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Rob Oudkerk out of office, Amsterdam

February 2004, the Netherlands

Amsterdam city alderman (wethouder) Rob Oudkerk lost his job after a newspaper quoted him saying he'd visited a tippelzone, or street-walkers' area.

The Theemsweg tippelzone, Amsterdam, closed yesterday....

— 16 December, 2003

That's what tippelzones are for, the tolerance of prohibited activities. Oudkerk's troubles were in public perception and media attention. He also admitted some cocaine use, according to the paper. There was also some chatter about the time he argued rudely with a traffic officer....

Oudkerk said that Het Parool (newspaper) reporter Heleen van Royen had promised him anonymity. She responded "Gelul" (balls.) He talked about suing her. In Britain, one may sue for damage to one's character. In America, truth is an absolute defense against charges of defamation. Oudkerk didn't say it wasn't true, only that van Royen had promised, and broken her promise. Despicable, but not litigable, in America. I don't know what the law is on that in Holland.

Oudkerk would have needed the support of his political party, Partij van de Arbeid (labor) if he were going to keep his position. He didn't get that. So he's gone.