Liesbeth van de Grift explains why more people support farmers’ protests than climate protests

Liesbeth van de Grift in Trouw

A participant of a farmers' protest drives a tractor. A board with the text 'Proud to be a farmer' is attached to the front of the vehicle.
Photo: Kees Torn via Flicker (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Recent research by Kieskompas shows that more people in the Netherlands support the farmers’ protests than the climate protests. Professor of International History and the Environment Liesbeth van de Grift is not surprised, she says in Trouw.

Climate and farmers’ protests

Only among young people and the theoretically educated is sympathy for climate activists greater than for farmers, the Kieskompas enquiry shows. For the rest of the Netherlands, it is the other way round. That farmers' protests generally enjoy the most support is no surprise to Van de Grift.

“Farmers are very clearly people who are in a fix right now,” Van de Grift explains. “Climate is more vague in perception and seems to be about the future.” She sees this as a reason why the climate movement enjoys more support among young people. “Climate change is about their future. They're the ones who will be affected.”


Van de Grift also makes a comment on the research. The idea of a polarised society is growing stronger as support for the two protest groups is often contrasted. According to her, there is also something that unites both groups: concerns about the changing world. “Extinction Rebellion is worried about rising temperatures, the farmers about stricter environmental laws they have to comply with.”