Amersfoort, April 27th, 2019 – At 1:15pm, 21 rebels from Extinction Rebellion jumped into the canals of the Dutch city of Amersfoort during the royal visit of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima in honour of King’s day. The rebels had a tongue-in-cheek welcome planned for the King and demanded a radical change in the current system to prevent the country from flooding, making the inland city of Amersfoort a coastal town. On this festive day the swimmers want to splash awake the Dutch people to the immense ecological crisis caused by climate change. This dive marks the end of the first series of actions in The Netherlands and is part of the International Rebellion Weeks, starting on the 15th of April, that took place in more than 35 countries and 85 cities across the world.
“Today we’re just having a party!” says Tiem van der Deure, one of the movement’s spokespeople, “we certainly don’t want to disturb the celebration, but if we do not act on climate change now, the Dutch coast will soon reach all the way to Amersfoort.’ With singing on shore and in full view of the king, the rebels jumped into the water with the movement’s well-being team on standby with dry towels. King Willem-Alexander waved at them with an acknowledging look. The king is no stranger to the topic, as he has been working on water management himself since 1997. As member of multiple organisations working in the field he personally contributes to solving water-related problems in the Netherlands and around the world. Extinction Rebellion is asking the head of state to take a stance on the issue and become a source of inspiration for a rapid solution.
Since Extinction Rebellion arose in the UK, the movement attracted an incredible number of people throughout the world. They demand the Dutch government take responsibility, communicate the severity of the crisis, take drastic measures to be CO2 neutral by 2025 and to create a Deltaplan for the climate, decided on by a Citizen’s Assembly. The term ’Deltaplan’ originates from a great flooding in 1953, in which 1836 people lost their lives. It was only after that disaster, that the government started to build the water protection systems now famous around the world. The movement demands the government act with the same urgency as it did then.
Extinction Rebellion NL is a movement of all ages and backgrounds, including many young people who want to take action, in a nonviolent manner, and create change for their- and future generations. ‘With creative actions, we want to inspire people everywhere to join our movement en contribute to a hopeful future for ourselves and each other,’ says Tiem van der Deure, one of the movement’s spokespeople. ‘In the last few weeks, we have demanded concrete action across all levels of society, from the government in The Hague with the Declaration of Rebellion, the international judiciary at the ICC, to Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague and GasTerra in Groningen, and from the Dutch people themselves. It’s time for the royal family to take responsibility in speaking out on the ecological crisis facing our planet and country.’