Dutch protest song against Shell, Exxon earthquakes


This 15 February 2018 Dutch music video is by singer Mirjam Pattiwael and guitarist Pieter Nanuru; of Moluccan ancestry, from Groningen province in the Netherlands.

In Groningen, there are now regularly earthquakes, damaging ten thousands of homes, farms, churches and other historic buildings.

The cause of these quakes is the gas drilling by the NAM, a joint venture company of Shell and Exxon Big Oil corporations.

The first notes of the video, before the song really begins, are from a Dutch nursery rhyme ‘Slaap, kindje, slaap/Daar buiten loopt een schaap’ (Sleep, baby, sleep/outside, a sheep walks). That alludes to the Dutch government; they are asleep while Shell and Exxon cause earthquakes. While the notes of the nursery rhyme play, images show books falling from bookshelves in Groningen.

The song was written by physicist Sense Jan van der Molen, who lives in Oegstgeest village. It has the same music and some of the text as the 1966 Dutch hit song ‘Welterusten, meneer de president‘ by Boudewijn de Groot.

This Dutch music video with English subtitles says about itself:

The song ‘Welterusten, Meneer de President’ (‘Good night, Mister President’) sung by Boudewijn de Groot. He is a well known Dutch singer. This song was written in 1966, it was a reaction to the Vietnam War.

The Mr President in that song was Lyndon B Johnson.

For the new 2018 version, physicist/lyricist Sense Jan van der Molen got permission from Boudewijn de Groot.

It is now called ‘Welterusten, Minister President‘ (‘Good night, Prime Minister’). It is no longer about US President Johnson and his Vietnam war; but about present Dutch Prime Minister Rutte, of the pro-‘free market’ right-wing VVD party, which prefers the profits of Shell and Exxon to the lives of the people of Groningen province.

Translation of some lines of this new version:

Do not be too frightened when in your dreams
you see all those people’s homes destroyed
Your dirty deal with the NAM has taken away everything from them
Their savings and their future are gone …

Just let the people of Groningen perish,
Prime Minister, sleep well!

This 13 February 2018 video is about lyricist Sense Jan van der Molen, singer Mirjam Pattiwael and guitarist Pieter Nanuru going to the government city The Hague to play their song.

8 thoughts on “Dutch protest song against Shell, Exxon earthquakes

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