Welcome back to Dutch Politics in English! I’ve decided to do my writing here, given that I pay for this website, and I have more control over its contents than I do on Twitter, for example.
The Tweede Kamer returned from its summer recess today, commencing the 2018-2019 parliamentary year. Here’s what you need to know:
- The abolition of the dividends tax is going to cost 2.2 billion euros in revenue, a blow-out of 600 million on previous estimates. The VVD and CDA are comfortable enough with this, while D66 and CU are reluctantly going along with it, hoping that they can use this sacrifice as leverage later on.
- Foreign Minister Stef Blok (VVD) is expected to come under fire from opposition parties on the left after his comments at a conference early in the summer where he claimed that multicultural societies could not be peaceful, and that Suriname (formerly a Dutch colony) was a failed state. Prime Minister Mark Rutte is backing Blok, saying that the Foreign Minister has apologised to those he offended.
- VVD MP Han ten Broeke resigned from the Tweede Kamer last week after it was revealed he had a sexual relationship with a much younger staffer in 2013. Ten Broeke claims the relationship was consensual, but the woman in question has accused ten Broeke of crossing a boundary in terms of his behaviour towards her.
- PVV leader Geert Wilders cancelled a contest of cartoons featuring the likeness of the Prophet Mohammed after receiving death threats.
- Over the weekend, a 19-year old Afghani man stabbed two people at Amsterdam Central (train) Station before being shot by police at the scene. The victims and the attacker received non-fatal wounds and are recovering in hospital. The attacker later told police that his motives were terrorist-related.