Amsterdam judge rules face masks can stay in court case

Amsterdam judge rules face masks can stay in court case

In a summary proceeding in Amsterdam, a judge has ruled that the face mask rule currently in place in the Dutch capital is fair and just, especially in its current limited capacity, and is therefore permitted to stay in place.

Face masks are not unlawful

The case, brought against the Amsterdam-Amstelland Security region, has resulted in the judge ruling that the existing face mask rule can remain in place, as it does not go against Dutch law. 

The lawyers representing the security region state the rule, which is currently only in place in a handful of areas in the city, is both modest and allowed. They do, however, acknowledge that there is no scientific proof that face masks are effective. 

The Amsterdam court stated: “there is a difference of opinion about whether the chairman of the Security Region was allowed to issue the emergency ordinance from a legal point of view, and it is therefore not very clear. This is why the judge, with cautious review, comes to the conclusion: it is not unlawful.”

The case against face masks in Amsterdam

The case was brought to court by Ab Gietelink, a resident and business owner in the Red Light District, who felt the implementation of a rule making face masks mandatory in certain areas was criminal and went against basic human rights and freedoms. His case was also supported by the VirusTruth (VirusWaarheid, formally VirusWaanzin) action group. 

The case put forward by Gietelink claimed the rule restricted the fundamental rights of Amsterdam residents, and that it was “criminal” to force the elderly to wear a mask, as well as “unhealthy, dirty, unpleasant, degrading, irrational, anti-social, and disproportionate.” He argues the rule goes against Article 10 of the Dutch Constitution: “Everyone shall have the right to respect for his privacy, without prejudice to restrictions laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament”

Several experts and lawyers had also questioned the viability and practicality of the rule. Jan Brouwer, professor of Law and Society at the University of Groningen, told NOS that it was not legally possible to force people to wear a mask, as it is an indirect means of changing behaviour.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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