The Netherlands: protests against Afghan refugees

In the village of Harskamp in the Netherlands, around 250 mostly young Dutch people demonstrated last week outside a local military base housing Afghan refugees. While conservative and right-wing populist politicians voiced sympathy with the demonstrators, members of the government condemned the protests. The press comes down hard on politics and society.

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De Volkskrant (NL) /

Our cold-hearted culture

The Netherlands has a long history of rejecting refugees, columnist Toine Heijmans notes in De Volkskrant:

“The Moluccans, who were heartlessly rounded up in camps in 1951. And even earlier: the Jews who were not welcome in the Netherlands in 1938. Back then, too, the European countries tried to build walls against refugees. 'Not everyone wants certain cultures here,' someone railed on Twitter. And that's true. Dutch culture is such that no one ever wants these cultures - unless they bring money or Olympic medals.”

NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

Hypocritical outrage

For NRC Handelsblad the government's criticism is dishonest:

“The Rutte government is not exactly accommodating towards migrants either, even regarding children. ... All too often politicians adopt a negative attitude to refugees and migration. Evacuees from Kabul are fortunate that our politicians felt a sense of responsibility for them. But there are also refugees who live in miserable conditions in camps on the outskirts of Europe. The political conversation about them has fallen silent - or never really got off the ground.”