Opinion pieces, columns and insights into Dutch news and current affairs from key commentators. The views expressed in these columns are the writers’ own. To contribute or request our guidelines, contact email@example.com.
News editors used to give new reporters one piece of advice: ‘Always remember, all politicians are liars and cheats.’ This cynical caveat should have been in most journalists’ minds during the past two weeks when politicians wrestled with two major scandals: the report on a fire in a Schiphol cell complex which killed 11 refugees and Amsterdam’s role in allowing a ship to dump toxic waste in Ivory Coast which killed seven people. More >
It is probably quite easy to resign as a minister when you know there is an election nine weeks away anyway. Justice minister Piet Hein Donner, facing his third sticky patch as a minister, and planning minister Sybilla Dekker, were very quick to hand in their resignations yesterday after publication of the damning Schiphol fire report. More >
Once the perogative of Don Quixote, it is now the pastime of Dutch politicians. Especially when Islam is the subject of discussion. In an interview with Vrij Nederland today justice minister Piet Hein Donner says that Sharia law could be introduced in the Netherlands if there was a two-thirds majority in favour. Because that is how democracy works, said the deeply religious minister. More >
It is not often that one feels sympathy for the Dutch energy companies – what with their never-ending cries of ‘unfair’ and ‘help, the Europeans are coming (to take us over)’ while they knock up profits that would have many companies in the real world laughing all the way to the Bahamas (Nuon reported last month that its net income for the first six months was up 70%…). More >
It looks very much as if the forthcoming debate on the Schiphol detention centre fire is going to get nasty. Various newspapers this morning said the cabinet totally disagrees with the preliminary report’s findings which claims all sorts of fire regulations were broken at the centre where 11 people last year. More >
So you come back from holiday and you check your mobile phone bill and it seems to be a bit high. So you download a detailed bill and discover you have apparently spent €33 on sending data to an unknown fax (with a 06 number) in the Netherlands. You’ve called this number 15 times, several times on one day. Strange how the number does not appear in your phone’s memory… but there you go. More >