Shouting match, Nazi comparison forces early end to Amsterdam council meeting
Wednesday's Amsterdam city council meeting devolved into shouting and Nazi comparisons to such a point that the meeting was called to an early end. While fighting between Amsterdam politicians is not uncommon, it brining a meeting to a premature end is almost unheard of, Het Parool reports.
Alderman Eric van der Burg first lost his cool when a homeowner who came to speak compared the city's leasehold plans, which were presented last week, to the Nazis and Jewish residents being presented with unpaid leasehold bills and fines when they returned from concentration camps after World War II. "Seventy years later the municipality is embarrassed by its actions, but in the real estate department the same chilly bureaucratic spirit still reigns", homeowner Jan Schrijver said. "The alderman does not know the difference between right and wrong."
The meeting again devolved into shouting when Van der Burg objected to what he saw as a too verbose input from a D66 council member. He asked committee chairman Meltem Kaya to get a better hold on order in the meeting, which resulted in a heated discussion with GroenLinks council member Jorrit Nuijens. He angrily pointed out to Van der Burg that order in the meeting is up to the city councilors, not the alderman. "If they want to sing a song during their input, then the alderman has nothing to say about it.
A cacophony erupted, with accusations and insults tossed about. Van der Burg stalked out of the meeting. Kaya called a 30 minute recess, after which she informed those present that the meeting would not continue, leaving crowd of bewildered citizens and officials behind in the hall.
"It looked like a kindergarten class", Tjeerd Eernstman, who came to the meeting to discuss a topic, said to Het Parool. "For the audience it was entertaining, but for the Amsterdam politicians an embarrassment. The alderman was pale and stalked by all the people on the way to the exit, the committee chairman was in the hall in tears, and we were just sitting there."
Schrijver partly retracted his words in an email to Van der Burg a few hours later, according to the newspaper.