Dutch news in brief, Monday 4 May 2009

4th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

Queen's Day killer warns of attack
Karst Tates, the man who drove his car into a group of people who were waiting behind crowd barriers to see the royal family drive past on Queen’s Day, had apparently warned his neighbour, reports AD.

Tates, who was unemployed, reportedly told a neighbour that if he lost his home, he "would no longer see a point in going on. I might do something crazy then."

The neighbour, who met Tates in a bar about a month ago, said he "seemed depressed, fed up with his life as an unemployed person.

Tates reportedly said: "I don't fit in this world, where everything is an obligation".

 After his sacking as a security guard, Tates was no longer able to pay the rent, and was due to hand in the keys to his home the day after Queen's Day.

Seven people, including Tates, died in what was probably a failed attack on the royals. Eight other victims are still in hospital.

Crown prince and his wife real targets in Queen's Day attack
De Telegraaf reports sources in the military police say that Crown Prince Willem Alexander and his wife Princess Máxima may have been the real target of the Queen's Day attack.

After Karst Tates crashed into a stone monument, missing the coach carrying the royal family by just 15 meters, he was questioned by security guards and military police officers.

When asked about Tates's statements, a military police commander apparently told his men that Tates had repeatedly mentioned the names of the royal couple.

A spokesperson for the military police refused to comment on the rumours.

The justice ministry said the incident is still being seen as an attack on the whole royal family. A spokesperson said: "The investigation ... is still in full swing".

Impact of Queen's Day attack on Remembrance, Liberation Day
In an editorial, de Volkskrant writes that the dramatic events of Queen's Day will inevitable affect the celebration of Remembrance Day and Liberation Day on 4 and 5 May.

While authorities have decided that the desperate act of an individual should not prevent members of the royal family from taking part in the 4 and May ceremonies, the Queen’s Day attack is sure to give many people cause for special reflection.

De Volkskrant argues that over the past decades, 30 April and 4 and 5 May have slowly taken on the role of a kind of independence day – moments to mark national identity.

The paper writes that the focus of the 4 and 5 May celebrations has evolved from a commemoration of the end of WWII and the liberation of the Netherlands into a broader reflection on oppression and injustice.

However, knowledge of the significance of 4 and 5 May in Dutch history is essential - especially for newcomers - to gain an understanding of the Netherlands because WWII left a strong mark on the national identity.

 De Volkskrant writes that the 4 and 5 May commemorations are rapidly approaching the time when the last witnesses of WWII will have passed away. However, there is no reason to believe that this will pose a threat to the continued commemoration of these national days.

Eight Dutch citizens quarantined in Hong Kong hotel
AD reports eight Dutch citizens have been quarantined in a Hong Kong hotel after a Mexican guest at their hotel was diagnosed with swine flu.

Carlo Hessing, a businessman from Almere, said they are being well cared for by the Hong Kong authorities.

So far, he has received clothing, fruit, soft drinks, beer and even a box of chocolates from the health authorities.

The Mexican guest who was admitted to hospital on Thursday is the first person on the Asian continent to be diagnosed with swine flu.

When Hessing arrived at his hotel on Friday night, he was met by a group of police officers and health workers in white protective clothing.

"The police had closed the entrance to our hotel and told us someone had been diagnosed with swine flu. People who entered the hotel would not be allowed to leave again".

Hessing feels there is little chance of infection: "This Mexican person was in the hotel for only six hours".

Radio Netherlands / Georg Schreuder Hes / Expatica

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