When the mainstream Dutch political publication, Vrij Nederland (Free Netherlands), came to us to illustrate for their article covering the Netherlands’ nationalist party, the PVV, we were intrigued at the chance to work on a sociopolitical project somewhat outside the roiling American context. Founded as an underground newspaper in the 1940s in opposition to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, Vrij Nederland was no stranger to voicing clearly their take on European politics.
In this case, the article was a comparative political analysis of potential outcomes the Dutch could expect from the PVV’s policy platform derived from the Norwegian’s experience after their Progress Party gained sway. Not to ignore the elephant in the room, there was the Donald J. Trump phenomenon to contend with as well. It was thus proposed to us that we illustrate PVV leader Geert Wilders donning a red MAGA cap along with separate depictions of the Norwegian Progress Party leadership.
After some iterations, we determined that the cap made Geert look a clone of the Donald. We scratched the MAGA hat version, instead sneaking the expression Make Norway Great Again into the back of the article concealed on a Viking Runestone. We decided instead to depict Geert striding against the choppy waves of contemporary Dutch political and social thought, with his full head of blond hair prominently flowing backward.
Overall, it was an enjoyable project from which we learned something of European politics, and our clients received solid feedback on the illustration and the thoughtful commentary at the end.