Burka ban applies to everyone, including the large cities, Dutch PM says

Mark Rutte, January 2016
Mark Rutte, January 2016. (Photo: EU2016 NL / Wikimedia Commons)

The burka ban will apply to everyone, also the Netherlands' large cities, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in reaction to the news that the large cities won't prioritize enforcement of this ban on face covering clothing. "Let us first implement the law. Then the big cities will see that it also applies to them", he said.

Over the weekend Mayor Femke Halsema of Amsterdam said that the Dutch capital will not prioritize enforcing the ban. There are too few police officers in Amsterdam. If the priorities are set, the enforcement of the burka ban is at the bottom of the list, she said. Rotterdam and Utrecht will also not give the ban high priority.

Minister Kasja Ollongren of Home Affairs called the municipalities' position on the ban premature. The government is still discussing with all kinds of parties how the law will be implemented. But the government's position is clear - the law is the law and it applies to everyone. 

The burka ban involves a ban on wearing face-covering clothing in public transit and public buildings like schools. It was adopted by the Dutch Senate over the summer.