June 8, 2018

Dutch PM cleans up a spill and it’s news

Filed under: Food & Drink,General by Orangemaster @ 7:00 am

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte spilled his coffee at work and cleaned it up all by himself (see video). It’s news in part because a chorus of non-Caucasian women cleaners jumped up and down when he didn’t just leave it for them.

It’s normal to clean up your own mess in many Western countries, there’s no reason to think Rutte would think he’s above five minutes of manual labour. Would this film have been different if Rutte were a woman or if Alexander Pechtold (D66 party, holding Rutte’s papers) would have spilled his coffee as just a member of Parliament? Would the cleaners be jumping up and down, do you think? Would this have been of any interest without the cleaners in the film?

To be honest, I think we’re posting this because otherwise there’s not much positive to say about the Dutch PM at the moment. We will gladly tell you that the VVD is the most corrupt political party for the sixth year in a row.

Come up with your own joke about the VVD cleaning up their own mess in the comments.

(Link: nos.nl, Photo by Petra de Boevere, some rights reserved)

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February 4, 2016

Rutte sends spelling mistake into space

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:04 pm

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, who isn’t known for his command of English, has made sure everyone in the galaxy knows his written English isn’t out of this world either.

While visiting California, Rutte was invited by a satellite manufacturer to send a message into space with his signature on it. He wrote down “Peace and prosparity”, instead of ‘prosperity’. In his defense, in Dutch the ‘e’ and ‘a’ of English sounds the same to many Dutch people. But he’s the PM and someone in his entourage (does he have one?) could have said something.

Of course, this small mistake is a vast improvement on his predecessor Jan Peter Balkenende who apparently addressed George Bush as ‘your presidency’. Then again Bush apparently also thought JP was from Belgium because a lot of European countries look the same.

(Link: www.deondernemer.nl, Photo by Petra de Boevere, some rights reserved)

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April 14, 2012

Journalistic portraits of photojournalists

Filed under: Bicycles,Photography by Branko Collin @ 9:26 am

Hebbediekiek is a web site of six photojournalists in The Hague (the seat of government of the Netherlands) that publish action shots taken of their colleagues. It’s basically them zooming out a little so that you don’t just see the ‘actors’ of politics, but also the ‘crew’.

The site drew some national attention when it recorded a photographer tumbling (see screenshot, top right) when he was trying to get a shot of Prime Minister Rutte trying to make his getaway on a bicycle. Krapuul.nl suggests that Rutte is driven by a chauffeured limo to these sort of affairs, and he only bikes the last few hundred metres.

Hebbedekiek—‘hebbe die kiek’ with the spaces in all the right places—means either ‘get that shot’ or ‘gimme that shot’, ‘kiek’ being the Dutch word for ‘snapshot’ and usually used in the diminutive, ‘kiekje’.

(Illustration: screenshot of hebbediekiek.nl. Link tip: Jeroen Mirck.)

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March 18, 2012

Orphans castrated in Catholic boarding school in the 1950s

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:47 pm

NRC reports that the Roman Catholic church has been castrating minors in the 1950s.

In one case the victim was a boy who had been sexually abused by a priest in a Roman Catholic boarding school. The paper says there are indications that the church castrated dozens of more boys. The church had hoped to ‘cure’ the boys from ‘homosexual behaviour’.

In 2010 the church appointed a committee led by former education minister Wim Deetman to study sexual abuse of minors within the church. In its report, the committee somehow failed to make any mention of the castration cases, even though it knew about it.

The current right-wing government has always blocked a parliamentary enquiry into widespread sexual abuse by the Catholic church. Coalition partners VVD, CDA and PVV claim that this is because an enquiry would be of no use to the victims.

According to the optimistic Deetman report, the rape machine that is the Catholic church made tens of thousands of victims among children in the Netherlands alone between 1945 and 1985.

Last week Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD) cheerfully reported at a congress for fundamentalist Christian youths—it is still anybody’s guess what he was doing there—that for him as a liberal, judeo-christian principles are very important. Somehow I doubt this government will do much to stop the criminal practices of white religions.

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January 23, 2012

Carnival song mocks liberal parties—“Behave yourselves!”

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 6:03 pm

Duo Kwast en Krietje has written a song about the spat between the leaders of the two liberal parties in Dutch parliament, Prime Minister Rutte and PVV leader Wilders, last September. Wilders told the Prime Minister back then to “behave himself” (doe eens normaal in Dutch) during a budget debate.

At the time Wilders’ behaviour was widely held to be inappropriate. Dutch parliamentarians are generally expected to be civil, behaviour that is monitored by the chair.

Carnival is a time in which traditional roles are reversed. Each Carnival association (each town has one, large cities often have more than one) elects its own ‘prince’ who pretends to have taken over from the actual government, and songs and floats often mocks those in power. The tone with which this happens tends to be very light-hearted though—carnival-goers tends to be fairly uncritical of authority in daily life, at least in my experience.

Kwast en Krietje are from the town of Wanroij in Noord-Brabant, near the Limburg border.

(Link: Omroep Brabant. Video: Youtube / Krietje)

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December 10, 2011

Prime minister Rutte misleads Wall Street Journal about Dutch debt problems

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 2:30 pm

Debt to income ratio (%) for households in 2010. Source data: Eurostat.

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an excellent article by Matthew Dalton titled Mortgage Burden Looms Over Dutch. Us Dutch have an average debt of 2.5 times our yearly income, which makes us the heaviest lenders of Europe.

We got into this position because of the way we structure our mortgages. We borrow heavily, then let that debt stand for decades. Interest is deductible from our income tax.

Asked of Prime Minister Mark Rutte (VVD party) whether this is a problem he told Wall Street Journal:

“It’s not a big issue…if you look at the whole picture,” he said, noting that the Dutch have saved as much in their pension funds as they have in mortgage debt—”and we have huge private savings.”

Financial news website Z24 sorta-kinda calls Rutte out on that. “Staat genoteerd”, (duly noted) writes Jeroen de Boer, i.e. “whatever“. What the Wall Street Journal doesn’t know, and what somebody who is such a great fan of “the whole picture” should have told them, is that mortgage interest deductions are one of the core political wedge issues in the Netherlands. Both Rutte’s party VVD and their coalition partner CDA have told their constituencies time and again that they will never abandon the tax deduction.

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October 21, 2010

Fresh Prime Minister Rutte to keep his other job as high school teacher

Filed under: Dutch first,General by Branko Collin @ 10:02 pm

Mark Rutte, the first liberal Dutch Prime Minister since WWI, has told parliament in a letter that he will keep a teaching position at a high school in The Hague.

Rutte teaches a two-hour sociology and civics class (maatschappijleer) to VMBO students at the Johan de Witt College. He won’t be remunerated for his second job, RTL Z reports. Rutte has moved his two-hour class from Friday to Thursday, as the former date would conflict with cabinet meetings.

VMBO is a practice oriented type of secondary school.

Queen Beatrix appointed Rutte and his right-wing cabinet last Thursday, brutally squashing hopes that the Dutch could take back the record for going the longest time without government.

(Photo by Petra de Boevere, some rights reserved)

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