Dutch personalities from the world of politics, football, education and the theatre have taken out a full page ad in the Volkskrant on Friday in a call to the nation to ‘stand up’ and ‘shake off the tradition of Trump and Brexit’.
Under the banner of ‘Wij zijn Nederland’ (We are the Netherlands) they are urging ‘the decent majority’ to take a stand against intolerance and sign the call on an accompanying website.
The website and advert later transpired to be the work of Lodewijk Asscher, leader of the Labour party, who told reporters that he was fed up of ‘negativity’
The advert comes two weeks after prime minister Mark Rutte made a controversial call for people to ‘act normal’ and was accused of targeting minorities in particular.
The ‘we are the Netherlands’ feeling is one which speaks to everyone, Asscher said, adding that he is ‘fed up with claims that we are living in a semi civil war’.
The 29 signatories of the Volkskrant advert include historian Maarten van Rossem, presentater Cornald Maas, former Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen and football trainer Foppe de Haan.
The text, with its ‘borst vooruit’, ‘heldere stem’ and ‘sluit u aan’ clearly tries to hark back to songs of a bygone era extolling the virtues of the Netherlands.
Here is a translation by DutchNews.nl.
We don’t see it on the front page of the paper.
It doesn’t make the television news
But most Dutch people value common decency
Have had it with the shouting
Know that everyone needs protection
That we can all be unlucky in life
And that we multiply happiness by sharing it.
We call on this majority
To be silent no longer.
We all know the feeling. In a world of conflict.
In a country where tensions are building.
Of wanting to close the curtains. Turning off the tv
And withdrawing into what we know.
But it is time to make our voices heard.
To stop whispering. To stick our chests out.
For the Netherlands belongs to all of us.
Our freedom, our state of law
They are here to serve us all.
And so we rise when those foundations come under attack
Civilisation is worth defending
And so we say in a clear voice:
Netherlands, shake off the tradition of Brexit and Trump
Stand up before it’s too late
Before there’s no way back
Make the difference.
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