Friday, June 11, 2010

Canteen debates held on elections in the province of Zeeland, Netherlands

On June 8, 2010, the third and last canteen debate took place at the ROC School in Goes, Netherlands, where several representatives from political parties attended and shared their vision about how the country should be governed. Sponsored by IDEA-Netherlands, the canteen debates were held during lunchtime at the school and were always well-attended by students. Inspired by these debates, the ROC School in Vlissingen also organized a debate with help from IDEA's own Doutsen Langhout.

Several topics were addressed during the debates, including “Student financial aid must be abolished” and “Soft drugs should be legalized completely.” Another topic that became one of the biggest discussions for the youth, especially in Vlissingen, was “Immigration has to be stopped.” Many youths were concerned about immigration because of job competition, while some from ethnic backgrounds expressed that immigration was also important because of the political situation.

From the canteen debates, students felt that they received important political information from different major parties in the Netherlands. The students also expressed that after the debates, they recognized the importance of voting and of being well-informed about elections. These debates were especially effective for those who were old enough to cast their ballots in the national elections on June 9th.

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