Voting In The Dutch Local Elections As An Expat

Dutch Local Elections

It is time once again for the Dutch local elections. Posters are being put up, television commercials are being broadcasted and letters are been sent out to all those who can vote, including for the first time… me.

I’ve never been asked to vote on such Dutch political matters before. This probably has something to do with the fact that until a few months ago I was never actually registered as living in Holland. I spent the first eight years of my stay in this country unaware that I was supposed to go to the local city hall and say, “Hello, My name is Stuart and I’m living in your country now.” It seems obvious but at the time I simply did not know that this was part of the process.

And because of this we have to consider a very important question; given my track record, does the Dutch government really want an expat like me voting on something as important as city council elections? An expat like me who once thought it was a good idea to get his eye lashes dyed. An expat like me who once trapped himself in an elevator for four hours. An expat like me who once mistook tourists for hookers. Basically, an expat like me who has a well documented history of mistakes, accidents, disasters and cock-ups.

Being asked to vote on this issue seems like an awfully big responsibility. What if I end up having the deciding vote? What if it all comes down to me? Do they seriously trust me with this? Don’t they realize the possible disastrous out come and inevitable damage I could do to the Dutch way of life? If they had read my file (or this blog) they would have realized that it is best to keep any form of decision making as far away from me as possible. I don’t know if I can handle this kind of pressure, knowing that the fate of every Dutchman and expat lies in my hands.

Even ignoring my past exploits doesn’t the Dutch government realize that I am an expat who only has a limited grasp of the Dutch language and as such has no clue what is going on around himself at the best of times even in subjects far less simple then politics. Don’t they know that I am the kind of expat who is more likely to base his vote on who has the most colorful campaign poster because he has not got an idea what they are saying.

It’s bad enough when my attempts to understand and speak the Dutch language result in me ordering the wrong thing at my local snack bar but at least my unintended frikandel has far less reaching and damaging political ramifications than any mistake I could make in a panic during voting time.

I worry about this because if I do have the deciding vote in this year’s election I don’t think people will be very happy with my excuse of, “but they had a cute kitten on their poster,” when the newly elected Expat Extermination Party is rounding us all up.

No. It’s going to be far less stressful for me to run for the position of city council myself.

19 responses to “Voting In The Dutch Local Elections As An Expat”

  1. Sander says:

    The sad thing is, you’d probably still be making a more informed decision than many native voters ;)

  2. Orangesplaash says:

    I am the kind of expat who is more likely to base his vote on who has the most colorful campaign poster because he has not got an idea what they are saying…really funny. I didnt know expats were eligible to vote though!

  3. zed says:

    Is voting compulsory in Holland? At least you don’t have the Walloons versus the Flems – elections in this country are so complicated that I try to give a blank vote each time. I couldn’t work out how to do that the first time we went ‘electronic’, but have it down to a T now.

  4. Alison says:

    I’m jealous. I think I’ll have to wait three or four more years to qualify to vote, but my EU-citizen boyfriend got his voter registration in the mail the other day. Not that I’d really have clue on how or who/what to vote for, since Google translate can be useful but also a bit confusing or, you know, wrong. Perhaps not the best way to base political decisions. What happened to politics based on watery tarts with swords?

  5. kiki says:

    Just don’t vote for the guy with the silly hair, okay?

  6. The girlfriend says:

    @Kiki: I won’t let him!!!! No worries :D

  7. Invader Stu says:

    Sander – I would not be surprised if that ends up being true.

    Orangesplaash – I didn’t either until I got the letter… unless they think I am Dutch.

    zed – I don’t think it is. I hope I’m not about to get a pair of Dutch heavies on my doorstep.

    Alison – Watery tarts with swords? We used to do that?

    kiki – Why not?

    The Girlfriend – Oooowwwwwww :(

  8. The girlfriend says:

    because the man with the funny hair doesnt like foreign people living in ‘his’ country

  9. suus says:

    Yeah, his hair is as funny as it get’s. *sigh

  10. suus says:

    I have the feeling that was bad English. I mean: the only funny thing is his hair. The guy is….Yuck

  11. Gez says:

    Party polliticing aside, what I don’t get is how you’ve managed to live here for the past 8 years? Not registering yourself? But you need to register to get a BSN. You need a BSN to practically do EVERYTHING over here! Like get/hold down a job! Have you not been paying taxes for 8 years? No-one at your work mentioned the fact that they had no BSN/SoFi number on file for you?

  12. Invader Stu says:

    The girlfriend & suus – Like Don King?

    Gez – I had everything. A SoFi number, medical insurance, a job contract. I was paying taxes, electricity bills, water bills, the lot. But it was just the part of going to city hall and saying hello. No one told me I had to do it so I did not know. I amused since I had everything else I was set.

    The full story is here:

  13. Gez says:

    Still not quite sure on how you managed to get a SoFi number without being a registered resident :)
    Granted, I was the reverse you when I moved over. I’d been dating my (Dutch) girlfriend for about 18 months before I moved here to be with her (in March 2008), so she helped me get all the paperwork sorted, register at the town hall, etc. Still trying to find a job though – I just hope I don’t have to wait 7-8 years for something decent to come along!

  14. Wendi says:

    Always go with the candidate who has the most teeth.

  15. Invader Stu says:

    Where are you from Gez? I’m an EU citizen (I don’t know if you are too) so somethings are easier for me to sort out with a lot less paper work. Maybe that is it?

    Wendi – Even if it’s too much teeth?

  16. Aledys Ver says:

    All the while I was reading this, I was desperately trying to remember where you live, just to make sure that I’m out of reach in case you have the deciding vote in the Z. council elections!!! :o) You are NOT a resident of Z., are you? Right? RIGHT?! :o)

  17. Invader Stu says:

    Aledys Ver – Maybe I am. Maybe I am not. Mahahahaha!

  18. Gez says:

    Oh, I’m a Brit, for sure. The paperwork I was talking about was things like the BSN, registering with the IND (complete with sticker in my passport!), and so on. As for my lack of job, that’s where that lack of paperwork kicks in – no respectable qualifications above A-levels to speak of, and no desire to flip burgers for a living.

  19. Invader Stu says:

    Ah… I was lucky there. My job helped me sort everything out (including stamp in passport). But as far as actually helping me get registered… they didn’t tell me I had to do that.

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