Saturday 28 March 2020


The Netherlands never ceases to amaze in the way it manages to find solutions for the strangest of problems. Until today, Sidelines had no clue that there were some 11,000 people in the country who refuse to pay towards state-run insurance schemes because they believe so passionately that God will provide.

More to the point, Sidelines had no clue that the state seems to be quite ok with this situation. Refusing to pay does, of course, go against the Dutch principle of solidarity – which lies at the heart of the social insurance schemes. If your house burns down, ok. If you don’t believe in health insurance and are happy to let your kids contract polio (as happened in the early 1990s) – well, you can always say it is God’s will.
But declining to contribute towards unemployment benefit and the state pension is a slap in the face for normal society. Unwilling to make martyrs out of a bunch of fundamentalist Christians, the ever-inventive Dutch apparently make them pay the equivalent amount in extra tax and then save it up in a special bank account for emergencies.
Sidelines is sure the authorities will show similar inventiveness and willingness to oblige if calls for a Muslim-friendly system of mortgages (without interest payments) are renewed. has been free for 13 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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