Just 12.2% of EU nationals in the Netherlands are registered to vote in next week’s European elections, according to calculations by DutchNews.nl.
The national statistics agency CBS said on Friday that 3.6% of the total 13.5 million people who can take part in Thursday’s vote are EU nationals – a total of 491,000 people.
But figures from the home affairs ministry show just 60,000 EU citizens are actually included on the voting register, meaning just over 12% will actually be able to vote. Registration had to be completed by April 9.
Research by DutchNews.nl has shown many Dutch towns failed to inform EU residents that they have to sign up to a register to receive a ballot paper. Haarlem, Lisse, Oss, Rijswijk, Roermond and Amersfoort are among the places where EU nationals complain they were not informed about registration.
‘I have been here for 20 years but was not contacted by the gemeente in Lisse,’ one reader said. ‘I can understand no longer being registered to vote in UK as I have been gone too long but I just assumed that the Netherlands would at least give me the option.’
A spokeswoman for Haarlem town council told DutchNews.nl it had written to all EU nationals in January informing them about their right to vote and that they had to register to do so.
The letter was sent in Dutch, English, French and German, the spokeswoman said. In total, 592 EU nationals are registered to vote in Haarlem, out of 6,744.
DutchNews.nl has asked the home affairs ministry and several other local authorities to comment on the problems.
Of the total number of EU nationals in the Netherlands who would have been eligible to vote, 24% are Polish, 14% German and 9% from Britain. Non-Dutch EU nationals are largely in the 25 to 35 age range, the CBS said.
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