Thursday , October 21 2021

"We are all immigrants," says Rutte in Schilderswijk


They sit opposite each other on Wednesday evening at the Schilderswijk library in The Hague, about two hundred local residents and the premiere of VVD Mark Rutte – and for an hour and a half they talk mainly among themselves.

From time to time, district residents say that other people receive a rented house, money for studies, internships or jobs. That they are "on one zero delay" because they live in Schilderswijk and "two zero if we have a different origin". "What are you doing for us?" Or "Why is the government not doing anything about it?"

Time after time, Rutte says he can do "little." That there is no "ready answer". And that they must "persevere" to pursue their dreams. "In that case, you may encounter a dick that you do not want to give an internship because you are Mo or Fatima."

Rutte behaves cheerfully and tries to joke from time to time: "What a nice VVD question, I feel a liberal electorate." Peace remains serious and concentrated. And soon people are angry. The man says in a high tone that the Eastern Indians from Schilderswijk feel "excluded" because the library meeting falls on their "party of lights". "They would also like to be there. How can this happen? Integration has failed, and then I wonder: with me or with the prime minister?

The first Rutte also talks about it. "Yes, it's a neighborhood fault with so many cultures that there is always an event in one culture or another." Immediately afterwards, he has a solution. I will invite Eastern Indians with Schilderswijk separately "for an hour." I hope that he will limit himself to this group, otherwise it will be complicated. "

Cappuccino and filter coffee

Throughout the day, Rutte, without a tie and with open buttons in her shirt, is in the middle of a working visit. In the morning he is at the Heilige Boontjes café in Rotterdam, with employees who were mainly former prisoners or people who had problems in their lives in a different way. There, he learns cappuccino, gets a bag of filter coffee. "It suits my fourth place at Albert Heijn."

In the afternoon he visits the "urban marines" who are trying to protect the districts of Rotterdam.

In Schilderswijk, the first question comes from a boy about thirteen, Bilala. He wants to know why people "from a migrant background and without them" are not simply confused in schools. Is it possible to organize a premiere yet? "Difficult", says Rutte, explains how free choice of school is and says that the government can not enforce the children they attend. "You have schools with many children from a migrant background and a few children whose parents have lived in the Netherlands for several hundred years, but in the end, of course, we are all immigrants."

Blocked in the neighborhood

The fourth row is Peggy Bouman (46) and Maaike van der Linden (40). They live at the library. Boumin's son, Lorenzo, taught him Rutte in high school – he teaches at a school in Schilderswijk on Thursday. Now that her son is an adult, Peggy Bouman is shortened. He must leave the house, he thinks, and Rutte wants to know why Lorenzo does not have any living space around. "He is sent to Mariahoeve."

Rutte probably does not know what to do about it. "The government's job is not to arrange a home for your son, do you have to do it yourself?"

Peggy Bouman says: "There are so many empty houses." Rutte starts on the waiting list. They are always there. "When I registered at a housing corporation in The Hague, it took me seven years to get something." It ends with friendships. "Then I will keep it at home," says Peggy Bouman. "Much more cozy," feels Rutte.

Most of the questioners talk for a long time. Rutte uses this time to eat cheese cubes, standing in a bowl next to him. One of his employees asked for it earlier.

A quarter past nine o'clock the evening is over. Rutte receives a brief applause. Then, almost everyone wants to take a picture with him. Rutte needs time. Then he calls: "See you all."

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