Council of Hoogeveen not happy with questions from CDA and SGP about exempting burial rights for KNIL soldiers

The parties of CDA and SGP asked critical questions in the Hoogeveen city council tonight about the exemption from burial rights of Moluccan KNIL soldiers. That did not go without a fuss, many parties thought it inappropriate.

The municipality has decided that 35 graves of the first generation of KNIL soldiers will be given a special status. During a speech on Wednesday, mayor Karel Loohuis announced that for the next thirty years no burial duties will have to be paid for either the soldiers or their partners. Hoogeveen thus follows the example of Assen and Midden-Drenthe.

Both parties mainly wanted to know what the financial consequences of this plan would be. They were also curious whether other groups could also qualify for this scheme. That from the point of view of equal treatment.

Asking the questions did not yield many positive responses from CDA and SGP. “It is inappropriate”, Hilma Hooijer of Municipal Interests said. According to Marin Rutgers (D66), a nice gesture was turned into a political problem. Stan van Eck (PvdA) agreed. He didn’t think it was chic that the questions were asked a day after the news was announced.

GroenLinks called on both parties to withdraw the questions. CDA and SGP, however, did not agree. “Emotion reigns here. Critical questions may be asked,” said Femke Koekoek (CDA). Mayor Loohuis said that the exemption from burial duties for the KNIL soldiers is intended to give the group recognition.