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Anti-government extremism on the rise in northern Netherlands: study

Anti-government extremism is on the rise in the north of the Netherlands, but the phenomenon has received little attention as approaches to radicalization have largely focused on jihadism. Researchers from the University of Groningen, Leonie De Jonghe, Peter Naninga and Fleur Valk, came to this conclusion in their study of extremism in the region. NRC report.

In this first region-specific study on extremism, researchers examined all extremist cases brought to the media and courts in the north of the Netherlands between 2014 and 2022. Since 2016, there have been about 10 incidents per year, and in 2021 he has a peak of 15 incidents. Since 2018, half of the annual incidents have been attributed to anti-government ideology. Naninga told the newspaper that extremism was still “a relatively minor phenomenon in the north”. “At the same time, we are seeing an upward trend.”

Researchers have found that more traditional forms of extremism – religious, left-wing and right-wing – are limited in the north. “In recent years, we’ve seen more and more cases related to anti-government sentiment in regional files,” Naninga said. Wind farms, asylum shelters, and nitrogen issues, in particular, lead to area-specific problems that are less common in Randstad. “The result is a broad anti-Randstad sentiment underpinned by strong feelings of social unrest.”

As a result, journalists sipped Molotov cocktails out of windows after criticizing opponents of coronavirus policies, the arrival of wind farms dumped asbestos in public areas, and farmers crashed tractors through the doors of the state capitol. Incidents such as protests occurred. nitrogen policy. Above all.

Anti-government and right-wing extremism has largely gone unnoticed and has become increasingly common in the north of the Netherlands in recent years, researchers say, as approaches to extremism and radicalization focus primarily on jihadism. Stated. “Anti-government sentiment and radical, far-right ideas are often not recognized or acknowledged as extremism,” De Jonge told the paper.

They fear that the north of the Netherlands will become a hotbed of anti-government sentiment. This is a problem because anti-government ideology is very difficult to get rid of once it takes root.

As long as the focus of an approach to extremism and radicalization remains on jihadism, that approach is not consistent with the phenomenon, De Jonghe said. “In short, we are more likely to see an Arabic-speaking bearded man as an extremist than a farmer hitting a rural door.” We urge you to adapt your approach to radicalization to suit the situation. Otherwise they will always fall behind.

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