Urban affairs minister Ella Vogelaar has run into a few problems with her efforts to spruce up a list of 40 neighbourhoods and turn them into model places to live.
The housing corporations which are supposed to come up with much of the money are dragging their feet.
Still, good old Albert Heijn has come up trumps – at least that is what the Volkskrant reports on Tuesday. The paper says the supermarket group is prepared to open four supermarkets in four problem areas of the Hague – aimed at boosting local ‘liveability’.
People living in the neighbourhood will have priority for jobs and there will be special work experience positions for local youths. Doubtless this does not mean they will earn less than the couple of euros an hour which school-going shelf-fillers currently take home.
In all fairness, however, Sidelines must point out that none of these four areas yet have an Albert Heijn supermarket, so the arrival of a bright shiny AH is probably just what the locals need.
Of course they will have other shops, but Albert Heijn, which now sells everything from flowers to bike locks as well as food and washing up liquid, is very good at beating off the competition.
Parent company Ahold does say, however, that the new stores will only be opened once the area can be described as ‘safe’ – whatever that means and however long that is likely to take.
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