Some Orange in a Dark Blue Sea

Read on Twitter, by @JossedeVoogd:

Last week, there were national elections for Dutch parliament. The social-democrats of Mr. Asscher got a fatal blow, the liberal-conservative party of Prime-Minister Rutte stayed the biggest, the Green party of the young Mr. Klaver was rather successful, but the leftist parties in general continued to shrink, while Dutch populism is on the rise. Mr. Wilders’s PVV became the second biggest party, so you might conclude that he is the real winner. And Mr. Rutte’s party, the VVD, which showed a nasty populist face in the campaign, became a lot weaker and lost more than twenty percent of its votes. After the murder on Rotterdam-based Mr. Pim Fortuyn in 2002, the Low Countries have changed in a most dramatic way. Even the PvdA of Mr. Asscher became ‘patriotic’. Some were hoping for a young Trudeau in the Netherlands. Their hope evaporated. This country got a near-Trump victory. Geographer Josse de Voogd produced a great map that shows the new Dutch political landscape in a most horrible way, as if most of the Netherlands got flooded.

In the political geography of the Netherlands, more and more Amsterdam is becoming an orange, leftist island in a deep blue sea of nationalism and ultra-right wing conservatism. The Green party of Mr. Klaver, which has its base in the capital city, was able to attract more than a million mainly young voters and was the only party that really could mobilize people by organizing mass-meetings in Amsterdam Southeast. The liberal party of Mr. Pechtold – D66 is also an Amsterdam invention – followed. But look at the other big cities, Rotterdam and The Hague, and see how its inhabitants voted: the populist party became almost the biggest; for Mr. Rutte, Rotterdam was a narrow escape. While Amsterdam voted left-liberal, Rotterdam and The Hague were dominated by the right wing-populist parties. The Rust Belt in the Netherlands seems to be growing fast, due to decades of planned suburbanization, because Zeeland, Limburg, Groningen and Drenthe all are following the Rotterdam voting now. Amsterdam and Utrecht are the exception. This fuels the aggression in the rest of the Netherlands. They think Amsterdam is arrogant, a ‘bubble’. It is not. Amsterdam is a Global City. It is the rest of the country that is having an ever bigger problem.





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