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This week's editors

Cat Tully and Allie Bobak introduce this week's theme: Participation and foresight – putting people at the heart of the future

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The fragility of the European project

One Dutch voter fears Holland's rejection of populism might be short-lived.

Dutch elections: little to celebrate

It is the normalisation of racist liberalism that is the key to what is happening. While many have argued that Wilders is a break from Dutch liberalism, Wilders is actually a continuation by other means.

The Dutch elections – making sense of its fractures

It was the al Qaeda attacks in 2001, followed in quick succession by two political murders, that completely altered not just the landscape but the logic of Dutch politics.

The erosion of Dutch democracy

Ahead of Wednesday’s general election, an electoral campaign characterized by populism has masked efforts to grant arbitrary powers to the government that infringe on the rule of law.

The failures of Holland’s pro-immigrant party 


Was it inevitable that Think became a negative force for liberalism? One Dutch citizen tries to hold onto the middle ground in a polarizing world.

A tribute to Sadek Jalal al ‘Azm

Engaging with Sadek never ceased to be a delight, a charmer who caught you with his sharpness and wit. How often have I wished to freeze that year I spent in Holland. In memoriam.

In the Netherlands, the populist battle plays out over a Christmas figure

Wilders’s Freedom Party has held a consistent lead in the polls for over a year, and is now running head to head with Prime Minister Rutte’s party.

"In democratic schools I haven't seen any bullying at all."

"All the problems in education you can relate back to the coercion in schools. To me the forcing of children is really against the rights of the child."

"We don’t have a refugee crisis. We have a housing crisis."

With national and European governments in gridlock, the cities themselves have decided to bypass the state level altogether and forge ahead with some very innovative solutions to the crises facing Europe today.

Ask yourself this

We are starting to see that we have to drastically change – the greatest challenge in human history. So what is the purpose of education? Introducing a story-teller at the World Forum for Democracy 2016.

The food fight is on

World Food Day, 2016: Agribusiness mega-mergers would rubber-stamp destructive industrial farming. Europe’s fightback gathers in Romania.

We need bolder politicians

“We have seen a lengthy period during which politicians have deliberately disengaged from important aspects of what they should be doing, leading to a lot of disillusionment with politics.”

Aruba vote on civil partnerships could finally extend LGBT rights to all Dutch citizens

The Netherlands is championed as a world pioneer in gay marriage, but its citizens still lack access to marriage equality. Aruba’s vote on civil partnerships, however, could turn the tide.

Brexit: a dismantling moment

We have reached a turning point with an uncertain outcome, in which the British and European dimensions are two sides of the same coin.

What does an anti-Semitic party look like in Europe today?

As Britain debates antisemitism and the left, support for populist right-wing parties using hardline anti-Semitic messages is growing across the continent. 

Interviewing Babah Tarawally, Dutch novelist and former refugee from Sierra Leone

Babah Tarawally’s message is one of hope; he urges refugees to emancipate themselves from both a racist or excessively self-pitying discourse, and to acquire an active role in the construction of their future. 

Dutch popular rejection of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement: a self-inflicted wound

For everybody who knows a bit about the EU, the nationwide, expensive and low-turnout Dutch plebiscite on this EU-Ukraine contract looks in itself rather odd.

Women cyclists are dying, why are we still talking about their clothes?

Cycling deaths are gendered and women's cycling needs must taken into account by planners and campaigners.

Neoliberal realpolitik: choking others in our name

This lack of lived experience with the violence of our state entails an almost inevitable blindness to the deepening divide between those our states protect and those whose life it represses, expels, and humiliates.

The Netherlands' disgrace: racism and police brutality

A disturbing trend in the Netherlands towards more intense forms of racial profiling is converging with increasingly frequent and violent forms of police repression against minorities.

First we take Amsterdam, then we take The Hague

For those in Red Square, the Winter Palace is not in Amsterdam, but in the Dutch seat of government. Meanwhile, the New University has a life of its own.

A new language of hospitality

The complex linguistic identities of migrants to Europe are constantly denied recognition. We must renew the language of hospitality, in which equality rather than homogeneity dictates our borders.

How European Union switchboard "demoicracy" works

The complexity of the changing nation-state under the duress of globalization is currently snagged on a simplistic drive to fast-forward the past, driven by the desire to stay local.

Why we occupy: Dutch universities at the crossroads

The Netherlands, a mere 10 years behind the UK, seems eager to catch up. Twin pressures of authoritarianism from above and neoliberalism from below make it necessary to develop the democratic alternative put forward by the movement for a new university.

In search of the spider in Anders Behring Breivik's web

For months we searched for the Norwegian terrorist’s most prominent supporter. Our hunt ended in a suburb in South Carolina, USA.

Law’s mediations: the shifting definitions of trafficking

As trafficking becomes increasingly conflated with slavery and forced labor, there is less and less agreement amongst international organisations on the precise definitional boundaries of these terms.

The right to many tongues and multilingual cities

This is multilingualism, not in the sense of everyone speaking the same multiple languages, but the multilingualism of accepting difference and a willingness to listen to many tongues even if we do not fully understand them. 

States heed the warning: Srebrenica’s survivors make international legal history

A court has found the Netherlands partially responsible for the deaths of residents of the UN “safe area” in Srebrenica, who had sought refuge on property occupied by Dutch peacekeeping forces (known as Dutchbat).  

Mass surveillance: the Dutch state of denial

With tacit support from the European Commission, the Dutch government has carefully evaded addressing concerns over mass state surveillance.

Surveillance: justice, freedom and security in the EU

A discussion of European surveillance programmes cannot be reduced to the question of a balance between data protection versus national security. It has to be framed in terms of collective freedoms and democracy.

Netherlands' surveillance: justice, freedom and security in the EU

The Dutch state is developing a considerable surveillance and intelligence sharing apparatus. For what purpose?

Selective Dutch mourning rituals

Why would the Netherlands, champion of freedom of speech and tolerance, go out of its way to block a handful of people from assembling for a talk? What challenge can a commemoration of the Palestinian 1948 Nakba pose? 

How the rise of the Front National is reshuffling the political game and endangering France’s relationship with Europe

The Front National and other Eurosceptic parties are becoming increasingly popular and are dominating the political discourse. What are the consequences, both on the national and European level? 

The Goebbels effect

Let us stand still and recognize what has happened in the Dutch repudiation of Geert Wilders and embrace of Moroccan-Dutch – in all its ambivalence – but not cheer it, yet.

The populist appeal – bottom-up perspectives: the Netherlands, a view from the south

These extracts draw on citizen consultation in Maastricht, the capital city of Limburg, a southern region of the Netherlands that has its own identity, including its own officially recognized regional language. The region is known as a stronghold of the PVV, especially in former mining areas in the south-east.

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