Dutch right-wing coalition: Coffeeshops to become members-only clubs

The leaders of the conservative VVD, the Christian Democrats and Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party have presented their plans for a centre-right government. Amongst 18 billion euro cuts, tightened immigration policies and a ban on the burqa, the parties agreed to turn coffeeshops into members-only private clubs. This would also mean that foreign visitors are no longer welcome.

Similar plans to tighten the rules for coffeeshops were proposed earlier, but were only adopted by the province of Maastricht in an attempt to cut off French, Belgian and German tourists. It is likely that such measures would force many Amsterdam coffeeshops, who mostly serve tourists, to close their doors.

Opposing parties and migrant groups critize the coalition deal, saying it will increase tension in society. Leader of the Freedom Party, Geert Wilders, is due to appear in court in Amsterdam for a total of six days (over the course of a fortnight) on charges of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims.

Christian Democrat MPs are still divided on whether or not to support the coalition agreement.