Netherlands. In January, a court in Amsterdam ordered a lawsuit against MP Geert Wilders for incitement against a group of people. According to countryaah, the background was that Wilders compared Islam to Nazism and advocated that the “fascist” Qur’an be banned in the Netherlands. In February, Wilder’s entry into the UK was denied, citing his statements about Muslims as a threat to security. Wilders would attend the upper house during a screening of his controversial short film about Islam, “Fitna”, following an invitation by the UK-skeptical right-wing UKIP. However, he was forced to turn over at London Heathrow Airport. The incident prompted Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen to submit a formal protest to his British colleague. In October, a British court upheld the entry ban for Wilders.
In celebrating Queen’s Day on April 30, a man in the car tried to drive into the bus in Apeldoorn that Queen Beatrix and other members of the royal family were sitting in. Six people were killed and several injured when the man plowed through barriers and straight into a crowd. The assailant, who himself died the following day, had recently gotten rid of the job and was about to lose his home. His motive remained unclear.
In the Netherlands, trade developed anew, on the basis of an increasingly intense exchange of colonies – especially Indonesia. In 1848, a new constitution was introduced which created the basis for parliamentarism. Three major political forces crystallized: the Protestants, the Catholics and the non-confessional liberals.
As industrialization gained momentum at the turn of the century, the foundations of a labor movement were created. The Socialist Workers’ Party was formed in 1894, with a parliamentary and reformist program. Ordinary male suffrage was adopted in 1914, while the women were granted it only after World War II.
After the First World War, when the Netherlands was neutral, some social reforms were introduced by civil governments: the Day of the Eight, Age and Disease Protection. The background was partly a concrete, but unrealistic, revolutionary horror in 1918-19 and partly an economic boom in the 20’s.
After World War I, the Netherlands entered the League of Nations, but maintained its neutrality, the symbol of which was the location of the international court in The Hague. During the Versailles negotiations, Belgium successfully argued territorial claims against the Netherlands.
During World War II, Germany attacked France through the Netherlands. The Queen set up an exile government in London. All political sectors participated in the anti-Nazi resistance. German repression was fierce, and by the end of the war the country was suffering from famine. In 1945, the government, business leaders and trade unions signed an agreement on price control and wages. It was going to last for 20 years. Indonesia quickly gained independence, Suriname only in 1975. During the post-war period, the Netherlands experienced rapid industrialization – especially in the metal, electronics and petrochemical industries.
Dutch capital – sometimes in common with English – dominates a number of large transnational companies such as the Royal Dutch Shell oil company and Unilever, the world’s largest food and soap producer with branches or companies using its patents in almost the entire world. Among Dutch transnational companies should be mentioned: Philips Gloelampenfabriken in electrical and electronic products, the chemical group AKZO, DSN, Hoogovens Groep, Heineken and Daf Trucks.
The postwar political scene has been marked by an alliance between wage earners (formerly socialists) and Catholics. The Netherlands gave up neutrality, joined NATO (1949) and EEC (1957). Together with Belgium and Luxembourg, it also formed the economic cooperation known as Benelux (1947).
In the 1960’s, the youth’s protest demonstrations against the system were very violent. The royal family’s marriages also led to public controversy. The fragmentation of society for ideological or religious reasons came to characterize all Dutch institutions. In the 70’s, voters leaned toward the center and the left. Governments renewed the economy and implemented a redistribution of income. The most controversial political issues were the defense spending and deployment of NATO nuclear missiles in the country.
The Netherlands has been one of the developed capitalist countries that has provided the greatest assistance to the Third World. At the same time, it has maintained a coherent policy in defense of human rights, and it has always criticized the apartheid regime in South Africa. However, its closer relations with Israel gave rise to greater distance to some Arab countries.