Home Page

News stories



Rob Oudkerk out of office


February 2004, the Netherlands

Amsterdam city alderman (wethouder) Rob Oudkerk lost his job after a newspaper quoted him saying he'd visited a tippelzone, or street-walkers' area.

The Theemsweg tippelzone, Amsterdam, closed yesterday....

— 16 December, 2003

That's what tippelzones are for. Not illegal, but... if you're a city council member.... Oudkerk's troubles were in public perception and media attention. He also admitted some cocaine use, according to the paper. Besides this, he's been controversial in the past. There was some chatter about the time he argued rudely with a traffic officer....

Oudkerk said that Het Parool (newspaper) reporter Heleen van Royen had promised him anonymity. She responded "Gelul" (balls.) He talked about suing her, which seems strange. I know that in Britain, one may sue for damage to one's character. In America, truth is an absolute defense against [charges of] defamation. Oudkerk didn't say it wasn't true, only that van Royen had promised, and broken her promise. Despicable, but not litigable, in America. I don't know what the law is on that in Holland.

Oudkerk would have needed the support of his political party, Partij van de Arbeid, — labor — if he were going to keep his position. He didn't get that. So he's gone.


Contact