Parties Take Sides in Netherlands’ Culture War

Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert greets residents of Mazar, Afghanistan, March 9, 2015
Dutch defense minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert greets residents of Mazar, Afghanistan, March 9, 2015 (Ministerie van Defensie/Eva Klijn)

A debate on Sunday between the top female candidates of the five biggest political parties in the Netherlands revealed that the old left-right divide is giving way to something new. Read more

Dutch Greens Fail to Tempt Labor into Rejecting Rutte’s Liberals

Dutch Green party leader Jesse Klaver greets activists in Groningen, February 8
Dutch Green party leader Jesse Klaver greets activists in Groningen, February 8 (GroenLinks)

Dutch Labor Party leader Lodewijk Asscher refused to shake hands with his Green party counterpart, Jesse Klaver, on Friday and agree not to go into government again with the right.

In an election debate broadcast on Dutch public radio, Klaver asked Asscher to commit to a progressive alliance and not join another coalition with the center-right liberal party.

Asscher refused to make that promise, calling Klaver’s suggestion “a little arrogant”. Read more

Dutch Feel Labor Market Liberalization Has Gone Too Far

Canal houses are reflected in the window of a gift shop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, October 5, 2013
Canal houses are reflected in the window of a gift shop in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, October 5, 2013 (mini malist)

The Dutch election campaign is overshadowed by the rise of nationalist party leader Geert Wilders and his controversial views on the European Union and Islam.

But don’t overlook what could be one of the stickiest point in coalition talks after the election in March: the liberalization of the labor market.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberals, on the right, and the liberal Democrats, in the center, are both likely to be part of the next government. Both want to free up the labor market, but polls suggest that many of their voters agree with the left that liberalization has already gone too far. Read more

Dutch Freedom Party Leader Cancels Second Election Debate

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015 (RTV Oost/Rogier van den Berg)

Are all populists so thin-skinned?

The Dutch Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, canceled his participation in an election debate organized by RTL in two weeks’ time after its news division published an interview with the politician’s older brother on Sunday.

The Freedom Party leader called the interview “incredibly vile,” but his brother hasn’t exactly shied away from the media. He even contributed to a left-wing opinion website for a while. Read more

Don’t Worry About the Many Political Parties in the Netherlands

Civil servants listen to a debate in the Dutch parliament in The Hague, December 6, 2016
Civil servants listen to a debate in the Dutch parliament in The Hague, December 6, 2016 (SZW/Martijn Beekman)

More parties than ever could win seats in the Dutch parliament next month, but that hardly means the country is on the verge of becoming ungovernable.

The Financial Times writes that the proliferation of political parties in the Netherlands — 28 will be on a ballot paper in March — makes the election hard to call and its aftermath potentially messy.

But less than half those parties are projected to win seats and only one newcomer, 50Plus, is expected to win more than a handful. Read more

Dutch Parties’ Plans Scored for Economic Impact

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte confers with his Latvian counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, during a meeting of the European Council in Brussels, May 22, 2013
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte confers with his Latvian counterpart, Valdis Dombrovskis, during a meeting of the European Council in Brussels, May 22, 2013 (Valsts Kanceleja/Thierry Monasse)

The Dutch economy would grow faster if the manifesto of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberal party were implemented while pensioners and those on welfare would be better off under a left-wing government.

Those are some of the findings of the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis, which calculated the effect proposals from the country’s eleven largest political parties would have on incomes, jobs and growth. Read more

Rutte Wins If Dutch Vote with Their Pocketbooks

Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte listens to a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte listens to a debate in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 20, 2016 (European Parliament)

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s liberal party would benefit from switching the election debate in the Netherlands to the economy, on which it is trusted the most.

Cultural and social issues, like immigration, pensions and security, currently play a major role. Read more