We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Geert Wilders of the PVV pictured today celebrating yesterday's election results Alamy Stock Photo

‘Dutch Donald Trump’: Firebrand Geert Wilders lands massive election victory in the Netherlands

Wilders is in pole position to form the next governing coalition, and possibly become the Netherlands’ next prime minister.

GEERT WILDERS HAS been called the Dutch Donald Trump.

He has been threatened with death countless times by Islamic extremists, convicted of insulting Moroccans, and Britain once banned him from entering the country.

Now, Wilders has won a massive victory in a Dutch election and is in pole position to form the next governing coalition, and possibly become the Netherlands’ next prime minister.

An exit poll revealing his landslide appeared to take even 60-year-old political veteran Wilders by surprise.

In his first reaction, posted in a video on X, he spread his arms wide, put his face in his hands and said simply “35!” – the number of seats an exit poll forecast his Party for Freedom (PPV) won in the 150-seat lower house of parliament.

In fact, his party was later forecast to take 37 seats, with almost all votes counted this morning.

Wilders has long been one of the Netherlands’ best-known legislators at home and abroad.

His populist policies and shock of peroxide blond hair have drawn comparisons with Trump.

But, unlike the former US president, he seemed destined to spend his life in political opposition.

The only time Wilders came close to governing was when he supported the first coalition formed by Prime Minister Mark Rutte in 2010.

But Wilders did not formally join the minority administration and brought it down after just 18 months in office in a dispute over austerity measures. Since then, mainstream parties have shunned him.

They no longer can.

“The PVV wants to, from a fantastic position with 35 seats that can totally no longer be ignored by any party, cooperate with other parties,” he told cheering supporters at his election celebration in a small bar in a working-class suburb of The Hague.

Whether he can piece together a stable coalition with former political foes remains to be seen.

embedded29780a5e3ffe4e7293e8e16d74a52d91 Wilders celebrates with party members after winning the most votes in the Dutch general election AP AP

As well as alienating mainstream politicians, his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric also has made him a target for extremists and led to him living under round-the-clock protection for years.

He has appeared in court as a victim of death threats, vowing never to be silenced.

Voting yesterday at The Hague City Hall, Wilders was flanked by security guards scanning the cavernous space for possible threats.

He has moved from one safe house to another over nearly two decades.

In 2009, the UK Government refused to let him visit the country, saying he posed a threat to “community harmony and therefore public security”.

Wilders had been invited to Britain by a member of the UK Parliament’s upper house, the House of Lords, to show his 15-minute film, Fitna, which criticises the Quran as a “fascist book”.

The film sparked violent protests around the Muslim world in 2008 for linking Qur’anic verses with footage of terrorist attacks.

To court mainstream voters this time around, Wilders toned down the anti-Islam rhetoric and sought to focus less on what he calls the “de-Islamisation” of the Netherlands and more on tackling issues such as housing shortages, the cost-of-living crisis and access to good healthcare.

His campaign platform nonetheless calls for a referendum on the Netherlands leaving the European Union, an “asylum stop” and “no Islamic schools, Quran and mosques”, although he pledged last night not to breach Dutch laws or the country’s constitution that enshrines freedom of religion and expression.

Wilders is set to become the longest-serving legislator in the Dutch parliament later this year.

He has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1998, first for the centre-right People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy, where he mentored a young Rutte before quitting the party and setting up his Party for Freedom.

He demonstrated a softer side on last night by thanking his Hungarian-born wife Krisztina for her support.

The politician also is a staunch supporter of Israel and advocates shifting the Embassy of the Netherlands there to Jerusalem and closing the Dutch diplomatic post in Ramallah, home of the Palestinian Authority.

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel