The blue chair in the House of Representatives is no unknown place for the newly elected chairman Vera Bergkamp (D66). It has regularly conducted plenary sessions in recent years. Bergkamp is a member of the presidium, the executive board of the House of Representatives, and was already one of the permanent substitutes for her predecessor Khadija Arib of the PvdA.
Nearly nine years ago, in September 2012, Bergkamp entered the House of Representatives. Before that, she was chairman of the COC for four years, the interest organisation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, but she wanted to work “broader societal”, writes Bergkamp on her personal page of the House of Representatives. “I am committed to personal freedom, you must be able to see who you are.”
Prohibition of homogenous therapy
As a Member of the House, she was committed to a scheme for surrogacy, multiparenthood, a ban on discrimination for intersex and transgender persons, the abolition of unnecessary sex registration and a ban on homosexual therapy, according to a list of her initiatives on Facebook posted. But as a health spokesman, she also participated in the coronadebatten and made the weed law for the legalization of cannabis. The law is still in the First Chamber.
Bergkamp has a strong sense of duty and she has that from her father, she said in an interview in Het Parool. Her Moroccan father travelled to the Netherlands at 17, after a stopover in Paris, and met her mother on arrival at Schiphol. Her father, a salesman of plumbing, was always on time. “It must go very crazy, if I dont want to get there on time or even cancel.”
Wars of labels
Her Moroccan surname was so difficult to spell and pronounce that at the age of 20 she took her mothers surname “for practical reasons”, Bergkamp said in an interview on BNR radio. She hates labels. “I am a lesbian, half-Moroccan, but I am also a woman, man, Amsterdammer and a world citizen.” A double passport doesnt have Bergkamp. She was surprised that she was on a list of MPs with an ethnic background. “Im just Dutch. Thats my nationality,” she said in Het Parool.
Bergkamp thinks she has the good qualities to be President of the Chamber. She studied organisation and management at the VU University, worked as organisational advisor, manager and director of human resources.
The House of Representatives is also a company, she knows all too well as a member of the Presidium. Hundreds of civil servants work behind the scenes to facilitate political work. The House of Representatives is also on the eve of a major move to another building due to the upcoming renovation of the Binnenhof.
De Tweede Kamer stands for “big tasks”, Bergkamp wrote in her application letter. There are now seventeen parties in the House of Representatives, the handling of the payment affair and other reports are on the agenda and the moving boxes have to be packed. “And all this in an uncertain period, in which covid affects our lives and our work.”
Bergkamp wants to lead this in the right direction. “What I am good at, namely being a connecting leader, I want to put into practice.”