RNW Press Review - Monday 11 February 2008

11th February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.

 RNW Press Review - Monday 11 February 2008

Trouw dedicates its front page to former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali who since making the anti-Islam film Submission has required permanent protection by bodyguards.

Last November the Dutch government decided to stop financing her security and she was forced to set up a fund.  Her quest to resolve her security problem has taken her to France where President Nicolas Sarkozy is quoted to have said "France would show solidarity to all oppressed women in the world".

In France, she received the Simone de Beauvoir prize for people who fight for women's rights, but in spite of support from intellectuals and a nice speech by the French State Secretary for Human Rights, "the brave dissident of Islam" did not get any promises of citizenship. The French government thinks the European Union should set up a fund to pay for the security of Islam critics like Ms Ali. On Thursday, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is due to visit Brussels to meet members of the European parliament to discuss the matter.
Golden Duo
Dutch speed skating fans are rejoicing at the two all round gold medals won by Sven Kramer and Paulien van Deutekom at Berlin's world championships last weekend. Photos of the victorious duo are on most of the front pages. AD shows a photo of the two wearing laurel wreaths and holding up their gold medals. De Volkskrant focusses on the surprise win by 27-year-old Paulien van Deutekom, who has never won a title in the four-discipline competition.

Up to now she was seen as a good sparring partner for former all round world champion Ireen Wüst. Five years ago she even wanted to stop skating.

Last year she was still an intern on the TVM team and only just started receiving a salary this winter. The paper describes her not as a natural talent but as having strong legs and an effective style. Her advice to the less talented skaters among us is: "Train hard and enjoy your sport."

Reality TV hit
For weeks the Dutch have been glued to the box watching the latest hit in reality television "Farmer seeks wife". Each week the show has topped record viewing statistics and last night even I found myself watching, wondering what all the fuss was about.

Well now I know, of the four remaining farmers (one dropped out earlier in the competition):

Farmer Henk failed to woo either of the final contestants and sent them both home;
Farmer Gerard was caught on film kissing in the cow shed, so we all knew who was going to win;
Farmer Frans, who has never had a long-term relationship, fell in love with his Ronella;
And Farm girl Agnes had to disappoint one of her two suitors, both of whom were eager to take her hand.

Next week the roles are reversed and the farmers will meet their potential in-laws.

If you weren't able to watch don't worry, I daresay the programme will be packaged and sold to a television station near you some time soon.

Divorce fair
And if it all doesn't work out, rest assured. De Volkskrant and AD have paid a visit to the Netherlands' first Divorce trade fair in Utrecht last weekend. AD describes the atmosphere as "uneasy". De Volkskrant points out that most of the 1000 visitors were either reporters or professionals in the branch and the average age was 40 and above.

After last month's reports that applications for divorce had risen explosively, the business of splitting up has become a lucrative one. One mediator explains "US research shows if a bad relationship doesn't improve after a holiday or Christmas, it is actually over." Probably no accident then that divorce trade fair has been timed for February. In fact move it a few weeks forward and it could have been positively bustling.

Royal holiday
AD and De Telegraaf both show pictures from the annual photo shoot of the Dutch royal family on their skiing holiday in the Austrian resort of Lech. The agreement is that they dress up in their ski gear for an organised photo opportunity at the beginning of the holiday and then the press leave them alone. AD shows Crown Prince Willem Alexander on skis holding hands with his oldest daughter Amalia and with his second daughter Alexia on his neck, crying. De Telegraaf shows a family shot of Queen Beatrix with two of her sons, their wives and six of her grandchildren.

Prins Willem Alexander calls skiing his passion which "Luckily he shares with Maxima" and says he has managed to persuade her to ski off piste. Unfortunately his youngest daughter Ariane doesn't seem to share the same passion and is pictured in tears.

[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

Subject: Dutch news 

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