Wilders, equality and what a law school is about

Wilders, equality and what a law school is about

On 26 November 2014, the Wilders movement made itself heard, while Leiden University commemorated the address given by professor R.P. Cleveringa on 26 November 1940 in protest against the dismissal of his colleague, professor E.M. Meijers.

On 26 November 2014, the Wilders movement – worshipping a country without islam – warned for an avalanche of children named after Mohammed. It did so in the Dutch Parliament, debating the budget of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (which includes integration). It warned for the death of Dutch culture and identity, pointing at the wombs of muslimahs as its cause. It accused those members of parliament who defended the freedom of religion – including the freedom to be a muslim – of acting out of opportunism, as they were relying on a muslim electorate. So far for the Wilders movement.

One can be certain that prof. R.P. Cleveringa did not act out of opportunism when he argued before the students of his faculty “that - as is apparent from its purpose - is committed to justice, this comment may not be left unsaid: in accordance with Dutch traditions the Constitution declares that every Dutch person is eligible to be appointed to any service of his country and to hold any rank and any office, and affords him, irrespective of his religion, the enjoyment of the same civil and citizen rights”. Cleveringa told so in his address given on 26 November 1940, in protest against the dismissal of his colleague Professor E.M. Meijers, whose sole mistake was that he was born from a Jewish womb.

In Cleveringa’s faculty one can participate in research and education irrespective of one’s religion, name or womb of origin. We work together, with no reason to question each other’s background – male, female, believer or non-believer – other than out of sincere interest. This is the message of 26 November. It will be strong enough to survive whatever Wilders cares to say all year round.


Marten van Harten

I fully agree, and would add that Cleveringa’s protest speech was part of a public lesson on the juridical works and the moral example of Professor Meijers. In particular, he emphasized the value (‘valeur absolu’) of Meijers’ contributions in the field of private international law.

Now Mr. Wilders not only wishes to limit the civil rights of Muslim citizens, but also opposes private international law as such, which he considers, after research by his political party, a tool for enacting ‘Shariah law’ (De Telegraaf, 11th April 2011). http://www.telegraaf.nl/binnenland/20851467/___Sharia_al_in_Nederland___.html

It might be appropriate that the Law School offers a free lesson to Mr. Wilders and his researchers about Professor Meijers as initiator of both the New Civil Code of the Netherlands, and the revitalization of the Hague Conference on Private International Law after the Second World War, and in Cleveringa's spirit, about the ‘valeur absolu’ of this legacy today.


As a big fans of the Cleveringa Lecture who attends the lecture for three times in a row, I fully receive (and would like to carry down) the message sent out by our old dean which has been interpreted year after year by eminent persons with different backgrounds. Indeed, if we look back to the history and dwell on those inspiring moments for a while, we would be more reasonable as to the question of how to deal with the current affairs.

Add a comment