The Australian embassy in The Hague, at Carnegielaan 4, is a model of the functional blandness that dominates the Dutch city. An effort has been made to replicate a traditional steeped roof but it barely mitigates the sterility. On most days, a row of bicycles sits outside the front door, a very Dutch touch.
What has been taking place inside the bland exterior of that embassy during the past six weeks is the opposite of Holland’s famous liberalism. An unfolding act of cowardice has been cooking inside the embassy. It is a calculated insult to the Dutch government.
Six weeks ago, the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV), which until recently held the balance of power in the Dutch parliament, applied for a visa to visit Australia. His name is Geert Wilders.
Members of his staff and security detail were granted visas after three days. Wilders received nothing. He is still waiting. The Dutch media are waiting for the insult the Gillard government appears to be preparing for a member of the Netherlands’ parliament.