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D66 (Democrats 1966) is a Dutch progressive liberal party with representations at the local, provincial, national and European levels. As an internationally-minded party, D66 cooperates closely with its European partners through ALDE – the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe.
Hans van Mierlo, co-founder of D66, clearly formulated the party’s position in the political spectrum: “Both liberalism and socialism together have been sources of inspiration for our party. This is justified by the fact that during their historic developments, both movements have taken responsibility for a part of the whole truth, and, consequently have turned that part into the whole truth. As a result, things that were complementary have become opposites, have become caricatures of themselves: Liberty against equality, individual against community, self-regulation against government, individuality against solidarity.” The ideas of D66 give testimony to the idea that true liberalism is social, because it strives for the greatest possible future and self-determination for all individuals.
D66 has for a long time disliked the use of labels to frame the party’s identity. Since its establishment there have been discussions about calling the party ‘progressive liberal’ or ‘freethinking democrat’. As of 1999 the party calls itself social-liberal. At present, D66 is characterised as a progressive and social-liberal party.
Five guiding principles are testimony to that vision:
We believe in the power of people and their ability to develop as individuals. This is why we feel optimistic about the future. People have the creative ability to keep coming up with new solutions. We want a government that supports people’s intrinsic creativity and resourcefulness. Individual people are the key to change and we want a government that acknowledges this fact. What people can do for themselves and for others is far more important and effective than anything a government might legislate.
Societies are becoming interdependent in an ever-increasing number of ways. We welcome the world and exclude no-one. In everything we do, we consider the effects our actions may have on others in the world. We recognise that Europe and the Netherlands are increasingly becoming one. International cooperation and economic progress are the keys to a world with fewer wars and conflicts. Our decisions must be pragmatic, level-headed and based on facts.
People differ from one another, yet at the same time they are all equal. Each individual is unique, and we want a government that provides the freedom for those differences to flourish. We seek economic independence for as many people as possible and we believe in rewarding those who excel. We want a dynamic, open society in which everyone has the freedom to make their own decisions and to develop as they wish. We consider it a matter of course that wealth should be shared. We want to see as many people as possible participating socially and economically because that is the road to increased prosperity for everyone. We acknowledge that, for we all share responsibility for those in our society in less fortunate social and economic circumstances.
We want to embrace the world with respect and compassion. That respect and compassion applies both to the people around us and our environment. The earth is neither our personal property, nor an expendable consumer good. We wish to end the depletion and pollution of our environment. We feel the discussion on the environment should shift the burden of proof from having to find arguments in defence of preservation to arguments in defence of exploitation.
The fundamental values of our society are freedom and equality for everyone, regardless of belief, religion, sexual orientation, political views or ethnicity. Physical safety, non-violent solutions to conflicts of interest and the respectful exercise of freedom of expression as well as good governance and rule of law, form our core values. These values are universal and paramount. We defend civil rights, both at home and elsewhere.
Find more information at D66 International.