Dutch Voters Angry About Jobs and Immigration

From the towering offices of Rotterdam’s port authority, you can watch the never-ending stream of barges begin their river journeys to the Rhine and points across Europe, carrying anything from Chinese microwave ovens to iron ore from Brazil.

The city that spreads below boasts Europe’s biggest port, which is dependent upon the globalized economy for its success and 130,000 jobs. And yet, this North Sea gateway to the world is also the birthplace of the anti-globalization, anti-immigrant and anti-Islam movement that is on course to place first in Dutch elections on March 15.

The appeal of its current leader, the peroxide blond Geert Wilders, seems a paradox even in the age of U.S. President Donald Trump and Marine Le Pen, the nationalist leading the polls in France. For centuries the Netherlands has been a byword for liberalism, religious tolerance and openness to trade. The economy is strong and egalitarian compared to most of the world. Yet Wilders has tapped into deep fears among many low-skilled workers over their jobs in a world of rapid technological change –- even those who depend on global trade pioneered by the Dutch.

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Craig Erlam

Craig Erlam

Senior Currency Analyst at OANDA
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Sky News, Bloomberg, CNBC and BBC. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.