By Chip Huisman
This essay argues that a structural change has occurred in Dutch thinking in the last decennium. A change that allows xenophobia as a legitimate element, which at the same time functions as a new cohesive force. This change is mainly caused by three factors. First, the Dutch are trying to get out of a state of ideological confusion concerning liberty and solidarity. They want both, but liberty and solidarity are conflicting ideals. Secondly, they are confronted with other cultures and ways of thinking that enforce this confusion, but at the same time create the possibility to redefine their ideologies. Thirdly, this all happens in a time period where the lessons learned from the Second World War and Holocaust are fading away. These three factors lead to a revitalising of xenophobia as an acceptable way of thinking. This results in a general agreement among political parties, in order to maintain their electorate, upon the idea that some groups are not integrated into Dutch society.
This article by Chip Huisman was originally published in Amsterdam Social Science Volume 1 Issue 2 (2009). Click here for the complete article.
Picture credit: Zù Totò