VVD’s posters stir controversy in Rotterdam

March 7, 2014 – ‘In Rotterdam we speak Dutch’- this is the message sent by VVD, the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy in the Netherlands. The posters with this text were hung all over the city for VVD’s local election campaign. The message emphasized that people permanently staying in Rotterdam need to learn Dutch in order to integrate and be part of the society, not referring to tourists and expats. In an international and multicultural city like Rotterdam where many languages are spoken, many people found the text discriminatory. A number of VVD members have distanced themselves from this message.
Rotterdam VVD leader Jeanette Baljeu told the local broadcaster RTV Rijnmond that too few people learn Dutch and VVD posters are good means to provoke a discussion about integration. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the Rotterdam party produced ‘a fine poster with a good message’ mentioning that learning the language is the only way to really participate in Dutch society.
The poster sparked a heated discussion on social media with people being active especially on Twitter with both positive and negative reactions. One of the most popular activities has been making own posters through VVD online poster generator to mock the original VVD poster.

On March, 19 municipal council elections will take place in the Netherlands, and it will be clear what results VVD’s campaign yielded.



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