27.2 | David Herbert

Racism in the Netherlands: A Social Scientific Analysis of the Dynamics of the Dutch Multicultural Backlash

Why did the Netherlands reject multicultural policies in the mid-2000s? This article identifies a two-stage process: First, a discursive shift preceding policy change, enabled by a synergy between developments in media culture and “celebrity politicians,” who championed an anti-Islam rhetoric which resonated with significant Dutch audiences because it rejected the “immigrant other” on more socially acceptable cultural rather than racial grounds, and appealed to popular discourses on gender and sexuality rights. Second, open political opportunity structures and the absence of a developed public discourse on multiple racisms enabled translation of this discursive shift into policy. Finally, modes and cases of resistance to cultural racism in Dutch society are discussed.