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The Dutch Elections 2017 What Expats Need to Know


The 2017 Dutch General Election

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, (no offence to my readers in Afghanistan hiding from US drones), you can’t but have noticed that the 2017 Dutch general election will soon be taking place.

Dutch politics, are complex, challenging, and often completely contradictory. Not unlike Dutch women. So once more, fulfilling my stated remit, to inform, educate, and entertain, the Shallow Man will provide a brief guide to the 2017 Dutch general election and some of the political parties taking part.

Now this post might annoy some, and if as a result I’m captured by members of the Dutch Partij voor de Dieren (party for animals) and am forced to listen to long lectures about the challenges facing the animal kingdom, I’ll say to my captors, “sorry folks, but the only animals I like are served up on a plate, preferably in a Michelin star restaurant with a hot lady sat next to me”.

The things I do for my readers!

The 2017 Dutch general election

If you’re used to the endless rounds of discussions that go on in Dutch organisations, prior to decisions being made, then the proportional representation (PR) system used in the Dutch electoral system, won’t surprise you at all.

A skeleton
I was young and in the prime of my life when this meeting began

Proportional Representation

PR, or as it’s better known, ‘cluster f**k’, works as follows. If one percent of the population votes for a particular party, then that’s the percentage of seats that will they’ll receive in the Dutch parliament. One of the consequences of proportional representation, is that it leads to lots of small political parties, often with extremely narrow or controversial objectives participating in Dutch elections.

I recall that a few years ago there was even a party that wanted to make sex with children legal at the age of 12 which planned to run for election.

If you can come up with a theme that is likely to be popular with a relatively small selection of the population, then you can form a party, and end up with a chance of winning a seat or two in the Dutch parliament. The minimum threshold to be elected to the tweede kamer, is a staggeringly low 0.67% of the total number of votes.

For example, if I could get enough people to support me, I might start the party for sartorial elegance, whose policies would be to ban the following:

It would also ban “pittige kapsels”, and holding hands while cycling on bike lanes.

pittige kapsel
Pittige kapsel well worth banning

It’s virtually impossible for a single party to win the 75 seats required for an outright majority in the Dutch parliament.  For this reason coalitions are usually required to form governments. Below is a list of some of the main parties taking part in the 2017 Dutch general election.

Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (VVD)

The VVD is the party from which the current prime minister, Mark lord of the jellyfish Rutte is a member of. This is the party of accountants, lawyers, dentists, and entrepreneurs. Mark Rutte’s political speeches have been known to drive his opponents, people, and pets watching him speak on TV, to suicide.

suicide cat
If Mark Rutte doesn’t stop speaking…

 

Partij voor de Dieren (Party for Animals)

I once wrote that the Netherlands is a doggy paradise on earth, so I’m surprised that this party aren’t already in power. The Partij voor de Dieren, probably have the most honest manifesto in the Dutch elections. This is a political party that is one hundred percent for the rights of animals. They are against goldfish being held in captivity, an issue that has often kept me awake at night. They are also against animals being kept in zoos, which could spell the end of Cafe Bubbels  the Cooldown Cafe and several other hot spots in Amsterdam.

They also support mixed marriage, as in humans marrying dogs, cats, horses etc. It might surprise you to know that marriage with animals is currently not recognised as being legal in the Dutch courts, but this could change if the Partij voor de Dieren win enough votes. This will make lots of owners of Pit Bulls and Mastiffs very happy to have legal recognition of the relationships that they value above all else.

Love and dogs
“Yes she can be a bit of a bitch, but I love her, which is why I vote PvdD”

Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV)

In Orwell’s 1984, the Ministry of Peace, practiced war, and the Ministry of Love focused on hateful propaganda, which brings me to the PVV, who have ironically chosen the name, the party of freedom. In fact, one of the core freedoms, guaranteed in article one of the Dutch constitution is the freedom to practice any religion, something which the PVV agrees with, as long as your chosen religion doesn’t happen to be islam.

Geert Wilders, the dictator, sorry leader of the party, appears to hate muslims with such a passion, that I can’t help wondering, if perhaps a Muslim once stole his bike. Maybe this explains his never ending anti-islamic rants.

Dutch elections are great for far right parties as the PVV might win
If it’s good enough for Geert

The party mainly stands for the following:

Intolerance is fashionable in the Netherlands at the moment, which explains why his party is currently ahead in the polls. At the time of writing, not a single major political party has agreed to form a coalition with the PVV if they win the largest number of seats in the 2017 Dutch general election. Without the support of the other parties, Geert Wilders will not be able to become prime minister.

 

Geert Wilders likely winner of the 2017 Dutch general election
The most liberal man in the Netherlands

 

banner dl

Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij (SGP)

The SGP could also be described as the original doe maar normaal party. They are orthodox Protestant Calvinist. What a mouthful, (something which their female members wouldn’t know anything about, as they are so religious.) Nationally they are pretty insignificant, but have a loyal and some might say fanatical following in the bible belts of the Netherlands.

This is a party that has much in common with the American religious right.  The SGP until recently, (2006) didn’t even allow female members. Why any woman would want to join such a party is beyond me. That would be like the Shallow Man, fighting a court case to force the Klu Klux Klan to allow black members.

The SGP’s goal is to force a theocracy on the Netherlands, and rule by the bible. They firmly believe that men and women are not equal, (as per the bible) and oppose feminism and freedom of religion. The SGP are the original religious crusaders.

The Crusaders 1977
The soul group the crusaders who had nothing to do with the SGP

50 plus

The Shallow Man originally thought that this party was for people with a larger waist size, but has since learned that they stand for people over the age of fifty, as well as the clinically obese. Their main platform appears to be about pensions, and issues that affect the old, such as the price of botox, collagen, and ethnic minorities moving into their neighborhoods.

botox party
Lowering the price of collagen the 50 plus party

Democrats 66 (D66)

The party of the chai latte drinking classes. They’ve done a great job in Amsterdam forcing cafes to start serving caffeine free latte’s for children. They’ve also been instrumental in ensuring that cyclists in Amsterdam remain firmly above the law. In fact it’s only a matter of time before they invoke legal immunity for cyclists, so that they can’t be fined for running over children on pavements.

This is a party that truly understands the needs of its voters, including insisting that every resident of Amsterdam South has a legal right to at least two places serving smoothies within three minutes walking distance. They are also asking for the introduction of bakfiets only bike lanes.

Bakfiets riders have trouble turning rrrrrrrroound corners

 

Other parties participating in the 2017 Dutch general election

Groenlinks (The Green Left Party)

Romantic, idealistic, perhaps even a little naive, but their hearts are in the right place. Like the Shallow Man, they also support recycling, which enables me to recycle this already notorious joke. Two pigs were out jogging, when one suddenly starts screaming. “What’s wrong?”.  To which the other pig replies, “it’s my hamstring.”

Christian Union

Conservative, religious, not to keen on the European Union, and as old fashioned as asking a woman out for a date without using an app. If you’ve been on holiday and returned with a suntan, they might not be too keen if you wish to join their party.

Socialistische Partij (Netherlands) (SP)

This party could be summed up as the ‘we used to be communists, but when that no longer worked we adapted and are now just socialists.’

Artikel 1

If there are any children nearby, pull them away from the screen. I’m about to mention the Netherlands most hated woman, Sylvana Simons. The fact that many Nederlanders hate her with the kind of passion that Dutch people usually reserve for telling their friends how much money they saved by buying a cow instead of cartons of milk from the supermarket.

That they hate her so much has nothing to do with the fact that she’s black. It’s that she’s a minority and has the nerve to discuss racism in the Netherlands, which of course doesn’t exist. Discrimination only occurs in the USA.

There’s more chance of a Muslim becoming a candidate for Geert Wilders party the PVV, than her winning enough votes to enter the Dutch parliament.

Dutch tolerance HR quote
The head of HR at a major Dutch organisation was not pleased with Sylvana Simons

 

To Summarise

Proportional representation is in many ways extremely democratic. It allows smaller parties a chance to be represented in parliament, and forces compromise and consensus, something that’s definitely missing  in the American  and UK form of political governance.

In the Netherlands, every vote counts, so if you’re a naturalised expat, please get out and vote in the 2017 Dutch general election.

No chai latte drinkers were hurt during the writing of this post.

Till next time, rot op met je chiazaad!

 

About Simon Woolcot

Infamous blogger, annoyance and self-confessed Shallow Man. Simon is a British expat who has lived in Amsterdam since 2004. As well as writing this blog, Simon also has a YouTube channel of the same name, writes and directs videos and hosts seminars about life in the Netherlands. He also works as a content marketing and SEO specialist.