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30 November 2023

Dutch unveil furry Brexit monster

Photo: AFP


What's big, blue, furry and causes trouble? For the Netherlands the answer to this riddle is simple: Brexit.

While the British government has had trouble imagining what its exit from the European Union will actually look like, the Dutch government unveiled its own vision in the form of a hairy monster.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok tweeted a picture of himself with the creature, which is wearing a white t-shirt with the word "Brexit" in red letters, lying on his desk and stopping him from working.

"Make sure Brexit doesn't get - or lie - in your way," Blok, who has his arms raised in a gesture of mock frustration, said in the tweet.

"It's a sort of funny way of warning for Brexit, but in a relaxed way," a Dutch government source told AFP, adding that the creature's name was "Brexit".

The government says the idea is to raise awareness among Dutch businesses of the impact of Brexit, especially if Britain crashes out of the EU without a deal on March 29.

The tweet also features a link to a government website - www.brexitloket.nl - where firms can check for the potential fallout for their business.

The same picture features in a full-page advertisement in the Financieele Dagblad newspaper.

The so-called Brexit muppet will also feature in a social media campaign "literally getting in the way of business" by blocking trucks and conveyor belts, the government has said.

The humourous Dutch take on Brexit belies the fact that the Netherlands is making major preparations to deal with the impact on its economy, which is closely linked with Britain.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in an interview published in the Financial Times on Thursday that around 250 businesses were close to a decision to move to the Netherlands from a "diminished" Britain because of Brexit.

The Dutch cabinet has meanwhile been granted emergency powers to deal with the impact and has set aside 100 million euros (US$114 million) for preparations, including the appointment of 900 new customs officers.