Tag Archives: Netherlands

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shane

From top: Dutch political party leaders Geert Wilders (PVV), Emile Roemer (SP), Mark Rutte (VVD), Lodewijk Asscher (PvdA), Alexander Pechtold (D66) and Sybrand van Haersma Buma (CDA) at the offices of De Telegraaf newspaper earlier this month: Shane Heneghan

The Netherlands heads to the polls on Wednesday with 2017’s first test of the wave of populism that dominated 2016.

Shane Heneghan writes:

So far, the main international headlines concerning the Dutch general Election deal with the potential electoral comeback of the far-right wing PVV under the leadership of their founder, Geert Wilders.

Staunchly pro-Israel, and pro-US (particularly under its new management), strongly anti-immigrant and anti-elitist, Wilders’ brand of populism has many echoes of the rise of UKIP, the Front National and Donald Trump.

Wilders is seldom vague in his rhetoric- frequently branding whole groups of emigrants as “Moroccan scum” and referring to Islam as the “ideology of a retarded culture”.

It should be remembered, however, that no opinion poll taken this year has seen his party on more than 23% of the vote and that the more recent polls see them as unlikely to be the largest party.

This brings us to the real story in Dutch politics in recent years.

There has been a kind of Balkanisation in the wake of the decline of both the centre-right VVD and the centre-left Pvda which has led to a mushrooming in small and single issue parties that opinion polls indicate may make forming a government after the election supremely tedious.

The political pallet is vast.

The country now has the world’s only Animal rights party with representation at the national level, a party dedicated to the issues affecting those over 50, a pro migrants party and a reformed evangelical Christian party all of which currently have representation in Parliament and all of which are expected to increase that representation at this election.

Worth watching is the rise of the radical liberal party, D66. A smaller party, with several stints in government under its belt over the past 40 years, they can claim credit for some of the more liberal reforms post war Holland is famous for including euthanasia, drug decriminalisation and same sex marriage.

The party is currently expected to take as many as 20 seats and a swing between now and polling day coupled with their centrist position economically could theoretically leave their leader as the first ever D66 prime minister.

Perhaps more radical if much less likely would be the prospect of the Dutch electing the world’s first Green Prime Minister in the form of Jesse Klaver, a 30 year old family man with Indonesian and Moroccan heritage who is expected to bring his party from four seats to the low 20s.

Given that the next government may involve up to five parties, the process of government formation is in itself is worth examining.

The Dutch monarch appoints an informateur, who – and this could prove to be crucial – may be an MP or senator from any party, who then begins negotiations between potential partners while keeping the King informed in a process that has long been criticised for its secrecy. As this is the 1st election since his mother’s abdication in 2013, it will be interesting to watch how King Willem-Alexander approaches this process.

This election is probably the most unpredictable I have come across in sometime and I include everything 2016 has put us through when I say that. One poll over the weekend suggested that there may be as little as 6% between the top six parties.

Given how badly I performed on these pages when examining the Irish election and the Brexit vote last year I won’t dare make a prediction. But I do think the result may very well set the tone for elections for the rest of 2017 with consequence for France and to a lesser extent Germany.

Get the popcorn.

Shane Heneghan is a Brussels-based election and poll watcher. Follow Shane on Twitter: @shaneheneghan

Top pic: Getty

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Comedian Arjen Luback of satirical Dutch talkshow Zondag Mit Lubach introduces The Donald to the country founded by the appropriately hued William Of Orange. To wit:

The whole world was watching for the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States: Donald J. Trump. Because we realize it’s better for us to get along, we decided to introduce our tiny country to him. In a way that will probably appeal to him the most.

(H/T: Heber Rowan)

coco

‘sup?

Nathalie Kershaw writes:

This cat ‘Coco’ (above) was found near my hometown [Enschede, East Netherlands]. Story at link below.  It has a chip that is registered in Ireland. Contact with the owner would be great though so spread the word…

Reislustige kat uit Ierland gevonden in Enschede (Tubantia)

UPDATE:
Nathalie Kershaw writes:

The owner and cat are back together again. Coco belonged to a lady that recently moved From Ireland to Germany…

amsterdam

Twas two nights before Patrick’s Day.

Not a creature was rolling.

Eva writes:

just wanted to get in touch about our St Patricks Eve celebrations in Splendor a newly opened music centre in the heart of Amsterdam.

It’s day for the whole family, Irish, Dutch, mixed or anyone with an interest in Ireland. From learning Céilí dancing, to Irish music workshops and later that afternoon top Irish pianist Finghin Collins will perform.

Later Julie Feeney joins Dutch classical musicians from the Royal Concertgebouw and Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. The day finishes off with a Dutch/Irish comedianDolf  Jansensharing stories about his Irish roots and adventures in Ireland.

We are building this festival up, and its only year 2 so we have big plans for our Irish future here in Amsterdam!

St Patrick’s Eve – Amsterdam

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Last night.

The University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Ste in Amsterdam writes:

It’s getting interesting here. the students have occupied another of the University of Amsterdam’s buildings after being evicted after 13 days from The Bungehuis (Department of Philosophy/Geesteswetenschap).They are now occupying the Maagdenhuis (Office of the board of management) a symbolically significant move as it was first occupied in the student protests of the 1970s. The mayor turned up last night at about midnight to talk to them. A fairly “keep calm” move with not promising or saying much of anything. If you’re into a bit of google translate this is their website. Their demands include
1. Democratic election of the university administration.
2. Investment should deliver not financial profit but quality in education.
3. Fixed contracts rather flexible appointments for staff.
4. An open debate on housing costs compared to cuts in education and research.

Gevecht!

Protesting Amsterdam students move to admin centre (DutchNews)

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It’s not all clogs and ‘erb.

Daryl Mulvihill writes:

Amsterdam city council just sent out a letter as gaelige to its Irish residents….

Translation:As a resident of Europe living in the Netherlands, you can decide to vote in elections in the Netherlands for candidates for the European parliament. You will receive a form to clarify. Read the terms and conditions on the form carefully please if you want to vote. If you want to vote in your native country please ignore the form. If you want to vote in the Netherlands and you are not registered please return this form with the relevant documents to the following address.”

Rick ter Schele writes:

While waiting at traffic lights on a bike path here in Amsterdam, my eye was caught by this sticker. It says “Ireland, vote no for us on May 31st” in Dutch. Apparently it’s part of a broader campaign by the Occupy folks (click here) below:

Sisters of missing Achill man James Grealis, from left, Caroline O’Connell, Helen Grealis and Bernadette Spinalley. James disappeared after leaving a guesthouse in  the Dutch town of Breda to look for work on October 23, 2008. The Grealis sisters handed in a letter to Ambassador Robert Engels at the Netherlands embassy, Merrion Road, Dublin, telling him that they are not satisfied with the progress of the investigation thus far.

Protest Over Missing irishman, Kitty Holland, Irish Times)

(Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland)