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Kemenade, Jos van

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De Volkskrant - Netherlands | 04/04/2006

The Netherlands has lost its innocence

A group of former politicians, who include the ex-leaders of five political parties from the far left to Protestant fundamentalists, have come together to condemn the government's immigration policy and the xenophobia that currently prevails in Dutch society. "The confidence and open-mindedness of the Dutch have given way to despair and laments over a 'neglected nationalism' and 'lost identity'. International regard for the Dutch model, seen as uniquely tolerant and based on concerted action, has crumbled. There is now amazement at the sight of a polarised society [pitting people of Dutch stock against those of immigrant descent] where social interaction has hardened. The Netherlands has lost its innocence, its sense of respect, and its status as a role model. How have we come to this pass?"

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