Tattoo Spat

by David Doherty/RNW

Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst in a courtroom face-off with Amsterdam’s “king of tattoos” Henk Schiffmacher? It’s an entertaining prospect and one that just might become reality if the minister pushes ahead with her plans to stop police officers from having tattoos, piercings, religious accessories and creative haircuts. Her idea is that a neutral police force has more authority.

“She’s not got a leg to stand on!” growls the gruff Amsterdammer, who is threatening to personally take her to court if she proceeds with her police ‘dress’ code. “Tattoos are a form of expression and are part and parcel of our freedom of speech.”

The police unions tend to agree: “It’s an invasion of privacy.” A union spokesman admits that there is a health and safety aspect to a member of an arrest squad charging around with a faceful of piercings but he points out that “Anyone who calls in the help of the police is not going to be bothered by a few tattoos.”

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