Today’s papers are full of ‘orange’, yes football, but the fever is somewhat subdued. One paper dares to tell the Holland squad why they’re not going to win. The Labour Party swings to the left in a battle against the Socialist Party. Healthcare at home – for the elderly and some skin cancer patients alike. The Dutch speak out against forced marriages, but they can’t stop one young couple tying the knot.
Reviewed Dutch dailies
Why Holland won’t win
There’s lots of football in today’s papers as the European Championship kicks off this evening, but the fever is not as frenzied as you might expect.
“The Orange legion has to wait a day before our heroes come into action against the Danes, but this evening the Euro 2012 party will get off to an explosive start when host country Poland meets Greece,” writes De Telegraaf.
One Dutchman will be in the spotlight later this evening – Russia’s coach Dick Advocaat. His squad will play co-host Ukraine.
Nrc.next isn’t a daily you’d expect to cover football page after page, but that’s basically the diet you’re fed until you finally open a page on a different subject but the print is upside down. Eehh? A printing error?
Today’s edition has two front pages – which you discover after a bit of fumbling around - with one half of the paper completely dedicated to football. Simply turn the paper upside down for news in the real world. The football coverage is far from the jingoistic rhetoric of De Telegraaf.
“The minefield of Orange: six reasons why the Dutch team, sorry about this, will not become European champion this year,” headlines nrc.next over an image of the squad in motion and out of focus, as if their chances are dissolving before our eyes.
One of the stumbling blocks, claims nrc.next, is the travel: the Holland squad is booked into a five-star hotel in Kraków but will play all of its group matches 1,200 kilometres away in Ukraine’s Kharkiv stadium.
“If the Dutch football association had decided to stay a week in Kharkiv, then the players could have stayed much longer in bed…Countries like France, the Czech Republic and Spain, which also play their group games at one location, are using it to their benefit. If they qualify for the semi-finals, they’ll be more rested.”
Other black points for Holland include breaking the cliché that the Orange squad plays a great game, but never quite wins. For coach Bert van Marwijk a happy family atmosphere is of paramount importance but he doesn’t communicate with his extended family, the second line substitutes. And Wesley Sneijder is “only a shadow of the player he was in 2010”.
Left-wing parties jostle for votes
The parliamentary elections are due on 12 September and left-wing voters have a difficult choice according to de Volkskrant. While the Socialist Party (SP), which is currently polled to be the biggest party, is getting ready to supply the country’s next prime minister - that’s if it can form a coalition - the Labour Party (PvdA) is shifting further to the left. And the Green Left party, now with Jolande Sap firmly at the helm after a failed leadership challenge from the party’s number two, has crept towards the right.
What the three parties have in common is that they are prepared to go easy on the cuts so the economy has a chance of recovering. Both the SP and the PvdA want to slow down the pace of bringing the budget deficit below the magical limit of three percent of GDP. In its party manifesto, Green Left doesn’t feel remotely obliged to stick to the stringent measures to bring the country’s budget deficit down that they agreed to with the fallen cabinet and two other opposition parties in the Spring Agreement.
Both the SP and Labour claim to be getting friendly with big business. The SP recently opened a chique new headquarters in between Amersfoort’s office blocks – the party is shedding its “anti-everything” image, although a big red tomato is painted on the wall. “Growth and business is the answer to the crisis,” Trouw quotes Labour leader Diederik Samsom saying. The question is whether the three parties will ever be able to form a cabinet together.
Will your children look after you in your old age?
Even in these harsh economic times, it’s wise to save as much money as you can for your old age. Don’t expect the government to pay for your care, warns AD in a front-page splash, holding out until page 8 for football. “Children are going to have to care for their elderly parents, the way it used to be. That’s the only way people with no other safety net will be able to pay for care in their old age,” says RVZ, an independent government advisory board on healthcare.
Political parties are not keen to put the problems of the ageing population into their election manifestos. “But if we do nothing, the costs will continue to mount and we’ll see shortages of beds for hundreds of thousands of older people.” The solution is simple – care for the elderly can only be sustained if they can help themselves or rely on family and their community.
Rien Meijerink, chairman of RVZ, admits his message is unpopular, but realistic. “At 68 years of age, he hasn’t dared to broach the subject with his own children: will they look after him when he is no longer able to look after himself? ‘It’s a somewhat embarrassing question, but I’ll have to ask it at some point.’”
Health care at home for skin cancer patients
De Telegraaf reports on another health-at-home subject – skin cancer. “Thousands of patients with basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer, can administer their own treatment at home. They only need to visit their cancer specialist or dermatologist for check-ups.”
As and from today, a considerable number of the some 20,000 new cases each year can get a DIY kit – a kind of photodynamic therapy (PDT) set - for this form of skin cancer. “It’s a portable and rechargeable piece of equipment which emits red light, combined with photosensitising lamps, and special creams and plasters. Serious forms of the illness cannot be treated at home,” writes the paper.
Eminent cancer specialist JP Baars calls the home treatment for the skin cancer which is not life-threatening “a wonderful solution”. “Home treatment like this is the future, because with our current resources we’re simply not going to make it. If 90 percent of these home-treated patients have comparable results to those in a hospital, that’ll make a huge difference in the doctors’ waiting rooms.”
We’re not told about the other ten percent.
‘Til primary school do us part
Marriage is making news in the Netherlands, as some Labour Party MPs want to clamp down on forced - and usually, underage - marriages. Under present legislation, anyone who forces a minor into marriage can get a maximum sentence of nine months. Labour wants to change the punishment to two years.
And then there’s a tale of another underage marriage. Femke, aged 3, and Kylian, also 3, were inconsolable because they’re not going to the same primary school. To pledge their loyalty to one another, the loving couple got married yesterday, reports AD, “complete with wedding cake, children’s champagne, wedding book and a local councillor to perform the ceremony”.
The tiny newly-weds had to stand on a chair to cut the two-tier cake for their guests from the children’s play centre in Scheveningen. “A joke that got out of hand,” admits their teacher, “but they really wanted to get married and when I enquired at the city hall, Councillor Ingrid van Engelshoven volunteered right away to officiate at the ceremony”.
The bridegroom wanted to be with his mother after all the pomp of the ceremony, “but which newly-wed husband doesn’t know that feeling?”
Mum and football, you can always fall back on them.