Laan van Nieuw Oost-Indië 275, The Hague, The Netherlands +31(0)70 365 46 77

Word of the day: verkiezingen (elections)

Have you thrown your voting pass away? Or are you seriously considering using it. Yesterday’s posting was all about the urgency to vote at the municipal elections 19 March. Today I’ll tell you more about the mysterious way the city is managed.


You, wherever you’re from, are a Hagenaar, or a Voorburger or a Rijswijker or …. which means that you take part in the goings on of Dutch city life. Which means that you as a member of Dutch society have the right and the responsibility to vote.

In The Hague over 10% of all Hague voters are expats who have a right to vote in the municipal elections. They stand for 42,000 possible votes. If all of you expats were to form a political party and all of you would vote, you’d be the largest party in The Hague with ten seats of the 45 council seats. This fact was pointed out by alderman and vice-mayor Ingrid van Engelshoven in her speech at the debate last Sunday at the central library.

STEMMEN (to vote) means KIEZEN (choose). Recent polls show that the Freedom Party (PVV) of Geert Wilders is likely to become the largest party of The Hague. What a prospect! And this prediction may become true because polls show that only 40% of all Hague potential voters will use their votes. Would you like this city to be run by a party which is anti Moslem, anti- Europe, anti-migrants, anti-everything, anti-you?

KIEZEN (choose) is at the heart of the word VERKIEZING (election). In the ‘verkiezingen’ the Dutch choose a new administration by voting for their favourite political party and representative.

KIES and STEM…. Choose and vote…. But what should you vote for? I’ll come back to that tomorrow.

First I’ll give you the shortest possible introduction to Dutch elections.

What kind of verkiezingen, elections are there in the Netherlands?
1. European elections (on 22nd May of this year -> for all European citizens)
2. National elections (the next elections will be in 2017)
3. Provincial elections (the next elections will be in 2015)
4. Municipal elections (on 19 March 2014)

Each municipality consists of a council of councillors and the bench of mayor and aldermen. In The Hague there are 45 councillors, eight aldermen and a mayor. The 45 members of the council control the work of the aldermen and the mayor. The mayor of The Hague, Jozias van Aartsen, cannot be elected by us. He is appointed by the government on the recommendation of the city council.

In the Netherlands there are many political parties. There are nineteen political parties vying for seats in the Hague council. Many of these parties are also national parties, but The Hague and the other cities each have their own local parties like the Hague City Party (Haagse Stadspartij).

Because none of these parties will ever receive the absolute majority of all votes, they are forced to find partners who are willing to take part in a coalition. The members of the coalition determine who the eight aldermen will be.

In the previous four years the ruling coalition consisted of the PvdA (labour party), the VVD (the liberal party), D66 (the democrats) and CDA (christian democrats). These four parties had 26 out of 45 seats. Their coalition agreement was called: ‘Aan de Slag!’ (Get going!).

This slogan is still as valid as ever. You can make a difference. Vote! STEM! KIES! Aan de slag!