Dutch politics is a kaleidoscope of characters where everyone has their say and no-one holds a monopoly on power. The goal of this blog is to describe the complex world of Dutch politics in a way that is accessible while also being accurate.
The founding principles of Dutch politics – compromise and negotiation – date back to medieval times. Keeping the sea at bay in this low country was a struggle for survival that required co-operation rather than conflict. The cultural tendency towards political representation of every view, followed by prolonged haggling to reach a compromise, is often poorly understood in English-speaking countries, where majoritarian politics rule and the winner takes all.
This blog was born of frustration. The English-language reporting of the March 2017 Election reduced a multi-faceted competition to a two-horse race. As a result of erroneous reporting, readers of the English-language press came to believe that the anti-Islamic populist Geert Wilders might become Prime Minister, and that the Netherlands might follow Britain by leaving the EU. In the event, Wilders’ party, the PVV, won 13.1% of the vote.
As a Dutch-speaking, British born-and-educated political scientist based in the Netherlands, I posted frequent updates on Facebook throughout the 2017 election campaign . My politically-engaged friends and acquaintances abroad found these an invaluable corrective to reporting in their own media, and thus RealDutchPolitics was born.
I hope that you find it interesting.
Dr Alison Smith, LLB (hons), MPhil DPhil (Oxon)