Sunday 18 August 2019

Opinion pieces, columns and insights into Dutch news and current affairs from key commentators

Turn out red lights

Turn out red lights

News that Amsterdam council is finally trying to get to grips with the city’s notorious red light district has resulted in the usual howls of anguish from brothel owners and all the other groups with a vested interest. It will be bad for the area, bad for the tourist trade, bad for the prostitutes, they say. More >


Freedom

Freedom

So after three days, the two Telegraaf journalists jailed for refusing to reveal their sources have been set free. Their liberation follows widespread condemnation – both at home and abroad – of their imprisonment. More >



Animal farm

Animal farm

Wow, the Netherlands is one of the only countries in the world to have a political party for animal rights! The Partij voor de Dieren won two seats in Wednesday’s general election. Rather than being something to boast about, this sad state of affairs is likely to once again make the Netherlands a laughing stock abroad. More >


Disenfranchised

Disenfranchised

It’s tough being an expat at election time. Especially a well assimilated foreign national from a large EU member state who speaks Dutch and follows the local media. First you have to get your head round all the parties taking part. There are so many, that the final televised debate on Tuesday night had to be split into two leagues like the premier and the first division in soccer. More >


Sick

Sick

Ad Ruis, CFO of supermarket group Schuitema is to leave the company on December 1 because (according to a Schuitema press release) he has ‘a difference of opinion over policy’ with the rest of the board. A good enough reason to leave, you may say. More >


Political records

Political records

News magazine HP/De Tijd entertains its readers this week with a round up of political records. Weirdest political party: PLN, the party for the liquidation of the Netherlands, in 1981. More >


Opportune

Opportune

So. With four days to go, the signs of desperation are starting to show. The political parties may have spent months polishing their glossy manifestos but – right at the last minute – all these new initiatives have suddenly come rolling out. More >


Words

Words

The Dutch are always going on about their reputation for being bot (blunt), but it still comes as quite a shock to discover that Breezersletje – literally Breezer slut – is now an official word. More >


Mad

Mad

If the thought wasn’t so frightening it would actually be deeply amusing. Disintegration Minister Rita Verdonk has set her sights on the position of Deputy Prime Minister in the next Balkenende cabinet (number four at the last count but, judging by past history, it’s bound to rise if – God forbid – the CDA do indeed lead the next government). More >


Fair’s fair

Fair’s fair

It is an odd thing to spend so much time writing about an election taking place in the country you live in – which will determine the taxes you pay and the way your children will be educated – but which you are excluded from voting in. More >


Criminal

Criminal

The report at the weekend by the Algemeen Dagblad – that 60% of the 385 people convicted of sexually-abusing children last year did not go to jail – should not be a surprise to anyone. In the Netherlands, the rights of the abuser are paramount. More >


Blackmail

Blackmail

Should taxpayers pick up the tab for a private company’s mistake? The Telegraaf reports today that Amsterdam City Council is being put under considerable pressure by builders Hillen & Roosen to do just that. More >


Eat up

Eat up

Seven years ago, supermarket group Albert Heijn made a tremendous song and dance about its move into organic food. But yesterday’s Milieudefensie survey shows the true story. More >


Statistics

Statistics

It may be over-sensitivity on our part, but the Netherlands does seem to be rather obsessed with the statistical analysis of its non-native population at the moment. Today’s papers are once again full of facts highlighting the fact that ‘they’ are different from ‘us’. More >


Hangover

Hangover

For a party that prides itself on its support for deregulation and cutting red tape, those free-market Liberals in the VVD have some awfully strange ideas. Not least today’s revelations that health minister, Hans Hoogervorst, wants to tighten up the current rules on alcohol. More >


Democracy

Democracy

Magazine HP/De Tijd does not mince its words in its assessment of D66 MP Thom de Graaf’s likely new appointment as Mayor of Nijmegen. ‘Thom de Graaf should be ashamed of himself,’ the magazine headlines its article. More >


Stichting

Stichting

A stichting is a foundation or a trust set up to promote either a good cause or a specific objective, such as developing open source IT or protecting sand dunes. Stichtings are not supposed to make a profit – but some are very rich, like the Democracy and Media trust which owns 42% of newspaper group PCM. The Netherlands has over 130,000 different stichtings. More >


Pride

Pride

Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende is proud of many things – and he uses his guest editorial in today’s Telegraaf to list them. It is a very, very long list. More >


ABC

ABC

Poor old Minister of Economic Affairs, Joop Wijn. Yesterday, he was proud as punch with the results of his survey which showed that employers do not discriminate against people with an ethnic minority background. Today, however, it emerges that nobody agrees with him. More >