European leaders, especially in France and Germany where elections will take place in the coming months, will be watching to see whether the Dutch will swing to the right or leave the populists out in the cold.
The Dutch go to the polls next Wednesday both uncertain and deeply divided, despite a robust economy. National identity, mass migration and Islam are hotly debated themes in a traditionally open and phlegmatic society.
With his honed debating skills and trenchant views anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders of the nationalist PVV (Party for Freedom) has been a divisive presence on the Dutch political scene from virtually the first time he entered parliament.
Wilders never made attempts to hide his anti-Islamic views, calling the religion a "backwards ideology" with no place in the West. This comes in stark contrast with the beliefs of most European politicians who view Islam as peaceful and are advocates of immigration.
Dutch elections launch a fraught political year in Europe, with surging nationalist parties bidding to refashion the continent's political landscape.
"Too many people have come to Holland with no education, no work experience, and they are coming here only for money from the government," he said. "Enough is enough," said a resident and local business leader of Duindrop, a PVV stronghold.
With terrorist attacks in recent memory, popular opinion on both immigration and Islam is changing throughout Europe.
The specter of uncontrolled floods of migrants from countries that don't share Europe's Christian heritage is a principal selling point of the nationalist firebrand politics of the Netherlands' Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen in France. By harping on anti-Islam, anti-immigrant themes, they are accused of making xenophobic views mainstream.
For their supporters, they simply tell it like it is.
Many voters feel Muslim immigrants are failing to integrate and running down a once-generous health and welfare system, which can no longer support everyone due to an excess of unskilled labor and increased poverty.
Of the Netherlands' 17 million people, just over one in five now has a foreign background and about 850,000 are Muslim.
The latest polls show Wilders's Party for Freedom is near head-to-head with the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).
Wilders's party could turn out to be the biggest in parliament, though it is still unlikely to enter government as all its mainstream rivals have vowed to ostracize the PVV but diverging views among a handful of contending parties in the election about how many immigrants to accept and where to shelter them could make the formation of the next government a complex, prolonged affair.
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