Thursday 30 March 2023

Opstelten and Teeven bow out: what the papers say

dutch papers

The resignation of the two high-profile and hardline justice ministers, both from the right-wing Liberal VVD, dominates Tuesday’s front pages and editorials.

The front page of the Volkskrant shows a sombre former minister Ivo Opstelten leaving yesterday’s press conference. ‘His position was no longer tenable’, the paper writes. ‘It was too long before the truth about the deal Teeven made fifteen years ago saw the light of day.’

The integrity of the VVD, already hit hard by a number of corruption cases, has suffered another blow, the paper writes, as ‘the two crime fighters represented the tough stance on crime the cabinet liked to project.’

AD also focuses on the damage to the VVD. ‘VVD loses its head before the elections’, the paper headlines. ‘Teeven was warned that his past as a prosecutor presented a risk, and so it proved’, the paper writes. ‘The question now is whether the blood flow can be stemmed before the elections.’

According to the Telegraaf it looks as if a last-ditch solution was proposed but rejected. ‘The last line of defence seems to have been that a screen print is not a document and therefore the minister could not have failed to inform MPs. But Opstelten recognised his position was a weak one’, the Telegraaf writes.


Trouw thinks former junior minister Fred Teeven will continue in politics. ‘VVD insiders say the end of his political career is not in sight although it is unlikely he will come back to the same department,’ the paper writes.

The timing of the decision to step down, ahead of what would undoubtedly have been an embarrassing debate later on Tuesday, was ‘clearly a political choice as support for the two would not have been forthcoming’, according to the NRC.

The Financieele Dagblad thinks the VVD’s junior education minister Sander Dekker is a likely successor to Ivo Opstelten. Dekker studied law and spent ten years teaching and researching matters relating to police and justice at Leiden University, the paper says.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation. has been free for 16 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.