Dutch General Election 2017

Yesterday was election day. The media coverage in both national and international media has been big, because of different factors. But mostly about the anti-Europe and anti-middle east sentiment. But there was so much more taking into account this election and I wanted to take this blogpost to tell you a bit more about the Dutch General Election, our systeem and the results.

You may have heard about the diplomatic fight between the Netherlands and Turkey the last few days or our own far right populist Geert Wilders – who can be seen as the equivalent of Donald Trump, Nigel Farage, Marine Le Pen and many others. But the elections were much more than that. Much more than just those select few people I’ve named. Let’s first take a look at our political system.

Political system
We are a constitutional monarchy, which simply means we have a monarch as head of our state. It’s the king at the moment and his function within the state here is quite ceremonial. His only power is to agree or disagree to new laws, but in real life he never discards a law design as it leaves the two chambers. Also, he plays a minor role in setting up the government.

The chambers are quite similar to the British system. We have the so called ‘Eerste Kamer’ and “Tweede Kamer’. You can compare them to the House of Lords and House of Commons in a way. Hold your horses with anger, I say you CAN compare them in some ways, I don’t say it is the same.
The ‘Tweede Kamer’ (second chamber) is chosen by the people (General elections) and the ‘Eerste Kamer’ (first chamber) is chosen by the elected members of the provincial parliaments. (I will also come back to that later). The ‘Eerste Kamer’ has got 75 members and the ‘Tweede Kamer’ has got 150 members, which leads to total of 225 which is called parliament.

Well this may seem something very familiar to this point, but here comes the different thing. At this moment we’ve got 14 parties in the Tweede Kamer. We are so fragmented in opinion that we have all these parties. A lot of them have merged together as well. This leaves you with enough choice to vote for the party that suits you the best and don’t have to make radical choices because you don’t agree with one point. One the other hand, it’s also very hard to make certain decisions. For example there’s always a coalition government. In fact this time we had a coalition of two parties until yesterday and that is considered a big risk. It’s normal for Dutch standards to have a coalition of three parties or more.

The ideology of the parties can be best rated as going from Right to Left, I think. If you want to know which has my preference let me know and we can chat about that. But the parties all have different ideas and sometimes they are more categorised in the progressive-conservative spectrum. 

Dutch General Election
In the Netherlands you got three moments where you can choose your government. It’s your local government – city counselors, provincial government or ‘the’ government. Yesterday we voted for the general elections and that’s the kind of election that will determine national parliament.

The Second Chamber is composed of 150 seats elected by proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency. When voting you can cast your vote for any person on the list and in the 2017 elections, there were over 900 candidates on that list. There were 28 different parties participating in the general elections:

  1. VVD / People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy
  2. PvdA/ Labour Party
  3. PVV / Party for Freedom
  4. SP / Socialist Party
  5. CDA / Christian Democratic Appeal
  6. D66 / Democrats ’66
  7. CU / Christian Union
  8. Groen links / Green left
  9. SGP / Reformed Political Party 
  10. PvdD / Party for the Animals
  11. 50PLUS
  12. OP / Entrepreneurs Party
  13. VoorNederland / For Netherlands
  14. DENK / Think
  15. Nieuwe Wegen / New ways
  16. Forum voor Democratie / Forum for Democracy
  17. DBB / Civil movement
  18. VP /Free Thinking Party
  19. GeenPeil
  20. Piraten partij / Pirate Party
  21. Artikel 1
  22. Niet Stemmers / Non-voters
  23. Libertarische partij / Libertarian party
  24. Lokaal in de kamer
  25. Jezus leeft
  26. StemNL
  27. Party for Human Spirit
  28. Vrije Democratische partij / free democratic party
There were 12.980.788 people eligible to vote and according to the last reports, the percentage of the people that voted was 80,4%. Every certain amount of votes has a percentage. So you need ‘x’ % to get one seat.

As it stands the 150 seats are divided as standing above, and here’s a little correction:

VVD (right): 33
PVV (far right): 20
PVDA(left): 9
SP (hard left): 14
CDA(centre right, religious): 19
D66 (centre): 19
GL (left) : 14
CU (conservative religious): 5
SGP (very conservative and hardcore religious): 3
FVD (right): 2
PVDD (left progressive): 5
DENK (right): 3
50PLUS (conservative): 4

Because of the percentages, there’s one seat to be given to another party to make it a total of 150. Which party gets it, is not clear.

It’s become a victory for right wing. Which seems to be the case in other countries as well, it was a battle between mainstream right and extreme right. This is not only because of the changing world, but also because the left wing parties have failed to propose good solutions or alternatives. As you can see, there’s only two parties left with over 10 seats, the rest is very small. For the coming years left has to reorganise to be a worthy opponent in the next elections.

This visual gives us information on the education of the voters per party. Dark green is higher educated, middle green is average educated and light green is low educated

This visual gives us information on which gender has voted for which party and the percentage of it. Blue is men, red is women.

This visual gives us information on the different age-groups and what they voted on. Darkes blue is 18-34 years, middle blue is 35-64 years and light blue is 65 years and older.

This visual gives us information about the consistency of the voters. Red indicated that the voter didn’t vote on that same party in 2012. Grey indicates that they voted on the same party in 2012.

What now?

Rutte’s VVD has remained the largest, although they lost 8 seats in the house. Wilders’ PVV has become bigger and has become the second largest party in the nation and I guess that reflects the sentiment in the Netherlands at the moment. It’s very right win minded and a lot of people have voted for regular right VVD, to make sure PVV didn’t get to power.

A lot of people ask if Wilders’ can get in the government and the answer is no. We need a coalition because we need the majority to govern. You need at least 76 seats and all parties have declared that they don’t want to be in a coalition with Wilders’ PVV. But this is politics and promises mean nothing in election time, so we’ll see how it turns out, but it’s unlikely that he will govern.

At this point VVD is the biggest and has the first right to form a government. There has been a lot of talking and it seems that they are reaching out to the CDA and D66 to form a government. But this will leave them short of majority, so they are looking for a 4th party, which could prove to be difficult. It could be Christian Union with 5 seats or – a long shot – upcoming left wing GroenLinks. It’s not clear at this point, but the game of forming a cabinet is starting next week. Then the official results will be known.

What is clear, is that left has to reorganise. The labour party PVDA lost 29 seats (!), that is just shambolic to be honest. That the left has failed to provide a decent alternative to right or solution, makes the voters wanting to vote right. But they also have no choice.

If you want to have more graphics, visit this website:

Did you follow the Dutch Elections? Are you politically engaged? Let me know!



Plaats een reactie

  1. maart 16, 2017 / 6:30 pm

    I didn't follow them no, I didn't know they were going on tbh! I do follow politics but mainly the UK, and not very often. It's been really interesting really about Dutch politics, you know so much and was so intriguing to read!

  2. maart 16, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I'm really rubbish with UK politics but it was refreshing to read about another country's!
    Great post, Marc! Xxx

  3. maart 16, 2017 / 8:16 pm

    I haven't been following the Dutch elections, but it's so interesting to read about! You really know your stuff, and I loved reading about a different country's political system!

  4. maart 17, 2017 / 5:21 pm

    You definitely know your stuff! Good to see how passionate you are about this! Xx

  5. maart 18, 2017 / 4:31 pm

    In Belgium the Dutch elections are always in the news but even our press noticed that we aren't the only ones covering it this year haha :).
    Great post, very informative!

  6. maart 18, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    This was really interesting and so well put together Marc, so than you for this! Looking at the results it does seem that a lot of countries across the globe are struggling with this battle between the Right and Left, with immigration being one of the most discussed issues across Europe at the moment. It does make me uncomfortable, and my own politics don't line up with the Right or Far Right, so I often worry about the future, especially here with Brexit, but I try to remain hopeful for the future. I did see very briefly in the news talk about this, but your post gave much better information without being too complicated and your passion for it shines through too. I do agree that the Left has to re-organise and come together, the same thing has been happening here with the Labour Party, who I've voted for all my life, but things need changing, so hopefully this period in our lives will invoke that too. Great post Marc! – Tasha

  7. maart 19, 2017 / 11:11 pm

    What a cracking post Marc! Really enlightening and educational! I follow mainly UK and US politics so to learn about Dutch politics and from a different perspective other than reading about it in the media! You seem to be pretty clued up about what is going on which is so important for our generation and really refreshing that you have wrote a blog post about it! Xxx

  8. maart 20, 2017 / 10:44 am

    I did follow this via BBC news but I'd love to know more about politics!

  9. maart 20, 2017 / 9:09 pm

    Thanks for explaining all this Marc! It's a terrifying time for politics all over these days – there is a worrying trend toward the right and the left need to get their shit together!

  10. maart 20, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    Wow, you certainly know what you are talking about!! So interesting to read about other countries political systems and goings on x

  11. maart 21, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Bloody hell you definitely know what you're talking about! Politics is always a confusing and tricky subject but this post is so informative and well written!

    Sare x

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