Crown prince criticises integration debate

The hard attitudes in the ongoing debate over the integration of immigrants in the Netherlands is ‘worrying’ and ‘destructive’, crown prince Willem-Alexander said in a major television documentary marking his 40th birthday on Friday.

‘There is a reason why we have the proverb, ‘talk is silver, silence is gold’,’ the prince said. ‘Sometimes it would be good if people did not react off the cuff, but took the time to think and then speak.’
During the documentary, the prince said he wanted to continue the same strategy has his mother when he came to the throne. The role of the Dutch monarchy was one of unification, representation and encouragement, the prince said.
He said he would try to be an important figurehead for the Netherlands and, like his mother, would play an active role in trade delegations.
He also spoke of his late father prince Claus, whom he said, ‘was a master in taking every discussion to a higher level and always listened to counter arguments.’ ‘That is something I try to do myself,’ the prince said.
Since his father’s death in 2002, Willem-Alexander said his mother increasingly used him as sounding board, such as during the recent difficult cabinet formation processes. She ‘sometimes tests ideas on me,’ the crown prince admitted.
The documentary also showed the prince at home. He described having children as ‘fantastic’ and said he would fight tooth and nail to make sure they had as normal an upbringing as possible.
‘If you watch them playing, then you think, they luckily don’t yet know what the future has in store for them,’ the prince said.
The programme, which was a year in the making, will be repeated on Monday April 30.
NOS tv

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