While on the ground nothing much is happening in the Netherlands in the field of sortition, occasionally impatience surfaces in the media. On July 3rd, one of the main Dutch newspapers, NRC Handelsblad, published an article in which 'national philosopher' Daan Roovers and writer and art historian Eva Rovers call for French-style Citizens' Assemblies in the Netherlands, specifically one on climate change. They criticize the 'polder' model, the traditional Dutch way of working towards concensus, because in that procedure many interest groups are at the table, while citizens are left out, causing further dissatisfaction and distrust.
In the article, president Macron is praised for his bold step to draft citizens by lot - the word lottery is actually mentioned - and letting them work out plans. 'Macron's biggest insight is that citizens can be trusted. In fact, he realized that by means of deliberative processes such as citizens' assemblies, citizens can help politicians make decisions on controversial issues: "Deliberative democracy is not a threat to parliamentary democracy, but complements and enriches it." '
The Dutch news media rarely report on sortition, even though remarkable developments are currently taking place in influential, nearby countries that are important to the Netherlands. The few calls for sortition that are published, are usually quite defensive: the word lottery is scarcely mentioned, and the focus is on purely an advisory role for citizens, as if sortition advocates are fearful of sounding radical and of not being taken seriously.
Source: Laat burgers politici helpen: organiseer een burgerberaad, NRC Handelsblad, July 3rd, 2020
- "National Philosopher" Mrs. Roovers advocates sortition (this website)
- David Van Reybrouck interviewed on national Dutch public TV (this website)
- Dutch parliamentary reform committee misses opportunity (this website)