Mark Rutte is asking youngsters to speak up about how new society should be

We got used to working from home, doing groceries once a week and having daily ZOOM meetings. But what about the youngsters? The “one-and-a-half-meter society” will define the adulthood of today’s teens.  

Besides the sightseeing and food, there is one more thing that makes me love the Netherlands even more: you are encouraged to think about your future and share your ideas by participating in a national brainstorming activity.

“The coronavirus is turning our country upside-down, and your life as well. It is very important that you also participate and think about what our country should look like in the near future. It’s about your future,” said Mark Rutte earlier this week.

“So I challenge you: Are you between 12 and 18 years old and have you found a way to deal with the one and a half meter society? For example, about how to keep our distance from each other and still learn, play sports and party with each other?”

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Het coronavirus zet ons land behoorlijk op zijn kop, en ook jouw leven. Het is heel belangrijk dat ook jij meepraat en meedenkt over hoe ons land er de komende tijd uit moet komen te zien. Het gaat over jouw toekomst. Dus ik daag je uit: ben je tussen de 12 en 18 jaar oud en heb je een manier gevonden hoe je met de anderhalvemetersamenleving omgaat? Bijvoorbeeld over hoe we afstand van elkaar houden en toch met elkaar leren, sporten en feesten? Laat jouw initiatieven, acties en goede voorbeelden achter in de reacties onder dit bericht. En wie weet nodig ik je binnenkort uit om jouw initiatief te komen toelichten op het Catshuis. Alles op een rij: ➡ Je bent tussen de 12 en 18 jaar oud. ➡ Je kan je bericht insturen tot woensdag 27 mei 12.00 uur. ➡ Als jouw initiatief wordt uitgekozen, krijg je eind mei een reactie. #jongerenaanzet

A post shared by Mark Rutte (@minpres) on


Here are some thoughts that I would reflect upon if I were in the age group Rutte mentioned:


How can teens still collaborate in a classroom? Adaptive learning software? Smart apps? A blended approach? How much technology should be involved? How can the ‘human’ art of teaching can be preserved?

We can investigate not only differentiated content but also just-in-time, just-enough and just-for-me learning resources. What about assessments? Homework practices and assessments can be designed by the students themselves, with proper academic criteria guidance from the teachers.

It’s a very good period of seriously analyzing what should be kept, what not and what can be improved in terms of teaching and learning. Nobody can know for sure what the best approach can look like. By creating experiments and exploring out-of-the-box solutions (by the way, there is no box!) we could reinvent the learning process for each one of the three educational paths a student can choose for secondary school (VMBO, HAVO or VWO).


The Dutch people are born with a love for sports. Football, tennis, golf, gymnastics, swimming, volleyball and ice-skating are some of the most popular sports in the Netherlands. You can’t take that away from the youngsters, but you need to handle them with care.

How can training schedules be worked out best for different age groups? Coaches can split teens into groups of 10 max and provide a bigger space for and between them. Some can play outside, some inside and they can rotate.

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Inline skating has become more appealing to many teenagers since Corona, but the Friday Night Skate event is still banned. Should individual sports be made more attractive? What sports can be made up? What about group dancing? How will new choreography look? Young people are often more creative than adults.


Most party locations will probably have several areas with a limited number of teens. Birthday parties with only 10 friends can still be fun: think about dividing an immense trampoline into personal spaces or party-bikes with fewer seats. The difficulty arises when thinking about dancing and eating, but activities like ping-pong and Wii can still be taken into consideration.

Create your own future

Ask your sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews how they like their future to look like. Anyone between 12 and 18 years old can send their message until Wednesday, May 27 at noon on the Instagram post above, and the selected initiatives will be responded to by end of May.

What ideas would you suggest for the future of the Netherlands? Tell us in the comments below!

Feature Image: Vadim Fomenok/Unsplash

Cristina Damian
Cristina Damian
Born and raised in Eastern Europe, Cristina dreams and plans on living in the West as much as possible. Her Bachelor Diploma says Mechanical Engineer, but her heart says writing. Passionate about volunteering, forever in love with books and has a special talent in touching extremely hot pots and pans while cooking. Will 100% fight over chocolate. Still fascinated about Dutch people and Dutch lifestyle.


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