Dutch news in brief, 11 December 2009

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

Animal Rights party accuses government of culpable homicide
The government’s announcement to slaughter all goats and sheep to combat the world’s most serious outbreak of Q-fever has been slammed by the Animal Rights party.

All papers reported Animal Rights party leader Marianne Thieme’s damning verdict that the government is guilty of “culpable homicide” for failing to act and putting lives at risk.

de Volkskrant agreed the government has been dragging its feet on Q-fever and pointed out while the A(H1N1) flu virus has been grabbing the headlines, the obscure goat disease has been left in the shade.

While the dreaded flu epidemic seems to be contained, Q-fever is proving to be a serious threat to public health.

Trouw agreed the government has not had its eye on the right ball, pointing out that Q-fever is usually more serious than A(H1N1) flu, causing high fever and health problems that drag on for months.

However, there was general disapproval of Thieme’s “culpable homicide” accusations.

de Volkskrant called her remark a “distraction” from the real issues, while Trouw described it as “crass”. De Telegraaf fumed the Animal Rights leader is “lashing out wildly” due to her “limited style of politics”, and “seems to have blown a fuse”.

In an interview with AD, Thieme stood by her accusation and blamed the Christian Democrat party, the senior coalition partner.

“The Christian Democrats support factory farming, and that’s a dead end,” she said, hammering home her view that “our kind of intensive livestock farming in a highly populated country is asking for trouble.”

She put forward her conspiracy theory about A(H1N1) flu and pointed out that the disease is known by what she calls the “veiled” term ‘Mexican flu’ in the Netherlands while elsewhere the popular name is ‘swine flu’. Her analysis: “Yet another animal disease that sows death and destruction.”

Papers conclude heads should roll for beach party hooliganism
NRC Handelsblad and nrc.next reported “hooliganism has left the stadium and looking for confrontation with the police elsewhere”.

The comments were in response to Wednesday’s report on this summer’s Hook of Holland beach riots, where drugged and drunken hooligans attacked police chanting “Rotterdam hooligans” and “gas the Jews”. The “Jews” in this case is a Dutch football slang referring to supporters of Amsterdam team Ajax.

At the infamous beach party, the casually racist slogan was equally applied to the police, as Thursday’s Amsterdam-based Parool pointed out.

The question is whether heads should roll following the damning report on a night of bungled policing. Should Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb take the rap, or the city’s police chief Aad Meijboom?

NRC said the report revealed “a deeply rooted problem which betrays a lack of professional knowledge, maturity in the job, self-reliance and insight”. A “hopelessly badly functioning policing system” is De Telegraaf’s verdict as “rampaging hooligans threaten to take over the streets”.

Both newspapers arrive at the same conclusion that Police Chief Meijboom should take the blame as he has been at his job since 2001 as Major Aboutaleb has barely in officer for a year.

Thieves steal deadly ecstasy collection
AD reported on the theft of a curious private collection.

In a village in the province of Gelderland, burglars got away with 2,400 tablets of the drug ecstasy. The haul has a street value of between EUR 10,000 and 12,000.

The owner Jan wasn’t planning either to sell the pills or take them himself. Instead, he collected them like stamps.

“I’m mad about the different colours, shapes and logos on the pills,” he said. “I’m really fed up, because I’ve been collecting them for 20 years”.

Even though his pill collection was strictly illegal, Jan reported the theft to the police himself. He said 40 of the stolen tablets could be lethal, and he was worried that someone could be killed if someone swallowed them unsuspectingly.

Police issued a text message to hundreds of people in the region warning against the deadly tablets.

Pill collector Jan said he doesn’t use the drugs. He told De Telegraaf: “I’ve tried it but I didn’t like it.”

Modern art museum director leaves as museum remains close
Firector of Amsterdam’s modern art museum said he doubted the Stedelijk Museum will open its doors again in December 2010 as planned, reported de Volkskrant.

The Stedelijk’s director Gijs van Tuyl is leaving his post as he has been the director of a closed museum for the past four years.

The museum has been closed for a major refit since 2004. For a while it had a temporary location in an old post office building, but it ran out of time as renovation of the museum doesn’t seem to be completed anytime soon.

There has now been yet another delay in constructing the futuristic new wing of the museum, known as ‘the bathtub’. The steel that had been delivered for the building was not of high quality and had to be sent back.

Van Tuyl told de Volkskrant he was annoyed by the constant delays. He was expecting the prestigious museum to be reopened in 2008.

“If I’d known about it before, I would have thought hard before taking the job,” he added.

Burkini swimmers want women-only swimming session
De Telegraaf reported a group of Muslim women have demanded that men should be “banned” from an Amsterdam swimming pool while they swim.

Even though the women wear burkinis, which virtually cover the entire body, they are seeking for a women-only swimming session.  

The paper said the Muslim women feel uneasy if men in the swimming pool see their hands and feet.

Conservative VVD MP Paul de Krom told the paper the women’s demands were “totally bizarre”, adding “If they want to swim in a burkini and on top of that demand that all the men should leave, they should do it in Casablanca.”

However, local councillor Egbert de Vries argued that the pool already has a one-hour naked swimming session for men once a week and should perhaps consider having a women-swimming session.

Radio Netherlands / Michael Blass / Expatica

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