This is what’s happening on Election Day 2023 in the Netherlands

Today, March 15, the Netherlands is holding elections for the 12 provincial councils (Provinciale Staten) and 21 water boards (Waterschappen). Time to head to the polls! 

Polls will be open from 7:30 AM to 9 PM all day across the country. 

What are people voting for?

By voting, you can help determine who gets to decide on the plans for the province and water authority over the next four years. Not sure what they entail? Let’s break it down. 

The provincial elections

There are 12 provinces in the Netherlands, which means residents of each province will be voting with different candidate lists and the main issue focuses. 

The Provincial Councils play a key role in governing each province, managing aspects such as traffic, housing, and nature. 

The provincial councils are then also responsible for (staged) electing the 75 members of the Dutch senate, the so-called Eerste Kamer.

Although not as politically orientated as its American counterpart, it’s supposed to mostly look at the technical and legal aspects of new legislation.

The water board elections

You might think to overlook the water elections, but the Netherlands take their water management very seriously.

There are 21 water boards in the Netherlands. They are responsible for managing how water is used around the country — managing the country’s polders, dykes, and ensuring that water remains purified. 

How and where can I vote on March 15? 

First, it’s important to see if you are eligible to vote. For the provincial elections, you can vote if:

  • You hold Dutch citizenship
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You live in the province where the election is 

For the water authority elections, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be a resident of an area covered by the water authority 
  • Hold Dutch citizenship or citizenship of another EU member state

Next, you should have received your stempas (voting paper). To vote, take your stempas, and a legitimate form of ID (passport, ID card, driving license.) 

Red pens will be provided for you to fill in the ballot at the polling station. You can vote today from 7:30 AM to 9 PM at the nearest polling stations, which you can find online

Who should I vote for? 

If you’re unsure of who to vote for on March 15, no stress, as there are many things you can do to help you make a decision. 

For starters, you can check the website of your municipality and water board and see who’s running in your area (six of the 21 Dutch water boards have information on their websites in English). 

Other alternative platforms, such as Kieskompas, have quizzes which are tailored to your area and can help you figure out how your beliefs align with the parties. 

When will we know the results?

While nothing is certain yet, results will start to trickle in in the following hours after 9 PM. The first provisional result will be around midnight.

According to RTL Nieuws, so far, the battle for first place seems to be between the VVD, the combined list of left-wing parties GroenLinks and PvdA, and the BoerBurgerBeweging (BBB). 

Who are you voting for today? Tell us in the comments below! 

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Francesca Burbano
Francesca Burbano
Francesca is an international at heart but moved to the Netherlands to get her degree in media and communication. While she's not a big fan of the cold weather and biking (for good reason — she's been hit by bikes three times already), she fell in love with the canals, bitterballen, and the 'gezelligheid' of Dutch culture. When she's not writing, you'll find her reading thriller books, hitting her personal records at the gym, and cuddling up with her Ragdoll cat.


  1. This part of information is not correct.

    “For the water authority elections, you must:
    Be at least 18 years of age
    Be a resident of an area covered by the water authority
    Hold Dutch citizenship or citizenship of another EU member state”

    No, it’s not necessary to hold dutch citizenship or from other EU member state. Fortunately, as foreigner living in the Netherlands, if you meet the first two requirements and you have a resident permit to stay, then you can vote.


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