Family congress raises questions

A number of opposition parties have major misgivings about the fact that the Dutch family minister André Rouvoet is to give the opening address at next week’s World Congress of Families in Amsterdam, reports Friday’s Volkskrant.

Rouvoet is a member of the orthodox Christian ChristenUnie party.
The traditional nuclear family and Christian values are a central theme of the congress.
The event is organised by organisations affiliated to The Howard Center, a US-based think-tank which believes that the family is created by God and is ‘essential for a good society’, the paper says.
‘Bastion of anti-family policies’
The World Congress of Families describes the Netherlands as a ‘bastion of anti-family policies’, reports the paper.
According to Boris van der Ham of the Liberal Democrats (D66) the event’s organisers are against gay marriages, contraception and the right to abortion and euthanasia.
He wants Rouvoet to use his video message to the congress to stress that single parents and gay couples are also considered to form valuable families in the Netherlands.
The Green Party and the right-wing Liberals (VVD) also have their doubts about Rouvoet’s participation, the paper says.
Missionary work
The Socialists say they have no problem with the minister’s speech as long as he does not use it for ‘missionary work’, the paper reports.
Rouvoet’s spokesman says the minister will make it clear that as family minister, he represents all families, regardless of what form they take.
‘He will call on the participants to build bridges on the question of how we can live together in a society in which different views of the family exist,’ the spokesman in quoted as saying in the Volkskrant.
The family congress has also attracted protests from outside parliament. The Dutch-based World Population Foundation, which lobbies for women’s sexual and reproductive rights, believes Rouvoet is sending the wrong signal by addressing the congress, says the Volkskrant.
The congress is organised by an ‘extremely right-wing Christian coalition’ says the WPF.
The fifth World Congress of Families takes place at the RAI in Amsterdam from August 10-12.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation