Rotterdam, The Hague want to be Netherlands' new capital

New Year's fireworks at the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, 1 Jan 2018
New Year's fireworks at the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, 1 Jan 2018Photo: @HostelROOM / Twitter

Rotterdam entrepreneur Rob Lagendijk is planning a petition to make Rotterdam the new capital of the Netherlands. He wants to collect 40 thousand signatures to get this topic on the political agenda. Arjen Dubbelaar, faction leader of Groep de Mos, thinks that The Hague should be the new Dutch capital, AT5 reports.

"I'm very excited to see what politicians think about this", Lagendijk said to RTV Rijnmond. "Rotterdam is the future of the Netherlands. Amsterdam is the city of the past. Rotterdam represents the future of our country." He added to AT5: "We have to ask ourselves if the capital still fits with the Netherlands of today." According to him, making Rotterdam the Dutch capital will be good for the economy. "Then the economic growth in Rotterdam will continue. We can receive tourists. But not like Amsterdam does it, we have to keep the city livable."

Joost Eerdmans, chairman of Leefbaar Rotterdam, supports Lagendijk's initiative. "It's something I've been thinking about for a couple of years", Eerdmans said to AT5. "We have the right papers to take over the baton. It is good that a discussion is now being started." According to him, something like changing the country's capital will not happen over night. "But perhaps in 20 or 30 years."

A website was set up where people who want to support this initiative can sign up. 

Should the Dutch capital change, Rotterdam will not be in the race without competition. The Hague also wants to be the capital of the Netherlands, according to Dubbelaar of Groep de Mos - the largest political party in the city. 

"Rotterdam is a beautiful city, but The Hague should actually be the capital of the Netherlands", he said on Twitter. "It is the residence of the Royal House, the national government, the parliament, national and international courts and almost all embassies and ministries."

It is unlikely that the Netherlands will seriously look at changing its capital city, according to AT5. A constitutional amendment will be needed to do so. But a change in capital is not unprecedented. Countries like Brazil, Kazakhstan, Belize and Nigeria did so in the past.