DutchNews.nl kept a live blog throughout the evening as the votes came in and events unfolded.
01.20: With 90% of the votes counted in The Hague, D66 is the biggest party after what had been neck and neck race with the anti-immigration PVV.
By 01.00 hours, D66 was on 15% while Geert Wilders’ far-right PVV was on 14%. This is down from 17% in the 2010 local elections. Labour was third with 13%.
Earlier in the evening, Wilders roused his supporters into chanting ‘fewer, fewer, fewer,’ when asked if they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the city. ‘We’ll organise it,’ he said, after the chanting stopped.
01.01: In Maastricht, the Senioren Partij Maastricht is the biggest party with six seats on the city council. The CDA, PvdA and D66 all have five.
00.38: Labour loses votes but remains the biggest party in Eindhoven.
00.18: Local party Leefbaar Rotterdam is the biggest party in Rotterdam, taking 28% of the vote and giving it 14 seats on the city council. This is down one percentage point on 2010.
Support for Labour, which won 29% support in 2010, has plunged to just 16% or eight seats. The VVD remains in third place.
00.07: D66 has overtaken the Labour party as the biggest party in Amsterdam, ending 60 plus years of PvdA dominance.
D66 now has 14 seats on the city council, while the PvdA has lost five and now has 10. The VVD, Labour’s coalition partner in national government and in the city council, has lost two of its current total of eight seats. GroenLinks, the third local coalition party, has also lost two seats to end on six. Support for the SP has doubled from three to six.
23.51: In Amstelveen, the VVD remains the biggest party in terms of votes but will have the same number of seats as D66 which was the big winner in today’s vote. ChristenUnie and the SP were the other gainers.
23.45: The Volkskrant reports that the fundamentalist Christian party SGP has its first ever female councillor – Lilian Janse in Vlissingen. Until recently, the party banned women from getting involved in politics but Janse stepped in to head the campaign when no men came forward. SGP leader Kees van der Staaij said on Twitter her election is a great plus for the party.
23.37: A break-away VVD party has become the biggest in the southern city of Roermond. The split centres on former senator and Roermond council alderman Jos van Rey, who is under investigation for corruption and was thrown off the VVD list. But no other party wants to form a coalition with his Liberale Volkspartij Roermond.
22.20: Midway through a disastrous night for Labour, party leader Diederik Samsom has congratulated the winners. ‘We will keep fighting for a stronger and more social Netherlands. We are a party of fighters and we will carry on fighting…We have lost but we have not been beaten,’ he said.
23.15: With 80% of the votes counted in Almere, Geert Wilders’ PVV remains the biggest party but its support is down slightly on 2010 – from 21.6% to 20.9%. Support for both D66 and the SP is up.
23.01: With 30% of the votes in The Hague counted, the anti-immigration PVV are just in the lead with 14.8% of the vote, followed by D66 on 14.1% and Labour on 12.9%. In total, 19 parties took part in the election in The Hague.
22.55: With the votes from 200 of Amsterdam’s 580 plus polling station counted, D66 are on 25% and Labour on 18%.
22.44: Wilders rallies his troops in an anti Moroccan chant. http://nos.nl/artikel/625563-pvv-scandeert-minder-marokkanen.html (around 1.10 minutes in). And ends with ‘we’ll organise it’.
22.33: Utrecht exit poll gives D66 nearly 32% of the vote, making them the biggest party in the city, says the Volkskrant. GroenLinks, currently the biggest party, would be in second place with almost 20%. This could mean D66 and GroenLinks could form a two-party coalition.
22.20: Nos reports that during the PVV celebrations in The Hague, party leader Geert Wilder asked his supporters ‘and do you want more of fewer Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?’ To which the crowd chanted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’. We’re trying to locate the footage.
22.08: Nos has also done a poll looking at how people would vote for the national government. It shows the VVD (now 41 seats) and D66 (now 12) would be the biggest parties in the 150-seat parliament with 26 seats. Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV (now 15) would win 25. The PvdA would be hammered – its support would halve from 38 to 16.
21.40: The Nos’s definitive prognosis is pretty similar to the early one. Local parties will take almost 30% of the share of the vote. D66 and the SP are the biggest gainers. The two coalition parties and the CDA have lost considerable support.
21.37: They do their own thing on the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog – four parties took part and all four are local. Turnout was 85%.
20.27: ‘It looks really bad for the Labour party,’ says Nos commentator Dominique van der Heyde. Former Labour leader Job Cohen agrees.
21.21: The Wadden Sea island of Vlieland, with a population of 1,109, was the first to declare its results. The VVD remains the biggest party but loses support. The big cities expect to finish the count at around midnight.
21.17: Geert Wilders arrives at the PVV meeting in The Hague to the tune of Eye of the Tiger – as he did four years ago. The PPV has only fielded candidates in The Hague and Almere.
21.13: The Nos exit poll puts turnout at around 53%, slightly down on 2010 and the lowest turnout ever.
21.06: D66 and the Socialists are the biggest gainers in the first Nos exit poll. D66 up from 8.1% to 12.8% and the SP up from 3.8% to 7.9%. Labour and the CDA are down around five percentage points and the VVD is down just over 3%.
21.02: The polls are closed. The Nos exit poll says D66 will have the biggest share of the local vote with 12.8%. The VVD is second with 12.2%. However, local parties are set to take almost 30% of the total.
20.25: The Volkskrant’s reporter at the PVV headquarters in The Hague says the press have all been herded into a small space behind a cordon to wait until Geert Wilders arrives to speak. PVV supporters, however, can move freely.
20.20: Four years ago the highest turnout was reported in the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog (82.49%) while Eindhoven had the lowest at 43.5%, says nu.nl. In the general election, Schiermonnikoog always has a turnout of over 100% because of all the holidaymakers who vote there.
20.00: With just one hour to go, opinion pollsters say turnout is looking lower than four years ago. Then, in total 54% of people eligble to vote had their say.
20:00: People in Dalfsen are not only electing a new town council but voting on whether 120 trees along a dyke should be cut down. The current council voted in December to cut down the trees, which have been there for 150 years, because of accidents.
The polling station in Oosterhout was disrupted for a time on Wednesday afternoon after one man died while in the process of voting. His votes were declared invalid because they were not placed in the ballot box.
In Utrecht, a number of people have voted for Els Borst, the former health minister who was killed last month. It had been too late to remove her name from the voting papers.
In Amsterdam, a ‘woman’ in a Muslim niqab was turned away by a polling station official who thought the eyes and eyebrows were that of a man, the Parool reports. He and his male partner left after being challenged.
In some places, clubbers were able to vote at midnight. In Tilburg, for example, the council set up a mobile polling station in an area popular with night owls. There was also an open polling station in the heart of The Hague.
Live blog sources: Nos, Volkskrant, nu.nl, and RTL