Senay Boztas

Senay Boztas is an English journalist who has lived in the Netherlands for more than a decade

Why Geert Wilders won’t be the next leader of the Netherlands

‘A new wind will blow through our country,’ said Geert Wilders, as he declared that his anti-Islam, anti-immigration Party for Freedom (PVV) would enter government for the first time in history. Late on Wednesday night, Wilders announced that the PVV will join with the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the New Social Contract

Who wants Amsterdam’s mega brothel on their doorstep?

Amsterdam’s red light district is an uncomfortable place for a woman to walk at night. Drunk tourists from all around the world wander the streets, leering into the red-lit windows where prostitutes rent a space and ply for trade. Thanks to years of problems, the city’s residents are demanding action. The local government coalition was

Why Geert Wilders won

Far right, anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has won a historic victory for his Freedom party (PVV) in shock Dutch elections on Wednesday. As the final votes are counted, Wilders appears to have more than doubled his 17 MPs in 2021 elections, winning 37 of the 150 seats in the Dutch parliament and almost a quarter

Has the time come for the Dutch farmers’ party?

There are 17.9 million residents in the Netherlands, and this year the country expects 45,000 requests for asylum. Barges, tents and sports halls are full of people waiting for their claim to be processed, while the country is suffering a housing crisis largely due to historic under-building. Last year the country made headlines around the world when people were

The wheels are coming off the Dutch green revolution

Another day, another success in the courts for Dutch environmentalists. This week, the country’s highest court, the Council of State, decided that building is no longer exempt from EU environment protection rules. In one of the world’s most densely-populated countries, where new homes are badly needed – and a 900,000 home building spree had just been announced – this spells trouble: within hours, building

The Netherlands is growing tired of lockdown restrictions

On Wednesday at De Kleine Komedie, the oldest theatre in Amsterdam, the sound of comics on stage will be interspersed with the snips of scissors. Unable to open as a theatre due to the coronavirus restrictions, the comic actor Diederik Ebbinge is defiantly converting the venue into a hairdressers for the day with customers able

The scandal that collapsed the Dutch government

The Netherlands has a reputation as one of the sensible, efficient countries of Europe. Asked to predict which government was most likely to collapse in the face of a national scandal, many EU watchers would not have bet on Mark Rutte’s government. But while the political fallout has been extraordinary — Rutte cycled to the palace

The manhunt dividing Belgium

Belgium’s leading virologist is in hiding, holed up with his family in a government safe house. The reason? A right-wing Flemish soldier. Jürgen Conings disappeared from his home on 17 May, leaving behind a booby-trapped car and a series of letters laying out his grievances against ‘the regime’. In a goodbye letter to his partner,

Wilders loses ground as Rutte wins again in the Dutch election

Despite a childcare benefits scandal that led to the resignation of the government en masse, much-criticised delays in its vaccination programme and national riots over a coronavirus curfew, the status quo will remain largely intact after a general election in the Netherlands. With nearly nine in ten votes counted, it looks almost certain that ‘caretaker’

Dutch descend into curfew chaos

Police were ready and supermarkets closed their doors, but on Tuesday evening it was unclear if a controversial curfew in the Netherlands would be respected. Earlier in the day, a court ruled that the legal basis for the curfew was invalid: it rests on a particular type of emergency ruling when instead it should have

Will the Netherlands’ gender quota experiment work?

Quotas are unpopular, especially in the liberal Netherlands. But next week its parliament is expected to impose a quota system to ensure major businesses employ more women at the highest levels. A law is being tabled in parliament which would force listed companies to have at least a third of women (or, indeed, a third

Inside the Dutch anti-lockdown riots

Images of Dutch rioters throwing stones and fireworks at police, looting shops and facing water cannon have been published all around the world. This is not the typical image of a nation that likes to think of itself as nuchter and normaal — sober and sensible — in contrast to other parts of Europe, it sees

Netherlands’ Covid crackdown blamed on ‘English variant’

It is more than two centuries since the last Anglo-Dutch war, but our neighbours across the North Sea are once again fearful of an English invasion. Last night, the Dutch parliament voted for an unprecedented restriction on personal freedoms, a curfew between 9pm and 4.30am, because of fears that the new B117 variant of the

Why the Dutch can’t stop bending the Covid rules

Half an hour before a partial lockdown began on Wednesday night, scores of people packed into tents outside a bar in the Hague to drink and party. Their celebrations were perhaps characteristic of how the Dutch have handled the pandemic. Metres away, in the Dutch lower house, parliamentarians were at that moment enacting a partial

The rise of Dutch Euroscepticism

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has taken on the mantle of ‘Dr No’ across the capitals of Europe after he took a tough stance on the EU’s coronavirus bailout fund. But in the Netherlands, most people supported his stance on EU integration. At the talks, Rutte successfully led the ‘frugal five’ countries – the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden,