Bart De Wever wins the 2023 Pim Fortuyn Prize

25 May 2023

Bart De Wever has won the Pim Fortuyn Prize in the Netherlands. Named after the politician assassinated in 2002, the prize is awarded to “opinion leaders, administrators or politicians who fight for freedom of speech, dare to break taboos and take a stand in the social debate.” The jury found that De Wever deserves the prize because he is an indispensable voice in the political debate. “He dares to address the difficult issues of our time head-on, such as migration and integration,” says Simon Fortuyn, jury chairman and the brother of Pim Fortuyn.

At the presentation of the prize in The Hague, Bart De Wever also gave a speech in which he spoke about the need to defend freedom of speech, among other things.

Fighting bad ideas with better ideas

“The Pim Fortuyn Prize pays tribute to his legacy. And I think that legacy is the mission to defend freedom. After all, the imperfection of freedom is always infinitely smaller than the imperfection of a lack of freedom. A bad idea can only be fought with a better idea, never with repression. Not socially, and certainly not in court. The moralisation of our legislation by reintroducing opinions as crimes is the wrong choice.”

Unending dialogue

“I believe in our national identity as the hardware of our democracy, and I believe in Enlightenment values as the software that will show us the way to a society of solidarity in which all citizens will recognise and acknowledge each other as players in the same team in an unending dialogue. This is the right way.”


“If I received this award today because the jury sees me as someone who is working on this path, then I am very honoured, and I accept it with deep gratitude.”

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