Opinion columns

Note: I primarily write my columns in Dutch, and then translate them into English. Translations are linked when available.

A photo of a highway, taken from above. Six green tractors are driving down the highway in a line towards the camera. The other side of the road is empty, with signs that the road is closed in the distance.
🇬🇧 All bow down to the tractor tyranny

Radicalised farmers keep doing threatening and dangerous things, yet time and time again they're given free reign to do so, seemingly solely because they're on a tractor. We seriously have to start doing something about that.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: Steven Lek via Wikimedia Commons. Used under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

A large crowd of thousands of people, standing on a square. Photo taken from about 2,5 meters high. Some people are holding flags and signs. In the background is a small stage with speakers. Further back is a large office building with a yellow pipe on it, a large office tower and a grey cloudy sky.
🇬🇧 Of course young people are worried about the climate crisis. Aren’t you?

Many young people are worried about the climate crisis. Are you surprised with the future that's awaiting us? If you truly want to help young people who are worried about this, then show that you care too.

Published in Dutch on Joop, and in English on Age of Awareness.

A photo of the asylum center in Ter Apel: a two-story grey-tiled building with a large window on the first floor and glass sliding doors below it. Two people, a woman and a man carrying two shopping bags, are walking towards the door. In the foreground is a blue sign with directions to 'Entry Ebony' and 'Entry Ivory'.
🇬🇧 The situation in Ter Apel shows: the way we treat refugees is brutally discriminatory

People staying at the asylum center in Ter Apel have been suffering through inhumane living conditions for months. Why aren't we helping these people? I can only find one real explanation: brutally harsh discrimination.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: Directie Voorlichting via Flickr. Used under a CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

A close-up photo of Johan Derksen’s face. He is standing in a dimly lit area, looking to the right and holding a microphone that he’s speaking into.
🇬🇧 Get lost with your “cancel culture”

After the controversy surrounding the tv show Vandaag Inside, many were screaming loudly about 'cancel culture'. How much clearer can the lunacy of these claims become?

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: Timo Tijhof via Wikimedia Commons. Used under a CC BY 4.0 license.

A person in uniform, holding up a boom barrier with a stop sign on it, with in the background a military base and a flag pole with the Dutch flag.
🇬🇧 The government is too quiet about conscription

With conscription, the Dutch government is asking something very serious from the people. However, they don’t explain what this entails anywhere.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: bertknot via Flickr. Used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

A large group of about 30 soldiers, all dressed in green camouflage gear and holding guns, posing in a grassy field
🇬🇧 Abolish mandatory military duty

The Netherlands still have forced military duty, a.k.a. conscription or, in Dutch, militaire dienstplicht. If the government wants to, they can force you to risk your life in the army. It's high time we have a serious discussion about this.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: bertknot via Flickr. Used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Geert Wilders pointing and speaking into a microphone with an angry look
🇬🇧 Let's not forget about the PVV

The conversation about the behaviour of politicians finally seems to seriously be starting. However, I feel like that conversation is still limited mostly to the party FVD. Other right extremist parties, especially the PVV, are barely brought up. That poses a risk.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: David Sedlecký via Wikimedia Commons. Used under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

A group of protestors wearing raincoats seen from behind, with two protest signs being visible reading ‘Rebel for life’ with the Extinction Rebellion logo and ‘Trees are life’ with a drawing of a tree.
🇬🇧 Don’t become apathetic about climate policies, but hold on to your anger

Governments love to talk about how seriously they take the climate crisis, but meanwhile they aren't doing nearly enough to actually face that crisis. These kinds of lies and lacking policies have become so normalised we barely react to it anymore, even though we really should.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: CODE ROOD via Flickr. Used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

A wolf seen from upclose laying in a grassy field and looking into the camera
🇬🇧 Where does that fear of wolves come from?

The wolf is officially back in the Netherlands. Many people are not happy about that. There apparently isn't a lot of "public support". I wonder, why not? And are the worries people have about the wolf justified? Those are the questions I looked for an answer to.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: Pixabay

Screenshot of Muppet Babies showing Gonzo in a sparkly blue ballgown and eyemask.
🇬🇧 Muppet Babies made me emotional

A recent episode of the toddler's tv show 'Muppet Babies' made me unexpectedly emotional. It's an example of how children's programs are more and more telling these important stories. Stories that I needed as a kid.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: Screenshot 'Muppet Babies' S03E19a. © Disney. Used under Dutch citation right.

Logo OnlyFans
🇬🇧 Treat sex workers and their income with respect

OnlyFans has banned sexually explicit material from their platform, and is thus kicking many sex workers and content creators out on the street. I'm sick of it. It's time we abolish the stigma around sex work and give them the same respect as people with any other job. Sex work is work.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.

A flooded shopping district in the city of Valkenburg.
🇬🇧 Please, finally take the climate crisis seriously!

Over the past weeks, the world has been struck by several natural disasters which have cost hundreds of people their lives. These disasters are integrally connected to climate change. I hope that this can finally be a turning point in the tackling of the climate crisis.

Published in Dutch on Joop. Independently published in English on Medium.
Image: Wikimedia Commons.

Caretaking minister of Justice en Security Ferdinand Grapperhaus, wearing a long blue trenchcoat and a spy-style hat.
🇳🇱 It's that time again: officials want to see your timeline

The Ministry of Justice and Security has a new law proposal that could have great impact on your online freedom and privacy. At the time of publications, readers had one day left to formally file a response. I did that, because both the contents of this law and the way it's being treated are not okay.

Published on Joop
Image: EU2018BG Bulgarian Presidency via Flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license

Closeup of barbed wire in front of a blurry green background.
🇳🇱 My questions about freedom

In the Netherlands, on May 5th, we celebrate that we are free. However, my thoughts were with the countless people that aren't free right now. A look into the questions I have about how people around the world are doing right now.

Published on Joop
Image: Pixabay

A damaged and ripped Dutch  flag, raised upside down in a flagpole.
🇳🇱 Those who forget their history, are doomed to repeat it

While the Netherlands are celebrating freedom, right extremism continues to grow. That's why on the Remembrance of the Dead, I plead: don't just remember the past, but apply the lessons from the past to the dangerous ideologies of the present.

Published on Joop
Image: E. Dronkert via Flickr. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license

Five adults in grey bathrobes walking in a line.
🇳🇱 Just Naked? Just Broadcast It.

The new children's television show Gewoon. Bloot. (roughly translated: Just. Naked.), where kids get to ask naked adults questions, got a tidal wave of criticism as soon as it was announced. In contrast, I see a very valuable and educational program about an important subject.

Published on Joop
Image: screenshot 'Gewoon. Bloot.'. © NTR.

A police officer wearing heavy armour on a street corner, with around the corner a burnt out van with visible flames next to it.
🇳🇱 Everybody is under curfew, including football supporters

After the Netherlands went under curfew, riots broke out all across the Netherlands. The police acted vigorously, but at the same time groups of football supporters decided to play for own judge. This was largely applauded, but I think we should not approve of this.

Published on Joop
Image: Wikimedia Commons.

A closeup of a smartphone, with the logos of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram clearly visible.
🇳🇱 Time for a political blocking ban

In the political debate, the role of social media is huge. Despite this it happens a little too often that discussion and the sharing of opinions is abruptly halted because politicians block people with a different opinion. This is no longer acceptable.

Published on Joop
Image: Pixabay

A cardboard sign being held up at a protest, reading 'End white silence. Black lives matter.'.
🇬🇧 Fellow white people: You have privilege. Realise that. | #BlackLivesMatter

The anti racism protests of 2020 deeply touched me. However, they also brought me to new insights. White privilege exists, and it's high time we as white people become aware of that.

Independently published in Dutch and English on LinkedIn.
Image: Wikimedia Commons. Used under a CC BY 2.0 license.

A screenshot of a tweet from Disney, with the text "We stand for inclusion. We stand with our fellow Black employees, storytellers, creators and the entire Black community."
🇬🇧 Companies, do something or shut up

During the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, companies were tumbling over each other to show their support. Unfortunately, after this most companies didn't do anything else with the topic. This shameless sympathy farming should not be tolerated.

Published on Joop in Dutch. Independently published in English on LinkedIn.
Image: screenshot Twitter account Disney. Used under Dutch citation right.

Tyler at the Zernike Campus in Groningen, holding flyers and stickers in front of their face.
🇳🇱 The Wiv 2017 two years later: still a 'Sleepwet'?

In 2017 and 2018, there was a lot of commotion in the Netherlands surrounding the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017, commonly referred to as Wiv 2017, or by opponents as the 'Sleepwet'. Now, a few years later, nobody is talking about it anymore. Despite that, the act has been law for a good while now. How are things going?

Originally written for the minor Privacy Management of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences. Independently published on LinkedIn.

A tractor on a crossroad, with a sign tied to the front that reads 'Use your brain, keep farmers in our country' in Dutch.
🇬🇧 For farmers, against intensive cattle farming

In 2019, Dutch farmers took to the highways to protest. In these protests, people who plead in favour of reducing the livestock are often portrayed as villainous farmer haters. I see it differently: we have to switch to a system that works for farmers, without intensive cattle farming.

Published in Dutch in the October 2nd, 2019 edition of Dagblad van het Noorden, as well as on Parlement.com. Published in Dutch and English on the official website of PINK!.
Image: Wikimedia Commons. Used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

Tyler Rozema. Also find me on LinkedIn.

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