As the Netherlands fight to retain their culture and heritage, Rep. Steve King (Rep.) of Iowa Refuses to apologize for telling the truth. Read more below about the struggle in the Netherlands.
Anti-immigrant anger threatens to remake the liberal Netherlands
AMSTERDAM — Xandra Lammers lives on an island in Amsterdam, the back door of her modern and spacious four-bedroom house opening onto a graceful canal where ducks, swans and canoes glide by.
The translation business she and her husband run from their home is thriving. The neighborhood is booming, with luxury homes going up as fast as workers can build them, a quietly efficient tramway to speed residents to work in the world-renowned city center, and parks, bike paths, art galleries, beaches and cafes all within a short amble.
By outward appearances, Lammers is living the Dutch dream. But in the 60-year-old’s telling, she has been dropped into the middle of a nightmare, one in which Western civilization is under assault from the Muslim immigrants who have become her neighbors.
“The influx has been too much. The borders should close,” said Lammers, soft-spoken with pale blue eyes and brown hair that frames a deceptively serene-looking face. “If this continues, our culture will cease to exist.”
The stakes have risen sharply as Europeans’ anti-establishment anger has swelled. In interviews across the Netherlands in recent days, far-right voters expressed stridently nationalist, anti-immigrant views that were long considered fringe but that have now entered the Dutch mainstream.
Voters young and old, rich and poor, urban and rural said they would back the Geert Wilders-led Freedom Party — no longer the preserve of the “left-behinds” — which promises to solve the country’s problems by shutting borders, closing mosques and helping to dismantle the European Union.
“They’ve found a very powerful narrative,” said Koen Damhuis, a researcher at the European University Institute who studies the far right. “By creating a master conflict of the national versus the foreign, they’re able to attract support from all elements of society.”
“The main issue is identity,” said Joost Niemöller, a journalist and author who has written extensively on Wilders and is sympathetic to his cause. “People feel they’re losing their Dutch identity and Dutch society. The neighborhoods are changing. Immigrants are coming in. And they can’t say anything about it because they’ll be called racist. So they feel helpless. Because they feel helpless, they get angry.”
Echoing a theme I’ve heard on my travels everywhere in America:
“A government has to treat its own people correctly before accepting new ones. First, you must take care of your own.”