New Dutch govt. wants schools to teach kids the national anthem

Dutch flag (Photo: Ninane/Wikimedia Commons). (Dutch flag (Photo: Ninane/Wikimedia Commons))

The four parties currently negotiating forming a new Dutch government together want to obligate schools to teach their students the text, meaning and melody of the Wilhelmus, the Dutch national anthem, AD reports based on a draft text of the government agreement the newspaper managed to get hold of. 

The text written by the VVD, CDA, D66 and ChristenUnie also states that on their 18th birthday all Dutch must get a booklet about the history of the Netherlands which explains our "democratic constitutional state", according to the newspaper. With this booklet and teaching kids the anthem, the parties think that "coherent" attention will be paid to "elements that are important for the national identity". They also want to make locations with a "historical meaning" accessible and indicate these locations clearly. 

These two measures seem to be a nod to the CDA's campaign promises to restore the "norms and values" of the Netherlands. Though CDA leader Sybrand Buma's plan to have kids stand and sing the Wilhelmus in schools apparently did not make it in, AD reports. 

The D66 advocated for lessons on colonialism and slavery, but this also did not make it into the draft agreement. 

The CDA and ChristenUnie want obligated public service to be added to the agreement, but this is still a subject of negotiation, according to the newspaper. The CDA wants young people to do their public service with Defense, the police or other civil society organizations, with problem youth going first. The ChristenUnie wants young people to do public service for six months, spread out in periods between their 18th and 28th birthdays. Compensation they receive for this service can go towards paying off their student loans, according to the Christian party. 

On Tuesday AD revealed that the four parties reached a compromise on euthanasia and stem cell research. This report caused some tension among the negotiating parties, with ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers being particularly annoyed. "I read it, but there is no agreement yet", Segers said to the newspaper before the start of the talks on Tuesday afternoon. He called the report "very harmful" to the formation talks. "It's not going to be an easy afternoon, this does not help the process." After Tuesday's talks he would not say whether he still trusts the other negotiators, according to AD. 

The other three party leaders refused to comment on the leak.