During that same period, The Netherlands began to behave more and more like a moral pioneer. The country took on a leading role ( gidsland ) particularly in regard to social and ethical issues concerning soft drugs, abortion, euthanasia, and same-sex marriage. Many countries still observe how the Dutch manage these matters and how their politics deal with related issues. However, the image of The Netherlands as one of the most tolerant and free nations changed drastically in 2002 after the populist politician Pim Fortuyn was murdered in broad daylight by an environmental activist (Lechner, 2008). As one German correspondent states, ‘From a

political viewpoint The Netherlands was a bit dull, but since 2001/2002 with Pim Fortuyn a lot has changed and the country [is] became more interesting’.