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Why Rotterdam erupted The Covid riots were about more than hooliganism

Rotterdam, not anywhere (@lidwienj)


November 22, 2021   5 mins

When hundreds of rioters piled into Rotterdam centre on Friday night, attacking police, throwing bricks, setting off fireworks and rampaging through the streets, it was no small irony that they left a police car burning outside the Erasmushuis. This cultural building represents one of Rotterdam’s most famous exports: the humanist and Renaissance scholar, Erasmus, known today as a beacon of tolerance and liberty.

But from the images of the violence that were soon shared across the world, there didn’t seem to be much of that famed Dutch moderation, openness and reasonableness on show. While the rioters left destruction in their wake, it later emerged that the police had directed live rounds of fire at rioters, leaving four people with gunshot wounds. As Dutch virologist Marion Koopmans — who initially likened the protests against the Netherlands’ latest coronavirus restrictions to a World War Two bombardment (before retracting the war analogy after facing a barrage of criticism) — said, there was a “bitter irony” to the location of such wanton violence.

Dutch leaders were quick to paint the riots as acts of hooliganism rather than protest, with commentators citing the existence of group chats where people reportedly said things such as: “Where’s the protest? I want to riot.” Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb called it “an orgy of violence” that drew “a number of people who had no intention of acting peacefully, but who were there to riot, to confront the police, and to destroy public property”. Dutch caretaker justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus echoed his comments, saying that a protest against a controversial (and as yet unimplemented) idea to restrict access to certain areas for unvaccinated people was hijacked by football hooligans and criminal low-life.

But just 10 months after a the country was gripped by nationwide riots in protest at an earlier coronavirus curfew, such an explanation seems overly simplistic. I can’t be the only person here in the Netherlands left wondering why some of the country’s 17.6 million citizens are so visibly out of control and alienated from the majority. This isn’t some new phenomenon: the Dutch police have been highlighting the increasing violence of protesters for several years.

According to the latest reports, it seems that rioters in Rotterdam were made of a number of disparate groups, motivated for a range of reasons. Football hooligans, young men with nothing to do, harbour workers with low wages and job security, and those suffering from the national shortage of decent housing were all ripe for civil disobedience. As MP Attje Kuiken says: “It’s a poisonous cocktail.”

But behind their resentment — which includes recent anger at a nationwide ban on fireworks this New Year — there are clearly bigger social problems. A widespread disaffection with government is evident in the peaceful protests in major cities practically every weekend (sometimes for things as trivial as wearing face masks).

As in many other Western countries, there is a deep polarisation in Dutch society, and increasing distrust in politicians. This was exacerbated when the Government fell in January over a scandal in which tens of thousands of parents — most of dual nationality — were wrongly accused of childcare benefit fraud and forced to pay back every cent they had ever received, with devastating consequences for their financial, personal and children’s wellbeing. Last week, the Dutch highest court officially apologised for upholding unlawful tax office rulings. But while 15,000 people have received €30,000 in compensation so far, the apparent racism engrained in government institutions has not yet been fully investigated.

After elections in March, resulting in a hugely splintered outcome, Dutch political parties are still unable to form a government — a telling picture about the difficulty in finding common ground. Those who voted for change are no doubt disappointed by the continued presence of the same establishment faces around the table, led again by liberal Mark Rutte. Meanwhile, newish far-Right parties such the Forum for Democracy have delighted in exploiting the pandemic to undermine “the political elite”. As Amsterdam University cultural anthropologist Dr Danny de Vries tells me: “Just a few days ago one of them publicly threatened another politician in the chamber, saying his time would come when tribunals are held to hold him accountable for ‘corona crimes’” Only last week, the leader of FVD, Thierry Baudet, compared corona measures to Nazi Germany.

Yet the country’s political leaders have hardly earned a glowing report. For all their confidence in their liberal, efficient and wealthy society, they have been behind at every step in the pandemic. The Government was one of the slowest in Europe to start vaccinations, and now that it has one of Europe’s highest infection rates, it has just started offering boosters. Moreover, despite being perfectly well aware that there have been at least 31,000 corona deaths (as recorded on death certificates), the Government continues to put a much lower figure of “officially-tested positive deaths” front and centre on its dashboards. Conveniently, this number (18,966) is less than neighbouring countries like Belgium, which have always recorded suspect deaths too.

And so while there is broad support for vaccination and the Dutch have fully vaccinated 84.7% of adults, trust in government policy and leadership has plummeted recently. There have been U-turns on policy, with nightclubs open one minute, and then closed the next, and an imprudent loosening of most restrictions at the end of September. With coronavirus infections at record highs in the past week, and hospitals saying they will soon have to make decisions about who gets the IC beds, virologists are talking once more about the need for a full lockdown — and it’s not only the coronavirus sceptics or protesters who are looking at December with sinking hearts.

When he appeared on a morning chat show yesterday, Nijmegen mayor and chairman of the National Security Council Hubert Bruls was keen to emphasise that most people are not out on the streets rioting. That’s true, and it’s difficult to say whether the Dutch have more coronavirus sceptics — or, indeed, hooligans — than anyone else (although the head of Viruswaarheid corona protest group Willem Engel, adds a certain flair to events with his experience as a former dance teacher).

But anyone who has ever tried to stand in a queue in the Netherlands will realise that there’s a widespread sense of assertive individualism here, which is not often restrained by social norms such as politeness or the-other-person-was-actually-first. Basic rights like freedom of speech, movement and protest, are also grounded in the constitution, which has meant that it is very difficult for a government to restrain them. This has led to a surprising number of civilian court cases about coronavirus policy (eventually overturned by the courts).

As a Brit living in the Netherlands, I’ve been surprised how much opposition there has been to following relatively minor rules such as wearing a face mask in certain places; the mere prospect of showing a coronavirus pass for entry is enough to cause a spiky hour of debate in most social groups, where it’s likely that at least a few people will disagree with their existence as a matter of principle.

Another element that might sit behind recent discontent is something that the Netherlands is often praised for: a light-touch legal system and emphasis on alternatives to prison and processes like mediation. Although Grapperhaus has pledged to fast-track stiff justice for rioters, and police are busy scanning camera images to round up the Rotterdam culprits, the Netherlands has recently been seen by organised crime as a “low-threshold” entry point to Europe.

The current struggle with organised crime has laid bare gaps in policing capacity, and a sense that a liberal but illogical weed policy is not helping (because smoking weed is tolerated, but growing it commercially is a punishable crime). Young men are apparently attracted to act as “collectors” of drug shipments in containers at Rotterdam harbour or criminal errand boys, and there’s a desperate need to offer other opportunities to certain groups of young people — something that has been recognised by the new mayor of Utrecht, Sharon Dijksma.

The recent violence in Rotterdam cannot, therefore, be dismissed as mere hooliganism. As the authorities launch an official investigation into the gunshot wounds sustained on Friday night, and police forces are deployed across cities to stop-and-search as bars close at 8pm, this isn’t a time to sit back and dismiss the rioting as an “orgy” of criminal activity. It’s time to sift through the ashes.


Senay Boztas is a journalist living in Amsterdam.


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Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago

You ask why people protested. Then you say that they do it “for things as trivial as wearing face masks”.
I stopped reading after that.

EDIT:
Against my better judgement I skimmed the rest of the article and towards the end you say:
“As a Brit living in the Netherlands, I’ve been surprised how much opposition there has been to following relatively minor rules such as wearing a facemask in certain places;”

Immediately followed by: “the mere prospect of showing a coronavirus pass for entry is enough to cause a spiky hour of debate in most social groups, where it’s likely that at least a few people will disagree with their existence as a matter of principle.”

So, the question why protests are erupting is totally rhetorical.

I suggest to @unherd that this writer had better write for other outlets more suited for her talents.

Last edited 2 years ago by Andrea X
Milos Bingles
Milos Bingles
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Her talents.

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

Edited 😉

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

There are times when I thinks whether those who write articles are merely high end trolls. How else to justify such writings?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I suspect you’re right, Her twice citing “trivial wearing of face masks” was like a teenager goading adults. What a bore.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

Some people find wearing face masks no bother at all, others seem to have difficulties. Maybe the latter is because of being told to in an authoritarian way

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Total absence of evidence supporting wearing of facemasks might also enter the picture. Forcing me and my children to wear facemasks outside is akin to forcing me to wear a helmet while taking a dump.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Total absence of evidence eh? After the publication of the mask study last week.
https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302
Total, eh? Who’s the fake information troll now?

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Not sure why you’re responding to me with such hostility there Ian. That aside, referring to a mask study from last week hardly addresses the point being made here. Let me help you: Some people may object to being forced to wear masks (or do some other thing) without some sensible rationale being given. “Because the science sorta/kinda says so in certain specific situations. Trust me because I am the science.” doesn’t cut it.

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

Not sure why you’re responding to me with such hostility there Ian.

That’s how these superior people always do respond to us subhumans. Please keep up!

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Who’s the fake information troll now?

Here’s some more “fake information” for you to suck up to…
http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/clarke-covid3.pdf and http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/cherry.pdf
The latter one shows the cheap nasty charlatanism of your “leading experts” such as “professor” Neil Ferguson and his “fact checkers”.
The former one shows the facts they are lying to you about, including debunking of your sacred huge masks study. Meanwhile, since you are so keen on the bmj perhaps you should read the article they published titled “Medical research – still a scandal”. Quote: “Things are badly wrong with journals and the research they publish.” “The problem doesn’t arise from amateurs dabbling in research but rather from career researchers.”

Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

The conclusion of that BMJ link says;

This systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that several personal protective and social measures, including handwashing, mask wearing, and physical distancing are associated with reductions in the incidence covid-19.

I wonder why I imagined it would be based on anything other than “suggestions” and “associations”. What utter clap trap!

Paul Smithson
Paul Smithson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Maybe it is because they have read up on all the studies and not just blindly followed ‘the science’ that the media has promoted. There is so much proper science (ie. science that is not funded by big pharma in order to drive sales) that confirms masks ineffectiveness in this particular situation, and there’s lots more that confirms how damaging they are both physically and mentally.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul Smithson

And this study proves the effectiveness of masks:
https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Kindly summarize. For example, I’m curious why I should be forced to wear a mask while I’m out for a bike ride.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 years ago
Reply to  Mo Brown

In which country does that apply?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Kate Heusser

France, Spain and New York, for three.

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

More accurately it proves the effectiveness of gigantic money in the hands of lying crooks, perverting both research and information dissemination. For some genuine science see:
http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/clarke-covid3.pdf and http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/cherry.pdf
Gigantic money: A million dollars is peanuts to these corporate gangs of drug-peddlers. Yet just one of those million dollar peanuts pays for whole teams of professional liars to churn out lies against honest professors and bribe dishonest ones and fabricate “studies” such as that masks drivel. The analyses I have linked here consist entirely of the official deaths data of nine whole countries. Please go ahead and sneer at that if you will. Or rather recognise that you have been taken in by the immense propaganda yourself. Cheers, “troll”.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Is 77 Brigade still ploughing this barren furrow? I’m surprised they haven’t shifted you onto anti-Russia duties.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  rodney foy

That, and because it completely, utterly and manifestly POINTLESS. Virtue-signalling social control-freakery,and nothing more. Late on, even the Stasi authorities quietly admitted that the cloth masks were completely worthless, and they knew it all along. Yet that didn’t matter to them, you see, because it was all about enforcing conformity and a sense of emergency.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

UnHerd is a broad church, so there are few trolls in the writers room. I’m anti woke but happy enough with masks and vaccines, which is probably a fairly common belief system. I’m less sure about covid certs but that should be left to the business.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

Yes, I have an extremely right wing friend who, nevertheless, has had 3 jabs. We’re going to meet in a restaurant shortly, but we may have to skip politics. It’s better to eat the food rather than throw it around 🙂

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

By right wing, I assume that to mean a liberal friend?

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

Maybe I do mean that. I often get confused by labels, maybe because I don’t like labelling (I shouldn’t have done it myself).

Someone against too much government etc. who I might have expected to be against anything the government might try to enforce.

I think labelling someone can be a lazy excuse for not listening to their point of view

Last edited 2 years ago by rodney foy
Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

I don’t understand the association of ‘right-wing’ and ‘nevertheless has had 3 jabs’. To me, the two attributes don’t seem relevant to each other.
em

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Colin Elliott

“right wing” or “Far Right” is anyone who has ever agreed with anything that D Trump has ever agreed with. The correct way to understand anything is to first check what D Trump has said about it, then strongly believe the exact opposite as a self-evident proven truth.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Yeah you’re right – I noticed the anti-mask trolls above who won’t even acknowledge valid research.
https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/clarke-covid3.pdf and http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/cherry.pdf
The latter shows who the real charlatans are. The former includes demolition of that bmj “study” on its page 5.
“anti-mask trolls”
Our superiors just can’t help their sneering can they?

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Who paid for it, Big Pharma troll?
The Danish study found no discernible effect.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

Yes, belief system sums it up: faith and trust, rather than facts.
Covid certs are none of a business’s business.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

You and your mates appear to be the trolls in this case.
https://www.bmj.com/content/375/bmj-2021-068302

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/clarke-covid3.pdf and http://www.pseudoexpertise.com/cherry.pdf
The latter shows who the real charlatans are. The former includes demolition of that bmj “study” on its page 5. But carry on believing what the gigantic money propaganda tells you rather than some stupid unpaid trolls. Money buys truth and honesty, it always has……

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

‘Unherd’ should publish only those writers and articles that coincide with your own views? Anything else has no place in such a publication? That’s a strange type of freedom of thought and expression.

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

Whilst I disagree with the writer, do you really want to turn Unherd into a Guardian like echo chamber. ALL views are welcome here.
Engage people who you disagree with using logic and evidence, or plan old principles (like how abhorrent it would be to have to show papers to go to a pub)..

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Absolutely agree!

Andrea X
Andrea X
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

By all means, but, as I said in my subsequent comment, the author did seem more like a troll than anything else.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

And you seem to be behaving in a troll like manner too.

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

I think you are being unreasonable.

chris sullivan
chris sullivan
2 years ago
Reply to  John Wilkes

Well put sir !

Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
Margaret Tudeau-Clayton
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

But this would be a shame. Surely we value Unherd because it allows a range of voices and different opinions to be aired. I often disagree with what I read in the articles and the comments but I don’t call for the silencing of a journalist or tell someone to shut up. It’s what’s known as ‘cancel culture’. As it happens I don’t feel strongly about wearing a mask, though prefer to see them worn on public transport when I use trams or trains in Switzerland and France. They are worn by most fellow travellers.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

Agree. Appalling to see Unherd commenters being so damning – hopefully they’ll scuttle back to QAnon.

ajcox67uk
ajcox67uk
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrea X

If wearing face masks is a trivial matter then it doesn’t matter whether one chooses to wear one or not. What infuriates me about those people who say they’re not bothered about face mask mandates is that surely wearing a mask is not just about simply putting a piece of fabric over your nose and mouth? They can’t be justified on the grounds that it’s ‘no big deal’ to wear them because aren’t they supposed to be about protecting public health? That’s not a ‘trivial’ matter is it?

Last edited 2 years ago by ajcox67uk
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrea X

What a silly, narrow-minded conformist she is.
And Senay Boztas is an unusual name for a Brit,,wherever she’s living. Sounds more Turkish to me.

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

This is a rather tendentious article. Just two examples:
(1) “A widespread disaffection with government is evident in the peaceful protests in major cities practically every weekend (sometimes for things as trivial as wearing face masks).”
Perhaps this is trivial to the author but clearly not everyone agrees.
(2) “Another element that might sit behind recent discontent is something that the Netherlands is often praised for: a light-touch legal system and emphasis on alternatives to prison and processes like mediation. Although Grapperhaus has pledged to fast-track stiff justice for rioters, and police are busy scanning camera images to round up the Rotterdam culprits, the Netherlands has recently been seen by organised crime as a “low-threshold” entry point to Europe.”
It seems fairly foreseeable that demanding different rules for your political enemies would trigger a degree of outrage.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

I agree 
and I would include this casual, almost throwaway comment ‘the mere prospect of showing a coronavirus pass for entry is enough to cause a spiky hour of debate’. Well, so it should.
Especially given what we now know about IFR, transmission of the disease, vaccine efficacy, censorship and managed narratives, requiring citizens e.g. to mask their faces and carry health passports continues the alarming trend of authoritarianism that is gripping Europe.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

I agree Lesley…. So far my horse de-wormer has been my mainstay against this covid, but lately I am wondering about horse tranqs…..to take that edge off as I contemplate the coming covid response caused GFC II. (“The financial crisis of 2007-2008, also known as the global financial crisis (GFC), was a severe worldwide economic crisis.”) (“Horse Tranquilizer Keeps Showing Up in Drug Overdoses. … Xylazine, a common tranquilizer for animals, puts users in hours-long sleepy stupors—and a surge in its proliferation is just the latest wrinkle in America’s deadly opioid crisis.“) (ha – and they were reporting massive numbers of horse Ivermectin overdoes earlier, which never happened – they must have mistaken for this…)

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

Sorry, I’m not very good at decoding acronyms. What is IFR?

Jill Corel
Jill Corel
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Infection Fatality Rate (I believe)

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago
Reply to  Jill Corel

Thanks. I generally like L van Reenen’s comments, but I wish people wouldn’t do this.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

Sorry Richard
.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
2 years ago

That’s ok Lesley, never mind.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Drahcir Nevarc

It’s frustrating when you first encounter an acronym and can’t decode it, but constantly having to type it is also rather frustrating.
What we need is a glossary of terms and the comment software to wire it up to the post.

Kevin Godwin
Kevin Godwin
2 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Dalton

In scientific papers, it is the norm to use an acronym only after typing the full description once followed by the acronym, bracketed, so that readers know what it means.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
2 years ago
Reply to  Kevin Godwin

I know, it’s a good practice. It’s probably worth people doing that for their first post on a page.
I was just suggesting something may help to automate the pain away.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Excellent comment. Clearly the author doesn’t understand the essence of the relationship between free people and “The State”. It’s increasingly a problem in the UK. To be opposed to the state demanding that you must have a medical procedure and must in some cases prove it, seems for some people to be the same as being opposed to vaccination. I’m happily double jabbed and have a booster appointment next week. I think people should be vaccinated. But I absolutely object to state coercion and cops checking “papers” of law abiding citizens.

If the author can’t see the implications of that sort of illiberal state overreach then they don’t deserve to live in a democracy.

As Benjamin Franklin wisely commented:

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

What a brilliant quote – thanks!

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

It all depends on perspective, and it appears that some people on both sides of the Covid ‘debate’ have totally lost perspective.
If you distrust Government (in your own country or more generally) or are politically opposed to the party in power, then everything they do seems to be suspect, on principle. The focus of anxiety for people in this group is being subjected to increasing control and surveillance. For those who are more relaxed about their government’s intentions, Covid restrictions are designed to control the disease, not the people, and there is a (finite) measure of trust that the temporary powers will be relinquished – as has been the case after previous emergencies.
Then there’s the added complication that, for many, this is not a matter of principle or theory but of personal loss or jeopardy, either from the disease itself, or from the consequences of restrictions, we often have skin in the game.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

It would be ironic if the police can’t identify the rioters as they were wearing face masks! Equally ironic if they’re not wearing them due to that being the reason for the protest! Or the innocent unmasked protesters end up taking the punishment for the masked rioters.

Colin Elliott
Colin Elliott
2 years ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Is it not possible that some might protest against the compulsory wearing of face masks, but voluntarily wear one to avoid identification?

Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

However significant to someone the wearing of face masks is, does that change the rules of reasonable behaviour?

Anton van der Merwe
Anton van der Merwe
2 years ago
Reply to  JP Martin

Wearing a facemark seems a genuinely trivial imposition considering the risks versus benefits during a pandemic that has repeatedly overwhelmed health systems even in wealthy countries. It does say something interesting about a society where there is such strong opposition to this.

Last edited 2 years ago by Anton van der Merwe
Alka Hughes-Hallett
Alka Hughes-Hallett
2 years ago

Protests are growing in Europe & Australia where Covid pp schemes are being launched. The Covid drama is going on for 2 yrs now. In those years people have been patient and peaceful . The expectation that it will continue to remain peaceful in the face of open tyranny and hypocrisy is far fetched.
Disaffected youth, hooligans, football fan type disrupters, looters, may be seen as an endemic, simmering, drug related problem, but throughout this period they have been silent. They are first to cause disruption, so is it all about drugs & the endemic or something about the tyrannical rules that is bringing them out in the street in violence?
The peaceful voices that come out in thousands during the day are being ignored, the violent voices that come out at night are dismissed . What the author might see as minor rules can be alarming to others. The concept of autonomy, of personal judgement over oneself has been deeply injured. There is an unhealthy shadow of control pervading our lives. The west values are crumbling in the face of this pathogen. It is showing that the epicentres of science and tolerance are guilty of hubris and thought control. They are trying to break the will of its people and are contradicting the very values it fostered.
The government rhetoric has grown old and unsupported. Time to step off the pedestal and eat some humble pie . Admit mistakes were made. Listen to & love your people . Do not repeatedly do things that don’t work or create disparities. It’s not all about hospitals and cases. Disease and death are part of living and every individual gets this. Even after 2 yrs the governments cannot get their heads around it!

Paul K
Paul K
2 years ago

‘The mere prospect of showing a coronavirus pass for entry is enough to cause a spiky hour of debate in most social groups, where it’s likely that at least a few people will disagree with their existence as a matter of principle.’
The ‘mere prospect’? Of having to show digital evidence of a medical intervention in order to take part in the life of your own society? Of having to prove you have taken a vaccination which even its own promoters accept does not actually prevent transmission of the virus to others?
If you think that’s a trifling matter, you are the wrong person to be reporting on any of this.

Bashar Mardini
Bashar Mardini
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

I am so sick of these commentators deciding what is and isn’t a “minor” inconvenience. As far as I’m concenred, not a single restriction deserves to remain. Everything govts have done has been essentially useless and harmful beyond measure. The so-called rioters may also be regular folk who are at their breaking point and who consider their government little more than jailers at this stage.

Ian Ward
Ian Ward
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

Absolutely spot on!!!

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

My problem with coronavirus passes is where will it end? Permanent identity cards?

JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

The irony is that in France we already use identity cards (not obligatory but indirectly necessary because police do identity checks and can detain you to verify your identity if you do not carry it) and we have a legal ban on face coverings (burqa, niqab, etc). The pandemic has exposed the irrationality and authoritarian character of so many of our governments’ decisions.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

A virtual minefield of casually dropped agenda nuggets….

“the apparent racism engrained in government institutions has not yet been fully investigated.” (Rotterdam mayor is a Moroccan born son of a Sunni Imam)

“(sometimes for things as trivial as wearing face masks).” (Not trivial at all) “the mere prospect of showing a coronavirus pass for entry is enough to cause a spiky hour”

“an imprudent loosening of most restrictions at the end of September.” “Dutch have fully vaccinated 84.7 of adults,” “and now that it has one of Europe’s highest infection rates,” (high % of both Vax and covid cases, this is the norm) “virologists are talking once more about the need for a full lockdown”

“and there’s a desperate need to offer other opportunities to certain groups of young people —”

Anyway, from it I get that the unrest is similar to Portland rioting, Identity Politics with some cause (lockdown protests) to get low life rioters all thuggish and anti-social for the fun of it. The writer certainly likes to use the vernacular of the race grievance industry coupled with the sanctimoniousness of the young educated Liberal’s support of covid tyranny, and disapproval of those who do not. This article could have been written as easily in any USA Democrat city. This is the zeitgeist of today – young Liberals commenting on today’s liberal mess – blame everyone but the actual causes (Left/Liberals). For all her telling us why this is happening I miss her actually asking the people there why they are there. That would have been interesting – I would have asked everyone, especially the most extreme ones.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

No it is not a Portland style rioting. And it has nothing to do with Covid-19. The ban on fireworks is just a lame excuse. The elefant in the room wears a red coat with a green pentagram on his backside. As in December last year the rioters were mostly of Moroccan, Turkish descent. The Netherlands is a lawless narcostate where crime pays, old people get mugged in their homes and victims of stabbing are helped by paramedics after the perpetrator is in the ambulance (Vostok P). Or you get shoved under an approaching train by ‘youths’, because God forbid we give them their real names. Rik van der Rakt, an 18 year old nurse on his way to work was killed by a ‘deranged ‘ person from Afghanistan. Rina Chitania, a sixty seven year old woman was raped so badly by an ‘undocumented person’ that the family dediced to switch of the machines. An Afghan was arrested in the UK for attacking a police officer with a hammer, when it was discovered that he had tortured a eighty six year old woman for three days and then cut her head off. He was arrested in the UK within three years afte his crime. Michael Panhuis raped two girls in their early teens and blackmailed them with pictures. He was a model patient and put on leave within two years after his conviction and killed 23 year old Anne Faber. Whose corpse was found because her uncle was a marine who mobilised family and friends to do a search which the authorities clearly were not interested in. The list is endless and Dutch society is dysfuntional and run by army of bull shit jobbers. Ambulance are not allowed to open their doors before the police has arrived. But never mind, we only have nine years to save the planet. The euro brings prosperity and more diverse organsations function better. If you repeat your deluded mantras long enough, you are going to believe in them. The Dutch are leaving their country in droves.

Last edited 2 years ago by Francisco Menezes
JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago

UnHerd should commission you next time they want an article about the Netherlands. Your posts have been more illuminating than the original piece. Thank you for taking the time.

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
2 years ago

The case of Richard Panhuis you mention threw up this nugget from a report I read when I googled his name and the victims name:
“Convicted sex offenders receiving treatment at psychiatric facilities in the Netherlands are required to have constant supervision when outside of the facility, but due to privacy laws, Michael was allowed to withhold the fact that he was a convicted sex offender. Due to this, the facility did not see Michael as a threat to society and allowed him to leave the facility for periods at a time without supervision.”
Data privacy laws and other laws designed to prevent people having knowledge of convicted criminal’s offences appear all too often to help promote criminal activity. The downsides of these laws receive insufficient attention in the media because they run counter to liberal’s desire to protect and “rehabilitate” criminals.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeremy Bray
Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago

The Dutch are leaving their country in droves.

In due course the new masters will be so incompetent that the whole lot get drowned by the returning sea.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 years ago

This is a very sad indictment of a society which, from the UK, has always been seen as the epitome of civilization and enlightenment. But then, our Press and broadcast media have always been so interested in gloomy navel-gazing that every other society (except the USA) is portrayed as vastly superior. In fact, many of the problems our societies face – or refuse to face – are the same.

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago

Another article underscoring the official message of unending compliance. Wear your face masks. Get your jabs. Amazing these folk consider themselves insightful.

Kate Heusser
Kate Heusser
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

It depends whether ‘Unherd’ is really about being ‘Unherd’ or about accepting without question the tenets of the herd that claims its independence of The Herd.

David Slade
David Slade
2 years ago

The author seems to be under the delusion that the pandemic warrants the restrictions and therefore the unrest they cause requires deeper dissection. Her description of mask mandates as ‘trivial’ is quite revealing here. It is not trivial to demand millions of people obscure their faces and their airwaves behind masks for poorly evidenced benefit. Most advocates of masks now even admit it is primarily a psychological measure; alternately meant to reassure or – paradoxically – remind people there is a reason to be cautious and fearful as we all open up. The facemask mandate is therefore no different to mandated religious dress. Who wouldn’t oppose that?

Too many people seem to be in denial about just how sinister these measures are; I can’t help wonder if that’s why any one who compares these restrictions to past atrocities is made to apologise (such as the politician referenced in the article) – no one supporting these measures wants to be confronted by what they are potentially complicit with, they would rather we all just masked up and did as we’re told.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

I have been thinking that masks are theatre, and not useful in practice. I recently read some research that could change my mind, but not yet

Kathleen Stern
Kathleen Stern
2 years ago
Reply to  David Slade

The Laura Dodsworth book “ A state of fear” is a fascinating and disturbing analysis about the misuse of psychology and ‘nudge units’ to terrify the British people into compliance using a staggering variety of tactics. To be fair some of it does appear to have helped the danger of the virus though lasting damage particularly to children is a real concern. Whether there is a lasting damage to democratic trust is yet to be seen.

Jack Martin Leith
Jack Martin Leith
2 years ago
Reply to  Kathleen Stern

I’m glad you mentioned nudging, Kathleen. I was about to do the same. This is the essence of this aspect of behavioural economics (is there any other?): “You have free choice but we want you to make this one”. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein popularised the technique but stage magicians have been using it for a very long time. “Pick a card, any card
”
I’m glad you mentioned nudging, Kathleen. I was about to do the same. The essence of this aspect of behavioural economics (is there any other?) is, “You have free choice but we want you to choose this one”. Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein popularised the technique but stage magicians have been using it for a very long time. “Pick a card, any card
”

Last edited 2 years ago by Jack Martin Leith
Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

But while 15,000 people have received €30,000 in compensation so far, the apparent racism engrained in government institutions has not yet been fully investigated

I am sure the Dutch government is not staffed by diehard Neo-Nazis. Please can journalists find another way to express this problem instead of presenting it as a deliberate act of official policy to penalise non-white people? You are making it sound like intentional bigotry when it is almost certainly a clumsy and accidental policy failure. Not only is it wildly misleading but it also plays into the hands of the same leftwing fanatics who invented this “institutional racism” terminology.

Francisco Menezes
Francisco Menezes
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

There is no institutional racism, there are stupid, clumsy and idiot remarks in the files. Dutch society was defrauded of 5 billion euros by Bulgarian citizens who claimed cash handouts for their fictitious mortgage interest deduction. Yes, you are reading that correctly, you get a cash hand out for a tax deduction. That is like paying money to Tesco for their costs of goods sold. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, the child allowance credit went wrong, very wrong. Of course there are fraudsters and statistically it shows that the largerst number can be found with the etnic minorities. So far, so good. But totally innocent people belonging to those minorities were faced with claims for refunds they could never meet, lost their jobs, their homes and some even their children (1115 is the estimated number over the last five years that were taken from the parents and put in foster homes, where some of them suffered from sexual abuse).
The executive, legislative and judiciary branch of the state all joined in to cover it up and to deny any responsibilty. So the entire state apparatus conspired against innocent citizens. Let that sink in. We are speaking of thousands and thousands of people whose lives were ruined in ten year legal battles with a Kafkaesk system and still no consequences for the responsible people. In fact, when the government stepped down the PM joked that he now was more powerful because he could rule without parliament. That is the same PM who is lecturing Poland.
I can only look in contempt to the Dutch state and its institutions. It may not be violent, it is indifferent and conceited. All of them breastfed by Hubris, the mother of all sins.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

Thanks for the background Francisco. It sounds like a shockingly horrible situation for those who got caught in the net.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago

Well said.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
2 years ago

There is nothing ‘minor’ or ‘trivial’ about a requirement to inhibit breathing and communication and cover facial expressions. Masks are vile symbols of compliance. Anyone who protests about them has my full support.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago

Hear hear

Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
2 years ago

Governments throughout Europe have continually lied to their electorates, gradually imposing ever more stringent rules based on little more than pseudoscience and brazenly and publicly failed to follow their own rules. They have pushed and pushed on the boundaries of their own constitutions and gone way beyond what any decent and law abiding person would have thought possible just 18 short months ago. The law enforcement and judicial functions of society have been utilised to control any dissent eagerly encouraged by an intolerant and self-interested growing middle class fuelled by social and mainstream media.
It’s a real shame that even Unherd are giving a platform to such over-educated, self-unaware people as this author who fails to identify a single contributory factor to the rising civil unrest. As these people become even more ignorant of what’s happening in the lives of the millions of everyday people whose contributions actually run these countries and actually generate the tax that pays for them to sit at home passing judgement the resentment will get deeper and the unrest will get stronger.
Vive la révolution.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Coffey

Unherd should air all points of view. If our opinions are robust, they will withstand the test

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

There are points of view, and there are standards. Two very different things.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy


and nobody can be ‘over-educated’, for goodness’ sake. Badly educated, yes of course.

Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
2 years ago

There is no necessary link between education and learning and any such thing has long since been lost in western education systems. Over exposure to these conformity factories we call schools and universities leads to over-education i.e. conformity and indoctrination as demonstrated perfectly by this author.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

People can be over-educated for their IQ. Claudia Webbe MP has FOUR degrees, including a PhD, yet thinks there is a country called ‘Baroos’ that can have ‘legal action’ taken against it by Britain and appears to have an IQ of about 54.
Some seriously thick, dim people get degree credentials nowadays. One wonders how poor the standards of their courses and how low the demands of the examiners must have been.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  rodney foy

That sounds fine in theory, but this woman is so hopelessly shallow and unquestioning in her outlook – doubtless thoroughly programmed an a credential-factory – that it seems pointless publishing this piece. She looks at and describes all the straws in the wind, yet rather than perceive the way the wind is blowing, she merely scratches her head in puzzled bemusement and places sneer-marks on all the same words and phrases a BBC writer would.
That sounds fine in theory, but this woman is so hopelessly shallow and unquestioning in her outlook – doubtless thoroughly programmed an a credential-factory – that it seems pointless publishing this piece. She looks at and described all the straws in the wind, yet rather than perceive the way the wind is blowing, she merely scratches her head in puzzled bemusement and places sneer-marks on all the same words and phrases a BBC writer would.

Last edited 1 year ago by Peter Joy
Josh Woods
Josh Woods
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Coffey

*Overly-miseducated. Educating can be a good force when done properly, BUT this author is NOT an example, but rather that she was educated with the kind of generic stuff that made society horribly wrong today!

Last edited 2 years ago by Josh Woods
Matt Coffey
Matt Coffey
2 years ago
Reply to  Josh Woods

A far better explanation than mine. You were clearly better educated than me 🙂

Josh Woods
Josh Woods
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt Coffey

Thanks, though education is a 2-way street. The places I was educated at are relatively mediocre, BUT one must know how to interpret nuggets of knowledge in the right way in order to be well-educated, and better yet, go beyond that and learn and research things yourself(in fact that latter was instrumental to bolstering my English fluency to native levels despite never grown up in any anglophonic environment, plus bits of German as my 4th language). Plus don’t slavishly follow the norm if something feels off, and proactively for the reason why you feel it’s off, it can lead you way ahead of everyone else!
PS I’m saying this a left libertarian in my mid-20s

Peta Seel
Peta Seel
2 years ago

There is nothing “trivial” about wearing a face mask. It is divisive and dehumanising which is exactly what it is intended to be.
Equally, it serves no purpose in preventing the spread of the virus but does prevent people from breathing normally and being exposed to a myriad pathogens needed to keep immune systems healthy. It is no coincidence that countries with the harshest Covid measures have seen the worst infection levels, in spite of the vaccine roll-out.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Peta Seel

It’s trivial in the sense that you simply wrap something around your ears. But I get it that many find them dehumanising, and some suffer panic attacks. Are they any use? The jury is still out for me

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Why were no hazardous waste bins ever provided for the masks? Why was there virtually no direction on disposal and frequency of replacement? Why were the authorities content to accept people using cloth masks, even when they knew (but kept it to themselves) that they were no use whatsoever?
In my view, those questions answer themselves.

JĂŒrg Gassmann
JĂŒrg Gassmann
2 years ago

How should you react when your government is scientifically illiterate, forces through measures that are absurd from a public health point of view, and has effectively torn up the Constitution, tramples on human rights, and violates international humanitarian law?

Oliver McCarthy
Oliver McCarthy
2 years ago

It is just a little bit sententious to try to make out that the riots aren’t to do with Covid restrictions (so they must be because of “institutional racism” or whatever) whilst also insisting en passant that objections to a medically divided, two-tier society are “trivial”. (I’m sure there’s a Dutch word for this sort of state. Starts with an ‘a’!)

Ian Ward
Ian Ward
2 years ago

I think this writer has totally missed the point of why people riot. Firstly Governments not listening to peoples concerns over personal liberty. Lastly Governments breaking their own laws in imposing totalitarianism on their own people.

Matt Darby
Matt Darby
2 years ago

As with many other posters here, I find the writer’s attitude to “things as trivial as wearing faceemasks”, and “the mere prospect of showing a coronavirus pass for entry”, quite astonishing.
Apart from the obvious, that these measures are unscientific and provide no discernible benefit, her sheer lack of any comprehension that people would find them an infringement on basic liberties frankly makes her article facile.
I don’t know her background but perhaps she should avoid social commentary. I hope also that she reads all these comments and has the humility to take on board what she is being taught.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago

Is it normal for Dutch police to fire on rioters with live rounds? It happens here in South Africa, sometimes to devastating effect, but I struggle to recall it happening in modern times in England.

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

I was shocked that it happened in Holland. It doesn’t happen in England generally except to stop a terrorist terrorising to save lives.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Tony Conrad

Yes, taking a terrorist down is different, yet I’ve seen no commentary on this action by the Dutch police, as if it were somehow de rigeur.

Last edited 2 years ago by Martin Smith
rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

Yours is the first comment I have read on this. Might this not be a bigger issue than masks?

Jerry Smith
Jerry Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Yep, just a bit!

David McDowell
David McDowell
2 years ago

True but why don’t we hear this about BLM inspired looting?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  David McDowell

Then it’s ‘largely peaceful’.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
2 years ago

I don’t think mandating mask-wearing is trivial.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
2 years ago

This coincided with a recent remark from Minister Grapperhaus claiming that politicians were exempt from QR-restrictions after a cafe refused entry to a politician for not carrying one.
https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2021/11/16/politici-zonder-coronapas-hadden-niet-geweigerd-mogen-worden-bij-cafes-a4065673
The above article is in Dutch, I’m afraid, but explains the story a little further.
I visit the Netherlands often and am surprised by how draconian the coronavirus restrictions have been, but even more so by the compliance of the Dutch who usually ignore any rules they deem foolish.
The reason many people don’t want to get vaccinated, is not just out of fear of vaccination, but that they worry they may be complicit in enabling a system of surveillance and control over fellow citizens. I’ve taken the vaccine, but am against mandating it or carrying a digital ID card to participate in normal life. Once these restrictions have been put in place, I have a hard time believing they will ever go away.

mike otter
mike otter
2 years ago

Totally with Andrea Re below this article is drek and at the same lower six form level as the fake ethics and philosophy programmes you hear on Radio 4. Fine for 17 year olds but not for national “thinking” media. Enough already. Author not thoughtful enough to know they’re not thoughtful enough!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago

The shocking thing about this report is the police using live ammunition. I would have thought that would have added to the sense of injustice.

Arild Brock
Arild Brock
2 years ago

TO TRUST OR NOT TO TRUST
We cannot fully pit freedom against Covid-measures. BASICALLY, but not under all circumstances, an infectious disease is a collective matter.
We shall then have to look at the character of the disease in order to judge if the measures are reasonable or not. The burden of evidence should then be on those who support the measures. But even if I belong to the other side, I shall give one argument on the matter (against).
In Germany (where I live) there are some 15 000 “cases” (reported infections) per week. Is that a high number? In the same country there are some 20 000 deaths per week (not from Covid). I guess you will expect your collegue (or your neighbour next door) to be there also next week. You do not even think that he might die in the meantime. The “risk” that he will turn out to be a “case” next week, is then even smaller.
The Covid-crises has turned into a crisis of trust. Since we cannot all monitor the statistics and scrutinize all the scientific evidence all the time, we shall have to trust the government, the journalists or our own experience + common sense.
I think the latter is the last you should give up on. However, the majority of the population seems to have done exactly that. A loss in individual self-confidence may turn out to be the biggest loss suffered from the crises. 

Last edited 2 years ago by Arild Brock
Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
2 years ago
Reply to  Arild Brock

I am not sure that the crisis caused, so much as revealed the crisis in individual self-confidence. Looks to me as if the rot was there long before.

Michael Coleman
Michael Coleman
2 years ago

We should all ask anyone like the author, who blithely ignores the health and social costs of mandated masks and vaccines, as well as, vaccine passports: When does this end? Never is the answer.
Vaccine passports are particularly infuriating here in the US: you need to show your ID to enter most places like restaurants and clubs in NYC but it is “racist” to require an ID to vote.

Leslie Cook
Leslie Cook
2 years ago

Careful dear, your elitist tone and lack empathy are showing.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

The most significant two sentences in this article for me was this:

“But anyone who has ever tried to stand in a queue in the Netherlands will realise that there’s a widespread sense of assertive individualism here, which is not often restrained by social norms such as politeness or the-other-person-was-actually-first.”

And “young men with nothing to do.”

In a society with a wide sense of “assertive individualism”, surely there must be something for the young men to do. It’s not like they’re cowed.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

“not often restrained by social norms”, she says in reference to *social norms* in the Netherlands. Comically bad writing. Maybe the author needs another year of collij?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago

I shall continue to erect chain link fencing around my windows to keep out the mozzis. Meanwhile, “An espresso? Papers please!”

M. Gatt
M. Gatt
2 years ago

Suggesting you wear a mask is trivial. Mandating you wear a mask is not. This writer is really quite myopic.

hugh bennett
hugh bennett
2 years ago

Do you know, sometimes I think that the real danger is that more and more common folk are are becoming just plain f-ing bored with it all. I have read that, it is possible that the roots of boredom lie in a fundamental breakdown in our understanding of what it is we want to do !
Boredom often goes with impulsive mindsets among those who are constantly looking for new experiences. For some, the hum drum beat of life just isn’t sexy enough of a bungee jump to hold their attention their world is under stimulating… and Covid restrictions just exasperate that so its a case of, god knows what they will do next !!.
Then there is the second kind of bored person who has the opposite problem; their world has a always been a fearful old place, and so victim to the constant media mantra about the grim reaper of Covid and the rules spewed by dimwitted leaders they shut themselves away and try not to step outside their comfort zone . Being highly sensitive they withdraw physically and in terms of applying commonsense to what they see, hear, are commanded. But for many of these folk the initial retreat is insufficient, it doesn`t provide them the cuddly blanket they want and as the boredom deepens they retreat further, give up their rights, comply, wither….
Because boredom may trigger frustration or potentially depressed feelings it has potential hugely negative implications when millions upon million are/maybe affected. 

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
2 years ago

If the state, by that I mean employees and politicians wants power it better have the wisdom of Solomon but it lacks it. If the state wants to impose restrictions it has to impose on all people equally, no dispensation of any group and punish severely any mistakes by state employees and politicians very very quickly and publicly. The Royal Navy gave immense power to captains of ships in the 18th and 19th centuries and broke even executed ( Admiral Byng)those for failure, as Rome did at it it’s peak, whether Consul or Plebian soldier.
The law abiding masses see minorities, state employees and politicians getting away with breaking the rules and incompetence, so trust is reduced, if not broken.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

Somehow the use of the word “bitter” placed in front of irony, as used by the virologist to describe the burning police car outside the Erasmushuis, is indicative of the myriad ways that people take to mush up right and wrong.
A bitter irony would be a dispute among the housekeepers of the Erasmushuis leading to the torching of each other’s cars parked outside.
Or the city centre destroyed by complete anarchy on the anniversary of the Luftwaffe’s destruction of Rotterdam’s city centre.
We’ve gone in a day from Rittenhouse to Rotterhouse to 
 what next? Rotted house?
The people rioted. They shouldn’t have. It’s wrong. They don’t live in the Third World. Little old ladies did not riot. And God love ‘em. Some of them remember the starvation Holland suffered even in the three or four years following WW2.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dustshoe Richinrut
Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago

No they shouldn’t have rioted. But a precedent has been set that if you riot you will get your own way and the police will kneel. Oh hang on, that only happens when it’s BLM.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

So young men get together on Friday night and riot. Doesn’t that happen in all of our cities every week. The difference in Britain is that the police just kneel down and the young men get bored and just go back to drinking and drugging.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Wheatley
rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

I submitted a bunch of comments that I can no longer see. Has anyone else experienced this? Is there a bug?

Here they are…


This is the crux of the argument. Was Mr Spock right? Was he right to say “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”?

AFAIK, Autmn boosters have been talked about since covid vaccines were first developed. The target was at least 50% effectiveness, which was achieved, but it was soon recognised that boosting would be needed as they waned.

However, if it turns out that we need to be jabbed more often than once per year, then that would be big news. From what I have read, I think there will be much better vaccines and treatments

Yes, I think a large group of people here have black and white views on many subjects. I am noticing this more and more. It would be good to explore this so that we can better understand each other’s thinking.

In this case, if a vaccine isn’t 100% effective, why is it necessary to completely abandon it? Why does vaccination have to 100% stop you catching Covid, and 100% stop you passing it on. Would 99% be fine? Why not 90%?

Indeed, it’s like everything that the state tells you to do must be resisted. There’s a total block to considering if it has any merit, or automatically supposing it must have none

You seem to have decided that they need to prevent 100% of transmission. How come?

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Strangely, after 19 hours I can see them again

Keith Jefferson
Keith Jefferson
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Yeah, I had the same thing at about the same time, but for a single comment. I assumed it was with the moderators, though I didn’t say anything (that I think was) offensive or particularly controversial.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago

I admit to worrying that they had deleted my comments because they disagreed with them. I’m releaved it’s not that. If it’s a bug then it’s quite serious, because it potentially stymies useful discussions

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago

The problem for me is not the rioting, rioting against government enforcement, but that the rioters are the wrong people, the poor, the uninformed, being led by people behind the scenes who care little for the principle but advocate anarchy. “Excuse me, is this the anti lockdown forced vax riot?” “Who cares? It’s the cops, here’s your Molotov and Bic lighter.”

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

“Young men with nothing to do.”

Is this the perception most Dutch citizens have of much of their population of young men? Is this the new way of describing the unemployed young?
Or are they students who study from home?
“Young men with nothing to do” sounds like life revolving around soup kitchens and hiring spots for young and restless or forlorn figures in The Grapes Of Wrath.

As for those other “disparate groups” apparently involved in the disturbances, the football hooligans and harbour (port) workers, what do THEY do of an evening? Or during the day? In the 24-hour economy?

Has the pandemic not led to a lot of different people having nothing to do? Big, industrial Dutch towns are not the bright lights of New York or London, I imagine. But a hundred years ago, young men in New York probably had nothing to do and, yet, everything to do.
Is it just too easy to sneer at Dutch society as a whole when it is very noticeable that there are a whole lot of young men doing nothing? Is it the Dutch government’s fault? The fault of faulty Dutch ways?

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago

“Young men with nothing to do”…Historically, in times when there have been lots of young men with nothing to do, someone started a war.

Bernie Wilcox
Bernie Wilcox
2 years ago

One might ask how a country with an 85% immunisation of adults manages to have such large increases in infections such that they have to implement such draconian measures? Aren’t the vaccines very effective then?

Art C
Art C
2 years ago
Reply to  Bernie Wilcox

Never wondered why everyone’s talking about boosters now? It’s clear that the vaccines as they are today are virtually useless. A maximum effectiveness of ± 7 months we are told here in Holland, but this “effectiveness” should be taken with a grain of salt: as a vaccinated person you can still contract & transmit Covid and we are advised to still social distance and wear masks. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it! Apart from obeisance to the wishes of your local great leader, the only discernable advantage of being vaccinated (we are told) is that when you do contract Covid you “won’t get it as badly as you otherwise might have“. And even this is a dubious claim, given the flakey data which is waved around. Still, here’s some good advice: purchase some shares in one of the big Vaccine manufacturing companies. They’re making a killing (excuse the pun!).
P.S. This link is on a very recent page on UnHerd entitled “The Left’s Covid failure”: https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/pfizer-biontech-and-moderna-making-1000-profit-every-second-while-worlds-poorest

Art C
Art C
2 years ago

What a thoroughly jumbled piece of writing: social justice hand wringing, a whiff of Erasmus, mulling about “the alienated”, a fireworks ban, “trivial” mask-wearing and of course some obligatory comments about “far-Right” parties and “apparent racism”. 
To give the author some credit though, at the end she does throw in a meek “violence in Rotterdam cannot, therefore, be dismissed as mere hooliganism“. Of course it can’t! But it will be. It’s the stock argument of the authorities here. It’s not that they don’t want to understand, they are incapable of understanding just how angry and fed-up ordinary people are. The governing class are so arrogant, so smug and so convinced of the rectitude of their views that they simply cannot countenance the idea that anyone who disagrees with them may have a point, or heaven forbid, that their own policies may be the cause of the turmoil in our society! So yes, officially the riots were caused by hooligans, clearly egged on by criminals and far-right elements. Conditions caused by nearly 2 years of Covid restrictions – and especially the new ones recently imposed – had absolutely nothing to do with the unrest. The sheer dishonesty of it all beggars the imagination. No wonder distrust of politicians is at an all-time high!
Meanwhile week by week the absurdities pile up. As many have pointed out, 20 months of compliance with every form of restriction have delivered ZERO! + record infection rates! Forget about the impact on the social fabric, a mentally retarded crow would be able to deduce that the current policies have not worked. For the authorities, the solution is to double down. Beyond lockdowns, “Vaccination” is the way out now. Smearing of the unvaccinated has overflowed into demonization. And it works. An avid Covid extremist (yes let’s call him that) told me the other day that anyone who doesn’t want to be vaccinated should be locked up! 
I have lived in Rotterdam for 25 years and when I came here I would never have thought that the gentle, decent, Dutch population would acquiesce to the kind of restrictions now being imposed. Fortunately not all of them do. And many people I know who have towed the line so far are now baulking at the idea of looming vaccine mandates, boosters (which will become compulsory eventually) and a future of unending lockdowns. The appearance of the nasty new “Austrian” variant of vaccine mandate adds to the uneasiness: actively ostracizing a large part of your population in the manner envisaged by some makes apartheid look tame. 
I would like to think that the penny is slowly dropping that we are all being led up the garden path by a bunch of, at best, well-intentioned incompetents. But it’s probably wishful thinking to think there will be enough opposition to have any effect in the near future. So for now, we continue to live with the government’s criminally stupid policy of lockdowns. Here’s hoping they pay a heavy price for it next election.

Chris Milburn
Chris Milburn
2 years ago

If I had a dollar for every time I had to read about “experts” who talk about how soon we will have to ration ICU care, I’d be Jeff-Bezos-rich by now. It seems to be a favourite line to induce panic and keep the fear-o-meter cranked to 11. The fact that it’s never been true anywhere doesn’t deter its recycling.
Google it, you can read about it being discussed in every country.
Meanwhile, here in my area of Canada, our local ICU is currently at 130% capacity, with ICU patients stuck in ER or the corner of the surgical recovery room. Number of COVID cases? Zero. And amazingly, no talk of rationing! We somehow made it work…

Jeffrey Chongsathien
Jeffrey Chongsathien
2 years ago

For things as trivial as compulsion by force to wear a Swastika armband because the moon is in alignment with Saturn.

yp54797wxn
yp54797wxn
2 years ago

What on earth is a “caretaker justice minister”? Sounds very Orwellian to me. 

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
2 years ago

There are no solutions. Only choices. When masks are mandated, that takes away choice and breeds resentment. Choose imperfect voluntary mask compliance over 100% “perfect” yet resentful compliance with mandates.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago

‘As Amsterdam University cultural anthropologist Dr Danny de Vries tells me: “Just a few days ago one of them publicly threatened another politician in the chamber, saying his time would come when tribunals are held to hold him accountable for ‘corona crimes’” Only last week, the leader of FVD, Thierry Baudet, compared corona measures to Nazi Germany.’ Mr Baudet was absolutely right to do so, and I very much hope we will have a legal tribunal for lockdown and vaccine crimes, with the ultimate penalty for the most senior felons concerned. And there is no need to put “the political elite” in sneer marks.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
2 years ago

I feel the author has rather hyped up the turbulence and discontent in the Netherlands. Some people are discontented and there is a current fashion for showing discontent by protest, maybe because COVID (not necessarily covid restrictions) has created frustrations in society. It won’t last long or have a very big impact.

Last edited 2 years ago by Ian Stewart
Milos Bingles
Milos Bingles
2 years ago

It seems a very reasonable policy to place those that refuse the vaccine into lockdown. If you are too selfish to do what’s right for society then you must face the consequences of science denial. If you’ve had the vaccine or have a condition that prevents you from having the vaccine then fine. But if you believe that Bill Gates has developed tracking devices it’s probably best for everyone that you remain indoors away from the vulnerable, elderly and anyone with an ounce of sense.You are free to smoke in your own home. You can be free to be a moron in your own home.

Last edited 2 years ago by Milos Bingles
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

Exactly. Everyone seems to think that Freedom Of The Individual carries no responsibilities to other people. Meaning anarchy.

Philip L
Philip L
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

For almost two years now, people have complied with every nonsensical rule in the name of “being responsible” to others.
What is their reward for such diligence? Record infection rates and a dawning realisation that their panicked, dimwitted representatives really don’t have a clue.
Since the summer of last year, officialdom globally has done little more than double down on failed interventions. Masks not worked? More masks. Lockdowns not worked? More lockdowns. Vaccines not worked? Boosters.
And with every historian silent, they hide, fudge and profit from their own incompetence and blame any policy failure on a small but easily identifiable minority.
Are we really going to pontificate about the anger here?

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

My only question is, why must you be right and everybody else be wrong? On this site there are a couple of hundred people who sort of agree. So what?

Stephen Easton
Stephen Easton
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

So if all these great, awesome policies work then why do they have to keep being repeated?
Something is seriously wrong somewhere.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Stephen Easton

They are not awesome. The pandemic is new and it is too easy to sit in a room with a computer and have wonderful theories which suit you personally.
The theories need to suit everybody, not just the elite (UnHerd) but also the thickies.

It must be wonderful to have great ideas (after the event, of course), to have seen some event on YouTube and then decide what is best for everybody in large cities, in rural areas, old and young, clever or not.

I wish I could see all the obvious things as well.

jim peden
jim peden
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

I agree – the government’s policies were not awesome. I also wish you could see all the obvious things. Perhaps you would if you looked a little deeper.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  jim peden

I can look as deeply as you want. I get really bored when I read the statement over and over, ‘But vaccination doesn’t stop you catching Covid and passing it on.’

But, vaccination has done a couple of things. It helps with serious cases by making the symptoms easier to deal with. This helps individuals and our society in general. By alleviating the symptoms we mean that our own internal systems are handling it better. So somebody who could have been really ill has the symptoms for a shorter time or doesn’t even notice anything at all.

Hm. If they don’t know they’ve got it, isn’t that more dangerous? Yes if you think of a group of individuals making decisions for themselves. No if everyone is working together with the same aims. Basically, if there are 10% believing they are too clever, or too brave or not vulnerable, they are spoiling things for the 90%. Why? So they can tell everybody about Freedom of the individual.

I won’t bore you with masks but I could do so. So how do you know so much?

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

10 (virtual) upticks for this comment !

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Vaccinations seem to have prevented serious cases and death which is something. But they obviously do not stop Covid. I question if continually vaccinating people with boosters etc. is going to do any good. We are dealing with a new medical procedure here using memory RNA (not a normal vax) which has still not been proved effective. Even the inventor Dr Robert Malone cautions against it. How do we know if putting all this stuff into our systems is not messing up our natural immune systems? We do not know that yet and we are still being experimented on without knowing the long term outcome.

Last edited 2 years ago by Tony Conrad
Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

The reason that people repeat that the vaccinated can get sick and pass on the virus is because governmental policies are put in place that simply don’t take this into account.
Further many people do not know this and are afraid of unvaccinated people. Beggars belief.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yes, I think a large group of people here have black and white views on many subjects. I am noticing this more and more. It would be good to explore this so that we can better understand each other’s thinking.

In this case, if a vaccine isn’t 100% effective, why is it necessary to completely abandon it? Why does vaccination have to 100% stop you catching Covid, and 100% stop you passing it on. Would 99% be fine? Why not 90%?

Last edited 2 years ago by rodney foy
Art C
Art C
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Looks like you’ve really bought into the vaccination narrative. Good luck. But how selfish to impose it on everyone else. Why not just self-isolate! It seems pretty clear to me that the politicians who panicked and set all this in motion possess just enough grey matter to understand they need an “out” and the means to claim success is “vaccination”. For us run-of-the-mill citizens the chief advantage of getting vaccinated is to make our lives easier by getting a QR code to flash around. (In addition we not only provide positive statistics for our local health minister; but also valuable support to Big Pharma.) Let’s face it, medically the vaccinations are pretty worthless. The need for boosters proves this. But the problem for the politicians now is that those pesky little virologists won’t let go. They’ve never had so much attention. So it’s got to be more lockdowns and more boosters! The question is at what point do citizens call foul and put a stop to the whole charade. I’m betting around booster 4 or 5. Before then, I’m buying as many Pfizer shares as I can lay my hands on!

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

But the trouble with that, you blind fool, is that these dangerous vaccines do nothing – beyond a few weeks – to prevent transmission. Your whole argument is based on false premises. Those under 50 are demonstrably at more risk of being killed by the vaccine than by Covid, an ailment too pathetic to begin to justify either the ruinous ÂŁmega-trillion lockdowns or Nazi-style forced medication, in brazen contravention of the ECHR.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Firstly this is not the first pandemic we have endured even in the last 50 years. If Sweden could follow basic pandemic guidelines, why not the other countries?
Further, the doubling down on draconian policies that haven’t worked is one thing, but the fact that this has been accompanied by sinister censorship of discussion makes this another thing entirely.

Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

It seems to me that you’re saying that the policies have to be extreme and OTT so that the ‘thick chav untermensch’ will get the message – a typically patronising and absurd left-liberal Blob idea and one we’ve seen before, less brazenly, in other areas of public health. A ‘noble lie’, supposedly.
No. No. No. All you do is flush what’s left of the State’s ever more shredded credibility down the toilet.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Very easy answer to your question. Florida vs. Illinois.
When I visit Florida, hardly anyone is masked and life goes about normally. I get back to Illinois and I have to confront the mask checking clerks enforcing the mandate. Yet Florida, which is full of retired folks, has better stats than does Illinois. A reasonable person should conclude that wearing masks is completely useless to the mask wearer.
“I prefer to live on my feet than die on my knees.”

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Warren T

I didn’t ask a question about masks. I fact, today I 100% believe that masks are a waste of time. I believe that because no-one takes them seriously.

In my local Tesco there is an oft-repeated announcement on the tannoy, “Can we please remind our customers that everyone in the store must wear a mask, unless they are exempt from wearing one”. Most wear masks under the nose. Most staff are exempt. No point!

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Good point but you still think you are on the right side thinking we should all be locked down if we don’t get the booster?

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Exactly. Why must you be right and everyine else wrong? Most are still looking for anwers here.

Robin P
Robin P
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

 and everybody else be wrong
Correction: Everybody else who is allowed to speak on BBC, write in the media,……
There are thousands of experts who do not accept the official lies, but are either intimidated from speaking out or even when they do they just get attacked or ignored at best. Bu the BBC and leading expert Ferguson said it so it must be true.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Philip L

AFAIK, Autmn boosters have been talked about since covid vaccines were first developed. The target was at least 50% effectiveness, which was achieved, but it was soon recognised that boosting would be needed as they waned.

However, if it turns out that we need to be jabbed more often than once per year, then that would be big news. From what I have read, I think there will be much better vaccines and treatments

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

There’s a type of thinking where people can separate out issues within an argument in order to isolate the specific point and assess it rationally. It’s been called de-coupling. It’s necessary for rational debate. But there are people that find this difficult. They can’t separate out individual issues from the overall context.

In this case it’s the inability of low de-couplers to be able to separate support for vaccination, (I am double vaccinated, I have a booster appointment next week. I think people ought to get themselves vaccinated) from the issue of state coercion.

In the mind of low de-couplers being opposed to state coercion to do something is the same as being opposed to that same thing.

You may be suffering from a low ability to de-couple. In this case an inability to discern the distinction between support for vaccination and opposition to state mandated compulsion.

Last edited 2 years ago by Samuel Gee
Keith Jefferson
Keith Jefferson
2 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

I agree. And I would also add that the inability of those who support “social” passports and selective lockdowns based on immunisation to decouple the issues of vaccination and state coercion are unwittingly fuelling the opposition to state control. Like you, I am in favour of vaccines (double jabbed and will get my booster) but am against state coercion. When the powers that be include me with the anti-vaxers, it makes me more inclined to sympathise with and support the anti-vaxers, even if I disagree with them. If you call me a Chav then I will identify as a Chav.
I suspect that the imposition of coercive measures in Europe is going to backfire badly. 

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Samuel Gee

Indeed, it’s like everything that the state tells you to do must be resisted. There’s a total block to considering if it has any merit, or automatically supposing it must have none

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  rodney foy

Who exactly is “automatically supposing” anything? We are nearly 2 years into this clusterf*ck and all of us sentient beings have had plenty of time to consider what is going on around us. The “experts” have a long and unimpressive track record at this point. Their prescriptions (no pun intended) have not evolved in the least despite their record of failure and unknown long-term consequences. Thus, pushback.

Paul K
Paul K
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

You sound like an eminently well-programmed man!
Tell me: given that it is accepted that the vaccines do not actually prevent transmission of the virus, what reason is there to ‘place those that refuse the vaccine into lockdown’? Other than science denial, I mean.

Last edited 2 years ago by Paul K
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

To reduce the risk of them getting really ill (much more likely since they are unvaxxed) and bunging up the hospitals … again. Health services have much more important things to get on with.

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago

So now we’re in the business of locking down those whose actions place themselves at greater risk of hospitalization? That sounds fun. Here’s a quick question: given that a healthy young person is exceedingly unlikely to end up in a hospital due to covid, and far less likely than an obese or drug addicted person or even a motorcycle rider, who exactly should we be locking down and why?

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

You seem to have decided that they need to prevent 100% of transmission. How come

mfield953
mfield953
2 years ago
Reply to  Paul K

What do you mean, “given that it is accepted that the vaccines do not actually prevent transmission of the virus”? It’s NOT accepted. Vaccines absolutely DO significantly reduce transmission:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/2294250-how-much-less-likely-are-you-to-spread-covid-19-if-youre-vaccinated/
https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.10.14.21264959
https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.07.13.21260393

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

The same hackneyed clichĂ©d arguments to attack those of us who oppose vax mandates – blah blah Bill Gates windows update etc. No intelligence, no wit, no originality – just regurgitating liquidised propaganda

Last edited 2 years ago by Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

So, what percentage of the population is not clever enough to keep up with you?

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

Is ad hominen science now?

Mo Brown
Mo Brown
2 years ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

I would say it is roughly 97.3% of “the science”.

Zorro Tomorrow
Zorro Tomorrow
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

It’s not always about the vaccine. Me and mine are fully vaccinated, our choice but to force inoculation on people is wrong especially when you are possibly more danger to them than they are to you.

Cheryl Jones
Cheryl Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

I’m no anti vaxxer, I’ve been double jabbed, even though I’d had Covid already so I knew my body could evidently handle it just fine. I’m not out there spreading it all about. But the drawing out of this state of constant emergency that flies in the face of common sense or proportionality is starting to seem very sinister and I totally get why people are starting to show their displeasure. Data being used misleadingly. The shutting down of dissent. Everyday life being micromanaged by the State. The middle classes safely ensconced in their WFH jobs while the people they rely on to deliver their quinoa are taking all the risk on the chin for minimum wage. The Davos folks and the eco warriors have joined forces to shame us into eating bugs and giving up our freedoms while they merrily swan around on their jets. The Great Reset. Conspiracy theorists are starting to sound like they might be on to something…

Tony Conrad
Tony Conrad
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

It has not been proved that it is right for society. You are assuming a lot.

rodney foy
rodney foy
2 years ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

This is the crux of the argument. Was Mr Spock right? Was he right to say “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”?

Last edited 2 years ago by rodney foy
Peter Joy
Peter Joy
1 year ago
Reply to  Milos Bingles

My word, you are a credulous dipshot. The ‘vaccines’ are
a. no bloody good, failing to prevent either infection or transmission;
b. unnecessrry for any healthy person under 60;
c. inadequately tested;
d. and appear to have serious side-effects, including DEATH.
And why would you trust a Corporate–State-BigTech cartel that treats any questioning of these jabs as tantamount to terrorism?
You, chum, are an idiot.