For Wilders, the poll was a test whether his fiery nationalist rhetoric caught the imagination of the population. Even if he increased his total in the 150-seat legislature from 15 to 19, it is was a disappointment since he was seeking to become the biggest party.
Instead, the poll suggests Rutte has 31 seats.
A Wilders victory would have further boosted the fortunes of populists across Europe. But now, it was the first indication since the Brexit vote last year, that populists could also be beaten.