Voting in municipal elections in the Netherlands
Citizens of the Netherlands and citizens of other European Union (EU) Member States are allowed to vote in municipal elections (gemeenteraadsverkiezingen) in the Netherlands. Non-EU citizens are also allowed to vote, provided that they meet the requirements. These elections take place every 4 years.
There are a number of conditions for voting in municipal elections:
- You must be at least 18 years of age.
- You must not be excluded from voting (in Dutch).
- You must be a registered resident of a municipality in the Netherlands. You have the right to vote in the municipality where you are registered on the day of candidacy. That is 44 days before the election.
There is an additional condition for citizens from countries outside the European Union (EU). You must have lived lawfully in the Netherlands for at least 5 years before the day of candidacy.
The right to vote does not apply to employees of foreign embassies or consulates. This also applies to their families. There is an exception for employees or family members who hold Dutch citizenship, they are allowed to vote.
The Kiesraad (Electoral Council) provides more information about the eligibility requirements for voting in municipal elections.
Consider the following steps when voting in municipal elections:
- At least 14 days before the election a polling card (stempas) in Dutch will be sent to you at your home address. You must take the polling card, together with a valid form of identification (link in Dutch), to the polling station (stembureau).
- At least 4 days before the election you will receive the list of candidates, including the addresses of the polling stations.
If you are unable to vote in person, for example because you have to work or are on holiday, you can authorise another voter to cast your vote on your behalf (in Dutch).
This is how it works for you
Here is some information from your municipality.
Voting in municipal elections
Do you want to ask someone to vote for you? If so, you can authorise someone. You can do this using:
- your stempas (polling card);
- a machtigingsformulier (proxy form).
Authorising someone using your polling card
To authorise someone to vote on your behalf using your polling card:
1. Fill in the back of your polling card. Do this together with the person you want to authorise to vote on your behalf, so that you can be sure that you are authorising the right person.
2. Give your proxy voter your polling card and a copy of your identity document. The identity document may not be more than 5 years old.
3. The proxy voter must show the copy of your identification at the polling station. The proxy voter must also show their own identification .
The proxy voter can only cast your vote at the same time as their own vote. A proxy voter can vote for a maximum of 2 other persons.
Authorise someone using a proxy form
You can also use a proxy form to authorise another voter to vote for you. This is referred to as a written proxy. You can obtain a form for this purpose from your municipality a few weeks before the elections.
To authorise someone to vote on your behalf using a proxy form:
1. The form must be filled in by you and the person who is going to vote for you (the proxy) – first the person you want to authorise, then yourself. This way you can be sure that you are authorising the right person.
2. You must hand in the form at your municipality.
3. The proxy voter will receive a volmachtbewijs (proxy certificate) enabling them to vote on your behalf. Once the municipality has approved the proxy certificate, it cannot be withdrawn.
4. The proxy voter must take the written proxy certificate with them to the polling station. You do not need to provide them with a copy of your identification . The proxy voter can only cast your vote at the same time as their own vote.
The municipality provides polling cards, candidate lists and voting locations. You will receive your polling card by post. The municipality delivers candidate lists door to door.
Voting is free of charge.
Questions about this topic?
Contact the Municipality of Gouda