Racism and extremism among young people.

Appearances are deceptive

The Lonsdale problem is basically a problem of tension between native Dutch young people and those from ethnic minorities. In practice, most attention is normally paid to the role of Lonsdale youth, while the role of ethnic minorities is much less clear.

In this regard the name "Lonsdale problem" is one-sided. This is one of the conclusions reached by researchers from Leiden University and the Anne Frank House.

In the period from 2001 to August 2005, the researchers counted 125 extreme right-wing ‘gabber’ groups and more than 200 incidents, approximately 140 of them violent. Many of the violent incidents include assault (41) and confrontations (50) between native Dutch people and ethnic minorities. In these confrontations, the border between perpetrator and victim is often unclear. Many cases involve a series of incidents and activities that provoke reactions.

Not just a rural phenomenon

The extreme right-wing Lonsdale groups vary sharply from one another, both in terms of size and in terms of their racist or extremist content. Contrary to what is often claimed, the Lonsdale problem is not exclusively a rural phenomenon. It also occurs in cities.

Early 2005 two Dutch dance clubs announced they would refuse entry to persons wearing Lonsdale clothing, because brand is sometimes connected to neo-Nazis and the far-right. (Photo: ANP)

Assessments

The Lonsdale problem is very broad: there are many different manifestations of Lonsdale groups, different evaluations and different assessments of the seriousness of the problem. In searching for solutions, the parties involved would do well to coordinate their assessments. This also applies to combating different forms of radicalism, especially Islamistic radicalism and right-wing extremism. Experiences of de-radicalisation in other countries also have something to teach us.

Youth culture or youth criminality

In the report The Lonsdale problem attention is paid to recurring questions such as: to what extent are Lonsdale youth racists or radical right-wing extremists? Do extreme right-wing 'gabbers' constitute a youth culture, or is this rather a form of youth criminality? In addition, the report attempts to make numerical assessments of the numbers of extreme right-wing gabber groups and incidents. It also looks at the diversity of responses to the Lonsdale problem.

The report was edited by Jaap van Donselaar.

Download

Jaap van Donselaar (ed.), Racism & Extremism Monitor: The Lonsdale Problem, Amsterdam: Anne Frank Stichting / Leiden University, 2005.

Download summary (pdf) (127KB)

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