On the 21st of November municipal (council) elections will be held throughout the city of Groningen. As an expat, you are eligible to vote in municipal elections, if:
– you are an EU-citizen;
– or you have been resident in The Netherlands for at least five years.

This website shows you if you can vote, how you can vote and why you should vote for the municipal elections.

Who can vote?

All EU-citizens over 18 living in the Netherlands and anyone else over 18 that has been living in the Netherlands for five years or more, is eligible to vote in the local elections of November 21st 2018.

Why should you vote?

Your vote matters. Municipalities are responsible for many aspects of public life. They finance the construction and renovation of schools, they plan and maintain all public spaces like parks and roads, they subsidize many organizations in fields like sports and culture, they provide affordable housing and they are responsible for most aspects of youth- and healthcare. Municipalities also collect their own taxes – like property taxes and parking- and waste charges – and set their own tax rates. Because local government influences daily life of residents greatly, expats are eligible to vote in local elections.

Video: What do municipalities do?

*The Groningen municipality elections are on November 21st, not March 21st.

How and when can you vote?

You don’t have to register as a voter in the Netherlands. When you are living here, you’re required to register as a resident within your municipality (gemeente). You have done so when you moved to the Netherlands. When you are registered as a resident in the Netherlands, you will automatically receive a so-called ‘voting pass’ (stempas) at your home, no less than two weeks before the elections on November 21st.

You can go to any polling place within your municipality with that voting pass and a valid photo-ID – a passport, a European ID card or a Dutch driver’s licence – and vote. Voting is not a very time-consuming process in the Netherlands. Most often, you’re in and out of the polling place in less than ten minutes. You can always ask for instructions on the voting process form the volunteers at your polling place. There are polling places at all Town- and City Halls, at most train stations and at many locations within your municipality. For a complete list of all polling places, see: this map. You can cast your ballot at all polling places within the municipality where you live, not in other municipalities.

Link: map with all voting-booths

What are the key issues?

Big themes these elections are affordable housing, sustainability, culture and a more bike friendly city center.

We, socialliberal party D66, want to keep the city vibrant by investing in education, culture, sports, a car-free binnenstad (city center) and more parks and other green open spaces, because we believe this is what brings people together.

For internationals, it is very important to get the right information and support from the moment you get here. Information about healthcare and education for your child, housing, public transport and a lot of other things that are important to you. That’s why in the past four years we’ve invested in initiatives like the International Welcome Center North. We’ve constantly represented the international interest in the municipality council, also concerning the problems with housing for international students. We want to continue to represent you!

Click here to see a summary of our election programme in english.

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