Dutch king, queen, and prime minister will go to Sochi Winter Olympics

King Willem-Alexander, queen Máxima, prime minister Mark Rutte and sports minister Edith Schippers will all attend the forthcoming Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, Rutte told reporters on Friday.

‘The Netherlands wil be represented. We are not in favour of a boycott. It is better to be involved in dialogue,’ the prime minister told his weekly news conference.

The decision means the Netherlands is not joining the growing list of western countries which are not sending their most senior representatives in protest at the country’s human rights record.

The heads of state and government leaders of Germany, France, Belgium, Britain and the United States have already said they will not be attending the games.

Some opposition parties, Dutch gay rights group COC and Human Rights Watch had urged the cabinet not to send the king to Sochi. Willem-Alexander has attended several previous Olympics in his then role as the Dutch IOC member.

‘I am shocked and very, very disappointed,’ the Volkskrant quoted COC chairman Tanya Ineke as saying.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

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