Time to stash your head-to-tow garb, at least in the Netherlands, where, on Thursday, August 1, a new law that prohibits wearing the burqa in public spaces, including schools, hospitals, public buildings and public transportation, has come into effect.
Starting today, the authorities are required by law to order women to show their faces in the above places, and if a woman refuses, she would be denied access and face fines of up to €150 ($167).
According to Deutsche Welle, the same ban also applies to motorcycle helmets and full-face ski masks.
The ban has been 13 years in the making, according to Dutch News, and is the brainchild of Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who founded and is the leader of the Party for Freedom, which has 20 out of the 150-seat parliament, making it the second-largest faction.
The new law is facing resistance from public transportation companies, hospitals, and even the police, who have said that, seeing as the ban will affect no more than 400 women in the entire country, they don’t plan to make its enforcement a priority.
Much has been made of the fact that the Rijksmuseum will now be stopping women in burqas from entering, showing once and for all that Western culture will not tolerate those foreign customs. And costumes.
Pedro Peters of the public transport association told NRC TV: “We never asked for this law and the practice [of wearing burqas] has never caused problems. Transportation must always go on. We are not going to stop trams and metros because someone is wearing a burqa or a motorbike helmet.”
The police have announced they would “not drive after a tram in which someone is sitting who is breaking the ban on face-covering clothing.”
Over in Denmark, where an anti-burqa law has been in effect for a year now, so far 23 women have been fined.