The government and city authorities spend a great deal of time and energy improving the lot of urban youth. Unemployment, poverty, violent crime, under-age drinking, poor education and racism all tend to be seen as inner-city problems. But, if a string of recent reports are to be believed, it might in fact be time to switch tack.
Young people living in the Dutch countryside appear to be in need of some serious government attention.
First, there was New Year’s Eve – when gangs of young male villagers developed collective insanity and hurled fireworks and bottles at emergency service workers.
Then there was the official report into ethnic tensions between young people, which warned that the situation was far worse in rural areas – where fewer immigrants live – than in the cities.
Then, last week, came the news that most of the 1,500 illegal drinking dens in the Netherlands are in the countryside – and that the under-16s are big customers.
And now it transpires that young people heading home along country roads after a night on the town (read: village), are the most likely to die in a car crash.
People often move to the country for the sake of their children – all that traffic in the city and no garden. But for teenagers at least, the cities would seem to be safer.