RNW Press Review, 8 July 2008
Catch the news in brief from the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.8 July 2008
No warm welcome at Dutch embassy abroad
The mass circulation newspaper De Telegraaf leads with the headline: "Embassy leaves tourist in the cold."
The paper writes that "Dutch tourists who get themselves into trouble in another country should not count on a warm reception at the embassy or consulate." A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says many tourists are under the illusion that their embassy is capable of doing everything.
"But we are not a bank, not a hotel, nor are we psychiatric counsellors. What we can do is mediate. We can make a phone call to the Netherlands. Nothing more." De Telegraaf warns that tourists who lose their money by trying to illegally exchange money or visit the doctor without any insurance should not expect any help.
Dutch embassies used to have an emergency fund for its citizens in need, but the government abolished this service a long time ago.
Need help? We are open office hours only
In a recent article in the newspaper Trouw, the mayor of Utrecht Aleid Wolfsen called on youth and social workers to help their clients in the evenings and weekends when they are needed most instead of only during office hours, from nine to five.
Today newspaper reports that the mayor has received support from a number of quarters, including the Institute for Multicultural Development, Forum. On Thursday, Forum will release a report on police work in multicultural neighbourhoods.
The institute’s director, Sadik Harchaoui says police have to deal with the problems on their own because youth care workers and most agencies only work during office hours and are also closed for vacation while "Police are open all the time".
A counsellor for problem youths who does work in the weekend, Fatimazohra Hadjar says: "I often hear the relief in their voices when police are able to reach me by phone in the weekend. And then you hear their frustration about all the agencies which can’t be reached.
“The youths also complain. At ten to five on Friday afternoon, they can’t do anything for you because it’s almost weekend and at a minute over five, there is an answering machine and you have to wait until nine-thirty on Monday morning."
However social workers say that the authorities are in fact complaining about their own policies since they only allocate funds to pay youth and social workers during the week.
Icelandic bank competes for Dutch savers
De Volkskrant reports that the Dutch Rabobank is protesting against competition from the Icelandic bank Icesave. The Icelandic bank has begun offering savings accounts with a very high interest rate, 5.25 percent.
Bert Heemskerk, head of the Rabobank, says Icesave is taking advantage of a statutory guarantee provision for savers. All holders of Dutch savings accounts can count on being reimbursed up to EUR 38,000 if their bank goes bankrupt.
Icesave already has 25,000 new savings accounts in the Netherlands and nearly 5,000 of the savers have deposited more than EUR 20,000.
Should the bank collapse, savers will be reimbursed, as per the guarantee rule. The costs of this are covered by the remaining banks in proportion to their share of the Dutch market, which means Rabobank would foot 40 percent of the bill.
Heemskerk says that Icesave is telling its potential clients that they don’t have to worry about it going bankrupt, since the Rabobank will reimburse them anyway.
Icesave says it is surprised by the market leader’s comments. "The guarantee is a European provision which makes it possible for banks to compete in other countries."
Utrecht’s Dom Tower goes online
AD writes that Utrecht’s Dom Tower has become the first clock tower in the world which is permanently online. On Sunday the town carilloneur, Arie Abbenes, played his first concert on the internet. His carillon concerts can be seen and heard via the websites www.utrecht.nl and www.klokkenspelvereniging.nl.
[Radio Netherlands / Frank Scimone / Expatica]
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