Dutch news in brief, Wednesday 30 July 2008

30th July 2008, Comments 0 comments

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

30 July 2008

Consumer confidence at all time low
Economic doom and gloom stories pop-up in all of today's papers in response to the latest Dutch statistics office report on consumer confidence.

The gloomy headline in De Volkskrant is "Consumers have lost faith", Trouw's gloomier headline is "consumers have lost trust" and ADs headline is the gloomiest of them all: “Consumer confidence at all time low".

AD tells us the report released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reveals that consumer confidence dropped to an historic low in July and that confidence had never dropped so far and so fast.

In June, pessimists outweighed optimists by 39 percent but that number leapt to 59 percent in July.

The paper writes that despite reasonable economic growth in the Netherlands, the global credit crunch is making its effect felt.

The paper quotes a CBS economist as saying: "the credit crisis is affecting Dutch banks and pension funds and people have suddenly realised that it's not something that is happening over there".

Shortage of foster families
NRC.next covers the shortage of foster families in the Netherlands. "Plenty of children, but where are the parents?" asks the paper in its headline.

The paper reports that the number of children in foster care has doubled over the last 10 years, rising to 20,000 in 2007.

The paper writes that 10 years ago, the government decided that children at risk would be placed with foster families instead of orphanages or other institutions.

According to Ans van de Maat, director of a welfare institution, "it was a cost-cutting measure. Foster care is far cheaper than professional care but it did coincide with a growing number of studies that said children would be better off placed with families than in institutions".

However, NRC.next writes that the changes to government policy coincided with wider changes within society: modern parents are reluctant to devote time and energy to fostering and an increasing number of mothers are working and simply do not have time to care for yet another child.

More politicians to join Gay Pride
Several papers report that Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst has decided to take part in Amsterdam's Gay Pride Canal Parade on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the minister said "the interior minister is responsible for upholding the constitution and this is her way of defending equal rights for all and fighting discrimination".

"Lots more socialists join Gay Pride" headlines De Volkskrant and reports that the boat chartered for Emancipation Minister Ronald Plasterk is getting fuller all the time.

According to the paper, the Socialists and Liberals have been taking part in the parade for several years now but they had to hire a larger boat this year as more and more politicians decided to join in the fun, though the paper notes that the prime minister and the minister for youth and families both refused to take part.

No smoking behind the wheel
The lead story on the front page of the populist De Telegraaf covers the growing fury of Dutch truck drivers who have been ordered to stop smoking in their cabs.

It appears that a growing number of transport companies in the Netherlands have suddenly started enforcing a 2004 ban on smoking in the workplace and have told their truckers to stop smoking behind the wheel.

The paper writes the sudden decision to obey the law coincides with an increasing number of spot checks by a government health and safety inspectorate and the companies do not want to risk a hefty fine.

Transport companies say the lorries are considered a workplace and therefore have to be smoke free, but drivers are furious, especially those who own their vehicles.

Japanese squirrels on the loose
De Telegraaf's front page talks about the environment minister who has ordered an Amersfoort man to catch the 10 Japanese squirrels that he released into the wild.

According to the minister, the Japanese squirrels could threaten native Dutch squirrels and she has given him two weeks to catch them.

If he hasn't caught the wee beasties by then, the minister will hire professionals and the squirrel man will have to pay for it.

It shouldn't be too difficult. De Telegraaf tells us four have been caught and three have been run over.

[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]

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