Dutch Language Blog

Making Your Vote Count! Posted by on Mar 16, 2015 in Uncategorized

Last week I received an unexpected surprise in the mail. Although I am only a Dutch resident, I am eligible to vote in local elections. My family and I have always been big voters, and I was very happy to know that I am able to continue exercising this democratic right.

What do I need to vote?

In order to be able to vote, I need my stempas or my voting pass which I received in the mail. The stempas for local elections is green and the stempas for national elections is blue (this one I didn’t receive). I also need to take an identiteitsbewijs which can be a passport, drivers liceense or a simple ID or, in my case, my verblijfstitel. I found very interesting that if you are unable to vote, you can sign off your pass so someone else can vote for you. That other person needs your stempas, a copy of your ID and their ID.

Stempas en Kandidatenlijst

Stempas en Kandidatenlijst

Where do I go?

The stempas I received tells me the information of my nearest voting place, which is in the gemeentehuis, but I can also go to the other voting places within my city. If I were to need to vote in another gemeente or for another gemeente, I can ask for this directly in the gemeente. 

Who do I vote for?

This is, of course, the most personal part of the voting process. A couple of days after receiving my stempas, I also received  the kandidatenlijst for the province of Limburg. It is quite an extensive list! There are 355 candidates for the province elections and 113 for the water-related elected officials for the region. The candidates are part of 12 different parties, which makes the process a bit overwhelming….but not impossible!

12 Partijen?!?

I will attempt to briefly describe the political parties of the regular local elections.

PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid)– right-wing party founded in 2005 by Geert Wilders, Eurosceptic, wants more regulations for immigrants,

CDA (Christen-Democratisch Appel)– Christian-Democratic party founded in 1977,  center-right party, party leader is in favor of elected mayors as opposed to mayors by royal decree

VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie)–  conservative-liberal party, founded in 1948, supports private enterprise and is liberal in economic aspects

Partij van de Arbeid (P.v.d.A.)– social-democratic labor party, founded in 1946, commited to building the welfare state, since 2005 it has followed a center-left ideology

SP (Socialistische Partij)– founded in 1971, labels itself as a socialist party, main issues are employment, social welfare, public education, public safety and health care

Groenlinks– green left-wing party, founded in 1989, party describes itself as green, social and tolerant, for a fair distribution of natural resources as well as a fair distribution of income

Democraten 66– also known as D66, founded in 1966, the founders wanted a presidential system like the U.S., they favor direct democracy and major changes in the party are done by referendum, social liberal party, for a European federation

50PLUS– founded in 2009, focuses on the interest of pensioners, center ideology

Partij voor de Dieren– focus on animal rights and animal welfare, sceptical of the EU, center-left/left-wing party

There were 3 parties that were specific for the region:

Vokspartij Limburg– focuses on Limburg, considered a “local” party,

LOKAAL- LIMBURG– focus on local problems for Limburg, want more “local” representation in region issues, want Limburg to be taken more into consideration by The Hague

Partij voor Leefbaarheid en Democratie– focus on Limburg, make the region more vital and dynamic, want a better life for people in the region

Will any of you vote in the Netherlands? What are your voting experiences?

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About the Author: Karoly Molina

Since I was a little girl, I was fascinated with languages and writing. I speak English, Spanish, Italian, Dutch and a little bit of French. I am a writer, reader, language teacher, traveler, and a food lover! I now live in The Netherlands with my husband Riccardo, our cat Mona, and our dog Lisa, and the experience has been phenomenal. The Dutch culture is an exciting sometimes topsy-turvy world that I am happily exploring!


  1. Peter Simon:

    Dear Karoly,

    Either of us must have missed something here. You’re saying you’re “only a Dutch resident”, which means you are not (yet) a Dutch national, right? In this case, however, you are not fully eligible to vote at the local elections either. You have received a green ‘stempas’, but only one – the other one would be intended for voting for the provincial government, while this one should have “Oproep voor de verkiezing van de leden van het algemeen bestuur van het watershap …” on it. As it is explained in the covering letter, “Zo kunnen niet-Nederlanders niet stemmen voor Provinciale Staten maar wel voor de waterschapverkiezingen.” Is that not how it goes in Limburg?

    In Gelderland, this is what happens. Why is this important? Because the members of the provincial government elect the members to the ‘Eerste Kamer’, the Upper House of the Dutch Parliament, which means that this part of the election is indirectly, but practically a national election, and you didn’t get that ‘stempas’, right?

    Let me know if this is different in your province. Kindest regards, Peter

  2. Peter Simon:

    Hello, I’ve just noticed that the photo can be magnified and it has exactly the text I’ve quoted. So I’d missed that before, but that means you’ve missed that fact that you can only vote for the water-management system leaders, not for the members of the provincial government. Best regards,

    • Karoly G Molina:

      @Peter Simon Dear Peter,

      As a matter of fact, you are correct in regards to the elections I can vote for. Like I stated, I cannot vote on national elections because I am not yet a citizen of the Netherlands. However, I think you missed the purpose of the post. The post was intended to talk about the elections in general as well as the different political parties. I simply use my personal experiences as either inspiration or a jumping off point to something else. This way, I have a variety of topics on the blog. Thank you for your comments 🙂


  3. Shannon:

    Fascinating! THank you for what seems to be a very thorough explanation of all the parties. Coming from the US, 12 parties seems like a lot to keep track of. wow!

    • Karoly G Molina:

      @Shannon Shannon,

      I do agree that 12 parties seem like a lot to keep track of. In my research, I also found very little variation in the general labels for each party (middle left, middle right, etc.) which just confused me a bit more. And yet, it seems to work here! Thank you for your comment 🙂