Sunday 26 June 2022

General election: ‘Go away if you don’t like it here,’ says Dutch PM

People who are not happy living in the Netherlands should leave, prime minister Mark Rutte says in an interview with Monday’s AD.

‘If you live in a country in which the ways of dealing with others annoys you, you have a choice,’ Rutte, who is leading the VVD’s election campaign, told the paper. ‘Then leave, you don’t have to be here.’

The interview coincides with a page-size advert for the VVD in many daily papers in which Rutte calls for common decency and a return to ‘normal’ patterns of behaviour.

The advert takes the form of an open letter to ‘all Netherlanders’. ‘There is something up in our country,’ Rutte says. ‘Why is our country so prosperous and yet some people behave so poorly?’

The letter refers to anti-social behaviour in traffic, on public transport and in the streets. ‘We feel a growing unease when people misuse our freedoms to spoil everything, when they have come to our country for freedom,’ Rutte says. ‘People who don’t want to adapt… who attack gay people, who shout at women in short skirts or call ordinary Dutch people racist.’

The coming period, Rutte says, will decide what direction the Netherlands will take. ‘There is one question to be answered,’ he says. ‘What sort of country do we want?’

The VVD is challenging Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV to become the biggest party after the March 15 general election. Rutte has already ruled out working together in a coalition with the PVV,

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 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.