Press Review Monday 5 July 2010

5th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Politics and sports again compete for prominence in today's Dutch dailies and sport wins hands down. Between the Netherlands’ success in Friday's quarterfinals against Brazil and Rotterdam hosting the start of the Tour de France, the coalition negotiations didn’t stand a chance.

The papers are feverishly anticipating tomorrow night's semi-final clash against Uruguay and are full of World Cup news. The award for worst pun has to go to De Telegraaf: under the headline "World Cut", the paper brings this little snippet of news; "the entire team had a haircut and a shave after Friday's quarter-final victory over Brazil," writes the paper. The populist daily even has a photo of winger Dirk Kuyt getting his “blond curls clipped”.

"In the form of his life," is De Telegraaf's assessment of goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and the paper credits him with keeping the team in the World Cup finals. The paper reports that odds on the Dutch winning the World Cup have improved and Oranje are now the 2 to 1 favourites.

All the papers call Friday's 2-1 victory over Brazil, who had been tipped to win the cup, "historic," but de Volkskrant warns that our semi-final opponents aren't going to give up easily: "Uruguay are tough".

Tour de France success in Rotterdam AD opens with a photograph of Tour de France cyclists massed on Rotterdam's iconic Erasmus Bridge, ready to start the world's most gruelling race.

According to the populist tabloid, the start of the Tour de France in Rotterdam was "a fantastic party and more than a million people came to watch the race". The first stage 97th edition of the tour started in Rotterdam and ended 223.5 kilometres down the road in Brussels.

De Volkskrant's front page has a photo of last year's winner, Spain's Alberto Contador, racing through the wet streets of Rotterdam on Saturday. The paper reports that the crowds lining the route were three-deep and beaches in the province of Zeeland were deserted.

Trouw writes that the city of Rotterdam is "satisfied and relieved" that the tour went off without a hitch.

Parties inch closer to coalition talks "Cautious optimism among purple-plus parties," headlines Trouw and notes, "they'll have to add a lot of water to the wine". The Protestant paper looks at the chances of a four-way coalition with a “purple” complexion: that's the blue of the conservative VVD mixed with the red of the centre-left Labour Party plus the smaller Democrats 66 and Green Left parties.

Trouw writes, "finally, there appears to be a bit of movement in the cabinet negotiations; two weeks after purple-plus was rejected, the four party leaders are finally going to sit down and negotiate a coalition".

"Purple-plus: now they mean it," is De Volkskrant's take on the state of coalition negotiations and optimistically adds, "if it goes well, we'll have a new cabinet on 1 August". VVD leader Mark Rutte tells the paper, "I'm ready to tackle the negotiations, even though reaching an agreement will be a huge task". Labour leader Job Cohen says he expects "fierce negotiations". GreenLeft leader Femke Halsema says she is aiming for a cabinet that will "quickly and effectively tackle the economic crisis".

AD reports that about 50 percent of Dutch voters would be satisfied if the proposed centre-left coalition manages to reach an agreement. The paper says there are four possible problem areas: budget cuts, housing and mortgage tax relief, job creation and immigration and outlines the positions of the various parties.

Gun smuggled into parliament building "Gun in lower house, Wilders' security breached," screams the front page of this morning's De Telegraaf. The paper reports that undercover police officers successfully smuggled a gun into parliament buildings in The Hague, and even managed to "sneak the weapon into the heavily guarded Freedom Party area".

Mr Wilders, leader of the right wing, anti-Islam Freedom Party PVV, is under permanent 24-hour guard because of numerous death threats made against him.

The populist broadsheet says a military police squad and the Special Security Brigade made four attempts to breach security after Mr Wilders complained about lapses. The attempts were carried out a few weeks ago and two of them were successful. Security measures were tightened after the tests.

Amsterdam traffic worst in Europe De Telegraaf reports what most residents of the Dutch capital already know all too well, " Amsterdam has the worst traffic problems in Europe," writes the paper, and adds, "average home to work travel time is a whopping 31.5 minutes".

IBM investigated traffic jams in cities across the globe and ranked Amsterdam 13th, behind major metropolises such as Beijing, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Moscow and New Delhi.

The paper says the situation in Amsterdam would be significantly worse if the bicycle wasn't so popular; some 23 percent of people in the capital go to work on a bike, compared to an average of two percent in other major cities. Interestingly, people in the Dutch capital are pretty laconic about traffic snarl-ups. IBM mobility expert Mark Huitema tells the paper "Amsterdammers complain the least about traffic problems".

Mr Huitema says the new government must tackle traffic jams in and around the capital and called for better public transport, more opportunities to work from home and improved traffic information. "Reports on the actual traffic situation in Amsterdam are about 30 minutes behind the facts, says the mobility expert.


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