Dutch news in brief, Thursday 16 October 2008

16th October 2008, Comments 0 comments

Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.

16 October 2008

Finance Minister to look into provincial councils funds
After it emerged that local and provincial councils may have lost EUR 250 million deposited in bankrupt Icelandic and US banks, Finance Minister Wouter Bos tells AD, he wants an investigation into whether the provincial councils have too much money. Any money left over should be returned to the people.

The Association of Dutch Municipalities denies that local councils were irresponsible with taxpayers' money.

Bos says: "It's madness that local governments shop around abroad for a slightly higher percentage, instead of depositing their money in safe accounts."

Exorbitant bonuses to go
The party appears to be over for golden handshakes and exorbitant bonuses.

In the past, De Volkskrant reports that government interference in the remuneration of bankers was unthinkable. But as the bonus culture is seen as one of the factors compounding the credit crisis, Bos is calling for a new code of practice.

The new managing director of ABN Amro, Michael Enthoven will be paid just as much as an experienced civil servant.

Incidentally Dagblad De Pers questions whether putting the president of the first Dutch Bank to go under, the NIBC, in charge of running ABN Amro is such a good idea.
Former GreenLeft MP opens activism exhibition
Former GreenLeft MP Wijnand Duyvendak, who was recently forced to resign because of his radical activist past, seems to have returned to his core business.

De Volkskrant reports he has opened an exhibition on activism in the 1970s and 1980s in Amsterdam's Resistance Museum. In between the Palestinian scarves and hippy trousers, hang posters appealing against racism, nuclear bombs, the fur trade and even against the coronation in 1980.

The former MP admits times have changed. "The streets are not the streets anymore, they are public spaces. The tram stops, where the protest posters used to hang, now display lingerie advertisements."

One of the students who help create the exhibition concludes, "Back then people were really hard, now we've all gone a bit soft."
Fine for smoking joints in public
Rotterdam has decided that it will no longer be soft on people smoking joints in public.

Trouw reports, anyone caught smoking marijuana in public will be fined EUR 50 as of November.

Rotterdam Mayor Ivo Opstelten says: "Smoking joints in public was always forbidden, but up to now it has always been tolerated."
Since it has emerged how damaging marijuana can be, political tolerance for the habit has evaporated. Just under a year ago, the city council established that a large number of adolescents were "smoking away their teenage years". Coffee shops are not allowed within 250 metres from secondary schools. The Christian Union wants to go further and include primary schools in the legislation.
Sexual education to reach out to ethnic minorities
Talking about sex is still taboo among young people with ethnic backgrounds. According to the Volkskrant although they are not talking about it, they are doing it. Statistics show that boys from ethnic minorities are more sexually active and take more risks.

As a result these groups are proportionally more likely to contract sexually transmitted diseases and girls with an ethnic background are more likely to have an unwanted pregnancy.
Deputy health minister Jet Bussemaker wants researchers to find out why sexual education campaigns are not reaching ethnic minorities.

One of the researchers say: "The problem is that campaigns focus too much on a white model."

Muslim girls will change channels if they see a contraception advertisement out of embarrassment. Muslim parents are worried if they talk about sex they will be putting ideas in their children's heads. But many Muslim girls are sexually active. They have boyfriends in a different town, far away from the control of their parents. And they are not encouraged to be assertive making it difficult for them to say no.
Amsterdam’s tulips may disappear
Tulips from Amsterdam could be a thing of the past if the new EU legislation to ban 120 substances used in pesticides goes ahead, warns De Telegraaf. The ban is to protect the health of vegetable and flower producers.

However, a study by the University of Wageningen due to be published on Monday says the ban will spell the end for the Dutch bulb growers.

Researcher Piet Spoorenberg says: "There are already too few pesticides suitable for tulips. If these are banned it's disastrous."

The Dutch agricultural organisation LTO also calls the plan a disaster. They've got until January to persuade MEPs to save Holland's most famous flower.
[Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica]

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