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Dutch politics: Tolerance at the end of its tether

Loathing has long lurked beneath the surface of the liberal Dutch culture

By Joris Luyendijk   April 2017

Geert Wilders: less of a break with the past than you might think ©De Waal/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

Just three decades ago, the world considered the Netherlands a byword for tolerant self-confidence: a social laboratory for gay rights, soft drugs, regulated prostitution and euthanasia. The country’s most right-wing party, the liberal-conservative VVD, was well to the left of the US Democrats. Progressive Dutch intellectuals called their country the “guide-nation,” which was proving to the world that gay marriage and legal marijuana did not spell the end of civilisation. Instead, stable and prosperous,…

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