Pim Fortuyn

Pim Fortuyn

name = Pim Fortuyn
residence =
other_names =

image_size = 230px
caption = Pim Fortuyn (portrait by Jean Thomassen)
birth_name = Wilhelmus Simon Petrus Fortuijn
birth_date = Birth date|1948|2|19
birth_place = Driehuis, Netherlands
death_date = Death date and age|2002|5|6|1948|2|9
death_place = Hilversum, Netherlands
death_cause = Murdered
known =
occupation = Politician
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salary =
term =
predecessor =
successor =
party = Lijst Pim Fortuyn
boards =
religion = Roman Catholic
spouse =
partner =
children =
relations =
website = [http://www.pim-fortuyn.nl www.pim-fortuyn.nl]
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Wilhelmus Simon Petrus (Pim) Fortuyn (pronounced|pɪm fɔʁtœʏn, (February 19, 1948May 6, 2002), was a controversial, openly gay, charismaticMargry, Peter Jan: "The Murder of Pim Fortuyn and Collective Emotions. Hype, Hysteria, and Holiness in the Netherlands?" published in the Dutch magazine "Etnofoor: Antropologisch tijdschrift" nr. 16 pages 106-131, 2003, [http://www.meertens.knaw.nl/meertensnet/file/edwinb/20050420/PF_webp_Engels_lang.pdf English version available online] ] politician in the Netherlands who formed his own party, "Lijst Pim Fortuyn" (List Pim Fortuyn or LPF). He was assassinated during the 2002 Dutch national election campaign by a militant animal rights activist Volkert van der Graaf, who claimed in court to murdering Fortuyn to stop him exploiting Muslims as "scapegoats" and targeting "the weak parts of society to score points" in seeking political power. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;$sessionid$1UVYT53A3HRH5QFIQMGCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2003/03/28/wpim28.xml&sSheet=/portal/2003/03/28/ixportal.html Fortuyn killed 'to protect Muslims'] (The Telegraph)]

The official spelling of his family name is "Fortuijn"; later in life he used the spelling "Fortuyn".

Fortuyn was the centre of several controversies for his views positions about immigrants and Islam. He called Islam "a backward culture" and said that if it were legally possible he would close the borders for Muslim immigrants.nl icon [http://web.archive.org/web/20020212063049/http%3a//www.volkskrant.nl/nieuws/denhaag/1013147690985.html "Volkskrant" newspaper interview (summary)] ] He was labelled a far-right populist by his opponents and in the media, but he fiercely rejected this label [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/1966979.stm Cf. this BBC interview] , retrieved July 2007] and 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 Fortuyn compared his own politics to centre-right politicians such as Silvio Berlusconi of Italy, he also admired former Dutch Prime Minister Joop den Uyl, a socialist.


Fortuyn was born on February 19, 1948 in Driehuis, to a Catholic family. He studied sociology in Amsterdam and later worked as a lecturer at the Nyenrode Institute and as an associate professor at the University of Groningen. In 1988, he moved to Rotterdam, and became the director of a government organisation administering student transport cards. From 1991 to 1995, he was an extraordinary professor at the Erasmus University, appointed to the Albeda-chair in 'employment conditions in public service'. When his contract was discontinued, he made a career of public speaking and writing books and press columns, gradually becoming involved in politics.

A one-time communist and former member of the social-democratic PvdA, on November 26 2001 he was elected by a large majority as "lijsttrekker" of the newly formed Leefbaar Nederland (Liveable Netherlands) party to participate in the May 2002 Dutch parliamentary elections.

Fortuyn was openly gay which, however, hardly made him controversial in the Netherlands. In an interview in 2002 he described himself as a Catholic. [Interview by Mark Eyck with Pim Fortuyn in the Katholiek Nieuwsblad (Catholic newspaper) 15 februari 2002 [http://www.katholieknieuwsblad.nl/actueel19/kn1920a.htm available online]
" Question: U beschouwt zichzelf nog wel als katholiek? Answer: Ja, daar ontkom je niet aan. [..] Question: Toch noemt u zich ondanks uw homoseksualiteit nog steeds katholiek. Answer: Ik bén katholiek! Ik ben nota bene gedoopt! Ik noem me niet zo, ik ben het!" ("Question: Do you still consider yourself a catholic? Answer: Yes, you can't escape from that. [..] Question: But in spite of your homosexuality you still call yourself a catholic. Answer: I "am" a catholic. I have, after all, been baptised! I don't call myself one, I am one!")

On February 9, 2002, he was interviewed by the Volkskrant, a Dutch newspaper (see below). The statements he made were considered so controversial that he was dismissed as lijsttrekker the next day. In the interview Fortuyn said, among other things, that he favoured putting an end to Muslim immigration, if that were possible. Having been rejected by Leefbaar Nederland, Fortuyn founded his own party LPF (Lijst Pim Fortuyn) on February 11, 2002. Many Leefbaar Nederland supporters transferred their support to the new party.

As lijsttrekker for the Leefbaar Rotterdam party, a local issues party, he achieved a major victory in the Rotterdam district council elections in early March 2002. The new party won about 36% of the seats, making it the largest faction in the council. For the first time since the Second World War, the Labour Party found itself out of power in Rotterdam.

On May 6, 2002, at age 54, he was assassinated in Hilversum, North Holland by Volkert van der Graaf. The attack took place in a parking lot outside a radio studio in Hilversum, where Fortuyn had just given an interview. This was nine days before the elections for the lower house of Parliament, for which he was running. The attacker was pursued by Hans Smolders, the driver of Pim Fortuyn, and was arrested by the police shortly afterwards, still in possession of a gun.

Months later, Volkert van der Graaf confessed in court to the Netherlands' first modern age political assassination (excluding WW II events), possibly the first since the lynching of the De Witt brothers in The Hague in 1672. Van der Graaf was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

The assassination shocked the Netherlands and made the cultural clashes within the country apparent. Politicians from all political parties suspended campaigning. After consultation with LPF, it was decided not to postpone the elections. However, under Dutch law, it was not possible to modify the ballots, so Fortuyn became a posthumous candidate. The LPF went on to win an unprecedented debut in the lower house of parliament, winning 26 seats (17% of the 150 seats in the house). However, after the elections the following year, this figure dropped to eight seats, and after the 2006 elections the party had no seats left in the parliament.

Fortuyn was initially buried in The Netherlands. He was re-interred on July 20, 2002, at San Giorgio della Richinvelda, in the province of Pordenone in Italy, where he had owned a house.

Views on Islam and immigration

In August 2001, Fortuyn was quoted in the "Rotterdams Dagblad" newspaper, saying, among other things, "I am also in favour of a cold war with Islam. I see Islam as an extraordinary threat, as a hostile religion." [nl iconOriginal quote in Dutch: "Ik ben ook voor een koude oorlog met de islam. De islam zie ik als een buitengewone bedreiging, als een ons vijandige samenleving". ("I also favor a cold war against Islam. I see Islam as being an exceptional threat, as a society hostile to ours".")] In the TV program "Business class" Fortuyn said that Muslims in Netherlands did not accept Dutch society.Fortuyn appeared several times in the TV program "Business class", moderated by his friend Harry Mens. In this program it has been suggested that his words were interpreted rather harshly, if not wrongly. For instance, 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 [...] "I want to live together with the Muslim people, but it takes two to tango". [...]

On February 9, 2002, he made further controversial statements in a Dutch newspaper, this time the Volkskrant. He said that the Netherlands, with a population of 16 million, had enough inhabitants, and therefore, the practice of allowing as many as 40,000 asylum-seekers into the country each year had to be stopped (however, the actual number was not that high and already falling at that time [ [http://www.cbs.nl/en-GB/menu/themas/bevolking/publicaties/artikelen/archief/2002/2002-1019-wm.htm Asylum Immigration Statistics] and [http://statline.cbs.nl/StatWeb/table.asp?LYR=G1:0&LA=en&DM=SLEN&PA=03740eng&D1=a&D2=a,!1-39&D3=4,9,14,19,24,29,(l-8)-l&STB=G2&HDR=T Asylum Requests Statistics] , Netherlands Bureau of Statistics] ). 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. Remarkably, he said that he did not intend to "unload our Moroccan hooligans" onto the Moroccan king Hassan [ nl icon [http://www.volkskrant.nl/den_haag/article153195.ece/De_islam_is_een_achterlijke_cultuur Volkskrant interview, Feb 2 2002, full text] , retrieved July 18 07] . This king had died three years earlier [Hassan II of Morocco] . Furthermore, 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. However, he 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 the 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, and feared it would dismiss the Dutch legal system in favour of the shari'a law.

One of Fortuyn's fears was of pervasive intolerance in the Muslim community. In a televised debate in 2002, "Fortuyn baited the Muslim cleric by flaunting his homosexuality. Finally the imam exploded, denouncing Fortuyn in strongly anti-homosexual terms. Fortuyn calmly turned to the camera and, addressing viewers directly, told them that this is the kind of Trojan horse of intolerance the Dutch are inviting into their society in the name of multiculturalism" [Quoted from "Murder in Holland", Rod Dreher, National Review, May 7, 2002. [http://www.nationalreview.com/dreher/dreher050702.asp] .] ".

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 norms 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." [Original quote in Dutch: "Ik haat de islam niet. Ik vind het een achterlijke cultuur. Ik heb veel gereisd in de wereld. En overal waar de islam de baas is, is het gewoon verschrikkelijk. Al die dubbelzinnigheid. Het heeft wel iets weg van die oude gereformeerden. Gereformeerden liegen altijd. En hoe komt dat? Omdat ze een normen- en waardenstelsel hebben dat zo hoog ligt dat je dat menselijkerwijs niet kunt handhaven. Dat zie je in die moslimcultuur ook. Kijk dan naar Nederland. In welk land zou een lijsttrekker van een zo grote beweging als de mijne, openlijk homoseksueel kunnen zijn? Wat fantastisch dat dat kan. Daar mag je trots op zijn. En dat wil ik graag effe zo houden".]

Fortuyn was author of the book " [http://www.amazon.com/dp/9022983382 Tegen de islamisering van onze cultuur: Nederlandse identiteit als fundament] " (Against the Islamicization of Our Culture). (A.W. Bruna, 1997). (ISBN 9-0229-8338-2)

Other views

Pim Fortuyn claimed to be neither right wing nor left wing, asked for more openness in politics, and expressed his distaste for what he called "subsidy socialism".Fact|date=August 2007 He furthermore criticised the media as a Siamese twin of the government.Fact|date=February 2007

He wanted smaller-scale organization of public services such as health, education, and the police, making extensive use of the possibilities of information technology (for example, a surgeon conducting an operation remotely at a local hospital).Fact|date=August 2007 Critics said his plans would require building hundreds or thousands of new institutions at enormous expense, but Fortuyn said no extra funds would be allocated until inefficiencies had been removed.

He also held liberal views, favouring the drug policy of the Netherlands, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, and related positions.Fact|date=August 2007

He wanted to unite the army and air force to save money, retaining only a navy, but also favoured re-instating compulsory military service, giving youngsters the choice between military service and a new form of social services (in which they would help in hospitals or retirement homes, for example).Fact|date=August 2007 It is often said that he wanted to disband the army and the air force; however, Fortuyn denied this on 24 March 2002 in a business TV programme. Fact|date=August 2007


Fortuyn can be credited with changing the Dutch political landscape and political culture [See [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/1974184.stm BBC impression] for an early evaluation. retrieved July 2007] . The 2002 elections, only weeks after Fortuyn's death, were marked by large losses for the liberal VVD and especially the social democratic PvdA (which was even halved in size); both parties replaced their leaders shortly after their losses. The election winners were won by the Pim Fortuyn party, and the Christian democratic CDA, which, according to pundits, was seen as a "safe haven" for voters insecure after death of Pim Fortuyn.Who|date=June 2007 On the other hand, others speculate that Fortuyn's perceived martyrdom may have played into the hands of the LPF.

All major parties have adopted tougher immigration and integration viewpoints after the rise of Fortuyn. The immigration policy of the Netherlands is now one of the strictest in the EU.Fact|date=June 2007 In addition, debates on these topics, in the political and public sphere, have become more prevalent and are no longer taboo as many claim they were in the years before Fortuyn. However, while some applaud these developments as a release from political correctness, others have objected to the harsher political and social climate, especially towards immigrants and Muslims. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2680881.stm Fortuyn ghost stalks Dutch politics] (BBC News)]

Contemporary Dutch politics is more polarized than it has been in recent years, especially on the issues that Fortuyn was best known for. There is a deep division on whether to consider the multicultural society a failure, and to what extent assimilation by newcomers is needed. The decision by the government to expel a large number of asylum seekers whose application had failed [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3494627.stm Dutch MPs approve asylum exodus] (BBC News)] was controversial. Incidentally, Fortuyn advocated an amnesty for asylum seekers already residing in the Netherlands.

Many politicians stress the importance of learning from the reasons behind the failure of the traditional parties.Who|date=June 2007 Listening to voters, transparent government, more dualism and speaking plainly are mentioned as some of the lessons learned from Fortuyn's success, although some complain that there have been no substantial changes, or that common courtesy in politics has been replaced by blatant populism.Who|date=June 2007

The coalition cabinet of CDA, LPF and VVD fell within three months, due to infighting within the LPF. In the following elections the LPF was diminished to only 8 seats in parliament (out of 150) and was not included in the new government; however, political commentators speculated that there was still a sizeable number of discontented voters who might vote for a non-traditional party, if a viable alternative was at hand. In recent times the right-wing Party for Freedom, which has a strong stance on immigration and integration, has won 9 (out of 150) seats in the 2006 elections. This also contributed to the LPF losing its remaining seats in parliament, and the subsequent disbandment of the party.Fact|date=June 2007

In 2004, in a TV show, Fortuyn was chosen as De Grootste Nederlander ("Greatest Dutchman of all-time" [nl icon [http://www.planet.nl/planet/show/id=106882/contentid=525037/sc=5ce917 Greatest Dutchman] ] ), followed closely by William of Orange, the leader of the independence war that established the precursor to the present-day Netherlands. However, the election was widely regarded as not being representative as it was held through the internet and by phoning in, and so easily hijacked and possibly influenced by Fortuyn’s supporters, who had his violent death still fresh on their minds. Also, the murder of the equally controversial film director Theo van Gogh by a Muslim for comments critical of Islam had occurred a few days before the election and undoubtedly moved many voters to bring Fortuyn higher in the ranking. It later turned out that William of Orange had in fact received more votes, although they could not be counted until after the official closing time of the poll (and the proclamation of the winner), due to technical problems. The result has therefore remained uncorrected, but is still valid.

Fortuyn's sudden and short political career and popularity may point to a shift in the opinion the Dutch have about themselves as a tolerant society with integrated multiple cultures. "First of all, one can conclude that criticism on political correctness and on the ideal of the multicultural society has broken through for real relatively late. [...] In the end it were Pim Fortuyn, the electoral success of the LPF and namely the murder on Fortuyn which led to the definitive breakthrough." [ [http://www.tegenwicht.org/24_fund_nl/prins.htm Quote from Prins, Baukje & Slijper, Boris - 'Integratie zorgt in veel landen voor controverses', De Helling, winter 2002] : "Ten eerste kan men stellen dat de kritiek op de politieke correctheid en het ideaal van de multiculturele samenleving relatief laat echt is doorgebroken. [...] Uiteindelijk waren het Pim Fortuyn, het electorale succes van de LPF en met name de moord op Fortuyn die tot de definitieve doorbraak hebben geleid." (Tegenwicht)] Although he did not advocate segregation, he made political establishment aware of their failure to recognise it as a disputable issue.

exual misconduct accusations

In 2005, Dutch journalist Peter R. de Vries obtained a secret report of the intelligence department of the Rotterdam police. It became clear from this report that Fortuyn, along with several other members from his party, had been the subject of investigation by the intelligence services. An anonymous informant claimed that Fortuyn had engaged in sex with Moroccan youths aged between 16 and 21; this would have been legal under Dutch law. However, the report contained factual inaccuracies, and the trustworthiness of the original source could not be verified. [nl icon [http://www.minbzk.nl/actueel/kamerstukken?ActItmIdt=69617 Explanation from the Minister of the Interior to Parliament] (in Dutch)]

Fortuynism in Flanders

In Belgium, several minor political parties adopted the same liberal conservative principles as Pim Fortuyn did in the Netherlands, especially his combination of "tough-on-crime" and "anti-immigrant" stands with his ethical progressive and economical libertarian viewpoints. In Flanders, analysts and observers tend to call VLOTT a fortuynist party, as well as List Dedecker and the Liberal Appeal. These three "liberal" parties do not officially call themselves fortuynist.


*" [http://www.amazon.com/dp/9022983382 Tegen de islamisering van onze cultuur: Nederlandse identiteit als fundament] " (Against the Islamisation of Our Culture), (A.W. Bruna, 1997). (ISBN 9-0229-8338-2)
*" [http://www.amazon.com/dp/9022984079 50 jaar Israel, hoe lang nog?: Tegen het tolereren van fundamentalisme] ", (Bruna, 1998). (ISBN 9-0229-8407-9)
*" [http://www.amazon.com/dp/9061129117 De Puinhopen Van Acht Jaar Paars: de Wachtlijsten in de Gezondheidszorg, de Zorgwekkende Staat Van Het Onderwijs, de Problemen Met Betrekking Tot de V] " (The rubble of eight purple years), (Karakter Uitgevers, 2002). (ISBN 9-0611-2911-7)


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