Dutch Press Review Friday 20 January 2012

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

An act of hooliganism turns football into one big children’s party. One of the leading lights of the Dutch dance world is no more. Bubble bursts for Holland’s Next Top Model. And are the Christian Democrats just a sinking ship? Welcome to today’s Dutch dailies.


Football becomes child’s play
A football match with a difference makes the headlines today. Forget hooliganism and foul play. The twist is that the spectators were all schoolkids, invited to cheer on two teams that would otherwise have played with no crowd at all.

The match was a replay of the duel between top clubs Ajax and AZ, abandoned after an Ajax fan ran on to the pitch and tried to assault AZ’s goalkeeper.

The papers agree that inviting the kids along was a good idea. De Telegraaf describes the game as “one big party” and reports that the young spectators had “the day of their lives”.

De Volkskrant leaves some of the reporting up to the kids themselves. Bizarrely, they seem more fascinated by the behaviour of the local wildlife than the football action.

“We wondered how pigeons got onto the pitch, because the stadium roof was closed [...] They flew away when the ball was kicked but they always stayed on AZ’s half of the pitch, even when they changed ends at half time.” Riveting stuff! David Attenborough would be proud of them.

In short, a good time was had by all – except Ajax who lost 3-2 and are now out of the Cup competition. And if you think kids today are ungrateful little so-and-so’s, think again. One young fan tells AD: “We should really thank the hooligan who attacked the goalkeeper at the first match – without him we wouldn’t have been here!”

Leading Dutch choreographer leaves lasting legacy
All today’s papers pay tribute to one of the leading lights of the Dutch ballet world, Rudi van Dantzig who died yesterday at the age of 78.

Trouw devotes over half its front page to “the choreographer and dancer who could turn classical fancies into social drama”. Fellow choreographer Hans van Manen praises him for “genuinely wanting to say something in his work”.

De Volkskrant describes him as “the gentle, always doubting Rudi van Dantzig who took ballet in the Netherlands to new heights”. It features a photograph of Van Dantzig with legendary dancer Rudolf Nureyev and tells us: “Van Dantzig wanted to let him dance like a vulnerable human being, not as an invincible hero.”

In AD, the artistic director of the Netherlands National Ballet says: “His fire, that’s what we will always remember [...] he made it clear that dance was not a minor detail, not just decorative. It matters, it comes from deep inside. In other countries ballet can seem almost superficial.”

Thanks to Van Dantzig, it is now regarded very differently here in the Netherlands.

When is a top model not a top model?
It sounds like a dream come true. As an aspiring young fashion icon, you hear your name called as the winner of Holland’s Next Top Model. A contract worth 75,000 euros is yours for the taking. Expert jury members are falling over themselves to praise “your incredible potential”.

But nrc.next and De Telegraaf show how easily the bubble can burst. The papers report that Ananda Marchildon, Holland’s Next Top Model 2008, found herself in court yesterday trying to obtain some of the riches promised her after the modelling agency she was placed with kicked her out after only 10,000 euros’ worth of assignments. Their argument was that she didn’t measure up: “We can’t sell a model with 94 cm hips.”

It’s a cold hard world out there and Ananda, who admits her modelling adventure has left “a bitter taste”, is now trying to build a future for herself in the slightly less glamorous business of furniture making.

Christian Democrats: who will captain a sinking ship?
The Christian Democrats continue to come in for plenty of scrutiny as the party attempts to revive its ailing fortunes with a new strategic vision.

Nrc.next reckons that new vision – or at least the parts of it already leaked to the press – is “not exactly earth-shattering” and couched in such bureaucratic jargon that “what the Christian Democrats need above all is a leader who can translate it into a story that will give the Dutch electorate a reason to vote for the party again”.

Enter Henk Bleker, currently Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade. Despite doubts about whether he’s the man to restore the party to its former glory, nrc.next asks “who else is there?” De Volkskrant columnist Nausicaa Marbe concedes that Mr Bleker’s down-to-earth image – “all mud, fields and ponies” – is “reassuring for the voter that shuns modernity” but points out that this is not enough.

She likens the party to capsized cruise ship the Costa Concordia, but reckons the Christian Democrats’ drama is much worse than a “fateful shipwreck [...] as it drifts rudderless from party conference to party conference”.

Meanwhile the party’s big guns are in the life boats, none of them daring to climb back on board as captain unless the party makes a dramatic recovery in the polls. “They’ve already worked out their own strategic vision. And the outcome was: don’t do it!”