Dutch voters will have a bewildering variety of choices when they go to polling stations on Tuesday for an important general election.
No fewer than 26 parties will be on the ballot in most regions; a completely different prospect than for example in the USA, France or Britain where voters only have a handful of options.
The biggest battle will probably rage between the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the right-wing Party for Freedom (PVV) and the Green Left-PvdA collaboration (GL/PvdA).
There are also several extraordinary parties that appear on the ballots. AFP researched some of these parties’ goals to see what they stand for:
Party for animals
“Animals are individuals with consciousness and feelings. Their lives must be treated with respect,” begins the manifesto of the Animal Party.
This party’s policy includes enshrining animal rights in the constitution, creating a combined department of health and animal rights to look after human and animal health, and investigating all cabinet decisions for their influence on animal welfare.
The party is also calling for an end to the livestock industry, with a “drastic reduction” in the number of animals killed for human consumption.
Aquariums and circuses with animals will be banned, with stricter rules on zoos; “animals are not cuddly toys”, says the party.
The “Partij voor der Dieren” also campaigns on environmental issues such as housing and general welfare.
It attracted nearly 400,000 votes in the 2021 election, giving the party six seats in a 150-seat parliament.
As the name suggests, this party campaigns for the rights of voters of a more advanced age.
“The party wants the pension age restored to 65 (it rises to 67 in 2024), restrictions on social security contributions for those 45 and over and the scrapping of estate tax.”
50Plus won just over 1% of the vote in the 2021 election, giving it one seat in parliament. The party previously had four seats.
Party for new generation
On the other side of the age spectrum is the party for a new generation, which campaigns for the Dutch youth.
Free public transport and education, lowering the voting age to 14, and “radical equality” (aka “Smash The Patriarchy”) are some of the key points of this party’s manifesto.
The party has four candidates under 18 on its electoral list and the average age of its candidates is 29.8.
“They all believe that things can be better and less stressful in the Netherlands,” says the party’s website.
Party for Sport
The Party for Sport is the only party that insists on “sport, movement and a healthy lifestyle for all Dutch people”.
Free sports facilities for those under 21, a reduction in healthcare contributions for “people who maintain a healthy lifestyle” and incentives to walk or cycle to work are some of the party’s manifesto promises.
The party also wants to include compulsory swimming in the school curriculum, with at least two hours of physical education classes per week.
Young learners will not only be tested on academic skills, but also on how often they practice.
The Netherlands with a Plan
The Netherlands with a Plan party wants “more color in politics” and “strength through differences”.
He portrays himself as a “youth movement” that also wants to “give the Asian community of the Netherlands a voice”.
The party’s proposals include free transport for all, unconditional basic income, free childcare from the age of two, and referendums on a wide range of issues.