There is enough support in parliament to scrap the law making it a crime to insult the king from the statute books, it emerged after Thursday’s debate.
D66 parliamentarian Kees Verhoeven wants to remove the crime of ‘lèse-majesté’ putting the king on the same footing as ordinary citizens. The Netherlands is one of the few country’s in Europe to have the crime of insulting the monarch, for which the maximum sentence is five years in jail.
It is as yet unclear what the final motion will include. The two Christian parties in the coalition are vehemently opposed, as is the fundamentalist Protestant SGP and Verhoeven has pledged to present parliament with a more detailed plan in the next few weeks.
In 2016 an anti-monarchy campaigner faced legal action for insulting the Dutch royal family at a rally in Amsterdam in 2014. Abulkasim Al-Jaberi was arrested at a demonstration against Zwarte Piet for shouting ‘fuck the king, fuck the queen and fuck the monarchy’.
The case was later dropped after officials decided the statement was not a crime because it was made ‘within the public debate’.