Violators of burka ban to be fined €150

Woman wearing a burka
Woman wearing a burkaPhoto: belchonock/DepositPhotos

People who violate the so-called burka ban can be fined 150 euros, the Public Prosecution Service said in a prosecution directive. The ban,officially called the Partial Ban On Face Covering Clothing Act, applies to wearing face-covering clothing in public spaces like government buildings, hospitals, schools, and on public transportation. It takes effect on August 1st.

The fine cannot be replaced with community service because it involves a first category fine, the Prosecutor said in its directive, RTL Nieuws reports. The fine can increase if the violator is also committing another crime, for example refusing to identify themselves, or if hey refuse to leave the public space.

Government employees, transporters and hospital employees are expected to address people wearing face-covering clothing, the Prosecutor also said, according to the broadcaster. They must ask them to remove the clothing covering their face. Only if they refuse to do so, can the police be called. 

The Eerste Kamer, the Dutch Senate, passed the law that regulates the ban in June last year, after the lower house of Dutch parliament agreed to it in 2016.

The burka ban was subject to a lot of criticism. In 2015 the Council of State said that the law does not "provide for such an urgent need that this can justify an restriction on the right to freedom of religion". The large Dutch cities were also reluctant to enforce the ban. Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema said that it will not be given priority in the Dutch capital. Rotterdam and Utrecht similarly said that they have no intention of actively imposing fines for violations of the ban. In response Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that the ban applies to everyone, including the large cities.