Introducing one heinous crime after the other so you can slowly lose your faith in humanity, I’m Abuzer van Leeuwen and this is your Daily Dutch News of the second of October.
Volker van der Who?
Nowadays 9/11 is not only a date but also a cultural phrase known throughout the whole world. Everybody knows that the world changed forever that day and that it wouldn’t be business as usual anymore. However the Dutch had their own 9/11 experience: When Volkert van der Graaf murdered Pim Fortuyn on the 6th of May and Dutch politics entered a new era.
More than 10 years have passed since the murder and certainly things are looking very different in the Dutch political landscape. Pim Fortuyn was a flamboyant gay economics professor, not the first person that comes to mind when voting for your political homecoming queen and king for upcoming Dutch elections. But he became quite the hit.
Back in 2001 when the Netherlands were still an easygoing country, Pim Fortuyn saw an opportunity to enter the political arena with his unique message. Our politicians were boring, the economy was running smoothly and the multicultural society was a blessing for everybody and was not up for discussion. If you starting questioning the problematic side of multiculturalism you would most likely be labeled a ‘fascist’ by the (predominantly leftist) media.
Pim Fortuyn was sick of this taboo and struck a nerve; politicians left and right started accusing him of ‘fascism’ while in the meantime lots of people relished in his brutal honesty and openness. They shared his distaste for a multicultural society that was forced upon them and gave them little room to voice their issues. Pim refused to play by the rules of the political establishment in The Hague. He openly voiced his disgust of ‘backdoor politics’, the ‘poldermodel’ and the Dutch weak stance on criminality and justice. All this secured his rise to fame, culminating in a grand victory for him at the municipal elections weeks ahead of the national ones. The old established was left in the dust and now couldn’t ignore him and what followed was one of the most interesting debates of Dutch politics ever.
He was bound to become frontrunner in the upcoming national elections, until the Netherlands got a nasty wakeup call on the 6th of May 2002. Fortuyn was murdered by Volkert van der Graaf. Political and societal upheaval followed, angry mobs set out to the streets (well sort of, we aren’t a country of mass protests) and Dutch politicians continue to struggle with the Fortuin’s legacy up until this very day. And even worse, his political niche is now occupied by this clown Wilders. And Volkert, our contemporary Balthasar Gerards? He was of course locked away in a dark prison cell, never to return to society again.
Oh wait, this just in: Volkert might get out on parole. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison. And while you do the math and come to the conclusion that he should get out by 2020, I can tell you Volkert is getting ready to leave his prison as we speak (fearing for his life, but nonetheless). He will get out on probation, and since it’s customary for Dutch prisoners to be released after serving two third of their sentence, he is scheduled to be released in 2014. So expect more news to come.
And now for the weather forecast..