CDA-leader Hoekstra criticized for breaking Covid rules at skating rink
Out-going finance minister and CDA-leader Wopke Hoekstra faced criticism for skating at the ice skating rink Thialf in Heerenveen. Practicing sports in an enclosed space is forbidden, according to the coronavirus restrictions restrictions. Hoekstra said he regrets putting on the skates.
Hoekstra posted a picture of himself on skates with Olympic champion Sven Kramer at Thialf on Thursday. The intention was to encourage people to remain active throughout the pandemic.
Other party leaders called out Hoekstra for being hypocritical. “The rules of course don’t apply to him. Because he is a Minister,” PVV leader Geert Wilders responded on Twitter. FVD-founder Thierry Baudet also called out Hoekstra by sarcastically tweeting: “Wopke skating blissfully”.
On Friday, Hoekstra acknowledged that he broke the rules and understands the outrage. "Of course I shouldn't have done that. I didn't handle it correctly. I should never have put on those skates and just kept my sneakers on," he said to NOS.
Thialf director Marc Winters said that Hoekstra's working visit took place within social restriction guidelines. “The minister’s welcome needs to be seen as a permissible company visit where instead of doing a regular tour around the facility, a few rounds skating rounds were offered”, Winters said to the Leeuwader Courant.
Thialf is closed for recreational use, yet remains open for professional athletes to train.
The finance minister also visited Drachten and Groningen later that day as part of work visits. With Kramer, Hoekstra discussed, among other topics, the future of professional athletics.
Sporten is ontzettend leuk en daarnaast heel gezond. Juist in deze tijd is het belangrijk dat we voldoende blijven bewegen.— Wopke Hoekstra (@WBHoekstra) February 18, 2021
Samen met @SvenKramer86 schaatste ik in het mooie #Thialf. #SamenSterkerDoorSport #CDA