Discrimination cases in the Netherlands rose 16 percent in 2019


The Netherlands saw a 16 percent increase in criminal discrimination cases filed in the country last year, with 63 cases above the 397 total recorded in 2018, data from the police department shows. It is the second straight year such an increase was posted in annual crime statistics.

The figures include, “Any form of discrimination, exclusion, restriction or preference” which restricts or denies the “recognition, enjoyment or exercise” of equality, “human rights and fundamental freedoms,” according to the police. This covers cultural, economic, political, and societal cases of discrimination, but also “other areas of public life.”

A spike in recorded cases of criminal discrimination was reported in January, when 71 of the 460 cases were registered. Preliminary figures show that the two months with the fewest cases reported were June and December, the latter being somewhat unusual considering several high profile incidents against activists calling for an end to the use of blackface by actors portraying the Zwarte Piet character.

Though Rotterdam by far represented the highest number of cases reported in a single month, 25 in February, Amsterdam had the highest total cases, 60, for the year. The capital was followed by Rotterdam (57), Den Haag (24), Utrecht (15) and Eindhoven (11), also the top cities in order of population.

Of the country’s ten different policing regions, the fewest cases were in the Limburg region, with 20, followed by the Noord-Holland district. Excluding Amsterdam, there were 25 discrimination cases filed in that police district. The Amsterdam region was responsible for 70 cases, marginally better than the 73 cases filed in the greater Rotterdam area.

By far the highest number of recorded cases over the past decade took place in 2014 when some 3,242 filings were made. Roughly 70 percent of these cases were reported in March of that year, the same month that anti-Islam far right nationalist Geert Wilders delivered a widely-seen campaign speech promising supporters that his party “will arrange” for “fewer Moroccans” in The Hague and in the entire Netherlands. He was convicted in a hate speech case related to the statements in 2016. An appeal in the case is ongoing, and will resume in court on February 5.