Partial Dutch ban on face-covering clothing comes into force

A new Dutch law has come into force banning face-covering clothing including the burqa and niqab worn by conservative Muslim women on public transport, in government buildings and at health and education institutions.

The Netherlands, long seen as a bastion of tolerance and religious freedom, is the latest European country to introduce such a ban , following the likes of France, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Denmark.

Muslim and rights groups have voiced opposition to the law formally called the “partial ban on face-covering clothing” and an Islamic political party in Rotterdam has said it will pay the €150 ($167 fines for anybody caught breaking it.

Very few women in the Netherlands wear a burqa or niqab and it is unclear how strenuously the law will be enforced.