Category Archives: Thinking of Holland

Hollandic centricism, fear of Islam and the Limburgic Renaissance

In 1992, the Dutch government and other European governments signed the Treaty of Maastricht, which concluded the transfer of many policy responsibilities from the national European governments to the centralized institutions of the European Union. There was a minority of intellectual skepticism against this centralization of national autonomy but a much broader popular sentiment feared the loss of national cultural identity. Fifteen years later in 2007, this popular sentiment culminated in the rejection of the European Constitution in a referendum by the Dutch voters. But we can also conclude that although the Treaty of Maastricht did weaken national governments, it strengthened the popular awareness of regional identity at the cost of national identities that have been promoted especially in the nineteenth century. At the same time, a more abstract European identity also emerged, and this is paradoxically used against new cultural influences from recent Muslim immigration. In the Netherlands, these anti-Muslim sentiments are vocalized by the flamboyant neo-right politician Geert Wilders. Wilders was born and raised in Limburg, the most southern province in the Netherlands, and it is his political heartland. Wilders’ party the PVV won twice as many votes in Limburg as the national average, 11% versus 5.8%. What are the underlying historic roots beneath this Limburgic phenomenon? Continue reading