Netherlands. In the March elections, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal Party VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) managed to stay in power, despite a 10-seat reduction in parliament. The party now received 33 seats, Geert Wilder’s right-wing populist PVV (Freedom Party) increased by 5 seats to 20, progressive D66 received 19 seats, the same as the Christian Democratic DCA, while the green party Green Left and the Socialist Party got 14 seats each. The big loser became the Social Democratic Labor Party, which backed from 39 to 9 seats. With 10.9 million voters, the election received the highest turnout since 1989.
According to Countryaah.com, a few weeks before the election, the Netherlands ended up in turmoil with Turkey, which resulted in a less diplomatic crisis flared up. This, since the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was prevented from traveling to Rotterdam to take part in an election before the Turkish referendum on a new constitution in April. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became angry and called the Netherlands “successors to the Nazis and fascists”. After another Turkish minister, the Minister of Social Affairs and Family Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, was barred from entering the Netherlands, Turkey broke off diplomatic contacts with the Netherlands. NATO commander Jens Stoltenberg was forced to urge the two NATO members to “step down the tension”. In an analysis following the parliamentary elections, it was stated that Prime Minister Rutte took advantage of the Turkish debacle:
In early August, the so-called egg scandal that forced the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany to recall millions of eggs burst after it was found that they contained traces of the insecticide fipronil. The drug is used against lice and ticks but is prohibited to use in connection with food production. Hundreds of chicken farms were forced to close, and the agriculture ministers in the three countries quit the accountability issue. Later, two managers were arrested at the Dutch company where the poison was first discovered.
In December, the European Commission decided to review IKEA’s tax treaty with the Netherlands. According to the European Commission, through its tax plan 2009-14, the company has moved money between the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, thereby withholding the authorities almost € 1 billion in tax.
The Netherlands women’s soccer team took the Euro gold on August 6 after a 4–2 victory against Denmark. The competitions took place in the Netherlands and the final match was played in Enschede. The victory was a contributing factor to the fact that midfielder Lieke Martens was named by UEFA as Europe’s foremost female soccer player and later also by FIFA as the world’s foremost champion.
With the help of Amsterdam’s Mayor Eberhard van der Laan, My Red Light became the first brothel in the Netherlands in August to be cooperatively owned by the prostitutes, who are now gaining influence over their working hours and given the opportunity for executive training.