An overwhelming number of Dutch voters say immigration is one of their top concerns ahead of March’s parliamentary election.
As the populist Eurosceptic Party of Freedom, led by Geert Wilders, leads in the polls, 80 per cent of voters in the Netherlands say they are worried about immigration.
An even higher proportion of voters, 86 per cent, say they are concerned about a decline in traditional Dutch values and morals, with just one in 10 expecting any improvement in the coming years.
The survey by pollsters Ipsos for broadcaster NOS also found more than half of Dutch voters believe non-Western immigrants to be a threat to Dutch values. This is the view not only among supporters of Geert Wilders, but also the majority of those who will vote for mainstream parties such as the Christian Democrats and the governing People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy.
A large majority of supporters from all these parties also favour removing African asylum seekers from the country, with even a large proportion of left wing voters supporting such a move.
The figures come a month after Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appeared to borrow from the rhetoric of populist leader Geert Wilders by telling migrants to “integrate or leave”.
In a full-page advert, Mr Rutte wrote: “I tell everyone. If you don’t like it here in this country, get out, get out! That’s the choice you have. If you live in a country where the ways of dealing with others annoys you, you have a choice, go away. You do not need to be here.”
The Prime Minister singled out those who “misuse our freedoms to spoil everything, when they have come to our country for freedom” and condemned “don’t want to adapt… who attack gay people, shout at women in short skirts, or call ordinary Dutch people racist”.
Mr Rutte’s People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy is currently fighting Mr Wilders’s Freedom Party for first place in March’s election.