The poor town of Hellevoetsluis has gotten itself into quite a pickle after issuing an ID card to a man who said painting his face like a Batman villain was part of his religious beliefs.
Hellevoetsluis, a town of about 40,000 just south of Rotterdam, is probably the most talked about place in the country at the moment. Questions are being asked in parliament and ministers have asked for an explanation. And all because a civil servant decided not to discriminate against a man in full make-up and a hat.
It does appear to be a unique case, said a spokesman for the Ministry of Home Affairs. It was after all, he said, up to the local authorities themselves to decide what was in keeping with the new rules on official photographs for IDs.
‘We don’t have the impression that there are hundreds of thousands of people out there with Coco the Clown ID cards,’ he added. The fact the card in question has a photo of ‘the Joker’ is by the by.
Still, they seem to be keeping a pretty cool head about it all in Hellevoetsluis. Council officers have decided to look again at the case, after ‘the Joker’ himself said on TV that no, he did not walk around in full facial make-up on a daily basis. ‘Sir did not tell the truth when he made the application,’ the council spokesman told reporters. ‘The mayor may now withdraw his card.’