EU voter turnout in Netherlands somewhat higher than 2014

Voters arrive in Amsterdam Oost for the 2019 elections
Voters arrive at a polling station in Amsterdam Oost for the 2019 European Parliamentary elections. May 23, 2019photo: NL Times

Voter turnout in the Netherlands was trending higher for the 2019 European Parliamentary elections in comparison to five years ago, with 41.2 percent of eligible voters casting a ballot on Thursday. In the last European elections, some 37.3 percent of voters went to the polls, according to exit polling by Ipsos and NOS.

This is still below the EU average of 42.6 percent voter turnout. Voter turnout in the Netherlands hovered around 37 percent in both 2010 and 2014. 

The turnout for the European elections in the Netherlands is traditionally low, according to Statistics Netherlands. When the first European election was held in 1979, the Dutch turnout was 58.1 percent. That dropped to 30 percent in 1999, and climbed back to 37.3 percent in 2014.

The trend of the day shows many people still went to a polling station in the last 90 minutes of Thursday's voting period. Some 34 percent of eligible voters had cast a ballot by 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. That compares to 32 percent at the same time five years ago.

At 10:30 a.m. the turnout for Thursday's elections stood at 7 percent, the same as the initial turnout for the Provincial States elections in March. A total of 59.7 percent of Dutch voters eventually voted in the Provincial States elections earlier this year.

In Amsterdam, some 21.7 percent of voters had cast a ballot by 6 p.m. That is an increase from 19.8 percent, as seen in 2014. Roughly 11.7 percent of voters in Rotterdam turned out by the start of the afternoon., compared to 13 percent in Eindhoven, 13.4 percent in The Hague, and 14.7 percent in Groningen.

The turnout for the parliamentary elections in 2017 was much higher at 81.9 percent. Though that was also the highest parliamentary election turnout since 1986. 

A total of 9,340 polling stations were open across the Netherlands for the European elections on Thursday. Approximately 13.5 million Netherlands residents were eligible to vote, including 3.6 percent non-Dutch who are citizens of other EU member states. Residents of the islands of Bonaire, Sint-Eustatius and Saba, which are considered special Dutch municipalities, could also vote in the European Parliament elections. The islands count around 25 thousand residents, 1,610 of whom were eligible to vote in the elections, ANP reports.