Geert Wilders launches his election campaign
The right winger has been dubbed the "Dutch Trump" for some of his extreme policy announcements, sometimes going even further than the bombastic US President.
Wilders made a rare public appearence amid tight security, where he shook hands with supporters and posed for photographs.
Opponents of the the populist candidate – who has promised to shut down mosques and ban the Koran – stood holding placards bearing pro-immigrant slogans.
Wilders' Freedom Party leads in polls with 17 percent, but the pro-business liberals of Prime Minister Mark Rutte are barely a percentage point behind, having closed the gap on Wilders by matching some of his anti-immigration rhetoric and getting an electoral boost from a surging economy.
But even if he does win, Wilders would struggle to form a government since most major parties have ruled out joining a coalition with him.
The next Dutch parliament is unlikely to support policies such as quitting the European Union.
More to follow.