As all Dutch know, this time the country is led by mr. Balkenende, in a coalition with mr. Bos and mr. Rouvoet.
They are responsible for a hoax of new rules, which all tend to contribute to a set of social rules, known as "Normen en Waarden", standards and values in English.
These standards and values are inspired by the Christian legacy our country has, and the political and religious points of view of Balkenende and Rouvoet in special, and Bos in a lesser fashion. Their parties (CDA, Christian-democratic; CU, orthodox Protestant; PvdA, social-democratic respectively) have come to an agreement, which not all Dutch are happy with.
According to the Shopping time law ("Winkeltijdenwet") a shop can only open on weekdays and Saturdays, as Sunday is to be respected as a day of rest as encouraged by the bible. Luckily for all of us working people, some cities have been given permissions to let their shops be opened on Sunday; in the interest of tourism. Rotterdam, The Hague and Amsterdam are good examples of this, they all have all year round Sunday shopping.
Back to reality: a proposal has been made for the government to enforce the shopping time law fully, and to maximise the number of Sundays to 12 per year. In fact, the intention was to close all shops on Sunday, but this was not achievable as the "Tweede Kamer" would probably not have agreed with the proposal, so the 12 days max has been introduced.
The main arguments for enforcing the law to its full extend are numerous, and all not valid. I will list some.
Sunday shopping disturbs the traditional day of rest, as inspired by the bible, a day which we should use to get together and show eachother affection in these hectic days in time.
Sunday shopping is not good for owners of small shops, they face false competition in comparison with large, nationwide, companies.
These two arguments have inspired our government to the next quote "All municipalities must weigh the Sunday rest, livability and safety sufficiently" when considering Sunday shopping.
Livability and security? Of who? Of all 60 thousand people earning 100 to 150% of their salary when working on Sunday? Of the shop owners who can see their turnover and profit grow over time due to the opening on Sunday? I guess neither of them, as both get better from working and opening on Sunday.
Doom scenario’s for owners of small shops are greatly exaggerated, wide visiting hours have proven profitable for the entire society in the UK, and even showed the increase of the number of owners of small shops; they’ve begun to open specialist shops to compete with the big stores on niche markets (which are more profitable even).
I think the maximising or even abolishing of Sunday shopping is bad.
It affects just those people who are unevenly targeted by the government if it comes to paying taxes. They are the "hardwerkende Nederlanders" or hard-working Dutch as coined by mr. Mark Rutte from the VVD (liberal) when describing the workforce which supports The Netherlands the most. They exist of young couples and families with two (or 1.5) working parents, who currently enjoy the Sunday shopping the most as it makes their lives easier; Sundays can be used to shop while the other days are reserved for doing the household and their job(s).
Concluding: our government tells us to work hard, to support our society. Okay, working hard is fine, but spending your money on the time which is most convenient for just those people is not allowed anymore. Apparently the earned money can not be spent freely, but has to be handed to the government to redistribute, … to those pitiful few who are not working.