From the asylum hyenas to the bitter left: ABC populism

Hyena shelter

Statement by PVV MP and former ministerial candidate Gidi Markuszower. The dehumanisation of groups such as asylum seekers – often from “sandbox countries” – is a permanent part of the radical right-wing repertoire.

Mind your own business

Geert Wilders (PVV) shouted this at NSC leader Pieter Omtzigt during the debate on the government statement. He told him about the undemocratic structure of his one-man party. Earlier in the day, Gidi Markuszower (PVV) shouted “Shut up” at D66 member Rob Jetten. The Speaker did not intervene.

Corrupt country

Geert Wilders (PVV) responds to his conviction for insulting a group over their “less Moroccans” statement. He previously attacked the pillars of the rule of law by talking about a “fake parliament” and “D66 judges”.


Right-wing populists often refer to criticism of their own statements or actions as demonisation. This is often accompanied by the accusation that criticism leads to threats of violence, in reference to the murder of Pim Fortuyn. Surprisingly, this term is hardly used when vilifying non-populist politicians (Kaag, Timmermans, Klaver, etc.).


It should be said with an expression of disgust, as if it were a sexual aberration. Populists apply this term to those who support European cooperation. The opposite is “Europhobe”, but this negative-sounding term is less common. Those who hate the EU are, at most, “Eurosceptic” or “Eurocritic”.


Popular among populists, but not exclusive to them. The defence is often used when views are caricatured in the eyes of the speaker. It is often found in combination with the word “showcase”. Last Wednesday, Geert Wilders responded to criticism from his fellow party members with: “the perverse image that we are racists.”

Common sense

Something populists like to rely on. Also called ‘common sense’. just common senseis the title of a book by BBB figurehead Caroline van der Plas. Common sense policyis a book by Thierry Baudet (Forum for Democracy). The term suggests that all those other politicians cannot think logically and that there are easy solutions that others do not want to see.

Witch hunt

This is what Geert Wilders said this week in the debate on the government statement, when Fleur Agema was criticised for a tweet. ‘The dangerous witch hunt against PVV ministers must end!’ It has many similarities with ‘demonisation’. Reminiscent of Donald Trump and his ‘Witch hunt‘, when he talks about his numerous lawsuits.


In the political sense of the word, you put things on the table that you won’t talk about for a while. During the election campaign, Geert Wilders shelved several unconstitutional proposals on Islam. He later removed some old banknotes. Normally, things can be stored in such a refrigerator for a long time, but can also be taken out again whenever you want.

Jensen, Roberto

Former DJ who hosted a popular TV talk show (JENSEN) from 2002 to 2011. He then radicalised and became a spokesman for the far right (today only on YouTube). In May, during a campaign meeting of the Forum for Democracy in the plenary hall of the House of Representatives, Jensen acted as the so-called ‘State Secretary for Media Affairs’, and was loudly cheered by Forum supporters from the seats in the House.

Climate madness

In addition to refugees, “elitist hobbies” such as art and culture and the fight against racism, climate policy is also a favourite target of right-wing populists. A few (Forum) still deny man-made climate change, most other populists, such as Geert Wilders (PVV) and Caroline van der Plas (BBB), turn their backs on the numerous “money-consuming” measures being taken to combat it. After all, why would the Netherlands do anything if other countries emit much more?

Left-wing elite

A favourite target of right-wing populists. According to them, politics, education and the media are in the hands of left-wing administrators, who impose their “woke” ideas and “left-wing hobbies” on society. The counterargument that all major Dutch governments, broadcasters and newspapers have been right-wing rather than left-wing in recent decades is countered by the claim that the all-powerful left-wing elite controls all the buttons behind the scenes.

Mass immigration

A term that should show how enormous the migration problem is. Similar words are “asylum tsunami” and “influx”, which are supposed to suggest an unstoppable tidal wave. “Washing with the tap open” is also a metaphor for water, implying that there is no point in properly organizing the reception of asylum seekers as long as people keep coming. The distribution law that is supposed to distribute asylum seekers among municipalities is called the ‘coercive law’.

Family reunification on family reunification

For VVD leader Dilan Yesilgöz, this phenomenon (where, according to her, ‘thousands’ of relatives of asylum seekers find their way to the Netherlands) was one of the central messages of the VVD’s campaign for the November 2023 elections. (in which the VVD won 24 seats) showed that the number of subsequent reunion travellers averages seventy per year.

Population theory

A conspiracy theory that has its roots in Nazism. It assumes that the native population of a country or area is systematically replaced by multi-ethnic newcomers, controlled by a government or evil forces in the background. These evil forces often constitute an “anti-Semitic dogwhistle.” PVV ministers Faber and Klever have promised not to use the loaded term anymore. They still use a variant: “worrying demographic development.”

Politically correct

Often shortened to “polycor” or even “poco” (in Flanders). Derogatory term for people with left-wing views on, for example, refugee reception, LGBTI+ rights, veganism and other “woke” issues (e.g. Zwarte Piet). According to populists, politically correct people live in a dream world, far removed from harsh reality with its “fortune seekers” and “gender terror”.


A maximum number of migrants or asylum seekers, for example. Right-wing populists see this as a solution to the influx of migrants. The PVV has advocated a complete freeze on asylum in its election programme. According to the BBB, a maximum of 15,000 asylum seekers arrive in the Netherlands every year. The NSC has mentioned a figure of 50,000, including labour and educational migrants. There are no target figures in the framework agreement.

Rule of law

Populists sometimes fight. During its formation, the other parties in the coalition demanded that the PVV commit to a “common basis for guaranteeing the constitution, fundamental rights and the democratic constitutional state.” In it, the parties support basic rights, such as the principle of equality, and state that all religions are subject to freedom of religion.

Subsidy devourers

A favourite description for sectors and institutions that are “in the trickle (sometimes also in the ‘tit’) of the government”, such as culture, development cooperation and public broadcasting. That is why the Schoof cabinet plans to make significant cuts in this area. So far, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science spends 1.3 billion euros a year on culture, including theatre, opera and other “left-wing hobbies” (in the words of those who do not practice them).

Human waste

Expression for ‘bad people’, or ‘perks’. Used by PVV leader Geert Wilders to refer to journalists: “with a few exceptions”. He has not withdrawn it, even during the period when he took a “lenient” stance by shelving the proposals.

(not) review statements

Evaluating past statements by radical right-wing politicians. When other politicians are asked for their opinion on this matter, the answer is often: “I’m not going to review my colleagues’ statements” or words to the same effect. A proven way of not having to give up on the statements of a right-wing populist you work with.


A historically developed community, which the populist often refers to as the group he speaks for. The leader claims to represent the people and speak on their behalf, although usually at least 75 percent of those people did not vote for this leader. Also known as: ‘the ordinary Dutchman’. Often contrasted with the (left-wing) elite.

I woke up

An adjective for someone aware of racism and social injustice, derived from the English word meaning “woke.” It has acquired a negative connotation because the radical right used it to oppose the fight against racism and gay and trans discrimination. Protests about the climate or Palestine are now also classified as woke.

x, youtube

Social media offers the opportunity to spread a message without bothering journalists. Algorithms often give an extra boost to extreme statements.

sour left

Presented by Geert Wilders during the debate on the main lines agreement in May. It is intended to describe the criticism of, among others, GroenLinks-PvdA and D66 towards the right-wing cabinet policy. “After the bitter left, it is time for a decent right,” Chris Stoffer (SGP) tried to support Wilders’ view.

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These are the coalition parties’ plans by topic

Now that the coalition agreement between the PVV, VVD, NSC and BBB is on the table, the parties’ plans for each topic are known. In this article you will find all the analyses of our reporters by topic.

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