Elections_Netherlands_debate3Dutch voters will choose their next government on 15 March 2015. Opinion polling in the run-up to the elections has seen a slump in support for the governing centre-right liberal party of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Their coalition partners in government, the Labour Party, have also seen a collapse in popularity. Instead, the far-right Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders is widely expected to do very well, possibly emerging as the largest party with 18-21% of the vote and 30 seats in the 150-seat Dutch Parliament.

Why do so many Dutch voters support a far-right party? We had a comment sent in from Hayden, who said he was under the impression that the vast majority of people who vote for Mr. Wilders are not racist, but are merely “sick of the political correctness” and desperate for a voice to represent them. Is he right?

To get a response, we spoke to Matthijs Rooduijn, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Utrecht. How would he respond to Hayden?

Foto-MatthijsWell, first of all, the comment that most Wilders voters are not racist is, I think, correct. Of course part of the electorate that vote Wilders are racist, but it’s not the majority. Most people who vote for Wilders do so because they are worried about immigration. To an extent, it’s also about law and order, and European integration issues. But I would say the biggest issue for them is immigration. In fact, most of them are less radical than Geert Wilders himself. They vote for him because they think the other parties don’t deal with the issues or problems that they face.

It’s important to emphasise that Wilders himself is not racist either. His politics aren’t about race. Really, he is very strongly anti-Islam. It’s not even so much about immigration as a whole, it’s really more about the immigration of Muslims and about Islam. So, it’s true that most voters for Geert Wilders are not racist.

The second point made was that they’ve had enough of the political correctness of the established parties. That is also true, although it’s more about Islam than it is about political correctness. It’s true that a large number of Wilders voters have very low levels of political trust, meaning they are very distrustful towards the most important institutions, such as political parties and politicians. So, they are not satisfied with the political culture and the way in which political parties make decisions. So, in general, I think these things are the most important for Wilders voters; the immigration issue, Islam, and the lack of political trust. These are the most important reasons why these voters support Geert Wilders.

We also had a comment from Carmela, suggesting that people were voting for nationalist, populist parties as a protest vote against the establishment. Is she right? Do PVV voters really want to see Geert Wilders in power, or is it more of a protest vote to force the mainstream parties to sit up and listen?

Foto-MatthijsThe idea behind ‘protest voting’ is that you vote for a party not so much because you like that party, but more because you dislike the other parties. And that might be the case for some of the Wilders voters. However, a majority of Wilders supporters vote for him because, to some extent, they agree with his policies, and especially his ideas about immigration. Some of these voters have really similar ideas to Wilders, some are even more radical, but most of them are less radical than Geert Wilders. And they vote for him because they think that by voting for him they will have an impact on eventual policymaking, either because Wilders will eventually have a place in the cabinet or because he will influence mainstream political parties.

For a majority of voters, I don’t think they would dislike a cabinet with Geert Wilders in it. Most of his votes are loyal to him, and they would like him to be in government. But they also know that there would have to be a government coalition, meaning he would have to compromise.

Finally, we had a comment from Tomasz, who said  he thinks the reason people vote for Geert Wilders is because he is the only Dutch politician who “tells the truth”.

To get a reaction, we put Tomasz’s comment to Koen Vossen, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nijmegen. What would he say?

FotoKoenWell, of course, that’s very difficult to respond to. What ‘truth’ is Wilders telling, exactly? You could say that what Wilders’ strength is – and what makes him very attractive to a lot of people – is that he has police protection 24-hours a day, and so people see this as a sign that he’s willing to give up his own personal freedom for his beliefs. That makes his statements, for a lot of people, seem very courageous.

But is he telling the truth? If you looks at the facts, for example, then he has said that blonde girls in the Netherlands don’t dare to show their hair anymore. Well, this is complete nonsense. Maybe there are some anecdotes of girls who don’t dare to do this, but anecdotes are not the truth… It’s also complete rubbish that there will be a Muslim takeover in the Netherlands within twenty years because of demographics. It’s not true.

When you ask people how many Muslims there are in the Netherlands, they think it’s 20%. It’s actually more like 5%. So, telling the truth, no… What makes his message so strong is that he always starts by saying: ‘You are not allowed to say this.’ Well, you’ve been allowed to say what he’s saying for years in the Netherlands, but still, he says: ‘You’re not allowed to say this. Look at me, I’m under police protection. But I’m going to say it. I’m going to tell the truth.’ It’s a very powerful strategy.

Why do people vote for Geert Wilders? Is it a protest vote? Do they believe Geert Wilders is the only person brave enough to tell ‘the truth’? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) Alexandru Nika

58 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Marko Martinović

    Because he listens to people and wants to protect them. He does not want to continue the politics of sacrificing people for political correctness.

    • Wouter Russchen

      please name a person who was ‘sacraficed’. I thought this ended when Spain toppled the Aztec Empire nearly 500 years ago.

    • Maurice Larrea

      Wouter Russchen Because ‘sacrificed’ can only be interpreted in one way way, right? Don’t be autistic, you’re not witty.

    • Alderick van Klaveren

      He specifically disallows members of his party to discuss the party’s agenda, on pains of a fine of €25.000,-.

      He specifically said he doesn’t want to make promises, because he doesn’t want to break them, which is another way of saying, if he made any promises, he knows that he’d break them. In other words, he’s going to continue sacrificing people for political correctness, because he’s a politician.

      I’m someone who was assaulted by 2nd generation Maroccan thugs. It happened in a cinema. I came up to them and asked them to pipe down. I got beaten up. The damage forced me to drop out of college, since I wouldn’t be able to complete the exams.

      And yet, I know that them being Maroccan or Islam isn’t the problem. The problem is that they are used to being disenfranchised and it makes them value different things. The only way to combat that is to improve, not worsen social conditions.

      If Wilders comes to power, I, as someone who was beaten up by Maroccan 2nd generation immigrants, would be more, rather than less afraid for my own safety.

      In addition, he wants to toss us out of the European Union without any forethought. We have a 5th of our GDP coming out of the EU. You can’t just patch that over with a bump in taxes; you’d need a complete overhaul of our economy. It’d equate to a loss of 20% to our GDP and, right now, it’s an economic disaster if the economy doesn’t grow more than 1% each year.

      It’s absolute fucking b****cks that Wilders wants to protect people. He just wants to leave his urine stains over the government to leave his mark on the world before he p***es off and kicks his s**t-filled s**tbucket. Alright? He’s not out to protect us. He’s out to f**k us all.

      So are all other politicians, but for f**k’s sake, at least I can rely on their greed and self-preservation not to set back the entire country to the 1940s.

    • Darrell Mennie

      be clear, Wilders only listens to certain people. He is tapping into a need for representation and is a false champion. He has no plans other than to be counter and contrary- things most of us have gotten over as teens. I shake my head at how many people think he is on their side- citing belief over fact. Wilders is vague for a reason- this allows others to assume he is on their side. He is not.

    • Jos Gelissen

      Wilders listens to nobody but his own delusions, honestly it surprises me that peopel will say something as stupid that Wilders listen to the people because he doesn’t, he doesn’t have a single solution to any of the problems the country has, just some vague notes on a single piece of A4 paper.

    • Vitaliy Markov

      Having 25% support sure sounds like “listening to the people”. I wonder which people he is listening to

    • Michael Van Roy

      Vitaliy Markov we have 17+ million inhabitants so 25% is approx. 4.25+ million. Pretty many people, not?

    • Bas

      He doesn’t listen to people more than other parties. When debating he listens to respond, not to understand. He doesn’t care about the truth, so how can you claim he wants to protect people when most of his statements are based on lies. Verifiable lies.

  2. Fawzi Eyad

    Voting for your own best interest means you should understand politics. But this is something almost impossible because of the multi-party governments in The Netherlands. There are always compromises and trade-offs made between governing parties. Wilders does not show this nuance. He points out the problem and tells that once he’s in power he will take care. And for many people, that’s what they understand. They feel sold out by their old parties (partly liberal, far more labour) and seek a solution. Wilders presents the solution to the problems they face.These people mainly belong to the lower social classes. They are educated by life, not by a long time in school/university. And life told them that they are messed by everybody with an education. Or at least many of them.The political landscape of the Netherlands is fragmented. Historical it was divided in many small parties each covering their own group. Many merged yet still there are plenty of parties left. This tells something about the Dutch society as well, the need to be represented by someone or a party you can identify with. And it’s a specific representation, almost individual. We had parties covering specific churches branches at some time (the GPV being a good example). Choice is often good yet it can also lead to confusion. Choosing between cheese and jam is easy, choosing between the numerous brands and flavours of jam can create a brain freeze, unable to choose and just pick one.All this comes together for Wilders. He has his defined place on the right side, a side that was frowned upon for a long time.

    • Alderick van Klaveren

      No, quite the contrary. It being a multi-party system has very little to do with it. The reason why we have this problem is because we have a “first past the post” voting system.

      In a “first past the post” system, you vote strategically for the person that’s most likely to win while still representing a fraction of your ideals.

      In bigger countries like the US where understanding how policy affects one state compared to another state, that makes it seem much more arcane, so you have to bite the bullet and vote strategically, until there are only two parties left that symbolize very abstract ideals.

      In the Netherlands, we have a much flatter hierarchy, which is good. I’ve mailed with several members of the House of Representatives and gotten replies back. For us, there’s still a disconnect between how things are done in Limburg compared to North-Holland, but we have a lot more cohesion compared to the differences between Texas and California.

      However, there are different systems from first past the post. For example, you can vote through a list of preferenced candidates, so that, even if your first choice didn’t get first place, if enough people chose him as second preferential candidate, he could still make second place rather than being eliminated from the race entirely.

      CPG-grey did a series of videos on these. They mostly concern systems that are based on a presidential election and not coalitions, but they still bring the point across quite nicely. It’s called “Politics in the Animal Kingdom”, which explain the problems with the system that all countries currently use and proposes alternatives.


    • Corsc

      you pointed that one out quite good, respect!

  3. Paul X

    I don’t know much about Dutch politics but if it is anything like the UK then all the policies of the “mainstream” parties have homogenised into one . They pretend to disagree with each other but they all follow the same liberal driven agenda with just a few differing priorities so any party that comes along and is not afraid to speak out on real issues will get peoples attention
    I’m sure the P word (populist) will get mentioned on this thread but it was only a matter of time before a disenfranchised public would decide enough was enough and voice displeasure at the ruling elite and the only way they can do that (without a revolution) is to vote for parties outside the mainstream

    • Alderick van Klaveren

      We have something similar happening between the PvdA and the VVD.

      PvdA is left-centrist, but they basically give in to the VVD to have any influence at all. We saw this in particular with social programs which were run by the PvdA, but were completely mishandled, getting the wrong people off of welfare and making the problem worse rather than better.

      However, we have a ton of parties. 24, in fact, with 14 having chances for seats, with the votes being fairly well distributed.

  4. Stefania Portici

    P.U.D.E. Geert Wilders . Esiste un partito olandese che non è p.u.d.e. ?(partito unico dell’euro ) Se non ce l’hanno non ci sta niente di nuovo , poco cambia per tutti noi europei . Vi preouccupate del nazismo e fate bene ma ci stiamo già negli orrori del nazismo (economico ) e vorremmo uscirne. P.U.D.E. Geert Wilders. There is a Dutch party that is not p.u.d.e. ? (Euro single party)? If you do not have it, there is nothing new, little change for all of us Europeans. You care of Nazism and do well but we’re already in the horrors of Nazism (cheap) and we would like to get out of it.

    • Michael Van Roy

      Italians speaking of Nazism. Always a joy

      Let me get my popcorn

    • Stefania Portici

      bhe ….potresti avere anche ragione , forse, ma in questo momento non siamo padroni della nostra politica economica dunque lo stiamo subendo il nazismo. Ho parlato di nazismo ma è ancora peggio quel che è . Tu mangiati i popcorn parecchi non hanno neanche quelli da mangiare

    • Stefania Portici

      ti credo che la Germania come anche altri Paesi difendono a spada tratta l’euro e la UE. Per difendere una moneta fate morire mezza europa ? Non la vogliamo nè l’euro nè la UE e voi siete responsabili dei crimini umani . https://youtu.be/8TszG75t9p4

    • Stefania Portici

      la moneta unica euro in sè è già un problema ( non avendo gli stati uniti ) in più mettiamoci il controllo dell’inflazione di cui la Germania ha la fissa portandoci nella deflazione , mettiamoci ancora l’export / import dei Trattati che la Germania non ha rispettato esportando a tutto spiano facendo crollare le economie degli altri Paesi . Dietro ad una economia SBAGLIATA ci sono vite umane , avete ammazzato e state ammazzando interi popoli. Cristo Santo ! E in mezzo a questa tragedia umana c’è chi dice ” mangio i popcorn e guardo ” come quando la regina diceva ” mangiatevi i savoiardi ” è terribile quel che sta succedendo e la risposta menefreghista

    • Alderick van Klaveren

      Hope of what, if I may ask? What policy would you like Wilders to implement?

    • Dustin Kruise

      no he is not. he is a dog that barks all day. nothing more

    • Damon Timmerman

      tbh i dont get why people vote for him, he just screams a bit but hast proposed any actual plans yet

    • Diaconu George Razvan

      Damon Timmerman If he proposes any actual plans he loses , because only when you do something you can make a mistake ! He just pushes emotional buttons ( for some people!)

  5. catherine benning

    Why do people vote for Geert Wilders?

    It could be because he voices what they feel. And if that is the situation they have no other course they can take if they want to remain true to themselves.


    • Alderick van Klaveren

      He doesn’t voice what they feel. He represents what they feel. Which is an important distinction. Wilders makes no promises, with the seductive rhetoric that he doesn’t make empty promises. However, that subtly ignores the fact that he’s saying that there are no authentic promises that he wouldn’t break to stay in power.

      He’s saying “Since nobody will work with me anyway, I’ll not make any promises, since I’m not going to keep any of them, so it doesn’t seem like I sacrifice my integrity, when rather than if I will. In the next election, I’ll pretend that everyone was against me. Rinse repeat until I don’t have to form a coalition.”

      THAT is his strategy and that’s why people buy it. Because he’s not said anything yet that they could compare reality with yet. At least, not from their perspective in life. They don’t know how he’s going to keep taxes the same or lower, while making trade with the EU harder. They don’t know how he’s going to be able to change the constitution, just that he’s going to forbid the Quran.

      They just know that he’s somehow going to do both, because he says he does without backing it up. In fact, representative of the PVV have to pay €25.000,- for representing the agenda of the PVV to the public, without Wilders’ telling them exactly what to say.

      So he doesn’t voice what they feel. He voices as little as possible.

  6. Dustin Kruise

    if you vote for geert wilders you have to be a complete retard. all he does is barking like a dog. wont even go on TV to explain his political program. bitch about everything. And all he wants to do is not going to be reality as well. if you vote on him your vote will be a lost vote. Because no party in our political system wants to work with him. So he will never be a president. unless he get the half of the seats then he can be a president. but thats never going to happen.

    • Darrell Mennie

      let’s be fair here- he stands for leaving the EU- Firmly believing the Netherlands has a robust economic trade position on its own, he wants all darkies out, Netherlands for the Dutch, and want a fat PM payday those are his plans, pure and simple. Basically to be king of an isolated pile of a romanticised past that never was.

    • Michael Van Roy

      I agree Dustin. I’ve seen you around on FB more and i’m curious what you’re voting if you’re willing to tell? I’m voting Baudet, FvD

    • Michael Van Roy

      @ Darrell he doesn’t want “darkies out” he wants a stop on Islam.

    • Tom Kuilder

      Geert will make the Netherlands great again. Dustin, If I were you I would ask for a refund @ the local high school because your English is severely lacking in both the grammar and vocabulary department. Secondly, we don’t have a president in the Netherlands so I would also recommend for you to brush up on your knowledge of Dutch constitutional law before engaging in a debate, retard.

    • Corsc

      and what party do you think will make things turn for the good?? you put your fellow countrymen in the right corner, but keep in mind that it is the way the big parties made politics that caused all people to flee from the mainstream parties..

    • Matej Mlinarič

      Its up to people to vote for anybody they choose to. Just because you disagree with him or don’t like what he stands for doesn’t make you any special for it. Just real reason why this is on this site is cause, if he get control he will do what his voters want. That is to secure his country and stop pandering to islamists that want to enforce sharia law. Which is something that EU really likes to pretend its not happening….. So you know what EU you can start respecting interests of people or they will just start to hate you and will want to leave. But don’t say that you weren’t warned and if you continue with present politics you will destroy yourselves especially since you decided to compromise our security by importing millions.

    • Dustin Kruise

      Michael I vote SP. FvD would be my second option.

  7. Dustin Kruise

    you have to read alot lot more about geert wilders. LOL. He cant do jack shit. he barks like a dog thats all.

  8. Dustin Kruise

    Darrell Mennie He says he stands for leaving the EU. but lots of peopels dont know that he signed the contract to stay in the EU. and that same contract is also about more immigrations. he signed it. In a very sneaky way. Thats what alot of peopels forget. even the voters for his party. So yes those are maybe his plans. but its not realistic. Immigration will continue. thats all because of the kalgeri plan. if you dont know what it is read this link.

    its basically in a nut shell white genocide of the white european race. This is a fact and will continue. nor geert wilder or anybody else have something to say about it. Trust me if you read a little bit more about his political points and you know a little more about him. then you know he lies towards his voters and to himself. everything he does is barking and not making any sense. And about that he wants to kick out the immigrants is bullshit as well. he only wants to kick out the immigrants that misbehave. Thats all.

  9. Bekim Berisa

    Those people who vote for him, they have to be Racist and stupid like him!!!…DON’T VOTE FOR PSYCHO’s!!!

    • Rob Nieuwenhuis

      tell me then whats racist abouth what geert wilders is saying?

    • Bekim Berisa

      Are you sleeping or you don’t want to see the reality, as I said only people like him will vote for him and I’m sure you are one of them like him or what you think why you ask this stupid question!

    • Paul X

      Isn’t life simple in Liberal La La land……there are those who welcome anyone and everyone into their country no matter what their beliefs or intentions…..and then there are those who dare voice concerns who are branded Racist

    • Ed Frankes

      Well, it sounds like you’re the stupid one. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, then please don’t say anything at all.
      He dislikes the Islam, that isn’t the same as racism.
      I for one am NOT a racist, but i do support Wilders, even though he is full of s***. And why? Because all the other “political correct” politicians are full of it too, they just sound wiser.

    • Ivan Burrows

      Bekim Berisa

      Said like a true socialist fanatic, shout louder and people might listen to you, but I doubt it.

  10. ironworker

    Most of Wilders voters are giving a negative vote against the political establishment.

  11. Dustin Kruise

    Tom dafuq do you think what rutte Is? He is minister president. Other words president. And who the fuck cares about my English. Go suck it up and move on. But typical pvv voter. Stupid as a brick and still believe in the illusion that geert wil make the Netherlands great again. Dream on dude. He will never be a president. Nobody wants to work with him. So yeah sucks to hear that about you hero right. You don’t know jack shit about his stuff yet you vote in him because he talks about foreigners. Well immigrants. You are more delusional then those flat earthers.

  12. kevin

    It has nothing to do with Wilders , he is just in the right place at the right time after years of being let down by the liberal left . We saw it in the UK with Farage’s party taking many seats in the European elections ,we saw it in Brexit and we saw it with Trumps victory in the USA .
    People have had enough of the political classes .

  13. George Diplas

    They are fed up with the hypocrisy of E.U.2. EUROGROUP is not an official organisation.3)There is no transperency etc.etc.etc.

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