Dutch students losing interest in university politics

Head of the UvA Executive Board Louise Gunning addresses the occupants of the Maagdenhuis (Photo: Hanna Daych / NL Times). Head of the UvA Executive Board Louise Gunning addresses the occupants of the Maagdenhuis (Photo: Hanna Daych / NL Times)

Students and Dutch universities seem to be losing interest in university democracy. Almost all institutions in the country saw a drop in election attendance and only about 3 in 10 students cast a vote this year, the Volkskrant reports based on figures received from all universities.

The newspaper calls the drop in political interest remarkable, given that the call for university democratization increased after students occupied the and at the University of Amsterdam last year.

The Universities of Maastricht and Groningen saw the biggest drop in election turnout compared to last year, with 5 and 4 percent respectively. The Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam did not even have an election - too few students registered as candidates. The turnout at the University of Amsterdam increased slightly, but still less than 20 percent of students voted.

National students union LSVb thinks the decreasing interest is because student bodies have little influence on university policy. "The fewer rights a participation body has, the fewer people go to the polls", chairman Stefan Wirken said to the newspaper.

The Association of Universities call the declining voter turnout worrisome.

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