RNW Dutch Press Review, Thursday 10 April 2008

10th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

10 April 2008

Mediaeval Catholics were happy
Trouw has report on Dutch historian Llewellyn Bogaers, who after 20 years of research at the Utrecht city archives has come to the conclusion that mediaeval Catholics were much happier than previously thought. She dispels the widespread myth that mediaeval man was oppressed by the church and living in constant fear of death.

Bogaers has found that Utrecht's mediaeval Catholics were much like they are today, setting religious dogma aside when it suited them, while at the same time drawing on their faith for inspiration. She also mentions the city's numerous exuberant feasts as further proof that mediaeval Utrecht did not live in constant fear.

Marines happy to go on Chad Mission
Both De Telegraaf and Trouw report on a Dutch peacekeeping mission to Chad. De Telegraaf says that the 60 marines, who are leaving for Chad at the end of May, are "ready for anything".

The paper writes that the marines assume the rebels fighting against the Chadian government will not target the 3,700-strong Eufor peacekeeping force. Its mission is to protect 60,000 displaced Chadians and 265,000 refugees from neighbouring Darfur against the many rebel groups.

Trouw writes about "Subdued enthusiasm on the eve of Chad mission."
It would not look professional if the marines were to display too much enthusiasm, but it's no secret they are happy to go on a new mission. The Dutch troops are to serve as a reconnaissance unit for an Irish battalion.

Marine Lieutenant Colonel Frank van Sprang says: “We're not going to Chad to fight or eliminate the rebels." The main enemy facing the Dutch Marines is expected to be the rainy season, which starts in June.

Parliament irritated by national Ombudsman’s criticism
De Volkskrant reports that "parliament is irritated by the national ombudsman's criticism of the government". Following a two-hour discussion of his latest annual report, MPs accused national Ombudsman Alex Brenninkmeijer of changing from an institution that assists citizens in their disputes with the government into a public prosecutor. They said he painted a Kafkaesque picture of a bad-mannered government, which treats its citizens with rudeness and indifference.

Parliament was not amused at Brenninkmeier's message that the government contributes to the brutalisation of society. According to de Volkskrant, Labour, the Christian Democrats, the Christian Union and the conservative VVD all agreed that the national Ombudsman put too much blame on the government and ignored the fact that "government officials are treated rudely by citizens all the time".  

Brenninkmeier says he can quote any number of examples proving there is a structural problem concerning how the government treats its citizens. He says that most of the problems can be traced to performance contracts that increase the pressure of work as well as the introduction of market forces in public health care.

"This is not a political statement, this is based on research."

[Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica]

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