Changing Patterns in Social Fabric Test Netherlands’ Liberal Identity

Washington 23 June 2007
Liberal trends in the West have many people worried but they are not unstoppable, if Dutch experience is anything to go by. The Netherlands, having legalised prostitution, euthanasia, abortion, same-sex marriage and marijuana use, has won the reputation of being the most “tolerant” country in the world. But many Dutch, including political leaders, are unhappy with their anything-goes society and are insisting again on values and rules, reports the Washington Post.
In cities across the country, mayors and town councils are closing down “coffee shops” where marijuana is sold and smoked and restricting brothels. Parliament is considering a ban on the sale of hallucinogenic “magic mushrooms”. Christian Union party MPs (newly represented in parliament) have introduced a bill that would allow civil officials with moral objections to refuse to perform “gay marriages”. And Dutch officials are trying to curtail the activities of a group (Women On Waves) that peddles abortion in neighbouring countries where abortion is illegal or strictly limited.