The Power of Populism: Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Power of Populism

Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands, 1st Edition

By Koen Vossen


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This book discusses the Party for Freedom (PVV), a political party in the Netherlands, founded and led by Geert Wilders. Attaining between 10 and 18% of the votes, the PVV has become one of the largest parties in the Netherlands and is the only political party worldwide without members. Between 2010 and 2012 the party supported a minority coalition of liberals and christian-democrats in exchange for influence on governmental policy. The PVV can be viewed as the Dutch version of an ideological family of nationalist parties linked by their opposition to immigration and to the political and cultural elites. Within this family, Geert Wilders has played an important role as pioneer of a new master frame, in which Islam is portrayed as the historical arch-enemy of the West. As the main figurehead of European islamophobia, Wilders has inspired political parties and organizations in Europe, North-America, Israel and even Australia.

Examining data collected on various aspects of the party (for example, voters, activists, organization and ideology) and employing theoretical insights from sociology, electoral geography and political science, this book analyses this controversial phenomenon and seeks to obtain a clearer picture of the functioning of the PVV. This book will be of interest to students and scholars interested in European politics and current affairs more generally.

Table of Contents


1. The making of Geert Wilders 1963-2006

2. The four pillars of the PVV. The PVV’s ideology

3. The PVV in action: national and international activities

4. A unique party. The PVV as a party organisation

5. The many guises of Henk and Ingrid. On PVV voters6. Conclusion

7. Appendix

About the Author

Koen Vossen is a political historian, journalist and lecturer at the Political Science Department of the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

About the Series

Extremism and Democracy

This series covers academic studies within the broad fields of ‘extremism’ and ‘democracy’, with volumes focusing on adjacent concepts such as populism, radicalism, and ideological/religious fundamentalism. These topics have been considered largely in isolation by scholars interested in the study of political parties, elections, social movements, activism, and radicalisation in democratic settings. A key focus of the series, therefore, is the (inter-)relation between extremism, radicalism, populism, fundamentalism, and democracy. Since its establishment in 1999, the series has encompassed both influential contributions to the discipline and informative accounts for public debate. Works will seek to problematise the role of extremism, broadly defined, within an ever-globalising world, and/or the way social and political actors can respond to these challenges without undermining democratic credentials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Democracy
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Elections
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Political Parties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Process / Leadership
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Political Ideologies / Nationalism