Trudeau doppelgänger surges in Dutch election polls

Jesse Klaver, The Netherlands’ ‘Justin Trudeau’ could be the kingmaker in Wednesday’s general election.

POLITICAL BROTHERS: Dutch Green Party (Groen Links) leader Jesse Klaver, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Klaver, 30, is the the youngest partly leader in Dutch history. Born to a Moroccan father and Indonesian mother, he is — like Trudeau — a liberal who favors immigration and delivers a message of tolerance. He also has the hope and optimism of a Barack Obama, with the same call to voters, ‘Ja dat kunnen we‘ — ‘Yes we can.’

Klaver’s party is expected to quadruple its seats in parliament.

The center-right party of incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte is expected to lose nearly half of its seats.

The unknown factor is flamboyant, anti-Islam nationalist Geert Wilders, whose leading poll numbers have declined of late.

No one party will win a majority. The government will be formed from a ruling coalition.

The Dutch election is seen as a precursor to two other important European elections this year — France (first round April 23) and Germany (Sept. 24) — where the far-right parties are polling at their highest levels since World War II.

Dutch general election, March 15, 2017

Parliament meets at the Binninhof in The Hague

The Candidates

Mark Rutte, Geert Wilders, Sybrand van Haersma Buma, Alexander Pechtold, Jesse Klaver. Below (clockwise) Lodewijk Asscher, Emile Roemer, Gert-Jan Segers, Kees van der Staaij, Henk Krol and Marianne Thieme.

Main parties, party leaders and current number of seats in parliament:

  1. People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Mark Rutte, 40
  2. Labour Party (PvdA), Lodewijk Asscher, 35
  3. Socialist Party (SP), Emile Roemer, 15
  4. Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Sybrand van Haersma Buma, 13
  5. Party for Freedom (PVV), Geert Wilders, 12
  6. Democrats 66 (D66),  Alexander Pechtold, 12
  7. Christian Union (CU), Gert-Jan Segers, 5
  8. GroenLinks (GL), Jesse Klaver, 4
  9. Reformed Political Party (SGP), Kees van der Staaij, 3
  10. Party for the Animals (PvdD), Marianne Thieme, 2
  11. 50Plus )50+), Henk Krol, 1



The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces: Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland, Gelderland, Utrecht, North-Holland, South-Holland, Zealand, North Brabant and Limburg.

Two of the twelve provinces are named Holland, specifically North Holland and South Holland, where the major cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are located.


In Old English, dutch meant “people or nation,” hence, Germany is Deutschland in German. In the early 1500s, the Netherlands and parts of Germany, along with Belgium and Luxembourg, were part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Over the years, English-speaking people used the word Dutch to describe people from both the Netherlands and Germany. The phrase “High Dutch” referred to people from the mountainous area of what is now southern Germany. “Low Dutch” referred to people from the flatlands in what is now the Netherlands.

Within the Holy Roman Empire, the word “Netherlands” was used to describe people from the low-lying (nether) region (land). In 1815, a separate country was formed, namely, the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The word “Holland” literally meant “wood-land” in Old English and originally referred to people from the northern region of the Netherlands. Over time, it came to apply to the entire country.

— Willem Meer in Amsterdam