MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

Anti‐nationalist nationalism: the paradox of Dutch national identity


Nations and Nationalism

Published online on


Academic research on contemporary Dutch nationalism has mainly focused on its overt, xenophobic and chauvinist manifestations, which have become normalised since the early 2000s. As a result, less radical, more nuanced versions of Dutch nationalism have been overlooked. This article attempts to fill this gap by drawing attention to a peculiar self‐image among Dutch progressive intellectuals we call anti‐nationalist nationalism. Whereas this self‐image has had a long history as banal nationalism, it has come to be employed more explicitly for political positioning in an intensified nationalist climate. By dissecting it into its three constitutive dimensions – constructivism, lightness and essentialism – we show how this image of Dutchness is evoked precisely through the simultaneous rejection of ‘bad’ and enactment of ‘good’ nationalism. More generally, this article provides a nuanced understanding of contemporary Dutch nationalism. It also challenges prevalent assumptions in nationalism studies by showing that post‐modern anti‐nationalism does not exclude but rather constitutes essentialist nationalism.