DutchNews podcast – The Everyone's a Muppet Edition – Week 8

A blockbuster edition of the podcast this week as the Dutch government sends in Stef Blok to wrestle with a muppet named Brexit and try to beat Venezuela's aid blockade by going through Curacao. We also hear how Ajax took pride from a home defeat, Amsterdam's mayor raised the stop sign to red light tourism and a Dutch entrepreneur's flour bomb blew up in his face. In our discussion we review the court decision that could allow dozens of people to prove once and for all that they were secretly fathered by a sperm clinic owner. Ophef of the week: Blok's big blue Brexit muppet sparks backlash Top story Dutch government to use Curacao as 'relief hub' to break Venezuela's aid blockade (NRC, Dutch) News Amsterdam's mayor says red light district should not be a tourist attraction Brexit has brought 42 firms and 2000 jobs to the Netherlands School pupils to continue environment protests after meeting Rutte Dutchman loses patent on Ethiopian flour after bid to sue bakery backfires Sport Ajax win praise for plucky display despite going down 2-1 to Real Madrid PSV stretch Eredivisie lead despite dropping points against Utrecht Feliz por volver a mi segunda tierra y por la victoria. Het doelpunt is voor jullie. 😜🇳🇱 #pindakaas / Happy to return to my second home and for the victory. #MA20 #UCL pic.twitter.com/Hg4yC6ZUKP — Marco Asensio (@marcoasensio10) February 13, 2019 Discussion: Donor children win legal fight for sperm doctor's DNA 47 donor children win right to check fertility clinic owner's DNA Sperm donor Jan Karbaat believed he was untouchable (AD, Dutch) Interview: how Moniek Wassenaar confronted Karbaat with the claim he was her father (Volkskrant, Dutch)  More >

Olympics body sets up ethics committee

The Dutch Olympic association NOC*NSF is setting up an independent ethics committee following a series of scandals in recent years. Chairman André Bolhuis told the Volkskrant that the move was a response to a number of incidents, the most high-profile being the resignation of Dutch IOC representative Camiel Eurlings last year. Eurlings came under pressure after his then girlfriend reported him to police for domestic violence in 2015. He stepped down from the post he had held for five years shortly after issuing a belated apology to the woman, which was criticised for being inadequate and self-serving. Eurlings, who has also been a cabinet minister and CEO of KLM Nederland, reached an out-of-court settlement with the public prosecution department in March 2017 without admitting guilt. The advisory committee on integrity and ethics is being appointed at a special general meeting on Monday. The Volkskrant said it would be chaired by Pauline Meurs, professor of medical administration at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. Two other committee members have yet to be appointed, but they will not be allowed to hold a position in a sport's governing body or association. 'The Eurlings case and other situations in the last few years in the area of ethics and integrity have taught us that now and again we need advice from outside,' said Bolhuis. 'As in: gosh, one of the administrators is involved in this and that, should they resign or not? With Eurlings we were rather slack in our response and left him to deal with it himself.' The committee's will consider issues arising in areas ranging from sexual intimidation in sport to match-fixing. Its advice will not be made public and will be confined to matters that directly affect the organisation.  More >

PSV and Ajax level with four matches left

PSV Eindhoven survived a scare against struggling De Graafschap to draw level on points with Ajax at the top of the Eredivisie. The visitors took the lead in the Philips Stadion with a header by Delano Burgzorg and held on until midway through the second half, when Steven Bergwijn levelled from the penalty spot. Nine minutes later top scorer Luuk de Jong clipped in a Denzel Dumfries cross to claim the points, but PSV were unable to improve on their goal difference, which could be crucial if the title race goes to the wire. Manager Mark van Bommel was satisfied with the win. 'We missed a huge amount of chances,' he said. 'We didn't play well… Looking back we can say we could have scored more, but we're happy to have won.' Ajax's 6-2 victory over Excelsior on Saturday, including a hat-trick for veteran striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar gives the Amsterdammers a 12-goal advantage. Both teams have two home games and two away fixtures left this season. De Jong injury There was a concern for Erik ten Hag's side ahead of their midweek Champions League side when midfielder Frenkie de Jong went off after 28 minutes clutching his hamstring. 'I didn't want to take any risks,' said Ten Hag. 'He had no complaints before the game, he was fit to play. But I saw he wasn't moving easily.' Excelsior remain in 17th place, behind De Graafschap on goal difference and four points ahead of NAC Breda, who snatched a draw at home to Emmen in Friday night's relegation clash. Emmen looked to be taking a big step towards safety when they went ahead through Luciano Slagveer on 15 minutes, but two minutes from time goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen spilled a cross at the feet of Erik Palmer-Brown. Dick Lukkien's side remain three points ahead of the relegation play-off zone and two points behind Fortuna Sittard, who also conceded a late leveller in the Limburg derby with VVV Venlo. Feyenoord third Feyenoord tightened their grip on third place with a narrow win at home to Heracles Almelo in a bad-tempered game. Nikolai Jørgensen was sent off for the home side after 70 minutes for a retaliatory kick on Tim Breukers, but Steven Berghuis sealed the points with his second goal from the penalty spot. The Rotterdammers are now four points clear of AZ Alkmaar, who were edged out by ADO Den Haag in a dramatic match. Trailing 2-0 with five minutes left, AZ looked to have salvaged a draw with two late goals from Albert Gudmundsson, only for Sheraldo Becker to bag a late winner in the fifth minute of injury time. In the battle for the European play-off places, Utrecht and Vitesse Arnhem played out a 0-0 draw that saw both teams denied a goal by the VAR panel. The result allowed Willem II Tilburg to move to within a point of seventh-placed Vitesse to a point by beating PEC Zwolle 2-0, with Aleksandr Isak taking his goal tally to 12 in as many games. Groningen slipped to ninth as they drew 1-1 with fellow northerners Heerenveen, but only after goalkeeper Sergio Padt made a point-blank save in the dying minutes to deny Jizz Hornkamp. Results Friday NAC Breda 1-1 Emmen Saturday Ajax 6-2 Excelsior AZ Alkmaar 2-3 ADO Den Haag Feyenoord 2-1 Heracles Almelo Fortuna Sittard 1-1 VVV Venlo Sunday Heerenveen 1-1 Groningen PSV Eindhoven 2-1 De Graafschap Utrecht 0-0 Vitesse Arnhem Willem II Tilburg 2-0 PEC Zwolle  More >

Ajax hold back Juventus to 1-1 home draw

Ajax' European adventure continued on Wednesday night with a closely fought 1-1 home draw against Italian giants Juventus. An early second half goal by David Neres goal cancelled Cristiano Ronaldo's first half header to leave the Amsterdammers in a fighting position ahead of the return tie in Turin next week. 'The Amsterdammers were more than a match for the record Italian champions, and with a little more accuracy in their finishing could have recorded a victory,' the Uefa website said. Watch the highlights The Dutch papers were also full of praise for Ajax performance, describing the match as 'thrilling' and 'spellbinding'. 'If we want to make the semi-finals, we are going to have to play another powerful match,' coach Erik ten Hag told Dutch media after the game. 'But if we go there [to Turin] believing in ourselves, then it could happen.' 'The outcome is not as I had hoped, but it is not bad,' said midfielder Frenkie de Jong. 'If we play away with the guts and courage we showed in Madrid, then we are definitely in with a chance.' Ranking The draw also means that the Netherlands is once again in 11th place on the Uefa European rankings - and that is good news for next season's Eredivisie champion. The 11th place means next season's winner will qualify directly for the Champions League competition. Both PSV and Ajax, still battling out for this year's title, had to go through qualifying rounds for this year's championships. Arrests Before the match itself, dozens of supporters were arrested after clashes with police in Amsterdam and at the ground itself. Several Juventus fans were picked up after police found them to be armed with collapsible batons, pepper spray, a hammer and a knife. The first group were arrested at the Weesperplein metro station, the second were picked up an hour later outside the Johan Cruijff arena ahead of the match itself. Police have not yet said how many arrests were made in total, or where the supporters came from.  More >

Enschede council bails out FC Twente

A majority of Enschede city councilors have backed a rescue plan for troubled local football club FC Twente, which involves writing off €5m of a €17m loan and scrapping  repayments and interest on the remainder of the cash. The city’s ruling coalition voted in favour of the plan, while opposition councilors (Socialist and GroenLinks) voted against, local paper Tubantia reported. They are furious the football club is being bailed out at a time when social services are being cut. Alderman Eelco Eerenberg said the move to support the club is a difficult one, but essential. ‘The alternative, the club going bankrupt, would be far worse,' he said during the council meeting. Companies and private supporters have also stepped in to help the club. ABN Amro has written off €4.5m of its €5.5m loan and the wealthy Wessels family is investing ‘millions’ via an investment company, local broadcaster RTV Oost said. The club is currently €30m in debt. FC Twente was relegated from the Eredivise last season but is currently on top of the first division.  More >

Ajax move into Eredivisie lead

Ajax is at the top of the Eredivisie for the first time in over 1,000 days, following Wednesday night's 2-5 win over FC Emmen, who are struggling against relegation. The win puts Ajax one point ahead of PSV Eindhoven, who take on PEC Zwolle at home on Thursday evening. The two clubs are far ahead of the rest of the pack in this season's league competition. Despite the win, Ajax coach Erik ten Hag said after the match that he was not happy with his team's performance. 'I am not at all satisfied with the last 30 minutes, and I have told the players exactly that,' he said. 'They lost concentration and the play was sloppy.' Emmen scored twice in the last half hour of the game. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who scored his 100th goal for Ajax during the match, said he hoped Sunday's win against PSV had given them a mental boost. 'The pressure is now on PSV,' he said.  More >

Verstappen content with fourth in Bahrain

Max Verstappen said he was satisfied with his fourth-placed finish in the weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix despite being denied a chance to challenge for a podium finish by the safety car. The Dutchman looked set to finish fifth until a late mistake by Sebastian Vettel, who was running third, caused the German to spin and concede two places. Verstappen was chasing down Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in the closing stages, but his ambitions were scuppered when both Renault cars broke down with five laps to go. 'If the safety car hadn't come out we would have got Charles,' said Verstappen, who finished just 0.3 seconds behind Leclerc. 'But I'm not disappointed about it, because I don't think we deserved a podium, given our speed. 'Our car was very sensitive to the strong wind and I had oversteer all the way through, which was very hard. The balance of the car wasn't good at all.' The result leaves Verstappen in third place in the drivers' championship behind the Mercedes pairing of Valtteri Bottas and race winner Lewis Hamilton, who have claimed the top two places in the season's first two Grands Prix. The next race is the Chinese Grand Prix on April 14. Last year's edition was won by Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.    More >

Eredivisie race back on as Ajax beat PSV

Ajax beat league leaders PSV 3-1 to reignite the Eredivisie title race in a match that turned on two crucial VAR decisions. Erik ten Hag's side looked to have suffered a double blow when Noussair Mazraoui was sent off in the 58th minute for a challenge on Angeliño. Referee Björn Kuipers initially showed the defender a yellow card, only to upgrade it to red on the advice of the video panel. A minute later Luuk de Jong headed in an equaliser over the head of Andre Onana after the goalkeeper misjudged a cross. PSV pressed forward in search of a winner, but on 72 minutes Daniel Schwaab hauled down Ajax's David Neres in the area and Kuipers awarded a penalty, again after consulting the VAR. Dusan Tadic converted the spot-kick and the 10 men of Ajax held out, with Neres applying the finishing touch in the 96th minute. Earlier on Schwaab had gifted Ajax a 21st-minute lead when he tapped the ball past his own goalkeeper, Jeroen Zoet, under pressure from Tadic. The result means Ajax are just two points behind Mark van Bommel's side with seven games left of the Eredivisie season. The Amsterdammers also have a superior goal difference. Determination Ten Hag said his team's determination had been the decisive factor in a gritty game with few clear chances. 'When you beat PSV by two goals with 10 men, it's a very well deserved victory,' he said. Van Bommel called the defeat 'unnecessary' but refused to blame individual players, despite the opening goal coming from a mix-up between Zoet and Schwaab. 'The second half started well, Lozano missed a chance, Mazraoui saw red, we brought it back to 1-1, dominated and had chances. I can make a good story of it, but in the end we lost,' he said. Earlier on Sunday Feyenoord missed the chance to draw level with third-placed AZ Alkmaar as they went down to an injury-time winner in Utrecht. Timo Letschert scored the decisive goal after Feyenoord had come back from 2-0 down in the second half through Sam Larsson and Robin van Persie. At the other end of the table PEC Zwolle claimed a vital win over fellow strugglers Emmen, beating the team from Drenthe 3-0 to move seven points clear of the play-off zone. Emmen stay in 17th, level with De Graafschap, who went down 2-1 at home to Heracles on Saturday. Bottom placed NAC Breda earned a home draw against VVV Venlo, despite losing Mounir El Allouchi 10 minutes from the end for a second yellow card, but they remain seven points adrift of Emmen. Alkmaar beat in-form Groningen 1-0 to boost their chances of a top three finish, with the only goal coming from Ron Vlaar on 70 minutes. Fellow northerners Heerenveen moved into the top half at Groningen's expense by beating Excelsior by the same scoreline, substitute Pelle van Amersfoort bagging the winner in the last minute. Thomas Buitink's hat-trick for Vitesse Arnhem put him in an elite group of players who have bagged three goals in an Eredivisie match before their 19th birthday – the others are Johann Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Wim Kieft, Frank Rijkaard, Rafael van der Vaart and Ronaldo. However, it was only enough to claim a point against ADO Den Haag, who equalised through Lex Immers in the second half. Willem II's Alexander Isak became the first player in the league's history to score three penalties in the same match to give his team a 3-2 win over Fortuna Sittard. Results Saturday ADO Den Haag 3-3 Vitesse Arnhem AZ Alkmaar 1-0 Groningen De Graafschap 1-2 Heracles Almelo Heerenveen 1-0 Excelsior Willem II Tilburg 3-2 Fortuna Sittard Sunday Ajax 3-1 PSV Eindhoven NAC Breda 1-1 VVV Venlo PEC Zwolle 3-0 Emmen Utrecht 3-2 Feyenoord  More >