Marsh: Why the hair?
Wilders: The peroxide hair started as a joke in his early 20s and he ended up liking it. He had a bet to go blonde and have it bleached at the hairdresser. And since he joined politics it became a trademark.
Marsh: When did you last speak?
Wilders: We last had face-to-face contact at my mother’s birthday last year. We stopped communicating altogether when I went public about this famous picture of Merkel with blood on her hands, in December. That for me was crossing a line.
Marsh: Did you and your brother ever talk politics?
Wilders: Not after he started his own party. It’s wise not to talk about politics with him, because of that cocoon he lives in where he has no opposition at all. He can be very charming, very witty, great sense of humor. As long as you don’t talk about politics, no problem at all. You can’t even mention the word “politics”—he’ll cast you out. You’re either with him or against him. He can’t take criticism. I’ve learned to make a distinction between my brother, who I love very, very dearly, and the ideas he stands for.
Marsh: Would you characterize him as a fanatic? He’s compared the Quran with Mein Kampf and wants to rid the Netherlands of all Muslims.
Wilders: He knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s a politician in our parliament, so for sure he knows the tricks. People forget how long he’s been around. He talks about “the elite” and the “fake parliament,” but he’s been there for two decades.
Marsh: What does his hometown, Venlow, think of Geert?
Wilders: At first he was a hero. The region does feel rather small and neglected so when one of them becomes famous, people are proud. And in the beginning, in Venlow, he got 60 percent of the vote. The latest polls show that it’s dropped by half. In the rest of the country, 80 percent of people don’t like him. The other 20 percent think he’s a savior and he’s going to save the world.
Marsh: Is it hard for your parents to have a son who is so famous and so divisive?
Wilders: Of course it is. Our father passed away over a decade ago, leaving my mother, and she’s a rather old woman now. She’s far from happy with all the attention. She’s worried about me—I get my share of threats as well—and about my brother, whether or not he will be assassinated.
Family friends have been divided because of my brother. It does reflect on her. Many of her friends and acquaintances pulled back merely because of the views of her son.
Marsh: How has speaking out against your brother threatened your personal security?
Wilders: In the evenings, when it’s dark, groups—followers of my brother’s—they’d say: “There’s a bullet waiting for you. Just wait until after the elections and your brother has won. We’ll come to finish you off.” And that’s apart from name-calling and spitting and so forth.
I refuse to get personal security, because I don’t want a life that even comes close to the life my brother lives. I’ll take my chances.