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Politics after Pim - a reading list

A flamboyant politician, a divisive figure in the Dutch political landscape and a 'man of the people' who presented himself as an unconventional minister. Exactly twenty years ago today, the Netherlands was shocked to its core by the political murder of Pim Fortuyn. Who was Pim Fortuyn? What were his political views? How did the Netherlands deal with his murder? For the past twenty years, academics have filled bookshelves with works on his political legacy.

Twenty years after one of the most important assassinations in Dutch history, the political ideology of Pim Fortuyn still reverberates. Migration, integration and discrimination are still high on the political agenda and where right-wing and populist parties have gained popularity, traditional Christian Democratic and Social Democratic movements are in crisis. Discussions about the legitimacy of government and the media are also still discussed daily in the political arena. Where did the Fortuyn revolt in 2002 originate? And why did it prove impossible to keep his political party afloat after his death? For this reading list, we selected seven titles from the collections of Leiden University Libraries that place Fortuyn's politics and influence in a broader perspective.

All books in this list can be borrowed or viewed digitally at the UBL by following the link under the title of the book or by searching the Catalogue yourself.

Life and work of Pim Fortuyn

Dick Pels, De geest van Pim: Het gedachtegoed van een politieke dandy


In this critical biography, Dick Pels reconstructs the development of Fortuyn's political thinking: from Marxist intellectual to a populist politician. Pels shows what changed in his thinking and what remained the same. Pels argues Fortuyn combined leftist and rightist ideas, he was a politician who wanted to give a voice to voters who had hitherto been ignored and who believed himself to be the voice of 'the people'. In addition, Pels shows that Fortuyn remained an outsider everywhere: whether he worked at a university, in a government ministry or in politics. This also influenced his thinking and his political style.

Hans Wansink, De erfenis van Fortuyn: De Nederlandse democratie na de opstand van de kiezers


Hans Wansink's dissertation is a reconstruction of the 'long year 2002', in which Fortuyn caused one political firestorm after another and was eventually murdered. It is also an attempt to explain the origin and effects of the Fortuyn revolt. In an interview with Wansink in 2002, Fortuyn called Islam a 'backward culture' and argued for the abolition of Article 1 of the Dutch constitution, because it, in his eyes, impeded free debate. In his dissertation, Wansink partly adopts Fortuyn's position that Fortuyn voters were angry citizens who wanted to call the political elite to order. But Wansink also shows the inability of his supporters to keep the Pim Fortuyn List afloat after Fortuyn's murder.

In Pim's footsteps?

Meindert Fennema, Geert Wilders: Tovenaarsleerling


After Fortuyn's murder, various politicians followed in his footsteps, often striving to give 'forgotten' voters a voice. One of the most talked-about among them is Geert Wilders and Fennema reconstructs his career from VVD member of parliament to the leader of the PVV. The bond between Wilders and Frits Bolkestein is central. Although VVD leader Bolkestein had a great influence on Wilders, the latter ultimately chose his own path. Wilders focused on the fight against 'Islam' and opted for a politically aggressive style. Given these choices, there was no longer a place for him in the VVD, but with his own party, he acquired a permanent place in the Dutch political landscape.

Koen Vossen, Rondom Wilders: Portret van de PVV


After the disintegration of new parties such as the Lijst Pim Fortuyn and Trots op Nederland, the PVV opted for a different party model: without members and with a sophisticated media strategy. But how did that party function, and how democratic was it on the inside? Researchers and journalists who asked these kinds of questions rarely got a look behind the scenes of the party. By interviewing former PVV members of parliament, researcher Koen Vossen managed for the first time to paint a picture of the internal workings of the PVV.

Politics in the Netherlands after Pim Fortuyn's murder

Tom Louwerse et al., Van driestromenland tot delta? Beschouwingen over ontwikkelingen in de Nederlandse politiek 


Fortuyn's influence extends beyond the parties and politicians who want to follow in his footsteps. The entire political system in the Netherlands has changed. While post-war politics was long dominated by three main currents (Christian democracy, social democracy and liberalism), contemporary politics is characterized by fragmentation. What are the causes of this development, and what are the consequences for the functioning of Dutch politics? In this book, Leiden political scientists analyse the most important developments, challenges and problems in Dutch politics.

Merijn Oudenampsen, The rise of the Dutch new right: An intellectual history of the rightwards shift in Dutch politics


While Wansink and others view Fortuyn's rise as a revolt by angry and excluded voters, Oudenampsen focuses on the intellectual masterminds of the Fortuyn revolt in his dissertation. How did the new right-wing program of Fortuyn and other Dutch populists come about, which politicians and intellectuals played a leading role in it, and how does this development fit into a broader, international perspective? Oudenampsen provides a fascinating analysis of the political shifts of the past twenty years.

Wim Voermans, Het land moet bestuurd worden: Machiavelli in de polder


How well (or badly) does democracy function in the Netherlands, twenty years after the murder of Pim Fortuyn? Leiden Professor of Constitutional Law Wim Voermans takes stock and comes to painful conclusions. On the one hand, he describes political administrators as "responsible, hardworking and honest". On the other hand, however, he sees that administrators increasingly choose to depoliticize issues, setting up independent administrative bodies and other means to avoid a real democratic debate about the governance of the country. According to Voermans, Dutch democracy is showing 'pile rot'. The battle for Dutch democracy is far from over.

Contact us

Is a book missing on this list or would you like the UBL to add a book to the collections? Contact one of our subject librarians.

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