Driving licences, colanders and Pastafarians: De Wilde

In De Wilde v The Netherlands [2021] ECHR No 9476/19, Ms De Wilde, a Pastafarian, had applied unsuccessfully for a new driving licence and a new identity card with a picture of her wearing a colander on her head. She argued that, though under no constraint to do so, as a strict Pastafarian she genuinely saw the wearing of a colander as a religious requirement – and she was prepared to suffer inconvenience, censure and ridicule to comply with it. She submitted evidence such as photographs to prove that, unlike other less strict Pastafarians, she did, in fact, wear a colander at all times [3-6]. Her applications for judicial review of the authorities’ refusals were unsuccessful [8-19].

Before the ECtHR, she complained under Article 9 that the requirement of official recognition of a religious or philosophical conviction had no legal basis in domestic law. Continue reading