Posts tagged ‘Netherlands’

Going Dutch: does the internet split the difference between public affairs and government relations?

Koen Droste over at FH Amsterdam recently appeared in the Financieel Dagblad on the subject of the effect of the internet on lobbying. You can check out his take on what the internet means for the practice of public affairs and government relations here.


June 7, 2011 at 7:16 pm Leave a comment

And the winner is …


Election night in the Netherlands was quite ‘hot’; at some point the NOS television program  ‘election night’ announced that Twitter was overloaded and inaccessible due to the vast interest of the people in the probable results.

The Dutch parliamentary elections on 9 June in all probability resulted in a victory for the liberal VVD in terms of the most seats and a victory for Geert Wilder’s party PVV in terms of the most seats gained compared to the last elections. Former Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende immediately resigned as leader of the Christian-democratic party CDA as his party almost lost half of its seats.

Coalition and compromise have always been at the heart of Dutch politics and governance. This time around, the political parties really have to live up to these Dutch principles as the amount of seats per party are quite evenly spread. The labour party PvdA for instance, only has one seat less than the VVD, so getting a credible majority is a bit of a challenge. One option now speculated upon in the Dutch media is a combination of the VVD, CDA and PVV leading to a small majority of 76 seats out of 150 (the absolute minimum). Formally speaking, the results are still to be reviewed by the election control council (the ‘Kiesraad’) and final results will be announced in parliament on 15 June.

So for the moment, the winner is democracy. Now let’s see how civil this democracy is in forming a government. VVD leader Mark Rutte wants to have a new government by 1 July, which is 21 days from now. FYI,  since 1946 the average coalition process in the Netherlands takes about 87 days… 


Enhanced by Zemanta

June 10, 2010 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

Dutch Disease

Have you ever heard of a condition called infobesitas? It is an addiction to information due to the many drugs out there: internet, mobile phones, television and radio. According to youth trend watching/communications company YoungWorks in the Netherlands they are not addicted out of boredom or out of sincere interest to know things. Teenagers/youngsters/adolescents (or how do we call them these days? People like me who are wondering are definitely no longer in that category) are actually afraid to miss out on any news or information updates and are thus overwhelmed with information. Some sort of peer pressure to be aware and be able to chat about it – both in person and online (many parents probably won’t oppose to a kind of need-to-know peer pressure for their kids throughout high school and university). Symptoms? It negatively influences their ability to concentrate and to sleep. Whilst they are very active in retrieving news and at social network sites, they now appear to be less able to multitask when compared to adults. These general conclusions on the state of mind of our youth are all very nice, but what do the addicts think themselves? YoungWorks has a short video in its March 2010 Alert (sorry folks, it’s in Dutch) containing some nice Dutch architecture. And just for the record, while the Dutch media picked up on this new phenomenon from YoungWorks, the agency admits that the term originates from a US blogger… According to its YoungWorks Trendport Top 10, Infobesitas is said to become the 2010 buzzword (If we are indeed faced with an epidemic this year just imagine politicians and policymakers arguing on labelling and GDA levels (Guideline Daily Amounts)…

However, this latest Dutch disease could actually help cure another condition; the lack of registered donors to save lives. How? Well, this urge to ‘be out there’ connecting and communicating to people and absorbing information has, amongst other issues, led to the success of national social network sites such as Hyves. Hyves is derived from ‘hive’, a bee’s nest and “a place swarming with activity.”’ To hive is to store and collect. In a relatively small and densely populated country as the Netherlands, with just around 16.6 million inhabitants, there are over 10 million Hyves accounts.

Again, how can it help save lives? Earlier this month, the Dutch national news picked up on the possibility to become a registered organ donor through Hyves. There is a severe lack of registered donors in the Netherlands, resulting in long waiting lists and people dying in absence of a suitable donor. Since 12 April, all users of Hyves have seen a question popping up on their Hyves page: ‘If you could save a life, would you? Yes or No?’ Through this action, Hyves is supporting the Yes/No campaign of the Dutch transplant foundation (Nederlandse Transplantatie Stichting). If one decides to become a registered donor, this will appear on your Hyves profile page. This is said to be the first time Hyves changes the standard user profile for a good cause since it was founded in 2004.

Such a positive spin on the potential of social media networks even makes its sceptics soft. For instance, it convinced the blogging virgin that I am to share these trends and developments through the World Wide Web and with people I do not necessarily know. The next step is considering registering as a potential donor. Mmmmh…mission accomplished?

Esther (for those of you who wondered, yes, I am a Dutch citizen of the world)

April 22, 2010 at 11:19 am 2 comments

About this blog

A blog on politics, policy, public affairs and communications in Brussels and the European Union. The blog is written by the team at Fleishman-Hillard in Brussels. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect those of the company or its clients. You will find the contact details of our team at

Subscribe to this blog

FH Brussels tweets

FH corporate reputation

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.


%d bloggers like this: