PM disappointed in Dutch intellectuals

18th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

18 October 2006, AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said he is disappointed in the nation's intellectuals, artists and writers, accusing them of a lack of social engagement.

18 October 2006

AMSTERDAM — Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende has said he is disappointed in the nation's intellectuals, artists and writers, accusing them of a lack of social engagement.

Balkenende said the nation's intellectuals had failed to make their voice heard in the current debate about the problems in Dutch society.

"Where is the social engagement of intellectuals, writers and artists? Why is there an almost frightening silence?" Balkenende wrote in a letter to writer Harry Mulisch.

The Christian Democrat CDA leader said Dutch intellectuals should represent a mirror of Dutch politics.

Balkenende has waged a debate about Dutch morals and standards in recent years and his government has implemented tough policies on immigration and integration.

The government has also confronted concerns about crime and the war against terrorism, while carrying out austerity measures and sweeping reforms to the healthcare system.

Balkenende's letter was included in a book the prime minister unveiled to the public on Wednesday.

The book — called 'Aan de kiezer' (To the voter) — is a collection of 28 letters, primarily written while Balkenende was prime minister.

The letters are addressed to people he admired.

The book includes letters to former prime minister Piet de Jong, the presenter of the TV show 'Lingo, Lucille Werner and Olympic skater Marianne Timmer.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Dutch news

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