RNW Press Review - Monday 28 January 2008

28th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press by Radio Netherlands.

RNW Press Review - Monday 28 January 2008 - by Jacqueline Carver

AD opens with the news that a small right-wing religious party, the SGP, has called on Queen Beatrix to respect Sunday as a day of rest. An interview with the party's leader, Bas van der Vlies, is scheduled for broadcast on Dutch television this evening. In the interview, Mr Van der Vlies expresses his 'dismay' about the Queen's open support for European integration.

The paper writes that the SGP's criticism is quite remarkable, as the party has long been known for its support of the Dutch monarchy. According to Mr Van der Vlies, the Queen and royal family regularly do things that his party finds lamentable. The right-wing religious leader said that his party was particularly upset by the fact that Queen Beatrix sent a letter expressing admiration for the aims and goals of Pink Saturday, an annual event marking gay and lesbian emancipation.

* Never again

De Volkskrant reports that Amsterdam Mayor Job Cohen has warned that levels of fear and mistrust in Dutch society have not been so high since World War II. The mayor's comments came during his speech at a ceremony in the Dutch capital marking the liberation of the Nazi death camp on 27 January 1945. The United Nations has named the 27th of January as Holocaust Memorial Day. Mayor Cohen said that Auschwitz represents the ultimate evil that people can do to one another: "The de-humanising of the other, the systematic destruction of a group of people on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation". In a direct reference to the tensions between different groups in Dutch society, the mayor continued, "We live in other times but the fear and mistrust towards the other hasn't been so high since World War Two".

De Telegraaf also reports the story and prints a photo of an elderly man laying a wreath at the Auschwitz - Never Again monument in an Amsterdam park. Around a thousand people, including survivors, a number of junior ministers, MPs, and ambassadors, attended the service. Between July 1942 and September 1944, more than 107,000 Jews were deported from the Netherlands. Just 5,200 of them survived the concentration camps.

* Shopping made easier

Several papers report that today marks the end of the Dutch pin pass and heralds the launch of the Single European Payments Area or SEPA. AD writes that the new EU-wide system allows people to use just one bankcard to pay anywhere within the union and quotes a spokesperson at the National Association of Dutch Banks as saying, "it will make it easier for European consumers to buy things".

De Telegraaf also reports the launch of SEPA but goes for an alarmist headline, "Bank account number leaps to 18 ciphers". Most Dutch bank accounts have just eight numbers. The paper does also report a few of the advantages that will accompany the new European system, namely that it will be easier to "buy new shoes in Milan or put a deposit on a holiday home in France". Excellent news!

* Smarter

The headline on NRC.next's front page is something that women have known for a long time, "Yes, we really are smarter". A recent study by a neuropsychologist at the University of Maastricht has revealed that there are indications that brain development differs in boys and girls. According to the lead researcher, girls process information differently, boy's brains develop more slowly and puberty starts later. The researcher says that, "Many boys are more aggressive during junior and high school and this does not help their ability to learn".

The findings are backed up by a recent report by the Dutch statistics office that says that since 1995, more girls than boys have gotten a high school diploma. The paper also writes that there is also another factor in the background, emancipation. Formerly, Dutch girls were automatically sent to 'housekeeping school' or they got married but since the 1970s, girls have been encouraged to continue their education. The paper writes that at the moment most girls choose languages, literature, and social studies but once they start taking exact sciences, they'll take over. More excellent news!

* Sparrow

The Dutch Bird Society held its national garden bird-spotting weekend this past weekend and remarkably enough, the common sparrow came out on top. The number of sparrows in the Netherlands has halved over the last 25 years and alarmists say that the little bird is a threatened species. However, some 10,000 people took part in the bird-spotting weekend and counted 66,000 sparrows.


[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

 Subject: Dutch news

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