As the 2021 national elections loom close, the Dutch House of Representatives has never been so divided. Since our daily life has radically changed, political parties have weighed in with drastically differing opinions on how to govern and determine the best Covid-19 exit strategy. With all these different views, it is not an easy task for us to vote on the party that fits us best. Especially now, it is even more crucial for students to assert that our opinions are taken into consideration. Therefore, in this article we will provide you a brief summary of the 14 biggest parties, so you are up to date and able to make a considered choice!
On the 17th of March, the 2021 Dutch General Election will commence wherein the members of the House of Representatives will be chosen. Voting is one of the most important informed choices an adult must make. Sometimes it can be really hard to choose one party over another because the differences between parties may be small. Furthermore, there are some new parties which you might not be too familiar with. To give you a better idea, we attended a policy discussion session between politicians from VVD, PvdA, GL and Volt. Furthermore, we provided a forum which received over a hundred responses from students between 18 and 25 years old, to observe which issues have the highest priority for students.
The subjects of Education, Climate Change, Europe and regulations around Covid-19 appeared to be most important, as seen in the graphic above. Therefore, in this article, you can find the parties most popular with students, followed by a brief summary of the standpoints concerning the most important subjects. All to make sure that you know what is going to change after 17th March.
The above graphic provides an illustration of the distribution of the opinions of 117 students over the political parties. The percentage of students voting for parties like Bij1, JA21, CODE ORANJE and other small parties is equal to 9.6%. This again shows that the opinions of people have hardly ever varied so much.
People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)
Student voting: 26.5%
“Let’s get started together.”
We start with the biggest party in the current House of Representatives, the VVD. Mark Rutte is the leader of this party and also the Prime Minister of the Netherlands for the last 11 years. Freedom is the central concept of this liberal party. This means that they would like the government to interfere in the market as little as possible. The VVD’s point of view is that every individual is responsible for their own happiness.They stand for the freedom of expression, freedom of press, and a state ruled by law and a free market. A point in their program is that they want to normalise sufficient education for children and encourage excellence at school. Furthermore, the VVD favors the use of nuclear power stations. They also believe that major problems that a country cannot solve on its own should be solved by the EU. At last, the VVD thinks that vaccinating is crucial in the fight against Covid. Although there has been significant unrest against some of the VVD’s controversial decisions like the curfew, Mark Rutte does not seem to be in any danger of being eaten by an angry mob (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVsrv5zftYE).
We spoke to party representative Ruben Brekelmans about sustainability and national security. He personally thinks that it is most important to focus on the long-term climate goals Europe has set. According to the VVD, we should also try to counter Chinese cyberattacks by developing our digital security. At last, he wants the Netherlands to provide bigger contributions to NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an intergovernmental military alliance between European and North American countries).
Contemporary Dutch street art ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Student voting: 13.7%
“Our future is made in Europe.”
Volt is a fairly new party, but since a fair part of the students in the form is considering voting for Volt, it might be interesting to point out some of their political opinions. The social-liberal party Volt Nederland is the Dutch branch of Volt Europe, a political movement that operates on a pan-European level. As the name suggests, they want to solve big problems with European cooperation. Some of these problems are climate change, economic and social differences, and migration and security issues. The current party leader is Laurens Dassen. A highlight of their political philosophy is that they prefer prosperity over profit. Furthermore, they want to work on equality in education, healthcare, labour market and housing market.
We spoke to representative Itay Garmy in our conversation regarding sustainability and national security. He personally believes that sustainability and innovation are essential to reconstruct the economy and therefore we should collaborate with Europe and the rest of the world. We should also consider the UK situation (https://estimator.faector.nl/article/2020-02-24-why-did-brexit-happen) as a wake-up call to prevent the rise of populism.
Green Left (GL)
Student voting: 9.4%
“Time for a new realism.”
Jesse Klaver, the youngest party leader of all, is the frontman of GL. As you may expect by the name, the progressive party GL stands for saving the environment. Therefore, they want to be thrifty with natural resources and decrease our ecological footprint on the planet, such as by stopping the development of aviation. Furthermore, GL wants the government to realise equal opportunities for all people and reduce inequality in income. GL also wants to provide grants for education and wants to lower the age of voting rights to 16 years. At last, GL states that the current measures to defeat Covid-19 are tough, but necessary.
In our conversation about sustainability and national security we spoke to representative Senna Maatoug. She personally thinks that we should compensate businesses to rebuild the economy. However, she thinks that stopping climate change has the biggest priority. Furthermore, she believes that critical thinking needs to be promoted amongst young people.
Labour Party (PvdA)
Student voting: 4.3%
“For a fairer country.”
The PvdA protects the rights of workers. They fight against inequality of income and power, and against discimination and poverty. Recently, Lilianne Ploumen became the party leader of this progressive party. She wants to increase the minimum wage and facilitate the unemployed to find work in places where there is a lack of workforce. Furthermore, she wants to reduce the costs of the educational program to become a teacher. At the same time, the PvdA wants to build more affordable homes and they want a prohibition on disposable plastic. At last, to win the battle against Covid, the PvdA stated that besides all the current measures, healthcare should be provided with more money and testing should be done on a larger scale.
We spoke to party spokesman Kavish Bisseswar in the conversation about sustainability and national security. He personally thinks that we should mainly focus on green recovery from the pandemic. Furthermore, he wants to invest in mobility from public transport to decrease the use of planes. At the same time, he thinks that Russia is the biggest direct threat to security right now. Therefore he wants to invest in NATO. Furthermore, he thinks we should spend more time solving domestic ethnicity issues in the Netherlands.
Fun fact: The average age of voters for PvdA is the highest of all.
Democrats 66 (D66)
Student voting: 17.1%
“A new start.”
The Estimator recently interviewed the D66 education representative Jan Paternotte about various issues concerning student life: https://estimator.faector.nl/article/2021-02-18-discussing-covid-19-with-parliament-member-jan-paternotte.
The D66, a social-liberal progressive party, has always been popular among the young and highly educated part of the population. Their main concept is that they want the Netherlands to be democratic, sustainable and transparent. This means that they want the citizens to have more influence in politics, for example to be able to choose their own mayor. D66 stands for good healthcare and especially for good education. They want a better position for MBO students and a bursary for all students to finance college. Furthermore, the D66 is clearly pro-EU. They agree with the current Covid-measures, and want to hold on to them as long as necessary. Sigrid Kaag is the current party leader. According to her, D66 is the middle-party in the House of Representatives.
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)
Student voting: 3.4%
“Take care of each other.”
The current Minister of Finance, Wopke Hoekstra, became party leader of the CDA very recently. The CDA bases their core values on the Bible. It states that the human race is the manager of an Earth created by God, which they should leave behind properly for the next generation. Together with family, solidarity is a main concept, which means that the most vulnerable people should be taken care of. The CDA wants to extend the construction of houses, especially for young people. Furthermore, the CDA wants to reintroduce fairs for students and lower taxes. They also want to introduce a compulsory military service for at least six months. At last, the CDA wants to inform parents in a better way, such that everyone will agree with taking a vaccine, for example against Covid-19.
Student voting: 3.4%
For the progressive party DENK, integration is the most important concept in politics. They want all cultures to be treated equally and they fight for a better position for ethnic minorities. Farid Azarkan is the current party leader of DENK. A point on the political program of DENK is that they want to fight against discrimination by creating a racism register. DENK wants to reduce the inequalities of opportunities in education. Besides, they want to adjust the asylum policy of Europe in such a way that more immigrants are welcome. At the same time, DENK is against the obligation of a vaccination against Covid. Therefore they believe that it would be unreasonable to give more freedom to people who have already had the vaccine. At last, they want to increase the age to buy alcohol and tobacco to 21.
Forum for Democracy (FvD)
Student voting: 4.3%
“Vote for The Netherlands.”
FvD is known to be a conservative right-wing party. The founder of the FvD is Thierry Baudet. He is against multicultural unions and the power of Europe. Therefore, he wants to introduce tougher border security. Furthermore, he denies the existence of climate change and wants to stop spending money on it. He wants to go back to using gas and oil instead of solar and wind energy. Regarding Covid-19, the FvD wants to protect only the vulnerable and older part of the population. The remainder of the people will therefore be able to get back all their freedom.
Reformed Political Party (SGP)
Student voting: 3.4%
“To rely on.”
Led by Kees van der Staaij, the Christian God is the base of their leadership and opinions. They reject homosexuality, euthanasia, abortion, drugs and prostitution. The SGP suggests that women should perform a secondary role in society. Besides, they want Sunday to be a rest day without traveling or work. Striking is that the SGP wants to reintroduce the death penalty. Considering education, the SGP wants to increase the length of masters at universities. The SGP also wants to reduce the power of Europe. Considering Covid, they believe that if individuals take more responsibility, freedom can return as soon as possible such that also churches can reopen sooner.
Fun fact: the SGP has the biggest youth section.
Christian Union (CU)
Student voting: 2.6%
“Attention for things that really matter.”
Even more than with the CDA, the main concepts of the CU are all based on the Bible. Every meeting of this party starts with a prayer. The CU believes that God ultimately decides about life and death. No big surprises that they are critical of abortion and euthanasia. Furthermore, the CU strongly believes that family is the fundamental unit of society. They believe that the government should fight against injustice and should protect the vulnerable. Gert-Jan Segers is the current party leader of the CU. The CU is in social areas progressive, and in medical-ethical areas conservative. A point on the political program of the CU is that the wages of care staff and the minimum wage should be increased. Furthermore, the CU wants to expand collaboration with Europe to prevent the climate from changing any more. Considering Covid, the CU wants the population to take better care of the vulnerable. At last, they want coffeeshops to close permanently. ( ͠° ͟ʖ ͡°)
Party of Freedom (PVV)
Student voting: 2.6%
“It’s all about you.”
The only representative of the PVV is Geert Wilders. Geert Wilders is known for his undifferentiated statements concerning Muslims in The Netherlands. For example, he wants to ban all Islamic schools. Based on quotes like these, many people consider Geert Wilders to be an extremist and his quotes to be violating the constitution. The PVV wants to stop granting subsidies for development aid, culture and regional news channels. Furthermore, Europe is a big point in their program since Geert Wilders wants to leave the EU as soon as possible. Considering Covid, the PVV wants to invest more money in healthcare. They want our country to possess more doctors and equipment which we will not share with other countries.
Socialist Party (SP)
Student voting: 0%
The main concept of the SP, the party led by Lilian Marijnisse, is solidarity. All people have the same rights on a stable income, education and access to healthcare. To set a good example, politicians in the SP own a basic loan, whereas the residuals of their total loan are donated to the party itself. Therefore, the SP is the richest party in the House of Representatives. The SP has often criticised the EU. They want to stop using the Euro and create a new currency. To stop the climate from changing, the SP wants to increase taxes on fossil fuels and on CO2. At last, the SP believes that it is unacceptable to provide commercial vaccines against Covid, and that the vaccinations should go faster.
Party for the Animals (PvdD)
Student voting: 0%
“Idealism is the new realism.”
Some students may recognise PvdD as the party which rallied behind ESE students to show support against the second camera in online exams.
The main idea of the progressive party PvdD is to investigate how the human race is associated with animals. The PvdD wants a ban on the hunt on wild animals like rabbits and the bio-industry, and to end the way animals live in zoos. The party is currently led by Esther Ouwehand. She focuses especially on climate change; we should get rid of disposable plastics and reduce the amount of flights. The PvdD wants to decrease tuition fee and provide grants for all students. Considering Covid, the party thinks that the pandemic has much to do with the unhealthy lifestyle we have nowadays. Furthermore they want to get rid of commercial vaccines.
Fun fact: They attract mostly women to vote for their ideas.
Student voting: 0%
“The power of plus.”
As the name suggests, this party focuses exclusively on the older part of the population. This is a fairly big part of the voting population, namely more than half. Some points on the political program are that 50+ wants to set higher penalties for violence against senior citizens, decrease the retirement age, and reform the healthcare system. Liane de Haan is the current leader of the party. She thinks that the European boundaries should be watched over. The political program of 50+ states that especially elderly should get the vaccine as soon as possible.
Here is a quiz you can do to determine your political preferences: https://keezersquest.nl/.
Don’t forget: Your vote counts! Good luck voting!