RNW Dutch Press Review - Thursday 6 March 2008

6th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press by Radio Netherlands.

RNW Dutch Press Review - Thursday 6 March 2008 - by Nicola Chadwick

De Volkskrant, Trouw and AD all report the Dutch Labour Party are having second thoughts about introducing free schoolbooks for secondary school pupils.

Judicial quagmire

The Green Left and SP have already changed their minds about the plan. In a debate in the Lower House on Tuesday, MPs raised concerns about schools entering a judicial quagmire as a result of European legislation on spending. And publishers have pointed out that teachers may no longer be able to opt for the teaching method of their choice.

D66 fear people on low incomes will no longer be entitled to compensation. However, the CDA points out that a third of parents that could benefit from the current compensation do not actually apply for it and that the compensation does not actually cover the whole cost, which can run up to 300 euros per child.
The conservative VVD party was always against the idea calling it a "waste of taxpayers money."

Drugs debate

Trouw reports on a drugs debate being held by Dutch MPs in the Lower House today. The debate has been requested by the D66 democrats because of an upcoming ban on the selling of hallucinatory mushrooms and the closure of coffee shops near schools. The debate will also review the relaxed Dutch approach to soft drugs policy, which focuses on the health aspects of drug taking.
Although most parties agree on tough measures against hard drugs, there are huge divisions when it comes to soft drugs policy.

Some MPs want to take current legislation a step further. They even suggest supplying soft drug outlets with marijuana grown under government supervision. This way coffee shop owners no longer have to buy their wares from illegal sources. This idea has been put forward twice before, even winning a majority in the house, but the government have up to now refused to take it on. Chances seem slim that this government will do any different.

Art cache

The search is on for lost art in the bunkers in the dunes of Zandvoort on the Dutch coast according to De Volkskrant. The Bunker Group, tipped by the son of a former German soldier who told him about the cache on his deathbed, have located two chests in a bunker hidden in the dunes using a camera.

The art works are thought to include paintings by Max Beckmann and Emil Nolde, but archaeologist and museum director Gerald Wilmink expects the works will be badly damaged by the damp conditions.

The local council has given permission to dig out the bunker at the location, which has been kept secret. "We are afraid that art thieves will try their luck". It won't be all that difficult to find once the JCB diggers set in.

Gay pride

The Dutch gay organisation COC is trilled with the support from Princess Máxima for its cause. Trouw shows a picture of the princess glancing at the Dutch emancipation minister Ronald Plasterk at the signing of an agreement to improve the social acceptance of homosexuality by the Dutch population.

The agreement was signed by the minister and councillors from the Netherlands' four major cities. In April, twenty local councils will also sign the agreement.
"...combating bully tactics in neighbourhoods..."

The aim is to make information on homosexuality available at schools, welfare organistions, sport's clubs and health care centres. The plan also wants to promote the safety of homosexuals by increasing police surveillance and combating bully tactics in neighbourhoods, where youths and ethnic minorities have difficulty accepting the phenomenon.

The minister's decision to enter a boat in Amsterdam's gay pride canal parade, however, was met with utter disdain from the ultra religious SGP party leader: "the ministry doesn't need to go as far as to enter an official boot in Gay Pride".

Ready, Stilet-go!

It's the final of the annual stiletto race today in Amsterdam's illustrious PC Hooftstraat. AD warns the 125 female competitors about the dangers of running in high heels.

"The stiletto run is medically irresponsible. It's impossible to run on such high heels."
A sprinter also runs on his toes but without the heels. The paper asks an orthopaedic therapist what the dangers are. Well no prizes for guessing the answer is twisted or broken ankles. "You should only compete if you have spent a year training for the event," says the therapist.

I don't expect the girls will be too worried about the potential dangers while they are sipping champagne in their chauffeur-driven limousine on their way to the capital.

[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

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