Minister Dijkgraaf: The situation around Matthijs van Nieuwkerk painful to hear | Home

with videoMinister Robbert Dijkgraaf (education, culture and science) finds it painful to hear what went on behind the scenes at The world moves on. He will inform this site after the end of the Council of Ministers. Dijkgraaf regularly sat at the table with Matthijs van Nieuwkerk in the program.


Denise King


Latest update:
17:53

“I am very sorry to hear that there was an unsafe environment and that people were seriously harmed by it,” said Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf. “I think we were all shocked by it, but I also think it’s good that the Secretary of State has said it. strong things about this and is also in talks with the public broadcaster.” According to Dijkgraaf, that conversation is important to “have it everywhere to create a safe environment.” in politics or at universities. The point of these conversations is not only that we do not want to create these situations, but also that we make it clear that there are places where you can report, that people are aware of these kinds of situations, and that there will be acted.”

Dijkgraaf also mentions that he himself has never noticed anything about the unsafe environment. He thinks it is painful to hear that he sat at the table with a program where things did not go well behind the scenes. “I think we all think it is painful, also from the government’s side, to see that there are unsafe situations in all possible places in society. I think it is good that we have a talk about it now. We also actively encourage that conversation from the cabinet.”

When asked, Dijkgraaf says that he was a little more distant from the editorial office DWDD when he prepared his science lectures, which he spent “a whole year” working on “with my own team”. Earlier this week, the minister did not want to answer questions about the case.

Robert Dijkgraaf © ANP

The culture of fear

DWDD came under fire this week after an article in Volkrant about the culture of fear behind the scenes of the talk show. The newspaper spoke to more than seventy former employees of the program. According to those involved, Van Nieuwkerk had extreme outbursts of anger where employees were ‘shouted at, humiliated and intimidated’ in front of others from a centimeter away. It caused stress, a sense of insecurity and, in dozens of people, even burnout and other serious mental disorders, according to the newspaper. The top of the television company BNNVara was repeatedly warned, but would not have intervened.

On Monday afternoon, the NPO announced an independent investigation into the work culture at DWDD. It will be investigated which signals of abuse there have been and what has happened to those signals. At the end of this week, the NPO will inform the Secretary of State about how the approach to the whole process will be organized. In any case, the research must be completed before the end of the first quarter of 2023 and then there must also be an action plan with concrete measures. BNNVara and Van Nieuwkerk no longer work together.

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