rows in Dutch homes are over mess, but the in-laws, money, work and holiday plans also cause trouble.

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