The Rise of Mainstream Nationalism and Xenophobia in Dutch Politics

In: Journal of Labor and Society
Dirk Witteveen
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Although right-wing nationalist Geert Wilders—party leader of the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands—did not receive the most votes in the 2017 parliamentary elections, it is questionable whether this result really marks a retreat of nationalist and xenophobic politics. In the months leading up the elections in March of 2017, polls had indicated a potential victory of Wilders’ party with a margin as big as 8 percent to its nearest rivals in January of the same year. As argued in this essay, the turnaround in the 2 months preceding the elections, in favor of the Liberal Conservatives and the Christian Democrats, has been falsely considered a push-back from the political center. Instead, the traditional centrist parties have slowly adopted Wilders’ position on Islam, Muslim-Dutchmen, immigration, refugees, and the EU. This essay makes the case for mainstreaming of the far-right ideology.

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