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7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

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31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

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27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

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26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

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21/1 Merge districts

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20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Sex refugees, halal meat and election fraud

12 August 2007 - Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) is the party that is most concerned about Amsterdam. The CDA is the party that is most effective at asking questions that generate media attention. This is revealed by an analysis of questions asked by MPs.

By asking written questions, MPs show which issues they care about. News from Amsterdam analysed 86 written questions about Amsterdam issues (for more on how the analysis was done see the explanation at the end of this article. Information on political parties).



  • What do you think of classes at the Oudemanhuispoort being cut by 15 minutes in order to prevent fire safety problems caused by large numbers of students crossing each other in the hallways? Are students now entitled to a tuition fee discount? (Jasper van Dijk and Renske Leijten, SP, to the Minister of Education)

  • What are you going to do about Rumanian gay ‘sex refugees’ getting a sex change operation in the Netherlands and subsequently engaging in prostitution and welfare fraud? The refugees have been admitted on the ground of being discriminated against as gays in their country of origin. Will they be deported now that the sex change operation has taken away the ground to admit them? (Sietse Fritsma, PVV, to the Ministers of Justice and Social Affairs)

  • Is it acceptable that the Amsterdam College advertises its course in ‘technical commercial confection’ under the name ‘fashion & branding’? (Jasper van Dijk, SP, to the Minister of Education)

  • How can it be that a reporter from Metro managed to vote five times, four of which at the same polling station? (Laetitia Griffith, VVD, to the Minister of the Interior)

  • Can the money used to subsidize ethnic minority organisations not better be used to let all children join a sports club for free? (Fleur Agema, PVV, to the State Secretary of Health, Social Welfare and Sports)

  • Is it true that the Amsterdam police has painted dots indicating the direction to Mecca on the ceilings of its cells? Can you have these removed? (Hero Brinkman, PVV, to the Minister of the Interior)

  • Can you use your influence to have an additional punishment given to the Moroccan guys who beat up a gay man and threw him in the water, making them clean up a darkroom in an Amsterdam gay bar? (Geert Wilders and Hero Brinkman, PVV, to the Ministers of the Interior and Justice)

  • Do you agree with Mayor Job Cohen that the military service should be reintroduced? (Coskun Çörüz and Mirjam Sterk, CDA, to the Ministers of Youth and Family, and of the Interior)

  • What do you think of the Red Cross serving halal meat at a Christmas dinner in the Diamantbuurt? Are you willing to terminate the subsidies given to the organisations involved? (Geert Wilders and Sietse Fritsma, PVV, to the Minister of Integration)



The large majority of questions about Amsterdam issues have been asked by the PVV, followed by the SP and the VVD. It is normal for opposition parties to ask relatively many questions, and the PVV and the SP have a reputation for asking many questions. However, even when this is taken into account, the PVVs involvement with Amsterdam is striking. Some 15 percent of all questions are asked by the PVV, but the party is responsible for over 30 percent of questions relating to Amsterdam.



The largest number of questions about Amsterdam have been asked by Sietse Fritsma, who lives in the Hague but is from Friesland. Incidentally, Fritsma is also the MP who caused a controversy by asking questions about the double nationality of State Secretaries Ahmed Aboutaleb and Nebahat Albayrak. Jasper van Dijk and Boris van der Ham are Amsterdammers, whereas Fred Teeven lives in nearby Diemen.



The group cited most often in questions are Muslims, followed by Moroccans and gays. Almost all questions about the first two groups have been asked by the PVV. Gays on the other hand have the interest of a broad range of parties. Many of the questions are about gay organisation COC warning about an increase in gay harassment. Further, the SGP asked questions about the plan to have boat with under-sixteens participate in the Gay Pride canal parade. D66 asked for a comment on remarks by the Polish Vice Prime Minister Roman Giertych, who had also criticised the participation of young people in the Gay Pride.



The issue that most concerns MPs is safety and crime. Strikingly, almost all questions about subsidies have been asked by the PVV. This may have something to do with MP Fleur Agema, who investigated subsidies when she was a member of the Provincial Council. Among other things, the PVV asked about subsidies for the Marhaba Islam Centre and about the subsidy affair in Zuidoost.

MPs generally ask questions about Amsterdam because they are worried about something going on in the capital. On occasion, they do so for more positive reasons. For example, Fred Teeven (VVD) said that the way in which the Amsterdam police deals with human trafficking is an example for other cities.



Whereas the PVV asks the largest number of questions about Amsterdam issues, the CDA proves to be quite effective at generating publicity. In a selection of national newspapers, a question of the CDA about signs at Schiphol and one of the SP about Turkish illegal investment funds were given most attention. Both were mentioned in six newspaper articles. The PVV features with only two questions in the top five of publicity-generating questions.

  • (1/2). Are you going to do something about signs in Dutch being replaced by signs in English at Schiphol Airport? (Maarten Haverkamp and Jan Schinkelshoek, CDA, to the Ministers of Finance and Education)

  • (1/2). Will there be an investigation into illegal investment funds of which Turks in de Baarsjes have been victims? (Sadet Karabulut and Ewout Irrgang, SP, to the Minister of Finance)

  • (3/4). Can you make sure that Moroccan hooligans will have to clean a few football stadiums as an additional punishment, for which they will have to bring their tooth brush? (Geert Wilders, Hero Brinkman and Raymond de Roon, PVV, to the Ministers of the Interior and Justice)

  • (3/4). Is the Westermoskee mosque involved in illegal investment funds? (Mirjam Sterk, CDA, to the Ministers of the Interior and Justice)

  • (5). Is it acceptable that the University of Amsterdam will be hosting an anti-Wilders meeting? (Martin Bosma, PVV, to the Minister of Education)

Questions asked between the installation of the new Parliament in November last year, and the start of the recess in July have been included in the analysis. Only questions that explicitly mention Amsterdam are considered. Questions that clearly are not specifically about Amsterdam (but for example quote a study of the University of Amsterdam) have been excluded. Publicity raised by questions was analysed using the LexisNexis database. Illustration: signs at Schiphol Airport designed by Paul Mijksenaar, photo Stedelijk Museum.


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