Friday, February 22, 2008


By Eric Beauchemin Radio Netherlands Press Review 22 February 2008 -
The revelations published yesterday [links in English and Dutch] regarding bribes received by the late Dutch Prince Consort in the 1960s and '70s continue to make the headlines of today's papers. It was already known that Prince Bernhard had received bribes from the US aircraft manufacturer Lockheed, but a book published yesterday disclosed that another aircraft company, Northrop, gave the prince 750.000 dollars.

The affair was covered up by the then prime minister Joop den Uyl because former Queen Juliana threatened to abdicate and her daughter, Beatrix, allegedly said that under those circumstances she would not ascend the throne.

House of cards

Politicians from Den Uyl's Labour Party have expressed understanding for his decision to cover up the affair. As one senior Labour politician put it, if he hadn't "the whole house of cards would have collapsed". De Telegraaf writes that the Dutch parliamentarians have reacted unenthusiastically to the revelations. It quotes one MP as saying "it's old news", but the opposition Green Left party has asked for clarifications from the prime minister. It believes that a secret addendum to a report on the Lockheed affair, which contains the revelations, should now be published. The editorialist of de Volkskrant agrees: it was understandable that Joop den Uyl wanted to avoid a constitutional crisis, but he shouldn't have given in to the threats made by Queen Juliana or her daughter.

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