Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, and the Politics of Tolerance in the Netherlands

Peter Van Der Veer

in Political Theologies

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226443
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823237043 | DOI:
Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, and the Politics of Tolerance in the               Netherlands

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This chapter documents and analyzes the murder of Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands, an event preceded by but not unrelated to the assassination of Pim Fortuyn, the deaths of whom have haunted Dutch politics ever since. It sketches the historical and socio-cultural context against whose foil we should place the murders of Fortuyn and van Gogh and especially the devastating impact they have had on the political and intellectual climate in the Netherlands, bruising its longstanding reputation for tolerance and diversity. It suggests that the recent upheavals exposed the fragility of this much-cultivated and somewhat self-congratulatory self-image of liberalism and the apparent inability of Dutch society so far to deal with the fact that its newcomers are there to stay or, rather, have already become part and parcel of a radically changed political landscape. In other words, it claims that van Gogh's murder was more revelatory of Dutch culture at the crossroads than of Islam and its perceived global militancy.

Keywords: Pim Fortuyn; Theo van Gogh; politics; tolerance; Netherlands; murder; diversity; liberalism; Islam; culture

Chapter.  6202 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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