Voting in the upcoming municipal election in the Netherlands
In only a few weeks time, March 21 to be specific, the municipal elections will be taking place. As an expat, you may also be eligible to vote in these Dutch elections, but you do have to meet certain criteria.
Can I vote in the Dutch municipal elections?
Yes, if you are an EU citizen, or if you are a non-EU citizen but have legally lived in the Netherlands for five years, without a break in between. To vote you must also be 18 years old, or older, on the day of the elections.
Expats wishing to vote in their municipality must have been registered there before the nomination day for candidates, which fell on February 5 this year. If you did not register with your municipality before February 5, 2018, you will not be eligible to vote in that particular municipality’s election.
Those registered as non-residents, perhaps due to a temporary stay, will not be allowed to vote. One must also have not lost the right to vote.
How do I vote?
If you are eligible to vote, you will be sent a voting pass in the mail. You will receive this, at the latest, 14 days before the elections take place. For the upcoming elections, the latest you will receive a voting pass is March 7.
You will need to take this with you when voting, along with a valid form of identification. A Dutch or EU driver’s license is considered a valid form of identification in this case.
To vote, you will need to visit a polling station. Depending on your municipality, you may have to visit a polling station in your neighbourhood, or you may be free to visit one regardless of the part of the Dutch city you live in. For information about where you can vote, you can consult your municipality’s website. Please be aware that information may be given in Dutch.
Who can I vote for?
In the Netherlands, there are many parties that you can vote for. Here is a list of the major Dutch political parties and where they fall on the political spectrum.
- VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie) - The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy is a conservative liberal party in the centre.
- PvdA (Partij van de Arbeid) – The Labour Party is a social democratic party in the centre-left.
- D66 (Democraten 66) – Democrats 66 is a social liberal party.
- SP (Socialistische Partij) – The Socialist Party is a left-wing democratic socialist party.
- CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appèl) – The Christian Democratic Appeal is a Christian democratic party with a centre-right position.
- GroenLinks – Green Left is the green party in the Netherlands with green and liberal ideals.
- PvdD (Partij voor de Dieren) – The Party for the Animals is a left-wing party with animal rights ideologies.
- CU (ChristenUnie) – The Christian Union is a Christian democratic party with socially conservative ideologies.
- SGP (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij) – The Reformed Political Party is a right-wing orthodox Calvinist party.
- 50PLUS – is a pensioners’ interest party positioned in the centre.
- DENK – is a social democratic party with multiculturalism ideologies.
- PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid) – The Party for Freedom is a Dutch nationalist and far right-wing populist party.
- OP (OndernemersPartij) – The Entrepreneurial Party is a liberal conservative party with entrepreneurial ideologies.
- FvD (Forum voor Democratie) – The Forum for Democracy is a national conservative euro-sceptic political party with a right-wing position.
If you're having trouble picking one of the many parties, you can always head on over to StemWijzer (a voting guide in Dutch), answer a few questions, and see which political party matches your answers.
Will you be voting in the upcoming election? Let us know in the comments!