How did the Netherlands vote in the EU election and what does it mean?

How did the Netherlands vote in the EU election and what does it mean?

The European Union headed to the polls last weekend, with the Netherlands starting off the election on Thursday June 6. Results now show that the country will send three new parties to Strasbourg and Brussels, with Volt, the BBB and NSC gaining seats in the European Parliament for the first time.

What did Dutch voters prioritise? 

According to an Ipsos poll, Dutch voters were most keen for politicians to tackle immigration, with the issue being the main driving force behind many voters' choices. This was confirmed by the election results, showing that Geert Wilders' anti-immigration PVV party came out with big wins during the EU election. 

The second most important issue was unusually healthcare, given that the EU has few supranational competencies in this area. The election results left GroenLinks-PvdA as the biggest Dutch party in the EU parliament with eight seats in the 720-member chamber, followed by the PVV who went from having one seat in the EU parliament to six.

Three Dutch parties to make their debut at the EU parliament

In addition to the increased number of seats for the PVV, there were also a number of newcomers to the EU political scene. Dutch political parties Volt, the BBB and NSC are set to make their political debut at the EU parliament, with the former two gaining two seats each at the table, and the NSC gaining one.

The entrance of the new parties represents the changing political face of the Netherlands, yet further endorses the popularity of the newly elected government, confirming the results of last year’s Dutch election.

Despite this, GroenLinks-PvdA leader Frans Timmermans said the strong results for them and other pro-European parties like Volt show “a majority in the Netherlands wants to strengthen Europe and certainly not destroy it.”

How did the rest of the EU vote?

The Dutch voter pattern appears to have been repeated across the bloc of 27, with the general story being that centrist and pro-European parties came out on top overall, but amid significant far-right gains. In France, the governing political party under French President Emmanuel Macron faced such heavy losses to the far-right National Rally party, that he dissolved parliament and called for a French general election. 

The outcome of the European elections reflects a shift in EU politics away from unity and more towards fragmentation. A recent study showed that while most people in the Netherlands are not in favour of the Netherlands’ exit from the EU (a potential Nexit), they are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with the EU. 

The study, which was commissioned by the Clingendael Institute, a think tank for international relations in the Netherlands, found that while only 15 percent of people in the Netherlands want to leave the European Union, there are many issues that the EU needs to address - namely the bloc’s security and sovereignty. 

Thumb image credit: Daniela Baumann /



Emily Proctor

Former Editor at IamExpat Media.

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