Press Review Monday 14 June 2010

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The country may be facing a financial crisis and an extremely unstable political situation, but it's football that dominates this morning's Dutch dailies. Oranje - as the Dutch national squad is known - kicks off its campaign for World Cup victory later today and the colour orange is splashed liberally across most of the front pages.

Huge expectations ahead of first World Cup match De Telegraaf breaks out the orange ink for its front-page headline, which screams, "We're going for it". The populist paper also prints photographs of the entire squad and coach Bert van Marwijk along with a photo of one of the many streets in the Netherlands that has covered all the buildings with flags, orange bunting and other daft football-related stuff.   De Telegraaf confidently predicts that football lovers across the Netherlands hope that today's match against Denmark "will be the first in a series of glorious victories that lead to the Dutch lifting the cup".   Free sheet De Pers leads with a photo of winger Dirk Kuyt and the headline, "it's now or never". In a rather alarming echo of caretaker Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's oft-repeated "I'm going for gold" campaign slogan, striker Wesley Sneijder tells the paper the exact same thing. As Mr Balkenende's CDA was decimated in last week's election, perhaps Mr Sneijder should chosen his words more carefully as they don't really inspire confidence anymore.   "Ready for the kick off," is AD’s assessment of the Dutch squad's preparedness for the opening match against Denmark. "The Netherlands hopes to write World Cup history," says the populist tabloid adding, "The players are chomping at the bit and eager to get to work".   Torrent of complaints about vuvuzela noise AD reports that the NOS - the Dutch TV station broadcasting World Cup matches - has decided to turn down the volume from the stadiums after a steady stream of complaints about the "ear-piercing din created by the thousands of vuvuzelas in the stadiums".   The populist paper says that just three days into the World Cup, some viewers are so fed up with the braying of the vuvuzelas that around 15,000 of them have signed an internet petition calling on FIFA to ban fans bringing them into the stadiums. AD also prints a decibels chart: a jumbo jet produces 130 decibels and a vuvuzela produces 127 decibels; and says, "listening to noise that registers over 100 decibels for more than 15 minutes can permanently damage hearing". The paper also tells us that vuvu means, "make a racket" in Zulu.   Elsewhere AD says "it will be quiet on the streets of the Netherlands as the Dutch squad starts its World Cup campaign". Given that some stupid company has been giving away plastic orange vuvuzelas to all and sundry, I do rather think that AD has gotten that one wrong. I think they sound like a constipated camel desperately trying to have a bowel movement.   Coalition negotiations underway De Volkskrant reports that Queen Beatrix appointed VVD Senator Uri Rosenthal as coalition negotiator and "urged him to make haste" in his exploration of the viability of a coalition between the free-market liberal VVD, the right-wing populist Freedom party PPV and the centre-right CDA.   "Instability within PVV and CDA makes right-wing coalition extremely difficult," headlines Trouw on its front page. The paper writes that Senator Rosenthal must firstly ascertain whether it is possible to forge a coalition between three parties that have "very different views and policies," and secondly, "assess the stability of the coalition partners’ parliamentary parties".   According to Trouw, a coalition between the three will be “extremely difficult" as the PVV's economic policies have “far more in common with Socialist party policies than the VVD’s or the CDA’s economic plans”.

The Protestant paper says it will be "even more difficult for Senator Rosenthal to assure himself that a VVD-PVV-CDA coalition will be stable". Trouw points to Hero Brinkman, a well-known "PVV loose cannon," and "several dissidents within the CDA and the VVD".

  "Resistance to pact with PVV," headlines AD above an article on the coalition negotiations and adds, "influential CDA and VVD politicians say coalition with Wilders is undesirable".   It looks as though the political horse-trading will continue for quite some time yet.   Dam Square screamer: I'm innocent AD interviews the 'Dam Square screamer' who says, "I'm innocent". At this year's 4 May Remembrance Day ceremonies, Adam screamed very loudly near the end of the two minutes silence. The paper tells us that in the ensuing panic, "63 people were injured and Crown Prince Willem Alexander and Princess Máxima legged it".   Adam, sitting on his usual bench near Dam Square drinking cheap beer, tells the journalist, "I'm really sorry for what happened, but it's not my fault". As usual, he's a bit confused and vague, but he says, "I didn't even realise it was Remembrance Day. I went to a whole bunch of different bars and thought everyone was being quiet and boring".

Interspersed with strange musings on life, he adds "a careful analysis of the footage shows that people panicked in response to a woman who screamed after I screamed and the sound of that metal barricade falling over".

  Good news for controversial Amsterdam metro line Finally, good news for Amsterdam's controversial North-South metro. Trouw reports that the giant drill tunnelling underneath Amsterdam's historic - and fragile - city centre has successfully tunnelled under two historic buildings and reached Dam Square with just "a few millimetres of subsidence". The North-South line consortium made the announcement on Sunday.   The North-South metro has been plagued by budget overruns, delays and unexpected subsidence. Many Amsterdammers say it is a political prestige project and a completely unnecessary waste of money that could seriously damage the foundations of many of the historic buildings in Amsterdam.



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