Mark Rutte

Regional News • Europe
Netherlands: Government resigns over child benefits scandal
Mark Rutte
Mark Rutte Credit: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Prime Minister Mark Rutte's government stepped down on Friday after it emerged that officials had wrongly pursued thousands of people over welfare fraud. A parliamentary report called it an "unprecedented injustice" to claw back tens of thousands of euros without giving the accused a chance to prove their innocence. The pressure on Rutte's four-party coalition to resign had increased on Thursday when the leader of the opposition Labour party, Lodewijk Asscher, quit.

Rutte said the government would continue to lead the country's COVID-19 response team until elections already scheduled for March.

Regional News • Europe
Netherlands: Five-week strict lockdown imposed
Netherlands: Five-week strict lockdown imposed
Credit: Illustration for Pendect by Ashley Winkler

The Netherlands imposed a five-week strict lockdown nationwide on Monday. Nonessential businesses, eateries, schools and cultural places will remain closed. The lockdown is set to end on January 19th.

Dutch PM Mark Rutte: "We have to bite through this very sour apple before things get better. The reality is that this is not an innocent flu as some people — like the demonstrators outside — think. But a virus that can hit everybody hard."