RNW Press Review - Tuesday, 11 March 2008
A roundup of today's press from Radio Netherlands.
RNW Press Review - Tuesday, 11 March 2008 - by David Doherty
All of today's Dutch papers are in high spirits about the news that national broadcaster NOS has won back the rights to show football highlights on public television. "Football's back where it belongs" is de Volkskrant's headline, while De Telegraaf quotes NOS media director Jan de Jong as saying "Football's coming home". AD waxes nostalgic with the headline "Old-fashioned evening of TV football returns".
Media mogul John de Mol snapped up the football rights three years ago in an all-out attempt to win the Dutch TV ratings war. But since his channel Talpa foundered, there hasn't been much interest in the football rights among the commercial stations. De Volkskrant reveals that "the NOS was the only serious bidder ... and will pay 16 million per season, less than half of what John de Mol paid." NOS director Gerard Dielessen defends this investment of public funds as "politically and socially acceptable".
Pot of gold
It may not be good news all round, however. De Volksrant warns that "it has yet to be seen whether the result of the negotiations will be good for professional football". Now that they are earning less from the broadcast of the football highlights, the clubs are hoping to make up for it by starting their own subscription channel showing the live matches.
But de Volkskrant warns "This may not be the pot of gold the clubs are hoping for. So far the interest in pay-per-view TV in the Netherlands has been disappointing." The paper points out that "this will be particularly bitter for clubs in the lower regions of the league table, which have come to rely heavily on TV rights. For them there is only one chance: start improving their game."
The front pages of AD and de Volkskrant feature dramatic shots of a Dutch container ship washed up on the windswept beach at the French seaside town of Sables d'Olonne in Monday's stormy weather. De Volkskrant describes the ship, the 88-metre long Artemis, as looking like "an illustrious museum piece" next to the resort's seafront boulevard.
AD reassures us that the six-man crew escaped unharmed, and even the damage to the vessel is limited. It goes on to report that the Netherlands got off relatively lightly in yesterday's storm, with Britain and France bearing the brunt of winds gusting up to 150 kilometres per hour.
You ... devil
"What do you say to someone who bumps into you rudely without saying sorry?" asks nrc*next. The answer depends on where you are, reveals the paper, reporting on an international study about swearing, in which psychologists from Groningen University took part.
"Spaniards call you an idiot. Croatians use the word for male genitalia and the French use the word for female genitalia, regardless of the gender of the offender." The Dutch are more precise in such matters it seems: "they refer to the male genitalia to insult a man and the female to insult a woman". Charming.
The researchers have found that some but not all swearing reflects the culture of a country. German insults for example show a preoccupation with faeces, which is thought to be particularly offensive given the national preoccupation with cleanliness. But why should Norway be the only country where "hell" and "the devil" feature prominently?
Possibly in an attempt to keep themselves in a job, the scientists conclude that further research is needed.
They say there's nothing like a crisis for bringing people together. But Monday's water shortage in the city of Groningen doesn't seem to have brought out the best in people, if today's AD is to be believed. "There were queues outside many shops at opening time and the shelves of bottled water were empty in a flash." It was every man for himself, according to one disgruntled customer: "I asked someone with thirty bottles in their trolley if I could have one, and they just ignored me."
Of course there are worse things in the world than 220,000 people going without running water for half a day, but that didn't stop mayor Jacques Wallage calling it "a calamity". Schools were closed and all operations at the university hospital were cancelled, except for emergencies. The shortage was caused by a leaky pipeline and dozens of extra staff had to be called in to inspect the city's 5,000-kilometre water network.
Trouw reports that teachers in the Netherlands' vocational colleges are finding it hard to teach their students to be good citizens. Since the start of this academic year, they have been obliged to incorporate citizenship into their study programmes.
The paper reports from a conference where teachers are struggling to find answers. "Good citizenship can't be tested" is the headline. How should you respond as a teacher when confronted with extreme opinions like "Geert Wilders is wrong, he should be killed", "All Muslims are terrorists" or "If a Muslim eats during Ramadan, you have the right to hit him."
Political correctness is one problem faced by some teachers. "If I say I don't think it should be allowed to wear a headscarf in court because our legal system is not based on religion, my managers accuse me of being anti-Islam".
Many teachers found themselves asking to what extent their own opinions should be taken as the norm in the classroom. As one college administrator put it: "Does expressing an opinion or being able to make a choice make you a better person?"
If you think you had a bad weekend, spare a thought for poor Annie Brouwer and her family. Annie was a lottery millionaire ... for two whole hours. But it turned out that her jackpot was down to a technical hitch on the lottery website.
"I checked my numbers again and it kept saying I'd won a million" recounts Annie. "My son and his wife were there and the same thing happened to them. We couldn't believe our luck. We danced around the room with joy."
But when Annie's other son came over to celebrate, he made a sobering discovery. "It turned out that the lottery computer said every number beginning with a '1' had won a million. But the site said nothing about an error."
De Telegraaf consulted a lottery spokeswoman who promised to set Annie straight once they'd discovered what the problem was. "We will deal with this in accordance with the regulations, " was the reply. Doesn't sound too promising.
The paper shows a photo of Annie doing her best to crack a smile, holding up the crumpled lottery ticket that the caption says "made her feel very rich for a very short time."
[Copyright Radio Netherlands 2008]