I’m talking about the elections for the municipal councils in the Netherlands. They take place every four years and the next elections will be on Wednesday the 21st of March. On this day, people will vote for there favourite political party. We have quite an amount of parties. Each of these has their own general viewpoint and most can be labelled as right or left. Some parties are focused particularly on students, others vouch to work for the interests of senior citizens and there’s also a party that focusses mostly on the environment and animal wellbeing. There’s a lot to choose from!
The parties and people who eventually end up in the council will represent the residents of Utrecht. They’ll decide about local issues.
In Utrecht, sixteen political parties are participating in the elections. These are listed below (in alphabetical order). One party is called ‘Blanco lijst’, which means ‘blank list’. This is a party without an official name. It doesn’t happen often that parties without an official name participate.
- Blanco lijst
- DENK Utrecht
- Partij voor de Dieren
- Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV)
- Seniorenpartij Utrecht
- Stadsbelang Utrecht
- Student & Starter
If you decide which party you want to vote for, you also have to vote for an individual person. All political parties have a list of candidates, who’ll represent the citizens if they get hold of a place in the council. The ideas of these individual candidates correspond with the general ideas of their party, of course, but they also have their own ideas about the most important topics.
You might be eligible to vote as well! If you’re eighteen or older, live in Utrecht since the 5th of February (or earlier) and you are coming from one of the EU countries, you can vote! If you’re not an EU resident, you’re only allowed to vote if you’ve lived in the Netherlands for the past 5 years. If you’re eligible to vote, you should have gotten your poll card (or in Dutch: stempas) already. You should bring this and an ID card or passport with you to the polling station.
A lot of parties also present their election programme in English. In addition, there are so called ‘Kieswijzers’ or ‘Stemwijzers’, which can help you to decide which party suits you best. Unfortunately, most of them are in Dutch, but maybe you can ask a Dutch friend to translate it for you!
It’s a waste if you don’t use your vote. With your vote, you can try to influence your (our!) city. It doesn’t take a lot of time and effort to read the election programmes and bring out your vote. There used to be people who had to fight for their right to vote in the Netherlands, and there are still people who have to do this all around the world.
Do you want more information about the municipal elections? Check out the Kiesraad website (in English)!