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Dutch News

11 March 2014
Local elections: VVD wants people in Rotterdam to speak Dutch

On March 19 local elections will take place. As well as Dutch nationals, an estimated 450,000 foreigners will be able to vote. In Rotterdam the liberal party VVD has to compete with the popular populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam. This is probably why they decided to use the slogan: 'In Rotterdam we speak Dutch'. But in other cities like Maastricht and Amsterdam the VVD campaigns in foreign languages.


It seems that there is little interest with only 42% of the voters planning to vote, although the national government is transferring a large number of extra responsibilities to the local councils in the upcoming years. As well as Dutch nationals, an estimated 450,000 foreigners, EU citizens and foreigners living in the Netherlands for more than five years, will also be able to vote.

In Rotterdam the liberal party VVD has to compete with the popular populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam, the party erected by the late Pim Fortuyn, in the upcoming local elections. This is probably why they decided to use the slogan: 'In Rotterdam we speak Dutch'. According to the VVD campaign leader people that live in the Netherlands must learn Dutch, 'if you want to integrate you have to speak Dutch'.

But in other parts of the country the approach of the liberal party is totally the other way around. In Maastricht and The Hague the VVD is campaigning with posters in the English language. In Amsterdam the liberal party even started a campaign with the name 'vote VVD', including a video in which Germans, Italians and Japanese state they will vote VVD in their own language.  

Astonished reactions on Twitter: 'Strange for a city that profiles itself as international', 'So tourists can only come to Rotterdam as they keep silent' and 'A serious linguistic conflict in the liberal party, maybe the EU should intervene'.  On a political website a reader is worried: 'The other side of the coin is the increasing process of polarisation in the Netherlands. Nobody can be happy with that development. Especially the liberal party VVD. Although they probably do not realise that polarisation make it difficult or even impossible to run the country, and that is bad for the economy'.  

 

VVD sends out mixed messages over language

How Dutch local government works

 

 




 

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