The Netherlands in a downward spiral

The media portrays a government that is no longer able to adequately resolve rapidly emerging crisis situations. Society is increasingly adrift, and there is a widespread sense of unease among the population.

Current news about abuses in the unemployment benefit affair, the slow settlement of the earthquake damage in Groningen, the farming population and the fishermen who are affected, the chaos in the refugee home, the billions in support for the war machine in Ukraine and the limitless. price increases in the food industry and the energy sector are difficult issues. Citizens see that crises are piling up, that the approach lacks a human touch and that democracy is faltering. There is little trust anymore in the endless polders of our administrators, and the gap between reality and practice in The Hague is growing all the time. The country is on fire, and officials and representatives are on leave for a long time or are more preoccupied with foreign affairs than with the chaos of their own country.

Many other social issues intensify the outrage and unrest among the population. What about our carefully built cultural heritage that is being spoiled at a rapid pace. We would rather condemn our war heroes than honor them. The once friendly Sinterklaas party has now degenerated into a slave discussion, and transgressive behavior in top sport is assuming alarming proportions. The Randstad arrogance with which the ‘Woke movement’ is imposed on society is shocking. The government is abandoning the elderly and it is impossible for the younger generation to get suitable housing. It is bizarre that thirty percent of university students have burnout, and that many young people have to seek refuge in psychiatry, among other things because of a failing corona approach. The drug problem and organized crime are getting out of hand. The banks lose prestige and see their customers go away, unlike the food bank, which has to help more and more victims. Market forces in health care have also created perverse incentives, causing health insurance premiums to continue to rise.

These and more dormant developments are sending our social well-being into a downward spiral. This leads to greatly increasing irritation and frustration among citizens. And that in a period of so much corona-related suffering. It seems that politicians and administrators are underestimating the situation, letting party politics prevail and lacking knowledge of crisis management. Core values ​​such as integrity, reliability and moral awareness are easily violated, even lying is not avoided. These are all signals that, when combined, can easily lead to an explosive situation and social upheaval. It feels like ‘living on an erupting volcano’. One must hope that it will not come to that, and that the government will quickly come up with suitable solutions in the nitrogen crisis, in the reception of asylum seekers and in the purchasing power problem. However, this requires more than an evening Catshuis consultation.

The Netherlands is still a prosperous country to live and work in. However, we cannot deny that our country is visibly in decline. Fortunately, we are not yet a failing state, and revolutionary action is not in our genes. Let’s all make sure it doesn’t come to that. With this cabinet, which pensioner Johan Remkes has to get out of his stable to solve problems, we cannot be the least bit reassured. It will require new impetus and courageous leadership to turn the tide. Properties that the new cabinet promoted at the beginning of this year, but of which very little is visible.

Gert-Jan Ludden is a crisis management consultant and founder-owner of SVDC.

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