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Watch Dutch PM Mark Rutt leaves PMO on bicycle after serving for 14 years, handing over power to his successor Dick Schoff


Jul 6, 2024

In an unexpected turn of events in the Netherlands, outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte bid farewell from his office in The Hague in a uniquely Dutch fashion—by bicycle. After a tenure spanning 14 years, Rutte has passed the baton to Dick Schoof, former intelligence chief, who took the oath of office in a ceremony presided over by King Willem-Alexander.

Schoof’s appointment marks a notable departure from the traditional political landscape, as he assumes leadership without affiliation to any party and absent from the recent electoral fray. Rutte, meanwhile, is poised to assume the role of secretary-general of NATO, a strategic alliance safeguarding member nations across Europe and North America.

The transition comes amidst the inauguration of the Netherlands’ first far-right government, following a landmark election that reshaped the country’s political trajectory. Led by Geert Wilders’ party, the coalition promises a shift in governance after Rutte’s longstanding premiership.

This development underscores a pivotal moment in Dutch politics, reflecting both continuity and change in the nation’s leadership and policy direction.

Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof delivered his inaugural address to parliament on Wednesday, vowing to prioritize one of his new government’s key objectives: the reduction of immigration.

“The primary concern among these is asylum and migration. This is the crux of the matter, regardless of one’s perspective,” Schoof stated. Not affiliated with any of the four parties comprising the coalition government, Schoof formally assumed leadership from long-serving Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Tuesday. The 67-year-old former head of the Dutch intelligence agency and counterterrorism office emerged as a surprising choice for the top position.

Last year’s elections saw the anti-immigration party led by Geert Wilders secure the largest share of seats, prompting a 223-day effort to form a coalition government involving four parties. Resistance from other coalition partners prevented the controversial Wilders from assuming the prime minister’s role.

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