Beginning Saturday (September 25), everyone in the Netherlands above the age of 13 will need a “Digital Covid Certificate” in order to be allowed into restaurants, bars, theaters, cinemas, and concert halls. Basically, the things that make life enjoyable for most people, will be limited to those who are in possession of a Q.R. code that indicates they are either vaccinated, tested, or have recovered from Covid-19 within the past 160 days.
What is interesting—and, in my view, incredibly telling—about the Dutch situation in particular is that a whopping 85 percent of the Dutch population is currently already fully vaccinated. More than a year and a half into the Covid-crisis, it is estimated that 95 percent of the population has antibodies, and currently only 200 people are in the ICU. Yet it is at this very moment that our government decides to introduce the most far-reaching and invasive measure the Dutch have seen to date. This is only the beginning.
Apparently, the last 15 percent of the Dutch population needs to be jabbed—whatever it takes. The ones who, for whatever reason, choose not to be vaccinated are either doomed to the social life of a hermit or have to travel, sometimes quite far, to a certified test location to get a Q-tip shoved up their noses every single day. That is, if they want to ‘’earn back’’ their right to partake in everyday activities. So even though people are not yet physically forced to be vaccinated, what the government is doing now is something that can only be called coercion.
Since there is no official or legal end-date tied to the enforcement of the Covid pass, there is no reason to believe that the Q.R.-society that we’re turning into won’t become more restrictive, let alone that it will disappear. Just take a look at other European countries, like France, Germany, and Italy. I went to Germany recently, where I experienced first-hand what it felt like to be denied entry to a restaurant for being unvaccinated; the negative test results I had on me didn’t suffice. This will undoubtedly become the case at some point in Holland as well.
Although highly inconvenient and time consuming, testing is currently still an option in the Netherlands and it is still “free” (i.e., paid for by taxpayers’ money). But not for long. The Dutch government has already announced that, sooner rather than later, people will have to start paying for their own tests, making it impossible for most people, especially children and people with low or no income, to do it on a regular basis.
The Dutch government is currently looking for legal pathways to enforce vaccine passes in the workplace and for health care facilities, as is already the case in countries like France and Italy. As a result of this, many Italians who still refuse to get vaccinated are forced to take unpaid leave; it is a true Kafkaesque nightmare.
Legally, the enforcement of these Covid passes and the far-reaching consequences that they already have clearly form a grave breach of constitutional rights and civil liberties such as bodily integrity, the non-discrimination principle, and freedom of movement. It is often argued that these breaches do not technically form a legal ‘’violation’’ of our constitutional rights, because the breach is justified in view of public health. In my opinion, however, this is simply wrong.
The Covid pass will not in any way slow down transmission of the virus, since both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can carry and transmit Covid.
Although our government is of course well aware of the fact that vaccinated people can still get Covid and pass it on, they still aim to ostracize unvaccinated people and mark them as the enemies of public health.
This type of divisive rhetoric by the government is incredibly dangerous. Our minister puts forward a completely false dilemma: These two groups do not threaten each other’s freedom. It is actually the government and the government only, here, that poses a fundamental threat to both groups’ freedom. These losses of freedoms are imposed by policy.
After all, a people that do not realize they are losing their freedom will not fight for it. They will simply let it slip through their fingers.