Pim Fortuyn crowned greatest Dutch person
16 November 2004
AMSTERDAM — Populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who was the first victim of a political assassination in the Netherlands in over 300 years, has been chosen as the Greatest Dutch person of all time.
Hundreds of thousands of Dutch people cast their votes via telephone or internet in recent weeks as celebrities took turns to champion one of 10 candidates for the title on television station Nederland 1.
Fortuyn was declared the winner with 115,000 votes compared to 111,000 for William of Orange. But in an interesting twist broadcaster Kro announced later that had all the votes that came in after the poll closed been counted, the situation would have been reversed.
When the late votes were counted, Fortuyn was on 130,000 and William of Orange on 161,000.
Fortuyn broke the mould of Dutch consensus politics by promoting a strong anti-immigration stance. Openly gay, his sharp mind, combative style and campaigning against bureaucracy endeared him to much of the public who had grown unhappy with the “backroom politics” practised in The Hague.
He was gunned down by Volkert van der Graaf in Hilversum on 6 May 2002, nine days before the general election.
Willem van Oranje, known in English as William of Orange, had to settle for second place. Often described as the father of the (Dutch) fatherland, Willem van Oranje (1533 – 1584) led the uprising against Spanish control of the Netherlands. He was shot and killed in Delft.
Post-war politician Willem Drees of the Labour Party (PvdA) came third in the contest.
Drees (1886 to 1988) is fondly referred to as Vadertje Drees (Father Drees) in recognition of his contribution to laying the groundwork for the welfare state after the Second World War.
Fortuyn’s victory is all the more surprising as he never held public office.
War-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and post-war Chancellor Konrad Adenauer won when similar shows were run in the UK and Germany.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news, Pim Fortuyn