Dutch news in brief, Friday 10 April 2009

10th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Read the roundup of today's Dutch press from Radio Netherlands.

Easter tradition in the Netherlands
The number of people who actual celebrate Easter in the church has fallen by a half in the last 20 years according to AD.

The paper’s front page prints a colourful photo of four young children painting eggs. Most Dutch people now associate Easter with searching for little chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil in the garden and a special extended breakfast. Even a visit to the furniture mall has become an Easter tradition

AD reports that most people on the street would be hard pushed to explain what happened on Good Friday, not to mention Maundy Thursday.

Maundy Thursday marks Jesus’ last supper with his disciples and Good Friday was the day when Jesus was crucified. Easter Saturday is a day of reflection while Easter Sunday is the day when Jesus rose from the dead.

Black and white school merge
De Volkskrant reports of a merger of a “black” school and a “ white” school in Eindhoven.

The initiative is applauded by education minister Sharon Dijksma who along with other politicians have been trying to stop the trend of Dutch parents who avoid sending their children to neighbourhood schools because of the high population of non-Dutch children.

The parent-teacher associations of both schools have collected the signatures of parents who back the initiative and presented them to the city council. The petition was signed by all parents from the “black” school signed and a majority of parents from the “white” school.

“It is good that parents see how important it is to have different cultures in one school,” said the council’s education alderman Mittendorff.

The paper reports the move has not just been born out of idealism but of practical reasons. Funding one school location is cheaper than funding two.

Opening Hermitage museum on schedule
Trouw reports the enormous renovation of the 17th-century Amstelhof is on schedule and within budget.

A nursing home on the river Amstel will be transformed into the Hermitage museum, a spin-off of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg which houses Russia’s largest art collection.

Amsterdam’s Hermitage is due to open its doors in June. The opening exhibition will display 2,200 objects spread across 4,000 square metres of space allocated to art. The whole complex is almost 10,000 square metres and will contain a grand café, an auditorium and courtyard gardens.

Architect Hans van Heeswijk has deliberately avoided copying the Baroque interior of the former imperial Winter Palace, opting for a transparent and visitor-friendly complex. With the Maritime Museum, the classical art Rijksmuseum and the modern art Stedelijk Museum still closed or partly closed for renovation, it could be a welcome addition to the capital’s collection of art museums.

Appointment of imam in army postponed
Protestant daily Trouw reports on the delay of appointment of imam Ali Eddaoudi as an army chaplain on Thursday.

The appointment of the controversial has caused a great deal of commotion in the Lower House. The Christian Democrats, Freedom Party, the conservative VVD, the SGP (a small right-wing Christian party) and Rita Verdonk put Defence Minister Jack de Vries under pressure earlier this week to review the appointment, as the Eddaoudi has made comments in the past in columns which “do not match the core values of Dutch democracy”.

The comments include a comparison of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende to a doormat and a column in which the imam wrote that the Dutch mission in Afghanistan was terrorising the country’s people.

Minister de Vries had already read the comments, but was satisfied by the imam who said he had distanced himself from them.

An extra investigation by the military intelligence service also concluded the appointment could go ahead.

The Socialist Party and Labour Party say the division of church and state should also apply in this case and therefore politicians should not interfere. But Freedom Party MP Hero Brinkman wants the imam sacked immediately.

Erica Terpstra appointed as Asparagus Ambassador
Former Olympian swimmer and government minister Erica Terpstra can add another title to her curriculum vitae after being appointed as Asparagus Ambassador 2009.

Terpstra was asked for the job after she successfully shed a few kilos recently. With her new slimmer image, she is pictured in AD tasting one of many dishes featuring the delicacy during the annual opening of the asparagus season at Amsterdam’s Olympic stadium.

The theme of this year’s exclusive “white gold” tasting session is the five continents of the world. Asparagus growers expect a good year for the vegetable and plenty of work for seasonal workers.

Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica

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