I was quite relieved to see the extreme right wing Geert Wilders not win much yesterday. A whole slew of international press had flown in to see another European country fall for populism, and they left without a good story.
But after giving it some more thought, after realizing how eerily close my prediction was and after reading some of the first analyses I'm not entirely content with the results. This election result is a definitive swing to the right, towards populism. Both the Liberals and the Central Democrats were pandering to Wilders' audience with populist remarks about immigration, islam and the 'Dutch Identity' which is 'under threat'. Both parties did better than expected and together they got 52 out of the 150 seats. There's also two new small parties that came seemingly out of nowhere: the left leaning Turkish-populist 'Think' party and the Eurosceptic, conservative FvD. They both had surprisingly effective social media campaigns and got a few seats.
It's not Trump-like clear-cut populism the press was hoping for. But I can't deny the increasingly populist undercurrent in our politics. The left Labour party took the fall, going from 38 down to a measily 9 seats. There's also reason for hope: the sustainable and progressive parties did really well, together almost claiming 40 seats. They did especially well among younger voters. Even the radical green party (the 'Party for the Animals', yeah really) got 5 seats with their almost extremist pro-sustainable agenda.
So I'd say it's a mixed bag. Formation is going to be interesting as no party or ideology really has enough weight to form a coalition. Could've been a lot worse, though, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on what the Germans and French will vote later this year.