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Dutch voters are rising up against elite eco-mania


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The stunning success of the farmers’ party has shattered the cosy, green consensus.
John Lee Shaw
21st March 2023

In last week’s provincial elections in the Netherlands, an insurgent party, the Farmer-Citizen Movement (BBB), took the largest vote share in all 12 Dutch provinces.

This is a remarkable win for the farmers’ party. The BBB (BoerBurgerBeweging) was only founded in 2019. It was born out of sympathy for the widespread Dutch farmers’ protests against the government, a populist movement which is still going strong today. The party is focussed on issues related to agriculture and the countryside. Among its proposals are a ministry for the countryside and allowing farmers to have more say in matters of agricultural policy. It also hopes to reduce the power of the European Union in the Netherlands, saying that while the Netherlands should remain a member state, the EU should aim to be merely a trading bloc, not a federal superstate (if only).

This unlikely victory means much more than just local seats. The provincial councils determine the makeup of the Dutch senate, its Eerste Kamer (first chamber). The Eerste Kamer functions much like Westminster’s House of Lords. It scrutinises the governing lower house (the Tweede Kamer) and has the power to reject proposed legislation.



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