September 20, 2021

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Chaos at the opening of the new House of Representatives: Representatives in traffic jams, faulty gates, and a protest against Corona Interior

Chaos at the opening of the new House of Representatives: Representatives in traffic jams, faulty gates, and a protest against Corona Interior

Due to a malfunction of the entrance gates in the building, police officers, who were called in as reinforcements at the demonstration, had to wait until they could exit. To make matters worse, this week the municipality of The Hague chose to dig the pavement to replace the power cable.

It appears to be useful, says a security officer from the room; The sidewalk was fenced off by excavations, which allowed protesters to be kept at a distance. However, Marechaussee also looks anxiously at the stacked paving stones in front of the room. Traffic congestion in front of the parking lots, even without demonstrations, resulted in a traffic jam in Bezuidenhoutseweg, especially after the garage was closed by order of the police.

Official Opening

The temporary building of the House of Representatives, the old State Department, was officially opened on Tuesday. Parliament and the staff will work here for at least 5.5 years, until the Binnenhof is renovated.

During her opening remarks, Speaker of the House Vera Bergkamp expressed the hope that the new building would also create new working methods that lead to more “transparency” and “bilateralism”. She finds the building itself “exciting, fresh and new but different from the Binnenhof”.

Many MPs think otherwise. There are quite a few complaints among users about the concrete character of the building. Perhaps that does its job, as SGP leader Kees van der Stej laughs during his speech as the longest-serving member of Parliament. “Otherwise, the Members of Parliament will have a lot of fun here and won’t want to go back to the Binnenhof.”

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the basement

The complaints aren’t just about the building’s “hideout-like” appearance. In the new House of Representatives, demonstrations were hardly thought. In fact: Demonstrations are not allowed in front of the new building, on the one hand, because this obstructs traffic, and a maximum of 200 people can stand on the grassy strip. On the other side of the station, demonstrations are strictly prohibited because the municipality of The Hague has declared it a safety hazardous area. “Emergency services cannot intervene in the event of disturbances or disasters,” says the municipal demonstration policy.

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“Demonstration is a fundamental right,” said Member of Parliament Webern van Haga. “But then, there has to be accessible communication with people’s representatives, including in the new building.”

A maximum of 30 protesters are allowed to stand on the side of the building only. Lobbyist Oliver van Loo finds it remarkable that despite the €718 million budget, no place was provided for demonstrations. We’ll see how it goes,” Bergkamp said during the holiday. Well, we’re already seeing that.”

Meanwhile, dissatisfaction could also be heard in the building. About the stuttering wifi, the limited view from the public gallery and the poor acoustics in and around the large meeting room. Users are also no longer allowed to have their own coffee maker or refrigerator in their room. The VVD member has already removed his refrigerator twice at the request of the building manager. Why “external electronics” are not allowed? “Because his strength is really high,” says one employee. In this regard, such a first day is a good test, says one of the security guards. Did the building pass the test? “Wah.”

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While this step was not necessary, says Rep. Martin Bosma of the PVV party. “I fought hard against it for years. It is totally wrong to allow ourselves, as Parliament, to be fired from our positions. If we had renovated in phases, we would have stayed where we are. We are now in a soulless building and just have to see if we can go back in 5.5 years.” .”