The Rise of Populism (2013)

The Rise of Populism is a multi-annual photography project about populist developments in Europe with stories from The Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Finland, Greece and Germany.


Over sixty years after the Second World War, the democratic establishment in Western Europe is under heavy criticism from populist movements. Political parties like the Freedom Party (PVV) in The Netherlands or the People’s Party (Dansk Folkeparti) in Denmark are pointing out that matters like – in their eyes – failing immigration, the Islamist threat and the recent economic crisis are the result of poor and soft government policies, often using bold and populist rhetoric. Astonished and worried by the changes taking place, myself and colleague and friend Jan-Joseph Stok (NL), figured it was time to investigate this phenomenon of the rise of populism closer to home.


Together with a group of European photographers, they are documenting these political populist shifts in West-Europe since the beginning of 2012. Each photographer creates a story from a personal perspective where the local aspects of populism in their own country emerge. These collected stories will pose and raise questions on the state of the contemporary European political and social situation.


The Rise of Populism is a project under the umbrella of Fotodok in collaboration with Vrede van Utrecht’s program Arts in Conflict. The Rise of Populism has been exhibited at the Zijdebalen theatre in Utrecht, at De Melkweg Gallery in Amsterdam and at different pop-up exhibitions around Europe. The French Magazine Le Monde Diplomatique published the project in their April 2014 publication on populism and extreme right movements. ARTE featured the project as one of their web series.


Participating photographers: Nico Baumgarten (Germany), Tinka & Frank Dietz (Germany), Andrea Gjestvang (Norway), Rami Hanafi (Finland),Wendy Marijnissen (Belgium), The Prism (Greece), Jan‐Joseph Stok (The Netherlands/France), Ed Thompson (United Kingdom), Maria Turchenkova (Russia) and Dirk‐Jan Visser (The Netherlands), see also my pamphlet on the rise of populism.


ARTEWatch also the ARTE web series from: Andrea, Rami, Maria, Jan-Joseph, Ed, Wendy and Nico



Exhibition of the Rise of Populism at the Zijdebalen theatre in Utrecht