Netherlands: Security Reasons Cited as Partial Ban on Face Veils is Approved

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte cited security reasons as he announced the country’s new partial face veil ban to the media. Rutte maintains that while the government tried to find a happy medium between both the citizens’ and travelers’ freedom to wear the clothing of their choice and the necessity for mutual and “recognizable communication” , ultimately, the ban was made with security in mind and will be enforced in securing situations and areas where it is vital for people to be seen.


How Did the Partial Face Veil Ban Develop?

An initial version of the ban, which was sustained by anti-Islam Activist Geert Wilders, has since been withdrawn. Dutch Interior Minister Ronald Plasterk initiated the partial ban in its place, with the prime minister’s assistance that religion played no part in its development.

The new ban differs because under the partial ban, the face veil is only prohibited in schools, hospitals, and on public transportation. The face veil will still be allowed to be worn on the street, in general public places, and in places of leisure and entertainment.


Who Does the Netherlands Partial Face Veil Ban Affect?

The face veil–which is also referred to as a burqa, a chadri, or a paranja – is an outer garment that covers the entire body, and leaves a small, sometimes transparent, opening over the eyes. Women of the Islamic faith and tradition usually wear it. State broadcaster NOS states that less than 500 women wear the face veil in the Netherlands, and many only occasionally.

Travelers or Netherlands citizens who insist on wearing the face veil in the aforementioned banned places will be subjected to a 405-euro fine, which translates to about $450 dollars.


Will the Netherlands Partial Face Veil Ban Affect Travelers?

While nearby travel hotspots Belgium and France, which both have more aggressive bans that prohibit face-covering garments to be worn at all in public, have caused waves with their restrictive prohibitions, the attention has done little to spur the countries’ tourism industries. Thus, it seems that the new law is unlikely to affect the millions of visitors the Netherlands sees on a yearly basis.

However, it remains to be seen if the partial face veil ban will defer steadfast face veil wearers from traveling to the Netherlands in the future.