MPs criticize Netherlands’ King for vacationing in Greece amid coronavirus

King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (R) and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands pose during a visit to a sailing school De Veenhoop in Veenhoop, the Netherlands on September 17, 2020. (AFP)

The Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander has gone to Greece for a vacation, Dutch press agency ANP reported on Friday, prompting criticism from several members of parliament for travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Though a vacation in Greece does not break any of the Netherlands’ lockdown rules, including new restrictions introduced this week amid one of Europe’s biggest coronavirus outbreaks, the government has sought to discourage unnecessary travel.

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“This is unwise and incomprehensible,” the agency quoted lawmaker Joost Sneller of the D-66 party, one of the coalition partners in Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s governing coalition, as saying.

Rutte had urged the nation in an televised address on Tuesday “not to test the boundaries of the rules.”

“You can go on vacation, but then go to the place where you’ve booked your cottage or hotel room and don’t move around,” the prime minister said. “If you do go abroad -- well your options are limited as there are few countries that want to have us anymore.”

Willem-Alexander, who has a private villa in southern Greece, travelled by government jet, ANP reported.

The Netherlands reported nearly 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, a record.

A spokeswoman for the Royal House said it could not comment on the monarch’s “private affairs, and holidays are included in that.”

Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima issued an apology after a previous vacation to Greece, in August, after a photo was published showing them breaking social distancing guidelines on the island of Milos.

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Last Update: Friday, 16 October 2020 KSA 22:15 - GMT 19:15
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