Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister’s, mother passed away on May 13 at an elderly residence. She was 96 years old and had tested negative for the Covid-19, nevertheless, the head of government had not seen her since March because of the quarantine rules set out by Prime Minister Rutte to help battle the coronavirus crisis and now his grand gesture is being applauded.
Rarely has the death of a politician’s mother occupied front page news, however, the death of Mieke Rutte-Dilling, the mother of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, has done so because of the exceptional context it has occurred under.
She spent her last days locked away in a nursing home, without anyone being able to visit her since March 20, when restrictions by Covid-19 were first applied in the Netherlands. Rutte strictly abided to his own rules and was also unable to see his mother even during the last days of her life.
The tragic news was only announced this week although the death occurred on May 13, a day in which Rutte carried out his job and continued to lead the Netherlands through one of the most difficult moments in its history.
He met with his crisis team to discuss de-escalation measures and visited transport companies as well as a train station in order to discuss the return to normal of public transport from June 1. He even shared a photo of the moment, posing on a site visit at work. No one noticed that during this time but in his private life, he had just been given bad news.
The Government Information Service (RVD) in the Netherlands confirmed on Monday that Rutte had not been able to visit his mother since mid-March and that the prime minister strictly followed the rules that he himself decreed to fight the pandemic and protect the elderly. A few days before the death occurred, coronavirus was detected at the nursing home in The Hague where her mother was admitted, but Covid-19 was not the cause of death because all patients had undergone the corresponding tests, which came back as negative. She was 96 years old at the time of her passing.
In the days after her death, he was seen to continue working normally, offering press conferences and making typical work visits. He did not comment about the matter, until yesterday, “In addition to the great pain and all the good memories, my family and I also feel gratitude for having been able to have her with us for so long. We have already said goodbye in the family circle and we hope to be able to deal with this great loss soon,” the head of the Dutch government said in a statement.
Rutte has always been very cautious about his private life, but he always praised his mother in interviews, talking about the special relationship they had and the times he went to visit her at the residence she resided in, which is only a few metres from the Prime Minister’s house in The Hague.
Since she became a widow in the 1980s, it was Mark Rutte who took care of her. In her last days of life, she had to set an example and keep herself isolated so that she would not die as a result of the coronavirus and to protect the rest of the residents in the nursing home, a gesture which has been applauded today by residents throughout her country.