2013 Winner: The "Fortuyns" of Europe

Project Information
The "Fortuyns" of Europe
History 196Q "Europe and the Cold War
Northern European countries have gained an image of being progressive and forward thinking in the post-1945 era. The Netherlands is perhaps the best example of this open-minded reputation. The passage of controversial legislation in legalizing gay marriage, euthanasia, prostitution, and unenforced soft-drug policy has earned the country praise and criticism from nations around the world. When looking at these liberal advances it is difficult to imagine that a racist and xenophobic politician could achieve widespread support. Yet by 2002, the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn rallied a massive following behind his anti-Islamic platform and became the most influential man in the country. How could such a figure rise to prominence in a society that also voted for such tolerant reforms? This paper will explore how exploitation of the fear surrounding Islamic immigration and the decline of a political identity in Europe led to these contradictory developments in Holland’s recent past.
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  • Cory Schiff (Nine)