Stray activist in pasture Eemnes has to clear the field

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The straw man, at his ‘unveiling’ on September 17, 2022

In association with
RTV Utrecht
NOS News

The large straw man standing in a meadow near the A1 in Eemnes must go. The province says it is forbidden to advertise along the highway without a permit.

But dairy farmer Pieter Seldenrijk has no intention of removing the straw activist. “You don’t actually advertise, it’s freedom of expression,” he says at RTV Utrecht.

The doll with the inverted Dutch flag as an eye-catcher has been there since September 17 and is intended as a protest against the government’s nitrogen plans. In fact, it is the continuation of a tradition. In the meadows near Eemnes, straw dolls have been standing in the meadow for 25 years when the Week of the Countryside is celebrated in the third week of June.

“It was intended as a kind of invitation to visit us. With that idea, we recreated the same straw doll last fall. The only difference is that the doll was cheerful at the time, while it now looks a bit sad.” said Seldenrijk.

A bit tired

This week, the dairy farmer received a call asking to remove the straw bales, followed yesterday by a letter from the Utrecht Regional Implementation Service, which carries out environmental tasks on behalf of the province.

“That letter stated that the doll does not comply with the local ordinance. You are not allowed to place advertisements along the highway,” said Seldenrijk, who is also chairman of the municipal CDA party. “Apparently you can put up a sign of a political party, but not this one.”

The dairy farmer therefore does not intend to comply with the province’s request. “In any case, it will remain until after the Provincial Council elections, it will not leave before that,” says Seldenrijk. “Otherwise we will come to the provincial house with a hundred tractors and then they can explain it to me personally, because I am actually a bit tired of that hassle just before the elections.”

Last summer, inverted flags hung in many places in the Netherlands as a protest against the nitrogen policy. These were usually removed at the end of September, because they would endanger safety. “Now that autumn is approaching, the risk that the objects will come loose is increasing,” a spokesman for the province of Utrecht said at the time.

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  • In association with

    RTV Utrecht

  • Regional news

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