Dutch politician Geert Wilders is seen on the convention floor before the start of the second day of the US Republican National Convention. Photo: AFP, Robyn Beck
Dutch politician Geert Wilders is seen on the convention floor before the start of the second day of the US Republican National Convention. Photo: AFP, Robyn Beck
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Economic nationalism isn’t a Dutch thing

Support for far-right candidate Geert Wilders is a protest, not an anti-globalization revolution

March 15, 2017 7:53 PM (UTC+8)

The German daily Handelsblatt gets the tulip for best comment on today’s Dutch elections: “As [the 19th-century German-Jewish poet] Heinrich Heine said, when the end of the world comes, the place to go is Holland, because everything happens there fifty years later.” Anti-immigration candidate Geert Wilders will get a big protest vote, but won’t form a government because no other party (except for the tiny Senior Citizens Party) will form a government with him. Unlike National Front candidate Marine Le Pen in France, Wilders’ support has nothing to do with anti-globalization sentiment. The Netherlands is simply the mouth of the Rhine River, and its exports (including massive re-exports from Germany and France) are 82% of its GDP.  The last thing the Dutch want is protectionism. But the immigration issue is hot and emotional and will give votes to Wilders. This is a protest, not a revolution.

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