On Wednesday March 15, 2023, Dutch citizens will return to the polls to elect provincial councils (Provinciale Staten) and water authorities (Waterschappen).
The upcoming election is of vital importance to the country’s political landscape. The provincial governments elect senators to the upper house of the parliament, or Eerste Kamer, and polls suggest that populist forces such as the new Farmer Citizen Movement (BBB) and far-right Freedom Party could gain enough seats to be able to create a blocking majority in the upper chamber.
Who Can Vote
If you are a Dutch citizen who is 18 years or older on election day and a legal resident of your province who was not stripped of voting rights by a court, then you have the right to vote. It’s as simple as that.
Water Authority Elections
You are eligible to vote for the management of your water authority if:
- You hold Dutch citizenship or citizenship of another EU member state, and you have a legal residence in the Netherlands
- You are at least 18 years old on election day, and
- You were a resident of the area covered by the water authority on the day the candidate nomination, i.e. January 30, 2023.
Parties and Platforms
In the run-up to the elections, you will receive a list of candidates and one or two voting passes (‘stempassen’) in your mail box. Information about the candidates and political parties that contest the election is also published online. Check the candidates for the provinces of Drenthe, Groningen, and Friesland on special election pages (in Dutch). You can also read about the candidates’ platforms on their parties’ websites.
Vote In-person on Election Day
You can vote in-person on election day, March 15, from 7.30 to 21.00. There are two ways to find out where your assigned voting location is during an election:
- Check the voting passes and information leaflets you receive in the mail,
- Enter your postal code or address in the special application here.
When registering to vote, you will be required to complete an application to be added to the list of electors and will be asked for identification with your name and signature. Please note, in addition to a legal ID, you will have to produce the voting pass(es) you received in the mail in order to be able to vote.
If your voting pass(es) is/are lost or damaged, please contact your municipality and request a new one. This can be done in writing until March 10 or in person at your local municipality until 12.00 of March 14.
Recent polls found 54 per cent of Dutch voters thought the Hague politicians neglected rural areas, and politicians’ approval rating was lower outside cities. Three of the four coalition parties in the current cabinet are set to perform badly in the regions and that two populist alternatives, the pro-farmers BBB and far right JA21, which split off from the Freedom Party, are likely to make significant gains.