Pretoria name changes upset Dutch party

2012-03-29 08:27
Pretoria - A Dutch political party has demanded action from the Dutch cabinet in support of the retention of Afrikaans street names in Pretoria.

"The Netherlands Embassy situated in Queen Wilhelmina avenue should refuse to accept a new name," the "De Partij voor de Vrijheid" (the Party for Freedom), PVV, said in a statement issued in The Hague on Wednesday.

The suggestion was contained in a parliamentary question to Dutch deputy minister Halbe Zijlstra on Wednesday.

Zijlstra was asked if he was aware of the planned name changes and whether he thought the plans were a "slap in the face of the Dutch royal family".

The PVV said the ANC planned to change 27 Pretoria street names, including Beatrix street and Queen Wilhelmina avenue.

Many of the names were a reminder of the anti-colonial struggle of the independent Boer republics against the British empire, the statement said.

"The name Queen Wilhelmina avenue is an ode to the young queen who in 1900 dispatched a Dutch warship to fetch a beleaguered President Kruger," PVV parliamentarian Martin Bosma said.

Other street names commemorating historical characters were "Voortrekkers" with Netherlands backgrounds who helped establish Pretoria, the PVV politician said.

The PVV is a minority rightwing partner in the current governing Dutch coalition, led by the controversial politician Geert Wilders.

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