On Thursday 23rd May, the election for new members of the European Parliament will be held. Every EU citizen living in the Netherlands is eligible to vote and can choose whether they want to vote in their country of origin or of residence, but eligible voters must register by the 9th of April.
The European Parliament elections will choose the 751 MEPs who sit in Brussels and make legislative decisions on a European level. It is one of the largest democratic exercises in the world (with an electorate size second only to the Indian Parliamentary elections), and a way to make sure your voice is heard in the corridors of power in Europe. Citizens can even stand on the ballot, if they feel so inspired.
But the first step is ensuring that you are registered. You can choose to either vote in your country of origin, or in your country of residence, namely the Netherlands. Please note that voting in your country of origin almost always means being there in person!
Each Gemeente (municipality) in the Netherlands has a duty to let you know how to register. Much of this information is only available in Dutch, but the registration forms are available in other languages.See here for the page from the Gemeente Groningen, here for the Gemeente Leeuwarden, here for the Gemeente Assen; and here for the Gemeente Emmen.
Application forms must be submitted by the 9thof April to ensure that your voting card can be mailed to your home address in time. If you are interested in standing as a candidate or would like to submit a list of candidates as a party, this must also be done by the 9thof April. More information on standing as a candidate and registering yourself (as well as the forms to do so) can be found here.
The form is quite simple, and you need only submit it once to be registered to vote in the Netherlands in subsequent elections. Your voting card will be sent to the address that you have registered in the BRP (Basisregistratie Personen), which is linked to your BSN. Make sure that you’ve got the right address associated with your name.
If you are British, then you are probably (understandably) confused as to your rights to vote in this election. It remains unclear as to whether British citizens will be able to vote in the 2019 European Elections: if the British government requests an extension to the Article 50 process beyond the 23rdof May, then British nationals in the Netherlands may vote. In this case, it is still very much worth registering! If you are a dual national (Britain and another EU member state), then Brexit will not affect your rights.
Photo source: Wikipedia