Translated from Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad of today:
Local authorities want to remove biggest election sign of the Netherlands
by Lex Boon
The Party for the Animals in any case has already won the battle for the biggest election sign of the Netherlands, with a banner of 150 square meters in a meadow along the A4 highway. At least, they thought so. The local authorities of Haarlemmermeer wants the party sign, along with another big sign next to the A4, to be removed, or else a fine of ten thousand euros per day.
The signs are in a meadow along the A4 near the exit Nieuw-Vennep near Schiphol airport. In 2010, the municipality wanted the campaign signs to be removed as well. Then Haarlemmermeer local authorities said that the signs were on land which a farmer had leased from the municipality. The lease contract was supposed not to allow placement of the signs.
This year’s campaign signs were posted on a farmer’s own land. Now the local authorities talk about zoning regulations.
Lieke Keller, campaign leader of the Party for the Animals, is surprised by the summation by the local authorities. She says to news agency Novum:
“It seems easier to place mega stalls in rural areas than mega billboards against this policy. I can not remember that this ever occurred with earlier, massively present, signs of the CDA and VVD parties on grazing land here”.
The CDA and VVD parties are in the Haarlemmermeer local government.
“Especially in campaign time, the freedom of expression can not be restricted by local regulations imposing certain conditions when public order or security is not threatened. The municipality of Haarlemmermeer with its impossible deadline and disproportionate fine disrupts a national election campaign in a dishonest way.”
The Party for the Animals opposes the removal of campaign signs. If this objection will not be accepted, then the party will ask for ‘political asylum’ for the signs in another municipality.