The Dutch general election: what the foreign press is saying


The Netherlands is getting plenty of attention the foreign press at the moment, as scores of reporters fly in to assess the state of the nation and its political parties ahead of the March 15 vote. Here are five of the best stories we’ve read.

Buzzfeed looks at the way Geert Wilders has adopted gay rights as an electoral weapon because, the website argues, it is the most difficult subject for Muslim communities to deal with.

The man who turned gay rights into a weapon in the war against Muslims

The Guardian
The Guardian has put together a handy guide to the Dutch elections with lots of background and a clear analysis of where the Netherlands fits into the populist trend sweeping the west.

Dutch elections: all you need to know

The same paper has also jumped on the Jesse Klaver bandwagon with a profile of the ‘bright-eyed 30-year-old leader’ GroenLinks. Klaver is, the paper says, is proving to be something of a buoy that many progressives are holding on to for dear life.

The Jessiah: the Dutch progressive trying to turn back the populist tide

Politico looks at the way the Netherlands have struggled with the use of computers during elections. A decade after the first problems were reported ‘the country still hasn’t come up with a secure tech system to cast and count votes.’

Dutch go old school against Russian hacking

Financial Times
Simon Kuper in the Financial Times looks at the fortunes of Oude Pekela, dubbed the Netherlands’ poorest village, and finds a population at odds with the ‘angry white’ stereotype, with a range of nuanced and often positive views about refugees.

Is far-right populism winning in the Netherlands is carrying a wide range of election-related articles, from an explanation of how the system works to break-downs of the big issues. Here’s a selection of our coverage.

Economist Rick van der Ploeg argues that evidenced-based political policy is being sidelined by parties which portray the postwar consensus as a self-serving elite enriching itself at the expense of ordinary people.

Long term issues are swamped by populism and migration

Commentator Ben Coates says Dutch political parties are always constrained by their coalition partners. ‘That’s maybe very good in lots of ways and very stable and moderate, but it also creates space for people to come with really crazy radical ideas.’

The Netherlands was always this safe, prosperous bubble

D66 parliamentarian Sjoerd Sjoerdsma is not all doom and gloom about the EU. ‘I think Trump is a great opportunity for the European Union to put itself forward as a world leader, and we just need to get on with it.’

There are no A and B classes of Dutch people

Graham Dockery goes to Volendam, where foreign camera crews are as thick on the ground as the cliches about picturesque fishing villages. He found not everyone is happy at the way the town has been dubbed the centre of Wilders’ support.

In Holland’s ‘most right-wing town’, nothing is black or white