Belgian PM 'unknown' in Netherlands

14th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 October 2005, AMSTERDAM — Guy Verhofstadt has been prime minister of Belgium for the last six years, but 60 percent of the Dutch have no idea who heads the government in the neighbouring country.

14 October 2005

AMSTERDAM — Guy Verhofstadt has been prime minister of Belgium for the last six years, but 60 percent of the Dutch have no idea who heads the government in the neighbouring country.

Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt

Polling organisation TNS Nipo surveyed 836 Dutch people in the run up to the annual Week van Geschiedenis (History Week) in the Netherlands. Reflecting this year's theme 'Buren' (neighbours), the Nipo survey asked questions about Belgium and Germany.

When asked to name the Belgian prime minister, six out of 10 Dutch people had no idea.

About 7 percent thought one of Verhofstadt's predecessors was still at the helm. Names suggested included ex-prime ministers Jean-Luc Dehaene (1992-1999) and Wilfried Martens (1979-1992).

A curious suggestion for Belgium's leader was Gerhard Schroeder, the outgoing chancellor of Germany. Another odd suggestion was 'piekhaar' (spiky hair), apparently a reference to Verhofstadt's hair style.

Nipo carried out the survey on behalf of the organisers of history week, magazine 'Historisch Nieuwsblad', newspaper 'De Volkskrant' and historic association 'Anno'. The history week starts on 29 October.

[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]

Subject: Belgian news

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