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Harrison Quinn

Evaluating Dutch Acceptance



Harrison Quinn ’23



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The Netherlands has a legacy of tolerance. This tolerance earned the small, lowland provinces economic and social advantages over ideologically and religiously-torn larger powers. But since the Eighty Years’ War concluded with Dutch independence, tolerance has become less exclusive. The United States has heralded tolerance as a new global status quo and a base value of a modern liberal democracy. But, the rise of populism in the Netherlands as a response to unprecedented social change in the early twenty-first century has casted doubt onto the virtue of tolerance in the Western world today.

Many accept that to ‘live and let live’ is no longer enough to counter intolerance and now seek a culture of acceptance. Multiculturalism, a product of tolerance, has been disowned in favor of integration, a product of acceptance, following political murders and the subsequent rise of populism. But in the Netherlands, the divide between tolerance and acceptance is often blurred, leading to vague social objectives. This paper will distinguish between acceptance and tolerance and demonstrate that the latter is unsatisfactory in stemming the populist rise that the Netherlands faces. This paper will review Dutch progress on social acceptance from the perspective of both native and recent immigrant groups in the Netherlands. This will be accomplished using survey data on beliefs regarding integration. Using these opinions and recent historical trends, this paper will determine if the Netherlands is still leading the world in progressiveness.


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