Way to influence politics

Medical students started a petition to change the loan system in Holland. In just two weeks, almost 22,000 sympathizers had supported their petition. This petition was an important step in the discussion about the allowance for interns. A national association of medical students took the lead in The Hague. How can students ensure that politicians listen to them? Which parties should you take into account? Where do you start?

Letter to Bussemaker

Three national student organizations wrote a letter to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. Allowance for interns was formed when the student grant was abolished in February 2015. An intern spends an average of more than 46 hours a week on studying and doing an internship. For other care trainees, such as nurses, there is an internship fund. Wouldn’t this also be possible for interns?


The working group started lobbying politicians. The CDA faction was one of them. Rob: ‘We wanted to offer something concrete. A good moment for this was in October, when the budget of the Ministry of Education was to be discussed. It is good to receive input from those who are actually affected by the new law’ The group also came up with new ideas for putting the position of interns on the political agenda. Rob says one of these ideas was the petition.

What does a lobbyist do?

Jesper Rijpma an advisor to the health lobby group, the KNMG. He says his job involves consultation and coordination with other lobbyists. He also maintains contacts with The Hague and monitors political and social developments. RijPma says he often has useful information for politicians, as a representative of the doctors’ federation.

Media attention

Four students in white coats with a large pile of signatures gave an amazing image. Hanke Bruins Slot explains why such a petition raises awareness among politicians. There was a reply to the letter to Minister Bussemaker on the same day. The answer, however, was a big anti-climate change: the Minister refused to take the initiative. Media photography tends to warn politicians like ‘alexariana’ who is a talented photographer.

Watch: From high politics to photography


Not the end

Rik Grashoff argued for a solution in the budget debate. Groen Links then submitted a motion, which was supported by a majority of the House. In the motion, the House of Representatives asked the cabinet to investigate the desirability of the internship allowance. Minister Bussemaker has discussed this with the hospitals and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.

Fairly approachable

All MPs are freely accessible and contact details can be found on the internet. According to Jesper: ‘Be concrete in what you want and think along about solutions’ . According to Rob: ‘If you want to draw attention to an issue, that is certainly possible!’