1. an extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.

  2. advocacy of political independence for a particular country.
 Popular vote in favour of the main nationalist party by European country (Source)

Popular vote in favour of the main nationalist party by European country (Source)


Reasons for rising nationalism in Europe since 2010:

  • austerity measures
  • mass immigration
  • links to fascist/Nazi ideology
  • threats from Islam
  • threats to national identity by ethnic minorities
  • threat to national culture as a result of multi-culturalism

What do these political campaigns tell you about the feelings of certain people in Switzerland?


EUROPEAN CONTEXT: The right rises again in Europe

Throughout Europe, extremist right-wing parties have been on the rise and radical ideas are gaining traction.

Poster for the Swiss People's Party.

Support for right-wing, anti-immigrant, and anti-EU fringe parties is increasing in Europe. In many countries on the old continent, extremist parties have been on the rise and radical ideas are gaining traction.

In the Netherlands, where liberalism and tolerance have historically been embraced like in no other country, Geert Wilders and his “Freedom Party” have been propagating an anti-immigrant agenda specifically aimed at Muslims. The party came in third in the Dutch parliamentary election in 2010 and effectively caused the government to collapse in 2012 by withdrawing its support from the ruling coalition.

The Danish government, pressured by the far-right Danish People’s Party, reintroduced border controls a few years back, a concept that directly violates the EU’s principle of free movement.

In a similar move, the Swiss People’s Party led the historically tolerant country to introduce quotas on immigration after a controversial referendum passed by a slim margin this past February. A few years back, the same Swiss populist movement introduced a construction ban on new minarets, the traditional Islamic prayer towers that loom over mosques.

In France, Marine Le Pen’s National Front performed exceptionally well in municipal elections last March, foreshadowing a repeat performance in the European Parliament elections. A strong showing would enable it to coalesce with likeminded nationalist parties like the Austrian Freedom Party, the Belgian Vlaams Belang, the Italian Northern League, and the Swedish Democrats, among others, to make up the strongest nationalist coalition this relatively young legislative institution has seen thus far.



CASE STUDY: nationalism in switzerland


  • As of 2014, 23.4% of Switzerland's population are foreigners (Germany: 9%).
  • The net immigration is 80,000 people per year, 1% of the total population (three times more than e.g. in Germany, four times more than in the U.S.).
  • Every year 30,000 – 40,000 receive Swiss nationality (this represents a per capita rate of about three times that of both Germany and the United States). 
  • According to the European Commission about 1 million EU citizens live in Switzerland and another 230,000 cross the border daily for work, while 430,000 Swiss live in the EU. (Source)

retaining control of culture



results of the 2009 minaret referendum


minaret ban three years on


retaining control of resources

referendum against mass immigration 2014


why swiss surburbia voted for immigration curbs

How did opinions change? By how much? What were the reasons for the change in opinion? 


effects of immigration referendum in switzerland

The referendum against the free movement of workers in 2014 led to Switzerland being removed from the European Horizon 2020 scietific funding programme as well as the European university exchange programme, Erasmus.



The Swiss People's Party also known as the Democratic Union of the Centre (French: Union démocratique du centre, UDC), is a national conservative and right-wing populist political party in Switzerland. Chaired by Toni Brunner, but spearheaded by Christoph Blocher, the party is the largest party in the Federal Assembly, with 54 members of the National Council and 5 of the Council of States.



  1. Research the Swiss People's Party.
  2. Create an overview and history of the party and its popularity in Switzerland.
  3. Describe the UDCs key political initiatives.

practice exam question

Analyse the relationship between globalisation and the resurgence of nationalism in one country you have studied. (10 marks)