Today is election day in the Netherlands. Being Dutch, this is my chance to speak up and have my voice be heard. The Netherlands are not one of the largest countries in the world, but we do generally get a fair bit of media coverage. The situations with Turkey, which has escalated quite a bit and Geert Wilders’ PVV-Party are keeping all of Europe busy.
In this Podcast (only 8 minutes) I speak about my personal views on Europe and our (the Dutch) position in Europe and the world. In a nutshell: I hope that we will see a sensible vote from my countrymen today. I hope that everyone will understand the importance of the European Union and our place within it.
We cannot isolate ourselves from our EU-partners
What is great about the Netherlands is that you can have your voice be heard. Thus, we find ourselves in an abundance of opinions. However, we need to learn not only to state our opinions, but to listen to those of others as well. It is not only about stating your opinion, it is about trying to understand each others points of view.
We are one of the 5 founding Nations who laid the foundation for our free travel-, trade-, and work agreements. If we isolate ourselves from the world and countries around us, who have been our allies and partners for many decades, we will not do ourselves any favor. We are a trading nation and we need to understand that it is important for our own prosperity to keep it that way.
In this election, there are a few people who would like to change that. And their voices are getting louder and louder. I do believe in freedom of speech, “but” we need to stick to the facts as well.
We find ourselves in an abundance of opinions. However, we need to learn not only to state our opinions, but to listen to those of others as well.
We are now part of something much larger than a small trade union. We are part of a network of 28 nations, who help and support each other in times of need. So far, we have not needed that help very much. We are one of the richest countries in the world and top contributor to the EU. However I am sure there will be a time when we need our friends. And I am personally afraid that this might be rather sooner than later.
Vote wisely this election day
I hope that we do not get carried away by the events of the last few days. We need to stick together and appreciate that what we have – the strong society and international infrastructure that we live in.
When voting today, we need to put our egos aside
I believe that we will do the right thing – and when we go out and vote today, put our egos aside and vote for that which is best for our future and that of our children. Focus on the good things that we have, instead of listening to the “horrible” things that are being said. Our problems are luxury issues and we should be more grateful for what we have.
Let’s continue to build and leave this negative atmosphere of destruction behind us as soon as we can.
Good luck everyone and if your can vote today, be sure that your voice is heard.
The day after the Dutch elections
My thoughts to the aftermath (podcast 06:00)
Yesterday, Mark Rutte and his VVD managed to secure a larger win over Geert Wilders’ PVV than expected. I am generally glad that “we” managed to keep our National crisis to ourselves and managed to keep our calm in the last 24 hours.
The elections went down beautifully. Approximately 80% (!) of all possible voters found a way to cast their vote. A fantastic percentage. This to me shows the strength and belief of the Dutch in Democracy and the government. Everyone felt that their vote could make a difference.
Now, we still have a long way to go. The country is far easy to govern – with 15 different parties in Parliament. It will take at least 4 different parties in Government that together will have more than half of the 150 electorial votes in the second chamber. But without a doubt, this too we will be able to manage. In 1972 we even had a government made up of 5 different parties – under Van Uyl – and they managed to run the country for the full period of four years.
My final thoughts
Let’s keep focussing on the good things that we have. We cannot let fear lead our decisions and let’s turn this around. Together, with our European allies, we can continue to prosper and make our mark on the European and World map.
The country might be somewhat divided as it is, but as long as we keep the discussions civil, I am sure we will manage to find the right tone of voice to continue our discussions. I believe that as long as we continue to speak with each other, we will find a way forward. We will find the right path that fits us “all”. We will be able to live side by side, regardless of our skintone and regardless of our religions.