Anti-immigration Geert Wilders took the Dutch election: what does it mean for internationals in the Netherlands?

Climate funding, expats, and the EU are all on the chopping block 🪓

The Netherlands has voted, and their votes gave right-wing populist Geert Wilders the highest number of seats in the parliament.

With the Dutch party system, the PVV leader still only has a projected 37 of 150 seats in the Dutch parliament, but that’s more than any other singular party.

To become prime minister, Wilders still needs to form a coalition with other parties — and have them agree that he is the leader.

But let’s take a step back: anti-immigration? Right-wing? Is this really a Dutch Trump? And how will internationals living in the Netherlands be affected?

I read the PVV’s election promises document so you didn’t have to. Here’s what you should know about the PVV’s platform.

(Psst: the document title is called “Nederlanders weer op 1 which translates to “Dutch people #1 again” — rings a bell to a certain American leader, right?)

Taking back the Netherlands

According to the 46-page election program for the PVV, the party represents the unease of Nederlanders.

“[T]he Netherlands is no longer the Netherlands. We all see it around us. Our country is overcrowded,” the document states.

“Our neighbourhoods and cities are often unrecognizable with a lot of nuisance and crime. We have to take back the Netherlands. Closing our borders to even more fortune seekers from other cultures is necessary.”

In the document, the word “Nederland” or “Nederlander(s)” appeared 121 times.


One of Wilder’s claims to fame is his hate of Islam.

The PVV therefore are pushing for a ban on Islamic education, Korans, mosques, and wearing Islamic headscarves in government buildings.

According to the document, Islam “threatens our freedom and our values”.

Cuts to climate-change funding

The party wants to bring some things back to the people: more roads, a reduction in the fuel excise duty, and improved public transport.

Well, that’s not too bad. Yet, that money has to come from somewhere. The party does say part of it will come from taxing banks on huge profits.

However, the party also wants to redirect billions currently reserved for the climate and nitrogen crises to “our own people”.

“We have been made to fear climate change for decades. Although the predicted disaster scenarios – about the world ending – became more and more extreme over the years, none of them ever came true.”

Cuts to arts, culture, public broadcasting, and expats

Wilder’s party also wants to eliminate “all kinds of nonsensical subsidies for art, culture, public broadcasting, expats, and greening”

What precisely they want to eliminate for expats is not stated, but the document does say they want to “severely limit” labour and study migrants in the Netherlands.

In the section “Asylum and immigration”, it attacks “non-Western” immigrants, arguing that more than half of the Dutch welfare system is comprised of these people.

Double nationality will also be forbidden.

Less international students

If Wilders gets his way, he’ll slash international student numbers by only offering Bachelor’s courses in Dutch.

The number of foreign students will also be capped.

Pro-Zwarte Piet and VOC

The party also claims to want to preserve Dutch culture.

“The left-wing hatred in which heroes from our history are taunted is ending. Apologies for the slavery past, and police actions, as done by the King, are withdrawn. Zwarte Piet remains.”

Yes, you read that right: the party that won the most seats in the Dutch election is pro-Zwarte Piet, the black-faced figure of the Netherlands that has shocked other countries for years.


Finally, all those nice parts of the EU, like freedom of movement (that the UK lost in Brexit and immediately regretted)? Well, the PVV wants to renege on those too.

The document argues for opting out of EU regulations and reintroducing national border control.

In particular, if you’re an expat from another EU country, under a Wilders government they want you to have a work permit.

Whether Wilders will manage to get a majority remains to be seen. Over the coming weeks, we can expect a lot of negotiations between parties.

How do you feel about Wilders potentially becoming the next Dutch prime minister? Share your opinion in the comments below!

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Samantha Dixon 🇦🇺
Sam has over six years experience writing about life in the Netherlands and leads the content team at DutchReview. She originally came to the Netherlands to study in 2016 and now holds a BA (Hons.) in Arts, a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and (almost) a Masters in Teaching. She loves to write about settling into life in the Netherlands, her city of Utrecht, learning Dutch, and jobs in the Netherlands — and she still can’t jump on the back of a moving bike (she's learning!).
  1. Don’t forget his friendship with russia, his travels to meet putin, his lies to cover that russians blew MH17, and his threats to cut help to Ukraine.

  2. The Netherlands is my second home (and my wife’s first home). It has been my refuge from the “domheid” of Brexit. It now seems that Dutch voters are as “dom” as the people who voted for Brexit – with no idea what they were letting themselves in for. I hope both countries can recover from this before the effects become irreversible.

  3. Had the left listened to their constituents and promised a cap on asylum seekers we probably would still have a cabinet and Wilders would still be the unthinkable partner he was.
    I’m not saying that this measure is okay, but it seems to be the wish of the people and I think the left should listen otherwise we’ll continue having irreconcilable differences that the far right can exploit.

  4. I have to wonder: would his govt do anything to change the way DAFT is implemented? I’m planning a migration there in a few few years, so I have to worry.

    (If this is a silly question, feel free to laugh and poke fun at me)

    • As an American of presumed Christian heritage and your own money you will be the “right kind” of immigrant. I will uld expect enforcement to be tightened up a bit, but not by much.
      All of this is meaningless if Wilders and his party can’t build a ruling coalition.

  5. As an Australian citizen who has lived for over half a decade in the Netherlands, I think it is time to commence thinking about returning to AU.

  6. Almost a dream come true, the Victory of PVV and Geert Wilders! We can only hope the youngsters in The Netherlands will be able to once again SMILE and Be JOYFUL laughing and celebrating ZWARTEPIETEN. Let’s hope De Bijenkorf will bring back the Zwartepieten climbing up and down in their shiny colors as they did for years and years before the cultural haters of the Left began their totalitarian regimes. Make The Netherlands, Great Again. Stop teaching young Dutch children to hate their culture and their country.

  7. Fascinating to see how quickly the views of the UK Press have changed about the Netherlands. Last week you were merely ‘Holland’, a small EU country with a passion for fiets and polders, and the obligatory press release of Rutte cycling to work. Now you’re close to an alliance to all the nastiness that Trump purveys. Let’s hope Wilders struggles to find a coalition. ‘Make the Netherlands great again’…..pffft don’t mend what’s not broken.


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