At the door foreign visitors were asked to say good evening in Dutch and to show their ID card, Ernste explained.
“At ‘good evening’ many were being stopped,” he says. Ernste stated that Poles who speak Dutch and understand it without problems, were welcome. Other migrants would also be allowed if they spoke the language correctly. “We are really concerned that people must be able understand each other.”
Ernste did not consider his rule of Dutch only as discriminatory because the house rule was applied generally. “Whether it’s someone from Poland, Morocco or Turkey, if they can not speak Dutch and do not understand what another person says, emotions soon run high. When I say to a client: ‘you have had enough, you should leave the building’ and he does not understand, you immediately get pulling and pushing. Even if someone accidentally knocks over a beer from someone else and does not understand his excuse or explanation, you are immediately stressed. If I refuse a Pole who does not understand what I am saying, you are immediately nose to nose, like: ‘what do you want?'”
Hans Beenakker, the mayor of the town dismissed the complaints about the behaviour of migrant workers in cafes and bars, and the police said talk of problems and fights was exaggerated.
Every1Equal, an agency that deals with complaints about discrimination for sixteen municipalities in the province of Gelderland, estimated that the bar owners violated the Equal Treatment Act. “It is forbidden to make a direct or indirect distinction on grounds of race when granting access to goods or services. A café is a service and if you only allow people who speak Dutch, you make a distinction between someone’s ethnicity and race”, said spokesman Roy van Nieuwenhuyzen.
“A judge will want to know whether all other means have been used to prevent escalation. For example, you can translate house rules.”
Days later, the cafe owner told local council officials he would no longer be going ahead with the plan. According to local paper the Gelderlander, it was “never his intention to discriminate” and that the decision was aimed at ensuring the safety of staff and customers who cannot always communicate.