4 things to know about the 2023 Dutch election results

Who and what is the BBB party? Who are the winners and losers of the Dutch elections of 2023, and what will this all mean for Mark Rutte and Dutch politics in general? 

Yes, let’s dive into the provincial and senate election results of yesterday

1. The results of the Dutch elections

Yesterday, the Netherlands elected members for their 12 provincial councils, which in turn elect the Dutch senate (75 seats in total). 

Let’s have a look at how the exit polls turned out (the final outcome might differ by 1 or 2 seats).

There are two big winners, both with 15 senate seats: the combined list of the GreenLeft (GL) and Labour Party (PvdA) and, the party that’s grabbing all the attention and seats, the BoerenBurgerBeweging (BBB or Farmer-Citizen Movement) led by Caroline van der Plas.

2. Caroline van der Plas and the BBB surge to the top

It’s not a surprise to see the accumulated seats of two fairly big leftist parties grab the shared top spot. 

Both GL and the PvdA have been performing steadily over the past years, but they’re not really one unified political party.

However, the farmer-orientated BBB landslide is quite surprising, including to van der Plas herself. 

According to the NOS, they went from zero to a projected 15 seats in the Senate, an even bigger election victory than Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy four years ago. 

The BBB won in almost all provinces, making huge strides in the rural, non-Randstad provinces.

READ MORE | What is the Randstad? The complete explainer

Most of these votes come from the voters’ discontent with the current cabinet and its many scandals, including the childcare allowance affair, immigration, and the nitrogen crisis in the Netherlands.

3. Hoekstra, Baudet and Rutte: the losers of the day

With the BBB winning so many seats, there have to be some losing parties. 

The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) led by Wopke Hoekstra (the current Minister of Foreign Affairs) got absolutely slashed yesterday and went from nine to five seats in the Senate. 

Hoekstra had ambitions to become the Netherlands’ Prime Minister one day, and the CDA was one of the biggest parties in the Netherlands. Not anymore, as their rural supporters en-mass flocked to the BBB. 

Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s party, the VVD, tried to turn the narrative of this election into a classic two-sided left (GL and Labour) and right (VVD) battle — but the party lost two seats and brought their total to 10. Not great, not terrible.

Then, there was Thierry Baudet and his Forum for Democracy (FvD)? The far-right party grabbed headlines in the 2019 provincial elections when they won 12 seats. 

Over the course of the past four years, they revealed themselves as a conspiracy-theory and Russia-sympathising party. Voters did not appreciate this and only got two seats in the Dutch senate.

Democrats 66, a party favourite for many internationals, lost one seat, bringing their total to six seats. 

4. What does this mean for the Dutch cabinet and their plans?

The Dutch cabinet already dealt with several opposition parties to get their plans through the Dutch senate, and this has become the case even more so. 

The grand victory by the BBB signals serious, seemingly significant, problems for their plans with the nitrogen crisis. 

The farmers’ protests will only get more intense if the cabinet chooses to ignore this result, but if they change course with their nitrogen plans, it will also affect plans for managing the environment and building housing.

It seems as if a political crisis for the current cabinet is not far from the horizon.

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Featured Image: BoerBurgerBeweging/Wikimedia Commons/CC4.0

Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱
Abuzer van Leeuwen 🇳🇱http://www.abuzervanleeuwen.nl
Abuzer founded DutchReview a decade ago because he thought expats needed it and wanted to make amends for the Dutch cuisine. He has a Masters in Political Science and IT but somewhere always wanted to study history or good old football. He also a mortgage in the Netherlands and will happily tell you too how to get one. Born and raised in Rotterdam, Abuzer now lives in Leiden but is always longing back to his own international year in Italy.
  1. The left want to kill Dutch Farmring and use the land to house illegal immigrants.
    This win is great news!

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