If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


11 FEB 2018

DELFT - We here read that the US president gave a long speech to government: the State of the Union. Viewers of it saw one party cheer and the other sit on its hands. President Trump joked about that at a rally a short while later. He teased that not clapping for him was Un-American. Going on with the humor, he was OK with stamping it 'treason'. What a kidder.

Holland actually has laws that make it illegal to curse, criticize or be disrespectful to whomever is the monarch. I learned about them when it was reported a man shouted vulgarity about the king, the monarchy and the horse they rode in on. That was back in 2014 and nothing was really done about it. The man had problems and thought of himself as an activist. Most Dutch thought the whole thing stupid.

Like Everyone Else dopz-2018-02-11w

The image above is of the Dutch Royal Family, the House of Orange-Nassau. Pictured is the king, Willem-Alexander and his family. The Queen is a bright woman who is well thought of by locals. His daughters appear like children anywhere. The king goes to events, does state-level ceremonies and keeps himself out of trouble. They look like they would be good neighbors.

Dutch can be quite sharp in their back and forth. An MP politely asked if the king was to get on his bicycle and peddle over to the police station when he feels insulted. I can see it. King Willem-Alexander cycles over to the police, takes a short breather, and then says his neighbor called him Prince Pilsner, a witty nickname from his days at university.

The police offer him a seat and a cup of coffee. He shows identification and fills out forms. Police assure him they will do all possible and sent him home. It is forgotten. Now, new laws will mean the king must get used to the fact he can receive the same kind of insults ordinary Dutch endure. He is likely as sensitive to verbal abuse as anyone but offending him will no longer be illegal.

However, Dutch feel as strongly as the French about free speech. The police did jail a man for writing in Facebook that the king was a 'murderer, thief and rapist.' He got 30 days because he is a blathering idiot.

It has to be noted that many people will write a comment on the internet that is their opinion about something or someone. All they need is time for this, an account and an attitude. Many postings are personal attacks.

Now about insulting the monarchy. The laws were written in 1830 and entered statue books in 1886. A MP's view: "185 years have gone by. That's a good reason to update changes to the legislation,"

Others are concerned that Holland's monarchy is not modern. The two words are contradictory for most. Another MP: "Legislation should make no distinction between insulting the king and insulting your neighbor."

King Willem-Alexander is in his position the old fashioned way, he was born lucky. He follows a well-respected Queen Beatrix, his mother. People who do not like him are not thought Un-Dutch or treasonous.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen