The Dutch elections are over and the world is somewhat relaxed now that the Dutch have not chosen far-right populism (Geert Wilders’ PVV) but just regular-right, some-what-rich-people populism (Mark Rutte’s VVD).
What will strike many expats is how fractured Dutch politics is and how many parties there are. Right now, no less than thirteen parties will make up the Tweede Kamer, the Dutch Parliament. Forming what we call a “coalition”, a group of like-minded parties which together hold a two-third majority, is often quite a task. This balkanization does have the upside that is makes polarization more difficult, as many voters will find their niche.
And some niches there have been. Here are some rather remarkable parties from Dutch political past, present, and maybe even future:
1. Rapaille Partij (The Rabble Party)
As long as there has been free expression, there have been people who used it to mock it. The Rapaille Partij was founded in 1921 by artists and anarchists and is considered to be first Dutch “anti-party”. To show their disdain for universal suffrage, they elected a famous hobo from Amsterdam as their lijsttrekker (first party member to receive a seat in parliament). To the rabble’s credit, they did have a point that there was little point in letting the masses vote when most of them couldn’t even read and had little ways of informing themselves about politics. The party actually obtained two seats in the city council after the 1921 elections, but died a quiet death not long afterwards. Kind of sad for a party that literally had “free drinks” as their number one priority.
2. Vrije Seks Partij (Free Sex Party)
Not much to explain here. The VSP probably went for the lowest common denominator and thought: everybody likes sex, so why not turn it in a political spear point? Jokes all around, the actual policy issues of this short-lived party were, among others: free condoms and birth control pills for everyone, more nudist communities, and free sex for prisoners (what, what…?). The party took one failed shot at city council in 1970 and then disappeared.
3. Partij voor de Liefde (Party for Love)
The phrase “Party for Love” will summon up images of either an XTC fueled street rave, or that ominous torture institute from George Orwell’s 1984. Still, someone thought it would be a grand idea to found a political party with this name. The Pvd has… opinions and policies, I guess? We’re not sure, but one of the most recent updates on their nostalgically poorly designed website warns of no less than the coming End of the World.
4. Kommunistische Eenheidsbeweging Nederland (Communist Unity Movement of The Netherlands)
What can a simple comrade do for the glorious movement in his or her glorious country? Well, if rumors are to be believed, women can help KEN by always being topless during meetings. Also, living together in small communities and having all your sexual relationships determined for you by the party committee. Unsurprisingly, the police finally raided their headquarters in Rotterdam in 1985 on suspicion of even more dubious affairs.
5. Partij voor Naastenliefde, Vrijheid en Diversiteit (Party for Neighbourly Love, Freedom, and Diversity)
‘Partly for Neighbourly Love, Freedom, and Diversity‘ is quite a mouth-full, so the plebs eventually narrowed it down to ‘The Pedo Party’. In all fairness, that’s a fitting name for a party which aimed to lower the age of consent to twelve, and even spoke about eventually abolishing it all-together. Yes, that means removing all legal barriers for having sex with underage teens, but the PvNVD claimed that it’s all fine as long as its consensual. Attempts to legally ban the party were unsuccessful. The PvNVD disbanded in 2010, whether this was because of the many death threats that the members received is not sure. Either way, good riddance.
So there you have it: a short list of some of the weirdest political parties the Low Lands have yet produced. And we even did it without making jokes about Geert Wilders.