In an interview with Social Conservative leader James Dobson in early February, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum ignorantly -- and falsely -- claimed that in the Netherlands euthanasia makes up ten percent of all deaths, and that forced euthanasia accounts for five percent of all deaths there. Santorum also said that people are euthanized involuntarily because they are old or sick and further claimed that elderly people in the Netherlands don't go into hospitals out of fear that they will not come out if they go in there sick -- because of "budget" reasons -- and rather go to other countries.
Having been educated and lived in the Netherlands for several years, I know that the Dutch are calm, proud, pragmatic people who like to deal in facts and reason and do not get easily excited or offended. However, Santorum's outlandish claims have provoked a storm of criticism and indignation in the Netherlands.
They have been extensively reported, fact-checked and mocked by the Dutch media. The headline in Saturday's Dutch daily newspaper NRC Handelsblad: "Rick Santorum Thinks He Knows the Netherlands: Murder of the Elderly on a Grand Scale."
The Dutch are genuinely offended that a foreign politician would misrepresent Dutch culture and morality merely to make a political point back home.
Note EU-Digest: Both Republican candidates Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney have made derogatory statements about Europe during the primaries. This might sound pleasing to Republican crowds at home, but it's not very clever when you seek the highest Public Office in the US, or when you want to get votes from the more than one million Europeans who have migrated to the US during the past 10 years.
For more: Dorian de Wind: Santorum's Incredible Display of Ignorance On Euthanasia In the Netherlands