Holland is suffering from the consequences of liberal policies on sex and drugs and there is a need for moral restraint, says a Dutch academic.
Dick Houtman, a sociologist at Rotterdam’s Erasmus University said: “There is a feeling that our tolerance is the principal cause of many of the problems we experience now.”
He added: “The debate is about where liberty and tolerance should end and where order should begin.”
Mr Houtman continued: “The nation’s ideals are being tested by the reality they brought”.
Public attitudes are changing as the Dutch face a society in decline. The growing crime rate and a “sex and drugs” culture spiralling out of control has forced the authorities to clamp down and clean up.
Earlier this month authorities in Amsterdam announced they will close half the city’s brothels and cannabis cafes because they are attracting organised crime.
“Money laundering, extortion and human trafficking are things you do not see on the surface but they are hurting people and the city. We want to fight this,” said Amsterdam’s deputy mayor Lodewijk Asscher.
A Daily Telegraph editorial comments: “Once among the most strait-laced of northern European nations, Holland has for the past 40 years been a byword for the post-1960s tolerance.”
It continued: “However, the Dutch are now going through an identity crisis. There is a growing view that liberty to choose has become a licence to do as you please, a free-for-all in which the baleful consequences include a rise in drug-related crime and the trafficking of prostitutes from eastern Europe.”
“Political parties in Holland are all responding to the public mood and edging away from the moral leniency of the past”, it added.