Dutch news in brief, Thursday 15 October 2009

15th October 2009, Comments 0 comments

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

DSB saga continues
De Telegraaf begins its coverage of the DSB saga with an accusatory headline: "Zalm knew about it: insurers warned minister in 2002".

According to the paper, the Dutch Association of Insurers warned the then-finance minister Gerrit Zalm and the Netherlands Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) about dubious practices by the bank but no action was taken.

The paper said Zalm knew the privately held DSB bank was charging "exorbitant procuration fees" but did nothing about it, noting that despite rumours within the Dutch insurance world, "the minister went to work at the bank a few years later".

de Volkskrant looks at the blame game from a slightly different angle, although the spotlight is firmly focused on the finance ministry.

The broadsheet interviews a DSB employee who claimed: "Wouter Bos (Finance Minister) and Nout Wellink (Head of the Dutch central bank) stand foursquare behind the big Dutch banks and it suits them just fine that the DSB is going under".

Many people blame Bos for DSB’s bankruptcy as he refused to bail out the bank. They cannot understand why the finance ministry could find billions for the big five Dutch banks but fail to hand over a few million to save the DSB.

Retirement age talks focus on strenuous jobs
The retirement age saga continues and the pressure on the cabinet to come up with a deal is mounting.

Leaders of most of the Parliamentary parties - the exceptions being Socialist party leader Agnes Kant and Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders - and the cabinet want a deal in place soon.

As reported Wednesday, the coalition parties are close to a deal on raising the retirement age to 67, but want to protect people who perform strenuous jobs.

Under the headline, "Cabinet tussle over strenuous work”, De Telegraaf reports the coalition partners have not yet managed to agree on just what constitutes a strenuous job and how to retrain people so that after 30 years of heavy lifting, they can do something less physically taxing.

AD reports definition of strenuous labour will be left to the unions and employers to determine. Citing sources close to the negotiations, the paper says the cabinet is working on tightening up the regulations governing working conditions. AD ends its coverage with the optimistic sentence, "the last stumbling blocks will probably be cleared away by the cabinet tomorrow".

Oscar committee rejects Dutch nomination
Several papers cover the news that the Oscar Committee has rejected Holland Film's (the Dutch film commission) initial nomination of The Silent Army for Best Foreign Language Film on the grounds that it's a remake of White Light.

de Volkskrant reports the nomination of the movie came with much drama. In September, a number of Dutch producers, including the producer of A Winter in Wartime, the second film on the shortlist, protested vehemently against Holland Film's decision to nominate The Silent Army. They hired a lawyer in order to make the point that the film did not meet the criteria laid down by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Despite that, Holland Film went ahead and nominated The Silent Army.

Claudia Landsberger, managing director of Holland Film tells the paper, "The Academy needs to tighten up its regulations. Even if you read the rules three times you still can't understand them. Nowhere does it say that you cannot nominate a remake of a director's cut."

The new nomination is A Winter in Wartime. AD interviews director Martin Koolhoven: "It's great news. Because of the arguments about The Silent Army, the media accused us of being bad losers but we were right all along."

Amsterdam prepares for 2028 Olympic bid
"City council dreams of Olympic village", headlines De Telegraaf above its coverage of Amsterdam's fairly advanced plans for winning the 2028 Olympics.

According to the paper, the cabinet will not decide on which city to put forward as Olympic candidates until the end of 2010, but the Amsterdam city council is already looking at two possible locations for an Olympic village.

There are advantages to bringing the Olympics to Amsterdam, said councillor Maarten van Poelgeest. One particular location would force the city to extend the north-south metro even further than already planned.

Building work of the controversial north-south metroline started in late 2002 and was originally scheduled to be completed in 2011 with a EUR 1.4 billion price tag. It is now scheduled for completion in 2017 and cost of building has increased to EUR 2.4 billion.

Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica

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