Netherlands

In a historic verdict, the District Court of the Hague has ruled that fossil-fuel giant Shell must reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 45% within 10 years, writes Kerry Smith.

The Dutch election in mid-March was a shift to the right. One of the great mistakes of the Dutch left in the period leading up to this election was that, while it was already at an all-time low in the polls, it did not prioritise its own narrative, writes Alex De Jong.

BDS is a legitimate means to help Palestinians in their fight for justice.

The containment of Islamophobe Geert Wilders’ Party of Freedom (PVV) in the March 15 Dutch general election was greeted with relief by the mainstream European media.

Nonetheless, the election result primarily reflected a conservative and safety-seeking consolidation of the right and centre parties. It will result in a more right-wing cabinet than the previous “red-blue” coalition of the VVD and Labour Party (PdvA), and throw up big challenges for progressive politics in the Netherlands.

With refugees at the centre of debate after the terror attacks in Paris, the plight of European Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during the 1930s and '40s springs to mind as a parallel to the current crisis. It has come to light in recent times that the family of Anne Frank — the Jewish teenager whose famous diary details her and her family's failed attempts to hide from the Nazis in Amsterdam — was among those denied the necessary papers that would have allowed them access to the United States.
The Dutch Safety Board released its long-awaited report on October 13 into the downing of flight MH17 at the Gilze-Rijen military airbase. It came 15 months after the disaster that killed 298 people, said the next day. Board chairperson Tjibbe Joustra criticised the Kiev government for allowing civilian aircraft to fly through a dangerous war zone.
Police in The Hague arrested 42-year-old tourist Mitch Henriquez on June 27. Henriquez, who was born on the Dutch-Caribbean island of Aruba, was visiting the city’s Night at the Park festival. The statement released by the public prosecutor claimed that he told police he had a gun and then resisted arrest. This prompted five police officers to beat Henriquez until he was unconscious.
People's Climate March, Amsterdam, September 21, 2014. Photo: Urgenda.nl. Environmental groups have congratulated the Netherlands after 866 Dutch citizens collectively won a lawsuit filed against their own government for “knowingly contributing” to global warming while doing nothing to prevent it.
Speaking to party activists after the left-wing Socialist Party (SP) once again recorded a positive result in the March 18 provincial elections, party leader Emile Roemer said: “This is an historic evening. We have become the biggest left party in the Netherlands. “The SP is a powerful factor in the Senate. An ideal starting point for the SP to be elected to government at the next general election.”
The London School of Economics (LSE) was occupied by students on March 17. The occupation, still going as of March 28, has since spread to King's College London, University of Arts London and Goldsmiths University of London. More than 100 students took over the school, which has been associated with neoliberal economic theory for decades, and declared that the central university administration building has been transformed into the Free University of London.
Geert Wilders called off his February 20 public meeting in Perth after the hotel where he was going to speak cancelled his booking. Organisers of Wilders' tour tried to claim that protesters had intimidated the hotel and implied that Wilders' "free speech'' was threatened as people were "denied'' the chance to hear Wilders talk. Wilders' most prominent supporter in the Australian parliament — disgraced Liberal senator Cory Bernardi — also tried to claim that there was "free speech double standard" involved.

In an attempt to avoid anti-racist protesters, the February 18 meeting to launch the Australian speaking tour of Dutch far-right politician Geert Wilders, was, at the last moment, moved to a desolate, non-residential part of Somerton on Melbourne’s northern edge. More than 200 anti-racists, however, picketed Wilders’ meeting while another 100 protested in Melbourne CBD, where one of the speakers was Greens Senator Richard Di Natale.

Exit polls have shown the Dutch Socialist Party will get 15 seats after the September 12 elections, the same number it had before. When two weeks ago, with polls showing the SP stood to win about 35 seats, even The Economist felt the need to raise the alarm over SP-leader Emile Roemer's “far-left party”. With this fresh in the memory, that's a deep disappointment for Dutch leftists. But it shouldn't come as much of a surprise.
The statement below was released by the Dutch Socialist Party on September 12. * * * A combative Emile Roemer addressed hundreds of Socialist Party members in the Paard van Troje (Trojan Horse) venue in The Hague. The SP held on to its 15 seats, despite a fiercely fought two-horse race between the PvdA (Labour Party) and the VVD (centre-right liberals). “Yes,” said Roemer, “I am extremely proud of this party and of the million people who voted for us.
Although parliamentary elections are often billed as “historic”, and results hailed as “landslides” and “political earthquakes”, events usually turn out not to have been so dramatic once the dust settles. But the September 12 national election in the Netherlands really does seem to be living up to the rhetoric.
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