Pim Fortuyn on 4 May 2002, two days before his assassination (Photo: Roy Beusker)
Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn
19 February 1948
|Died||6 May 2002 54) (aged|
|Cause of death||Assassinated|
|Resting place||San Giorgio della Richinvelda, Italy|
|Other names||Pim Fortuijn|
|Alma mater|| VU University Amsterdam (Bachelor of Social Science, Master of Social Science)|
University of Groningen (Doctor of Philosophy)
|Occupation|| Politician · Civil servant · Sociologist |
Corporate director · Political consultant · Political pundit · Author · Columnist · Publisher · Teacher · Professor
|Political party|| Labour Party (1974–1989)|
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (mid 1990s)
Livable Netherlands (2001–2002)
Livable Rotterdam (2001–2002)
Pim Fortuyn List (2002)
Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn, known as Pim Fortuyn (Dutch: [ˈpɪm fɔrˈtœyn] (
The Pim Fortuyn List was a right-wing populist political party in the Netherlands. The eponymous founder of the party was Pim Fortuyn, a charismatic former university professor and political columnist who initially had planned to contest the 2002 general election as leader of the Livable Netherlands (LN) party. He was however dismissed as party leader in February 2002 due to controversial remarks he made in a newspaper interview on immigration-related issues, and instead founded LPF a few days later. After gaining support in opinion polls, Fortuyn was assassinated on 6 May 2002, nine days before the election. The party held onto its support, and went on to become the second-largest party in the election.
Fortuyn had controversial views on multiculturalism, immigration and Islam in the Netherlands. He called Islam "a backward culture", and was quoted as saying that if it were legally possible, he would close the borders for Muslim immigrants.Fortuyn also supported tougher measures against crime and opposed state bureaucracy, wanting to reduce Dutch financial contribution to the European Union. He was labelled a far-right populist by his opponents and in the media, but he fiercely rejected this label. Fortuyn was openly homosexual and was a supporter of gay rights.
Multiculturalism in the Netherlands began with major increases in immigration during the 1950s and 1960s. As a consequence, an official national policy of multiculturalism was adopted in the early 1980s. This policy subsequently gave way to more assimilationist policies in the 1990s. Following the murders of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh the political debate on the role of multiculturalism in the Netherlands reached new heights.
Islam is the second largest religion in the Netherlands, practiced by 4% of the population according to 2010–11 estimates. The majority of Muslims in the Netherlands belong to the Sunni denomination. Most reside in the nation's four major cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht.
Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elective government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.
Fortuyn explicitly distanced himself from "far-right" politicians such as the Belgian Filip Dewinter, the Austrian Jörg Haider, or Frenchman Jean-Marie Le Pen whenever compared to them. While he compared his own politics to centre-right politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi of Italy and Edmund Stoiber of Germany, he also admired former Dutch Prime Minister Joop den Uyl, a social democrat, and Democratic U.S. president John F. Kennedy. Fortuyn also criticised the polder model and the policies of the outgoing government of Wim Kok and repeatedly described himself and LPF's ideology as pragmatic and not populistic.In March 2002, his newly created LPF in the Dutch municipal elections became the largest party in Fortuyn's hometown Rotterdam.
Philip Michel Frans "Filip" Dewinter is a Belgian politician. He is one of the leading members of Vlaams Belang, a right-wing Flemish nationalist and secessionist political party. Together with Hugo Coveliers of the VLOTT party, Dewinter formed a list cartel for the city elections of Antwerp on 8 October 2006.
Jörg Haider was an Austrian politician. He was Governor of Carinthia on two occasions, the long-time leader of the Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ) and later Chairman of the Alliance for the Future of Austria, a breakaway party from the FPÖ.
Jean-Marie Le Pen is a French politician who served as President of the National Front from 1972 to 2011. He has served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 2004 and had previously been elected to the same position between 1984 and 2003. He also served as Honorary President of the National Front from 2011 to 2018.
Fortuyn was assassinated during the 2002 Dutch national election campaignby Volkert van der Graaf, a left-wing environmentalist and animal rights activist. In court at his trial, van der Graaf said he murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak members of society" in seeking political power.
Pim Fortuyn, a Dutch politician, was assassinated by Volkert van der Graaf in Hilversum, North Holland on 6 May 2002, nine days before the Dutch general election of 2002.
Volkert van der Graaf is a Dutch convicted murderer who assassinated politician Pim Fortuyn, the leader of the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF), on 6 May 2002. This occurred during the political campaign for the Dutch general elections of 2002. An environmental and animal rights activist, he said at his trial that he murdered Fortuyn to stop him from exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the vulnerable sections of society" in seeking political power.
Animal rights is the idea in which some, or all, non-human animals are entitled to the possession of their own existence and that their most basic interests—such as the need to avoid suffering—should be afforded the same consideration as similar interests of human beings.
Fortuyn was born on 19 February 1948 in Driehuis, as the third child to a Catholic family. In 1967 he began to study sociology at the University of Amsterdam but transferred after a few months to the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. In 1971 he ended his study with the Academic degree Doctorandus. In 1981 he received a doctorate in sociology at the University of Groningen as a Doctor of Philosophy.
Driehuis is a town in the Dutch province of North Holland. It is a part of the municipality of Velsen, and lies about 8 km north of Haarlem.
Sociology is the study of society, patterns of social relationships, social interaction and culture of everyday life. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about social order, acceptance, and change or social evolution. While some sociologists conduct research that may be applied directly to social policy and welfare, others focus primarily on refining the theoretical understanding of social processes. Subject matter ranges from the micro-sociology level of individual agency and interaction to the macro level of systems and the social structure.
The University of Amsterdam is a public university located in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The UvA is one of two large, publicly funded research universities in the city, the other being the VU University Amsterdam (VU). Established in 1632 by municipal authorities and later renamed for the city of Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam is the third-oldest university in the Netherlands. It is one of the largest research universities in Europe with 31,186 students, 4,794 staff, 1,340 PhD students and an annual budget of €600 million. It is the largest university in the Netherlands by enrollment. The main campus is located in central Amsterdam, with a few faculties located in adjacent boroughs. The university is organised into seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Science, Law, Medicine, and Dentistry.
Fortuyn worked as a lecturer at the Nyenrode Business Universiteit and as an associate professor at the University of Groningen, where he taught Marxist sociology. He was a Marxist at the time. Later, he joined the Labour Party.
The University of Groningen is a public research university in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. The university was founded in 1614. Since its founding more than 200,000 students have graduated.
The Labour Party is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands.
In 1989 Fortuyn became director of a government organisation administering student transport cards. In 1990 he moved to Rotterdam. From 1991 to 1995, he was an extraordinary professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, appointed to the Albeda-chair in "employment conditions in public service".
When his contract ended, he made a career of public speaking and writing books and press columns, gradually becoming involved in politics. Fortuyn was openly gay, and said in a 2002 interview that he was Catholic.
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In 1992 Fortuyn wrote "Aan het volk van Nederland" (To the people of the Netherlands), declaring he was the successor to the charismatic but controversial 18th-century Dutch politician Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Pol. A one-time communist and former member of the social-democratic Labour Party, Fortuyn was elected "lijsttrekker" of the newly formed Livable Netherlands party by a large majority on 26 November 2001, prior to the Dutch general election of 2002.
On 9 February 2002, he was interviewed by the Volkskrant , a Dutch newspaper (see below). His statements were considered so controversial that the party dismissed him as lijsttrekker the next day. Fortuyn had said that he favoured putting an end to Muslim immigration, if possible and wanted to abolish the "peculiar article" of the Dutch constitution forbidding discrimination (at the time it was generally assumed that he referred to Article 1, the equality before the law; it has been argued, however, that he had confused this with Article 137 of the Penal Code, incitement to hatred). Having been rejected by Livable Netherlands, Fortuyn founded his own party Pim Fortuyn List (LPF) on 11 February 2002. Many Livable Netherlands supporters transferred their support to the new party.
Heading the list of the Livable Rotterdam party, a local issues party, he achieved a major victory in the Rotterdam municipal council elections in early March 2002. The new party won about 36% of the seats, making it the largest party in the council. For the first time since the Second World War, the Labour Party was out of power in Rotterdam.
Fortuyn's victory made him the subject of hundreds of interviews during the next three months, and he made many statements about his political ideology. In March he released his book The Mess of Eight Purple Years ( De puinhopen van acht jaar Paars ), which he used as his political agenda for the upcoming general election. Purple is the colour to indicate a coalition government consisting of left parties (red) and conservative-liberal parties (blue). The Netherlands had been governed by such a coalition for eight years at that time.
On 14 March 2002, Fortuyn was pied by a left-wing activist from the Biotic Baking Brigade in The Hague.
On 6 May 2002, at age 54, Fortuyn was assassinated by gunshot in Hilversum, North Holland, by Volkert van der Graaf. The attack took place in a parking lot outside a radio studio where Fortuyn had just given an interview. This was nine days before the general election, for which he was running. The attacker was pursued by Hans Smolders, Fortuyn's driver, and was arrested by the police shortly afterward, still in possession of a handgun.Months later, Van der Graaf confessed in court to the first notable political assassination in the Netherlands since 1672 (excluding World War II), and on 15 April 2003, he was convicted of assassinating Fortuyn and sentenced to 18 years in prison. He was released on parole in May 2014 after serving two thirds of his sentence, the standard procedure under the Dutch penal system.
The assassination shocked many residents of the Netherlands and highlighted the cultural clashes within the country. Various conspiracy theories arose after Pim Fortuyn's murder and deeply affected Dutch politics and society.Politicians from all parties suspended campaigning. After consultation with LPF, the government decided not to postpone the elections. As Dutch law did not permit modifying the ballots, Fortuyn became a posthumous candidate. The LPF made an unprecedented debut in the House of Representatives by winning 26 seats (17% of the 150 seats in the house). The LPF joined a cabinet with the Christian Democratic Appeal and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, but conflicts in the rudderless LPF quickly collapsed the cabinet, forcing new elections. By the following year, the party had lost support, winning only eight seats in the 2003 elections. It won no seats in the 2006 elections, by which time the Party for Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, had emerged as a successor.
During the last months of his life, Fortuyn had become closer to the Catholic Church. To the surprise of many commentators and Dutch TV hosts, Fortuyn insisted on Fr. Louis Berger, a parish priest from The Hague, accompanying him in some of his last TV appearances. According to the New York Times , Berger had become his "friend and confessor" during the last weeks of his life.
Fortuyn was initially buried in Driehuis in the Netherlands. He was re-interred on 20 July 2002, at San Giorgio della Richinvelda, in the province of Pordenone in Italy, where he had owned a house.
When asked about his opposition to Muslim immigration, Fortuyn explained that, "I have no desire to go through the emancipation of women and homosexuals all over again." I want to live together with the Muslim people, but it takes two to tango."In August 2001, Fortuyn was quoted in the Rotterdams Dagblad newspaper saying, "I am also in favour of a cold war with Islam. I see Islam as an extraordinary threat, as a hostile religion." In the TV program Business class, Fortuyn said that Muslims in the Netherlands did not accept Dutch society; he believed that the religion of Islam was fundamentally intolerant and incompatible with Western values. He said that Muslims in the Netherlands needed to accept living together with the Dutch, and that if this was unacceptable for them, then they were free to leave. His concluding words in the TV program were "...
On 9 February 2002, additional statements made by him were carried in the Volkskrant .He said that the Netherlands, with a population of 16 million, had enough inhabitants, and the practice of allowing as many as 40,000 asylum-seekers into the country each year had to be stopped. The actual number for 2001 was 27,000, down slightly on the previous year. He claimed that if he became part of the next government, he would pursue a restrictive immigration policy while also granting citizenship to a large group of illegal immigrants.
He said that he did not intend to "unload our Moroccan hooligans" onto the Moroccan King Hassan.Hassan had died three years earlier. He considered Article 7 of the constitution, which asserts freedom of speech, of more importance than Article 1, which forbids discrimination on the basis of religion, life principles, political inclination, race, or sexual preference. Fortuyn distanced himself from Hans Janmaat of the Centrum Democraten, who in the 1980s wanted to remove all foreigners from the country and was repeatedly convicted for discrimination and hate speech.
Fortuyn proposed that all people who already resided in the Netherlands would be able to stay, but he emphasized the need of the immigrants to adopt Dutch society's consensus on human rights as their own.He said "If it were legally possible, I'd say no more Muslims will get in here", claiming that the influx of Muslims would threaten freedoms in the liberal Dutch society. He thought Muslim culture had never undergone a process of modernisation and therefore still lacked acceptance of democracy and women's, gays', lesbians' and minorities' rights.
When asked by the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant whether he hated Islam, he replied:
I don't hate Islam. I consider it a backward culture. I have travelled much in the world. And wherever Islam rules, it's just terrible. All the hypocrisy. It's a bit like those old Reformed Protestants. The Reformed lie all the time. And why is that? Because they have standards and values that are so high that you can't humanly maintain them. You also see that in that Muslim culture. Then look at the Netherlands. In what country could an electoral leader of such a large movement as mine be openly homosexual? How wonderful that that's possible. That's something that one can be proud of. And I'd like to keep it that way, thank you very much.
Fortuyn used the word achterlijk, literally meaning "backward", but commonly used as an insult in the sense of "retarded". After his use of "achterlijk" caused an uproar, Fortuyn said he had used the word with its literal meaning of "backward".
Fortuyn wrote Against the Islamization of Our Culture (1997) (in Dutch).
The ideology or political style that is derived from Pim Fortuyn, and in turn the LPF, is often called Fortuynism. Observers variously saw him as a political protest targeting the alleged elitism and bureaucratic style of the Dutch purple coalitions or as offering an appealing political style. The style was characterized variously as one "of openness, directness and clearness", populism or simply as charisma. Another school holds Fortuynism as a distinct ideology, with an alternative vision of society. Some argued that Fortuynism was not just one ideology, but contained liberalism, populism and nationalism.
During the 2002 campaign, Fortuyn was accused of being on the "extreme right", although others saw only certain similarities.While he employed anti-immigration rhetoric, he was neither a radical nationalist nor a defender of traditional authoritarian values. On the contrary, Fortuyn wanted to protect the socio-culturally liberal values of the Netherlands, women's rights and sexual minorities (he was openly homosexual himself), from the "backward" Islamic culture. He held liberal views favouring the drug policy of the Netherlands, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and related positions.
The LPF also won support from some ethnic minorities; one of Fortuyn's closest associates was of Cape Verdean origin, and one of the party's MPs was a young woman of Turkish descent.
His ideology can be comprised in the following positions:
Fortuyn was compared with the politicians Jörg Haider and Jean-Marie Le Pen in the foreign press. These comparisons were often referred to by Dutch reporters and politicians. An explicit comparison with Le Pen was made by Ad Melkert, then lijsttrekker of the Labour Party, who said in Emmen on 24 April 2002: "If you flirt with Fortuyn, then in the Netherlands the same thing will happen as happened in France. There they woke up with Le Pen, soon we will wake up with Fortuyn."
On 5 May, the day before the assassination, Fortuyn debated with Melkert in a debate organized by the Algemeen Dagblad newspaper about demonization of himself. In it he said that he often had to tell journalists that the image created of him in the media was incorrect.
Columnist Jan Blokker wrote "After reading (...) I realized once again that Professor Pim may really be called the Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Filip Dewinter, the Jörg Haider and the new Hans Janmaat of the Netherlands."
Prime Minister Wim Kok accused Fortuyn of stirring up fear and stimulating xenophobia among the Dutch people.
Fortuyn changed the Dutch political landscape and political culture.The 2002 elections, only weeks after Fortuyn's death, were marked by large losses for the liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and especially the social democratic Labour Party (whose parliamentary group was halved in size); both parties replaced their leaders shortly after their losses. The election winners were the Pim Fortuyn List, and the Christian democratic Christian Democratic Appeal. Some commentators in the mainstream political class speculated that Fortuyn's perceived martyrdom created greater support for the LPF, hence that party's brief surge to 17% of the electoral vote and 26 of the 150 seats in the Dutch Parliament. Although the LPF was able to form a coalition with the Christian Democratic Appeal and the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, it was bereft with internal strife and quickly lost steam. The coalition cabinet of Jan Peter Balkenende fell within three months, due to infighting within the LPF. In the following elections, the LPF was left with only eight seats in parliament (out of 150) and was not included in the new government. Political commentators speculated that discontented voters might vote for a non-traditional party, if a viable alternative was at hand. Later, the right-wing Party for Freedom, which has a strong stance on immigration, proposing to deport criminal, unemployed or not assimilated non-western immigrants, won nine (out of 150) seats in the 2006 elections and peaked at 24 in 2010.
The Netherlands has made its asylum policy more strict. Opponents of Fortuynism—like Paul Rosenmöller, Thom de Graaf, and Ad Melkert, (all labelling Fortuyn as a right-wing extremist)—have objected to what they think is a harsher political and social climate, especially towards immigrants and Muslims.
Contemporary Dutch politics is more polarized than it has been in recent years, especially on the issues for which Fortuyn was best known. People debate the success of their multicultural society, and whether they need to better assimilate newcomers. The government's decision to expel numerous asylum seekers whose applications had failed was controversial.Fortuyn had advocated for an amnesty for asylum seekers already residing in the Netherlands.
In 2004, in a TV show, Fortuyn was chosen as De Grootste Nederlander ("Greatest Dutchman of all-time"), followed closely by William of Orange, the leader of the independence war that established the precursor to the present-day Netherlands.The election was not considered representative, as it was held by viewers' voting through the internet and by phoning in. Theo van Gogh had been murdered a few days before by a Muslim, which likely affected people's voting in the TV contest for Fortuyn. The program later revealed that William of Orange had received the most votes, but many could not be counted until after the official closing time of the television show (and the proclamation of the winner), due to technical problems. The official rules of the show said that votes counted before the end of the show would be decisive, but it was suggested that all votes correctly cast before the closing of the vote would be counted. Following the official rules, the outcome was not changed.
Right-wing politicians gained power after Fortuyn's death, such as former Minister for Integration & Immigration Rita Verdonk and the prominent critic of Islam, Member of the House of Representatives Geert Wilders who in 2006 formed the Party for Freedom which became, by 2017, the second largest party in the House of Representatives. These politicians often focused on the debate over cultural assimilation and integration.
Jan Pieter "Jan Peter" Balkenende Jr. is a retired Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) party and jurist who served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 22 July 2002 to 14 October 2010.
The Second Balkenende cabinet was the cabinet of the Netherlands from 27 May 2003 until 7 July 2006. The cabinet was formed by the political parties Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Democrats 66 (D66) after the election of 2003. The centre-right cabinet was a majority government in the House of Representatives.
Livable Rotterdam is a local political party in the municipality of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, which was founded by Ronald Sørensen in 2001. It won the council elections of March 2002 due to the charismatic leadership of Pim Fortuyn. This made it the city's largest political party, a position which for the previous thirty years had been held by the Labour Party. Livable Rotterdam started as a spin-off of the national party Livable Netherlands but is commonly seen as the local party of the LPF, the national party of Pim Fortuyn which was founded just after Pim Fortuyn was fired as lijsttrekker of the Livable Netherlands party in spring 2002.
General elections were held in the Netherlands on 15 May 2002. The elections were amongst the most dramatic in Dutch history, not just in terms of the electoral results, as they were completely overshadowed by the assassination of leader Pim Fortuyn only nine days before election day.
Theodoor "Theo" van Gogh was a Dutch film director, film producer, television director, television producer, television presenter, screenwriter, actor, critic and author.
This article lists some of the events that took place in the Netherlands in 2002.
Hilbrand Pier Anne Nawijn is a Dutch politician of the local political party Lijst Hilbrand Nawijn (LHN) in Zoetermeer and lawyer.
Henri Frans "Hans" Dijkstal was a Dutch politician of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and financial adviser.
Bernard Johannes "Joost" Eerdmans is a Dutch politician of the Livable Rotterdam (LR) party. He has been an Alderman and the Deputy mayor of Rotterdam since 15 May 2014.
Marcus Gerhardus Theodorus (Marco) Pastors is a Dutch civil servant and former politician. Since 1 February 2012 he has been director of the Nationaal Programma Kwaliteitssprong Zuid, a project of the city of Rotterdam to improve living conditions in the south of Rotterdam.
Eén NL is a Dutch political party founded in September 2006. It took part in the 2006 Dutch election under the leadership of Marco Pastors and Joost Eerdmans, but a dismal election result leaves the political future of the party quite uncertain. The party is seen as one of the political heirs of the late Pim Fortuyn.
Winny de Jong is a former Dutch politician.
De puinhopen van acht jaar Paars is a political non-fiction book released by the Dutch political commentator and aspiring lawmaker Pim Fortuyn in 2002, two months prior to his assassination. In the book, Fortuyn sharply criticizes the then ruling "Purple" coalition government and its direct predecessor on nearly all areas of their policies.
Tonny "Ton" Alblas was a Dutch politician, he served as member of the House of Representatives between 2002 and 2003 for the Pim Fortuyn List.
Hans A.J. Smolders is a Dutch politician, former professional ice hockey player, and entrepreneur. He worked as a refrigeration mechanic until he sold his company in 2001. The next year, he was elected member of the House of Representatives as a member of the party Pim Fortuyn List. He served in this position for less than a year. Since then, Smolders has been active in local politics in his home town Tilburg, being a member of the municipal council for most of this period. In 2019, he was elected member of the States of North Brabant.
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|Party political offices|
|New creation|| Leader of Livable Netherlands |
| Leader of the Pim Fortuyn List |
| Chairman of the Pim Fortuyn List |