Who is Geert Wilders?
You might know him as the guy that wore the Trump-look before it was cool, one of the few Dutchmen who made international headlines (but only for negative reasons). But who exactly is Geert Wilders? And what has made him so controversial in the Netherlands?
Geert Wilders crawled his way into the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer) as early as 1997. Though he managed to be caught on by the media on several occasions, he hadn’t become such a phenomenon yet. He started as a member of the political party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), where his opinions were already somewhat controversial. Though VVD has always been one of the more right-wing parties in the Netherlands, it was not nearly extreme enough for Wilders. This became clear on several occasions, for example when he called the presence of Muslims in the Netherlands a “multicultural drama”.
When, in July 2004, Wilders and one of his party members published a manifest of ten statements that were to be discussed within the party, friction started to arise even more between Wilders and the rest of VVD. When he refused to agree with one of the key points of VVD in August, it was the end for Wilders as a member of the VVD. But this was only the beginning of the phenomenon Geert Wilders.
This is when the pride of Geert Wilders was born: the Political Party for Freedom (PVV). And this is when the metaphorical shit hit the fan. Here’s an overview of the PVV’s most controversial ideologies:
– “De-islamization”: Wilders has very strong feelings about the Islam, its followers and basically anything that is even remotely related to it. In his time as a politician, he has pleaded for a ban on headscarves and burqas, he has made a very controversial anti-Islam film called Fitna (for which he was kicked out of the United Kingdom) and most recently, he has expressed that he wants to use the police to close down Mosques and confiscate all Qurans. This is because Islam would lead to jihad-terrorism and sharia-fatalism.
– Anti-immigrants: Wilders wants to change a lot about immigration policies. Not only does he want to put a full stop on immigration from Islamic countries, he also wants immigrants without a job to be deported and to make them eligible for welfare after ten years of living in the Netherlands. Immigrants should also be deported, according to Wilders, when they commit a crime. One of the scandals he is most famous for, is the incident where he asked an audience of party-member whether they want more or less Moroccans in the Netherlands and the audience answered with a loud “Less! Less! Less!” to which Wilders told them that he would “arrange” this.
– Nexit: The Netherlands should follow the United Kingdom in leaving the EU and should also get rid of the euro and go back to our old currency, the guilder. Wilders is convinced that the Netherlands would do better, financially, on its own.
On several occasions, Geert Wilders has been sued for racism (for example for his ‘less Moroccans’-incident). Next to that, he has given several provocative speeches in America. He is known to receive many death-threats and to have to live life surrounded by about five bodyguard at all times. Honestly, it can only be a matter of time before he, too, starts talking about building a wall around the Dutch border.