Home Dutch News Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 25 November 2008

Dutch news in brief, Tuesday 25 November 2008

Published on November 25, 2008

25 November 2008

Jetta Klijnsma, one of the Netherlands’ first disabled ministers, arrives at parliament
New Deputy Social Affairs Minister Jetta Klijnsma smiles on the front pages of De Telegraaf and de Volkskrant Tuesday. Ms Klijnsma arrived at the Binnenhof, the home of the Dutch parliament in The Hague, Monday, perched on the back of a tandem for a meeting with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende before she takes up her new job in December. She succeeds Ahmed Aboutaleb who is leaving to become Mayor of Rotterdam.

It’s a significant appointment according to De Telegraaf, which describes Ms Klijnsma as "one of the first disabled ministers in the history of the Netherlands". She is already a well-known figure in The Hague where she served as an alderwoman for the past 10 years and gets around town on her "chauffeur-driven" tandem.

At the age of 13 Jetta Klijnsma found herself in a rehabilitation centre learning to walk again after an operation on her legs. On her website, she says seeing the determination of her fellow patients "changed her life". NRC Handelsblad describes her as "a woman of perseverance who keeps on climbing".

Perseverance and determination may help her at Social Affairs where Trouw reports that Minister Piet Hein Donner "has had to switch to crisis management after an ambitious start full of ideas for social economic change."

The paper also points out a potential challenge for the brand new Deputy Minister. She will oversee a massive merger between the country’s job centres and unemployment benefit administrators.

Princess Maxima meets with the mother of a disappeared Argentinean

Princess Máxima was presented with a book Monday about Argentina’s military junta using the 1978 World Cup to promote its regime under which tens of thousands of political opponents disappeared. Presenting the book was Nora Morales de Cortinas, one of the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, an association that campaigns for information about the fate of their missing children. Around her neck she wore a photograph of her son Carlos Gustavo, who disappeared in the 1970s at the age of 24.  

Princess Máxima’s father served as a deputy minister under the regime, a connection that threatened to stand in the way of her marriage to Prince Willem-Alexander, the eldest son of Queen Beatrix and next in line to succeed her.

De Telegraaf says the mother was "happy with Princess Máxima’s words" and thought the princess was "brave" to agree to meet her. AD says Mrs De Cortinas harbours no negative feelings towards the princess. "We make a distinction between the daughter and her father. The fact that she has accepted this book is important for the history of her country," she says.

Mrs De Cortinas also asked the princess to do what she could to get the Netherlands to sign a UN treaty against enforced disappearances. "It was a bold request", she admits. "I know she’s not allowed to get involved in politics, but I think it’s strange that Argentina has already signed the treaty yet the Netherlands hasn’t."

The Argentinean mother was accompanied on her visit by a member of Argentina’s legendary 1978 football squad, which went on to win the World Cup in a final match against the Dutch team, striker Leopoldo Luque. He later admitted to De Telegraaf, "I was more nervous than when I got to meet the Pope together with the rest of the World Cup team!"

Most criminal organisations are linked to legal companies
Trouw reports that "any criminal worth their salt can’t really do without their own business". The paper reveals that "at least three quarters of the criminal organisations in the Netherlands have access to a legal company through one of its members."

Around 600 members of criminal organisations are registered with the Chamber of Commerce under their own names and probably many more under aliases.

Police are focusing attention on the business world in an attempt to catch the criminals. But the Chamber of Commerce says the police’s desire for stricter checks is "understandable but not realistic. We don’t have the authority or the resources to check for criminal activities."

The police also expect help from local authorities, who do have the power to withhold business permits if there is a suspicion that a company has links with the underworld.

TV programmes seek to attract audiences
De Volkskrant reports on a website survey to find the TV programme that is kindest to its studio audience. At late night talk show Pauw & Witteman lucky audience members mingle with the hosts, while on panel show Ranking the Stars they are treated to all the sandwiches and fruit they can eat.

The laws of supply and demand currently seem to favour the audiences. There’s such a big demand for studio audiences in Hilversum, the heart of Dutch TV production, that extreme measures are sometimes called for.

The production team at one daytime show recalls rearranging the furniture when only five audience members arrived. Another admits running to the nearest supermarket and gathering anyone he could find to fill seats.

"Free drinks, a warm welcome, clean toilets, comfortable chairs and an interesting programme" are they best way to draw an audience, says the survey.

[Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica]