Karlsruhe Dialogues 2009

Right-Wing Extremism in Europe today

Dr. Rudolf van Hüllen




Dr. Rudolf van Hüllen was born in Krefeld/Germany in 1957. Today he works as a political scientist, researcher on extremism and as lecturer. He studied political science, contemporary history and law in Bonn and in 1989 did his Ph.D. about the ideology and the power struggle of Germany’s green party. Since then, he has dedicated himself to political education.

He for example works for the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and the Bildungswerk Verantwortung in Staat und Gesellschaft e.V. (ViSG), which in the 1980s has especially dealt with members of the Federal Armed Forces. From 1987 to 2006 van Hüllen was consultant and head of division at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Cologne and directed the analysis of political-extremist attempts. There, the open and offensive prevention of extremism as an intellectual and political examination was very important. As a lecturer, he amongst others taught at the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences, Department of the Protection of the Constitution.

Van Hüllen has reviewed a great number of books in the yearbook about extremism and democracy, edited by Eckhard Jesse and Uwe Backes. Also, he has written own publications, such as various brochures (all released in 2008) about modern right-wing extremism as a challenge for political education and the right-wing extremist alliance and has offered assistances for communal and political actors against right-wing extremism. He works for political trusts as well as for federal institutions and educational establishments, which contribute themselves to the prevention of extremism.

For him it is important to look beyond scientific research and to be active in everyday life. There, in his opinion, didactic skills and empathy have more significance for success than the ability to perfectly deal with scientific discourses.

ZAK asked Dr. Rudolf van Hüllen to answer the following question:

What can Citizens do Against Right-Wing Extremism? 

"Commitment against right-wing extremism should not end with being “anti”. Of course, it is necessary to give reasons why rightist extremist objectives and methods are reprehensible. It is also more than appropriate to publicly express opposition and to disagree with rightist extremist stereotypes right away. Nonetheless, the most effective means of prevention against extremist allurement is to exemplify through one’s own life a role model of a convinced democrat and European. This also includes preserving the knowledge of the crimes committed by the two historical dictatorships in Germany. "