Enhancing the constitution’s prominence through violation? The case of the Netherlands

My presentation first discusses the characteristics of the Dutch Constitution that traditionally cause a obvious lack of idolatry. Second, I will elaborate on two recent events that may change this approach. On the one hand, the outbreak of the pandemic prompted the government to severely circumscribe fundamental rights. The ensuing discussion increased awareness among politicians and citizens that the constitution could be a valuable tool to evaluate, or criticize, anti-corona measures. On the other hand, the findings of a recent parliamentary inquiry revealed that the government had breached the fundamental constitutional principle of transparency, in failing to provide parliament with the necessary information. This has led to extensive political and public debates about the meaning of this principle. Against this backdrop, I reflect on the extent to which it is desirable that the Constitution is given greater prominence if this occurs as a result of violations of its provisions.