Foreign press, Dutch mayors and Rutte express outrage over rioting in the Netherlands

Last night marked the third night of rioting against the implementation of curfew throughout the Netherlands. The riots have dominated both Dutch news and world news — Dutch mayors, MPs and Rutte are not impressed. 

Abroad, certain news agencies are likening the riots to a war zone. One German news paper, Bild captioned the news piece “Bürgerkrieg”, meaning “Civil War,” with an image of protestors clashing against police.

The German newspaper took its inspiration from the Mayor of Eindhoven, John Jorritsma, who claimed, “we are on our way to civil war in this way,” in response to Sunday night’s riots.

Rutte’s response also inspires headlines

Speaking to press outside his office on Monday morning, Rutte gave his opinion on the riots. “This has nothing to do with protest, this is criminal violence and we will treat it as such.”

News of the riots made their way to the Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, which offered the headline, “‘Criminal Violence’: Dutch PM deplores COVID lockdown riots,” inspired by the Outgoing Prime Minister’s quote.

France on Dutch accountability

The French newspaper, Le Figaro, adopts a slightly different angle and instead focuses on the fact that the Dutch are rioting against a measure that is far less strict than France’s own curfew.

In France, a nationwide curfew has been in place in many areas since the beginning of the outbreak of coronavirus. Last week, the start time of the curfew was brought forward to 6PM.

As a result, the French newspaper’s take on the Dutch riots focuses on the accountability that Dutch people must begin to adopt when battling the virus. “The curfew is intended to prevent a total lockdown, while the Dutch have not had to account for their movements since the outbreak of the pandemic,” the paper writes.

Mayors and MPs express outrage

Dutch mayors have expressed their disgust at the riots that broke out across the country for a third night in a row. Last night, Rotterdam saw considerable damage and looting at the hands of some rioters.

Mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam has responded to the events, describing the rioters as “shameless thieves, I cannot say otherwise.” The mayor had to consider using tear gas to control his city’s citizens. “I had to threaten with the use of tear gas, a far-reaching measure. I find that sad, because I have never had to do that in my entire career as mayor.”

Other mayors have also expressed their disgust at the rioters. In Den Bosch, Mayor Jack Mikkers described the rioters as having left “an unimaginable trail of destruction” in their wake.

In the southern region of Sittard-Geleen, Mayor Hans Verheijen called out rioters who took to the streets over the past two nights. “Damaging other people’s property doesn’t help anyone at all. In fact, you depress people and entrepreneurs even further. Unacceptable.”

What are your thoughts on the rioters? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: screenshot/press conference. 

Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah O'Leary 🇮🇪
Sarah originally arrived in the Netherlands due to an inability to make her own decisions — she was simply told by her mother to choose the Netherlands for Erasmus. Life here has been challenging (have you heard the language) but brilliant for Sarah, and she loves to write about it. When Sarah is not acting as a safety threat to herself and others (cycling), you can find her sitting in a corner of Leiden with a coffee, trying to sound witty.


  1. These stupid hooligans must be stopped! This situation is only to help them, yet they are being completely idiotic.
    Carry out the threats so they know that the threats are not empty, maybe then they’ll stay in line.
    Can’t they just sit their asses down and do something with their lives instead of protesting.

    They are causing panic around the country. The police must do all it takes to stop them.


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