The Netherlands will have to accept technological change to ensure a prosperous future, prime minister Mark Rutte said in a major speech in Amsterdam on Monday night.
While the country is basically ‘in order’, technological and geopolitical changes are crucial to ensure the country is prepared for the future, the prime minister said.
‘Dutch society will change massively due to technological changes,’ he said. For example, healthcare and retail are increasingly shifting to the internet.
Only once change has been accepted will the Netherlands be able to continue to pay for essential services such as good education, healthcare and social security.
People must be prepared to take more responsibility for themselves and should realise starting over again is nothing to be ashamed of. He referred to his own parents, who left the colony of Indonesia to start a new life in the Netherlands after World War II.
‘The quickest way to lose all we have is to hold on to it too tightly,’ he is quoted as saying.
Politics also had to change, the prime minister said. Parties have to be prepared to make compromises and extend a hand to each other. But Rutte said he is not prepared to make compromises on his vision: ‘to make the Netherlands stronger’.
This, commentators said, was a pointed remark to the current situation in The Hague, where the two-party coalition needs the support of other parties to pass legislation in the upper house of parliament.
The prime minister gave his speech as the guest of Elsevier magazine, which invites a prominent politican to reflect on current issues for the annual H J Schoo lecture. Schoo was an editor of the magazine.
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