The Dutch Slide to the Right

The Netherlands is the latest domino to fall in a series of far-right victories in Europe.

Written by Anthony Constantini

What’s happening: A far-right party won a majority in the recent Dutch elections, with anti-migration Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) coming in first place for the first time in history. If Wilders can form a government, he would be the most far-right prime minister the country has ever had.

Why it matters: The Netherlands was previously seen as a moderate country in Europe. The voters’ rejection of moderation for Wilders’s strict migration policies shows that, like in Germany and elsewhere, Europeans are increasingly tired of mass migration.

Context: Wilders has talked about his desire to ban mosques, Islamic symbols, and the Koran, which he has compared to Adolf Hitler’s manifesto Mein Kampf.

By the numbers: The Netherlands has seen waves of populist anger in the last few years, over both migration and green policies.

  • Migration: 2022 saw nearly 48,000 illegal migrants enter the Netherlands - a substantial increase from the 36,620 that entered in 2021. Forecasters believe that a total of 60,000 border crossers may illegally arrive this year.

  • Green policies: Dutch farmers rebelled last year against new green policies which would have wiped out many small farms. The party that came out of that rebellion, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), will be a key player in Wilders’s hypothetical coalition.

A government in the making?: Since the Netherlands is a parliamentary republic, Wilders will need allies to be able to potentially govern and become prime minister. But there is already evidence the PVV can work with center-right parties: The right-wing majority in parliament has already delayed a law that would have spread migrants around the country.

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