Editorial: Participating society

POSTED: 09/18/13 1:46 PM

King Willem-Alexander’s first King’s speech – his address at the opening of the parliamentary year – will go down in history as a change document.

The message it contains will have far reaching consequences for many people. The King has announced that the classic welfare state is something of that belongs in the previous century.

It is time for a change, it is time for a “participating society.” While the Troonrede does not explain what this entails, the perception is that the state cannot do everything for its citizens. There is an end to what the state has to offer and citizens will have to become more active, participate and basically take over duties they have always felt as an entitlement.

The desire for a transition to a participating society is understandable when governments are cash-strapped but citizens will not take it all for granted.

When the real measures hit the front pages civil unrest and loud protests are right around the corner. It does not mean the Dutch government is wrong. It just means that it takes two to tango.

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