Dutch news in brief, Friday 5 June 2009

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

Freedom Party is biggest winner
Nrc.next announces the result by publishing shining yellow stars surround a blue background with the party’s initials PVV in big yellow letters in the middle.

The inside pages feature a gold cup inscribed with a quote from party leader Geert Wilders: “We are going to get much, much bigger.”

The populist rightwing Freedom Party won four seats in the European Parliament with its clear campaign message on ‘Europe: no’. The other winners in the European election were the centre-left D66 party, whose message was equally simple: ‘Yes to Europe’.
The Christian Democrats were the only party to remain ahead of the anti-Islam Freedom Party. The conservative VVD managed to hold onto 3 seats in spite of predictions of a disastrous result.

The big losers were surprisingly the Labour Party, who had difficulty explaining their complicated message to the electorate during the campaign.

In Trouw, Development Minister Bert Koenders said: “‘It is not about whether you are for or against Europe, it is a about what your party wants to do in Europe.”

The Socialist Party, Green Left and smaller Christian parties all held on to their two seats. The Animal Rights Party appears to have just missed gaining one seat in the European Parliament.
Elderly voters turn out in vain
AD reports most voters were well informed about the requirement of having to produce proof of identity in 350 municipalities. Only the elderly had problems as many of them no longer have valid identity papers.

Seventy-two-year-old Maria Verbeek tore up her ballot paper when it turned out that she would not be able to vote using her over-65s pass. She questioned the wisdom of the new measure, especially as so few people turn out to vote, asking “Have the government gone mad?”

Many elderly people tried to vote using veteran passes, expired passports, or tattered driving licences. One woman submitted an official complaint at her local polling station.

Around 300 people in the town of Nieuwegein were unable to vote early in the morning, as the ballot boxes had not been delivered to the polling stations.

A red-faced mayor apologised to voters, saying: “This just shouldn’t happen, we have done everything we can to rectify the situation.” The error was only discovered 15 minutes before polling stations were due to open.

Committee recommends continuing North-South metro line
The Veerman committee Wednesday recommended continuing with the construction of Amsterdam’s North-South metro line under the historic heart of the capital in spite of all the risks.

After serious subsidence rendered a number of historic buildings unsafe earlier this year, Trouw reports unsurprisingly that residents hoped the outcome would bring an end to all their misery.

The report recommends Amsterdam city council to renegotiate the finances with the national government to help ease the burden of the spiralling costs of construction. A flying squad and project manager should be appointment to oversee the operation and troubleshoot any problems encountered.

According to the report, residents should be compensated more generously for any damage and be taken more seriously “to remove the fear and irritation”.
Continuing with the project will bring the total cost of the project to EUR 3.1 billion. However, terminating the project would cost the city EUR 1.7 billion on top of what has already been spent.

The completed project aims to add to Amsterdam’s prestige and international allure.

“The importance of the North-South line goes beyond the city limits,” said the report. The metro line will be one of Europe’s busiest once it is finished, probably in 2018. It will carry 200,000 passengers every day and cut travelling time from the north of the capital to the south to just 16 minutes.

About 800 underage male victims yearly
Nrc.next asks readers if they have heard the story about older men using younger Moroccan boys for sex.

A study into male prostitution by the University of Amsterdam has discovered that many gigolos pretend they are younger and of Moroccan nationality because it pays better.
The researchers divided the male prostitutes into three groups. The first group are ‘profs’ or weekend amateurs who see sex in exchange for money as a serious hobby or job. They are over-18 and enjoy the sex.

The second group are termed as the adventurers and are often younger; with one in three underage. They have a lower level of education, often have a foreign background and don’t particularly like having sex with older men. But they just think: “ Well, if he’s mad enough to pay for it…” .

The third group are the victims. They often have a sugar daddy and are usually victims of sexual abuse. This group does not enjoy the sex and wants help.

All the men who participated in the survey had sex before they were 18 in exchange for money and with someone at least five years older. Over 50 percent had sex at least once without wanting to.

According to police figures, there are 800 underage male victims of sexual abuse every year. Most of these abusers are men or boys. Victims almost always know their abusers.
Rotterdam mayor disputes figures on Moroccan criminals
In de Volkskrant, Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb disputes figures which indicate 90 percent of Moroccan criminals re-offend.  

The shocking figures were presented by criminologist Professor Frank Bovenkerk this week.

“We do not agree with Bovenkerk’s figures,” said the Moroccan-born mayor.

Recidivism among Moroccan criminals was 41 percent in 2006 and 31 percent a year later, said the mayor who attributed the discrepancy between the statistics to a difference in definitions.
Similarly, figures which show 55 percent of Moroccan youths come into contact with the police can include anything from suspicion to actual prosecution.

According to the mayor, police officers are more likely to stop and question youths belonging to this group although he is unable to produce any evidence for this.

Labour councillor Matthijs van Muijen also disputed the view presented by the professor and said measures to prevent recidivism are working.

Radio Netherlands / Nicola Chadwick / Expatica

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