The Dutch newspapers were published too early to report the death of Osama bin Laden.
Dutch Labour is 65 but there’s no party, instead the government is told to get tough on young criminals. Strictly Christian youths go on the rampage, wildfires blaze along the Dutch coast and there’s a burning soccer question. It’s all in the Dutch dailies.
The Labour Party (PvdA) is 65
It’s the Christian-based newspaper Trouw – and not, as one might expect, the centre-left daily de Volkskrant - which chooses the Labour Party’s 1 May gathering as its lead Dutch story today. As well as being Labour Day, yesterday was also the 65th anniversary of the founding of the party (the PvdA). But, banished as it now is to the opposition benches, there was not much to celebrate, says Trouw.
Although a number of PvdA bigwigs looked back happily to past achievements, former minister Jan Pronk had a sombre message for the party faithful. He said getting back into power must be the party’s number-one priority, and warned that the PvdA cannot get much done because of being relegated to the sidelines.
‘Get tough with young criminals’
As if to prove Mr Pronk wrong, the mass-circulation De Telegraaf reports that Labour (PvdA) is pushing the government to get tough on budding young criminals. The party wants young people under 18 to be prosecuted for possession of any amount of drugs (at the moment, amounts under 5 grams only lead to a caution).
And it’s not just drugs, the PvdA has its sights on all sorts of youthful criminal careers. It wants suspected young offenders who drive flashy cars to be required to show how they got the money to buy them. “A young man must be able to say how he came by an expensive car,” explains a PvdA MP. “If he can’t, the car can be confiscated, there’s no new legislation needed for this.”
Urk youth on the rampage
It’s de Volkskrant – and not Christian-based Trouw - which reports on trouble in the small, and predominantly fundamentalist Christian, town of Urk. In the early hours of Saturday, the Queen's Day national holiday, a mob of youths attacked the apartment block where Urk Mayor Jaap Kroon lives.
They were angry that he’d forbidden the tradition of groups of youths riding around Urk the night before Queen's Day on motor scooters (specially adapted to emit a huge amount of smoke). At 5:30 am on Saturday morning, 150 stone-throwing youths were confronted by 27 to 65 riot police (the police and the youths give different figures) in front of the mayor’s home. The mob had dispersed by 7 am and after eight arrests had been made.
The paper points out that bars in Urk close at midnight on Saturday because Sunday is the Sabbath. At 9:45 on Sunday morning, all the youths are dressed soberly and make their way to church. A local woman fills us in: “They are all really good, quiet boys. But on Friday and Saturday evenings – I don’t know what it is, it’s something passed from father to son – then, they just go wild.”
De Volkskrant runs a dramatic front-page photo of yesterday’s wildfires near the seaside town of Bergen north of Amsterdam. To the left is the sea and beach, but most of the picture is taken up with the sand dunes and scrubland stretching into the distance. What looks like two small towns can just be made out, huge clouds of smoke billow up between them into the clear blue sky.
The dunes area has been plagued by wildfires over the last few years and indeed, nrc.next tells us, just this Saturday, a major blaze destroyed a large expanse of local scrubland. Following yesterday’s fires, the paper says, police arrested two men on suspicion of arson.
Dutch soccer hat-trick?
Today’s AD asks the burning question in Dutch football: who will be crowned Premier League champions, Amsterdam’s Ajax or FC Twente from Enschede? The paper calls it historic that, for the first time in Dutch soccer, the first and second place in the league will be decided in a last match of the season between the two would-be champions.
That game is on 15 May, but Ajax and Twente will be slugging it out a week earlier on 8 May for the Dutch FA (KNVB) Cup. Twente has already beaten Ajax to win the Johan Cruijff Plate and are hoping to score a unique hat-trick by picking up all three major football titles this year.