Royal Dutch police must not discriminate against travellers based on appearance, Dutch court rules

The Royal Netherlands Marechaussee (Koninklijke Marechaussee) is (finally!) no longer allowed to selectively check people based on their appearance, including skin colour

The Dutch cabinet decided not to appeal the decision that ruled that the Marechaussee’s checking of people based on their appearance is discriminatory

By not appealing the past ruling by the Court of Appeal in The Hague, the ban is now final, reports

READ MORE | As a Black man, I can tell you that institutional racism in the Netherlands is running rampant: OP-ED

The government could have appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, the Netherlands’ highest court, to check whether the process was conducted thoroughly. If not, this risked restarting the whole case.

The Dutch government’s comments

In a letter to the House of Representatives, the lower house of Dutch parliament, the government said that there was “no real possibility” to appeal the case. They added that the royal police shouldn’t treat people unfairly. 

While most of the government agreed not to appeal the decision, a few cabinet members questioned the lack of appeal. 

For example, Minister Hanke Bruins Slot and State Secretary Eric van der Burg state that “there are legal questions” about the court’s judgement and that there wouldn’t have been discrimination primarily based on race. 

Getting stopped based on the colour of your skin

There have been many reports of institutional ethnic profiling in the Netherlands. This whole case began when Mpanzu Bamenga, a human rights lawyer, was stopped at Eindhoven Airport in 2018 and noticed that only people with darker skin were being checked. 

Bamenga started a lawsuit against the Netherlands with other victims of ethnic profiling.

He calls the finalisation of the ban “a historic moment,” writes “This form of control was humiliating. Let the Netherlands set a good example for Europe from now on.”

READ MORE | How to support anti-racism in the Netherlands beyond social media

Human rights organisations Amnesty International, Control Alt Delete, and RADAR tell  that “this is an important step in the fight against racism and discrimination”.

Now that it is illegal for the Dutch royal police to discriminatively check people based on their appearance, the organisations urge the government to ensure that this is also the case for all government agencies in the Netherlands.

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Feature Image:Depositphotos
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi Lamaury
Naomi came to the Netherlands four years ago for her studies with two suitcases and without ever having been to the country or knowing much about it. Now, you can find her eating ‘bitterballen’ and fighting against the Dutch wind on her bike every day like a local. Naomi enjoys writing about what is going on around her alongside a warm cup of coffee.
  1. This is an dangerous and idiotic decision. Police and other law-enforcement officers should have the ability to stop anyone of any color for any reason if they believe it’s necessary to do so. A bunch of socialist upper class bureaucrats sitting in their well appointed offices are not out on the front lines protecting the general public. Police now will be, understandably, afraid to stop anyone for fear of being persecuted for simply doing what should be their duty. – How many assaults, how many beatings, how many burglaries and indeed, how many murders, will CERTAINLY take place because of this asinine decision to placate a handful of “rebel rousers”? (Be careful what you wish for, and support, it has a nasty habit of coming true!!)


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