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Quote of the Week: De vrijheid van Hagenaars wordt nergens in de stad stelselmatig beknot.

 ‘De vrijheid van Hagenaars wordt nergens in de stad stelselmatig beknot.’
‘The freedom of Hagenaars isn’t curtailed structurally anywhere in the city.’


Photo: Jozias van Aartsen

Last week social affairs minister Lodewijk Asscher and anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders both paid visits to the Schilderswijk, a district in The Hague nicknamed the ‘Sharia triangle’. The national newspaper ‘Trouw’ claimed that the area is dominated by orthodox Muslims who are dictating what people should wear and how they should behave.

Mayor Jozias van Aartsen and alderman Marnix Norder wrote a letter to the council of The Hague on 27 May stating these rumours are false, that nobody’s freedom is being restricted and that the police has ‘de touwtjes stevig in handen’ (are in strong control). The good news, so they say is that another national newspaper ‘Algemeen Dagblad’ published figures on Saturday demonstrating that criminality in the Schilderwijk is decreasing.

It is a weird situation. All over The Hague there are billboards, banners and posters saying that ‘Anouk is The Hague’s pride and glory’ even though she did not win the Eurovision Song Contest. At the same time there is this paranoid fear that parts of our International City of Justice and Peace are being controlled by radicalised muslims.

The Hague is filled with pride and fear… Two irrational emotions without any grounds in reality. In this year, in which we celebrate 100 years of Peace Palace and 200 years of Democratic

Monarchy, everyone in The Hague should perhaps make some time for introspection and open the eyes again to the true character of this beautiful, friendly, multicultural and peaceful city
between the sea and the polders.