RNW Press Review - Thursday 21 February 2008

21st February 2008, Comments 0 comments

A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.

RNW Press Review - Thursday 21 February 2008 - by Jacqueline Carver

A new biography of former Dutch Prime Minister Joop den Uyl was presented on Wednesday and all of the Dutch dailies devote several pages to the sometimes startling revelations that it contains. The biography, written by Volkskrant journalist Anet Bleich, does contain a wealth of information on the man who led the Labour party think tank from 1949 until 1963 and served as prime minister from 1973 to 1977. However, the papers focus on the two most attention-grabbing revelations. Trouw leads with "Den Uyl saved monarchy - twice" and de Volkskrant front-page headline is "Den Uyl saved Beatrix's throne". AD writes, "Young Joop was a fan of Hitler Germany" and the populist De Telegraaf goes with "Schoolboy Den Uyl had Nazi sympathies". The only paper that doesn't play the game is NRC.next. Its headline asks: "So, what about that Den Uyl then?"


The monarchy revelation concerns the then-prime minister's cover-up of a second bribery affair involving the then-Crown Prince Bernhard. De Volkskrant writes that Prince Bernhard had already been implicated in the Lockheed Affair and in the summer of 1976, Mr Den Uyl was handed a report by the committee investigating the Lockheed scandal which contained a 12-page addendum detailing Prince Bernhard's contacts with Northrop, another aircraft manufacturer. The addendum, which said that the prince took a 750,000 dollar bribe, ended up in a safe and never saw the light of day, until now that is. Trouw writes that Prime Minister Den Uyl hid the affair, as it would have certainly ended up with Prince Bernhard in court, Juliana's abdication and Beatrix refusing to assume the throne.


AD focuses on the Nazi revelation, writing that his right-wing nationalist sympathies were much in evidence but that Ms Bleich regards the former prime minister's admiration for Hitler as " juvenile political sins". The biography also notes that Mr Den Uyl became a fervent anti-Nazi after Germany invaded the Netherlands. Despite the many column inches devoted to the biography, I still don't have a complete picture of the man. I think a trip to the bookshop is in order this evening.

Hero saves the day

The other story competing for column inches in all of today's papers is the news that Dutch footballing legend Johan Cruijff has agreed to help save Amsterdam's ailing football club, Ajax. The capital's beloved Ajax is doing very poorly in the league and most fans are in despair so De Telegraaf's headline seems appropriate: "Euphoria after Cruijff says yes". Trouw writes, "In a time of deepest need and confusion, Cruijff steps forward". Most of the papers, indeed most of the football lovers in the Netherlands, seem to regard Johan Cruijff as a sort of footballing Jesus Christ, able to walk on water and score goals.

The footballing legend is famous for his convoluted, vague sentences, he dribbles words in much the same way that he dribbled the football, and exactly what he's going to do at the club also remains rather vague. AD does give us a bit of an idea, quoting the man himself: "I'm going to tell them that it's got to be like that or like that".

Beam me up

NRC.next has a two-page spread on how to recognise a nerd. The item was prompted by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, who wrote an article in praise of nerds for Tuesday's edition of the paper. The prime minister compared the situation in India with that in the Netherlands, writing that in India, you have to beat the girls off with a stick if you say that you're studying to be an engineer but that in the Netherlands, it was a most unlikely scenario. "How", asked the PM, "is that possible?"

NRC.next, in an effort to clear up any confusion, prints a quick self-test so anyone can test the level of his or her nerdiness. The questions include, do you cry if you've only got a 'C' on your exams, do you know that you've got greasy hair and have you ever said in public, "Beam me up Scotty".  


Trouw writes that the Dutch Nature Reserves Association is planting a heart-shaped forest in the Flevopolder as part of a plan to slow climate change. The association will be planting 60,000 trees and 20,000 bushes in the coming week and they will absorb about 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

The organisation hopes the heart-shaped forest will make people more aware of the problems that global warming will cause. The first tree will be planted later today. The organisation is also encouraging people to buy a tree or bush and so contribute to improving the environment. A bargain at 25 euros per tree and just 10 euros for a bush.

Clean air

Amsterdam's city council has come up with a different idea to improve the environment; they're planning to ban old cars from the city centre. NRC.next writes that according to a plan presented on Wednesday, all cars built before 1991 will be banned from entering the city at the end of 2009.

Amsterdam has consistently failed to meet European Union clean air requirements and the city's transport minister believes that banning old cars will help improve the air quality in the city. The paper interviews one owner of an old timer, who sighs, "I'll have to hire a garage outside the city. There's no other solution".

[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]

Subject: Dutch news 

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