The Netherlands goes to the polls on March 21 to elect 335 local councils. In this special section, you can find out more about who can vote, what parties are standing, and what local councils do, check out the city guides - including links to English information and debate dates - and follow the latest election news.

Local elections: Denk take PVV Rotterdam seat and voting for women works

Election 2018

The formal election and referendum results were published on Friday, bringing bad news for Geert Wilders and the anti-Islam PVV. When the final calculations were made in Rotterdam, it transpired that the PVV only had enough votes to merit one seat on the 45-seat city council. The PVV's arch rival Denk was the beneficiary and now has four seats on the city council, rather than three. RTL commentator Frits Wester points out that Wilders had gone all out for a good result in the port city. 'This adventure has failed completely,' he said. 'And that last extra seat for Denk is rubbing salt into the wound.' Denk's local leader Stephan van Baarle told reporters that the party should now be invited to take part in the coalition talks. In The Hague, local populist party Groep de Mos also lost one seat in the final count, but remains the biggest party with eight seats. The extra seat goes to local grouping Haagse Stadspartij. Also in The Hague, local personality Henk Bres, who was reportedly sacked as a columnist earlier this year for sending out racist tweets such as 'cancer Muslims', was elected to the city council for the PVV on preference votes. Racist comments In Emmen, Labour candidate Ugbaad Kilincci, who stopped campaigning in public after a string of racist comments, was also elected to the town council on the back of preference votes. Kilincci, who was told during campaigning that she was a 'black monkey' and should go back to Africa, was 12th on Labour's candidate list but will now take one of Labour's four seats in Emmen. Vote for women The 'vote for a woman' campaign is also claiming victory in the local elections after dozens of female candidates were able to leapfrog up the party lists on preference votes. In Voorschoten, Smallingerland and a string of other towns and cities, women were elected as councillors on preference votes. In Amsterdam, support for the PvdA may have halved, but local party leader Marjolein Moorman got more votes than anyone else fighting for a seat in the city - 25,430. And Femke Roosma, number two on the GroenLinks list, got more votes than party leader Rutger Groot Wassink. Recounts Recounts are taking place in up to eight local authority areas. In Maastricht, for example, D66 came just two votes short of an extra seat and has requested a recount. In Venray, the CDA and Venray Lokaal both got exactly the same number of votes and are competing for one seat.  More >

No change as Amsterdam votes finalised

Election 2018 GroenLinks was confirmed as the big local election winner in Amsterdam when the results were finally published on Friday morning after what officials said was a 'mega operation' to count over one million ballot papers. Thierry Baudet, leader of newcomer Forum voor Democratie, was elected to the 45-seat Amsterdam chamber on preference votes as one of three FvD councillors, but said earlier he would not take up the seat. Denk, the largely immigrant party, is also a newcomer on Amsterdam council with three seats, and had more votes than the FvD. In line with the forecast, GroenLinks boosted its share of the city council vote from six to 10 seats - according to preliminary results. D66, who overtook the PvdA four years ago, slumped from 14 to eight. Housing had been the biggest issue in the local campaign and support for the Socialist Party, who held the housing portfolio, has halved. The party had also campaigned on an Amsterdam for Amsterdammers ticket. ChristenUnie, Bij1 founded tv presenter Sylvana Simons and the pensioners party PvdO all debut with one seat in the 45 seat council chamber. In total, 12 parties are now represented on the city council. New council make-up: GroenLinks 10 (6) D66 8 (14) VVD 6 (6) PvdA 5 (10) SP 3 (6) PvdD 3 (1) Denk 3 Fvd 3 CDA 1 (1) PvdO 1 CU 1 Bij1 1  More >

Work begins on forming new coalitions

Local elections 2018: The votes have been counted, the coalition-forming can begin As the dust settles on the local election results, work has now begun on forming new coalitions for 335 different local authorities nationwide. In Rotterdam populist party Leefbaar Rotterdam is by far the biggest with 11 seats. Campaign leader Joost Eerdmans has already said he aims to create a broad coalition that did justice to the results and was looking into an alliance with the VVD, D66, PvdA and GroenLinks. In Amsterdam, GroenLinks is now the biggest party and has brought in Maarten van Poelgeest, with a long history in city politics, to start the work on putting together a new coalition. Barcelona's deputy mayor has sent his congratulations to GroenLinks leader Rutger Groot Wassink following the party's surge in support. The victory of @RutgerGW and @GroenLinks020 in the #Amsterdam elections is great news for everyone working to build a different Europe from local level. Barcelona looks forward to working with you in our common struggles! — Gerardo Pisarello (@G_Pisarello) March 22, 2018 Amsterdam D66 leader Reiner van Dantzig, who saw his party's support crumble from 14 to eight seats on the 45-seat city council, has said he wants to work with GroenLinks in the city administration. 'D66's policy is to co-manage,' he told the Parool. 'We share a lot of ideals but GroenLinks has the upper hand and we we know our place.' Van Dantzig did not rule out being part of a left-leaning coalition. 'We will work with everyone, apart from the one party we have ruled out,' he said, referring to Forum voor Democratie which is poised to win three seats. The definitive Amsterdam results will be published on Friday. Denk New party Denk, which has won seats in 13 cities, including three in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, is also keen to get involved in coalition forming. 'We are not a party which sits and shouts from the sidelines,' said national party leader Tunahan Kuzu. Denk largely draws its support from immigrant communities, particularly people with Turkish and Moroccan roots. The party, says Kuzu, speaks for 'a group of people who were not sufficiently involved in politics before.' In Schiedam near Rotterdam, Denk won over 11% of the vote and is the second biggest party on the local council. Alkmaar is the only city where the party failed to get a toehold. .@tunahankuzu: "Wij hebben een fantastische avond. Groepen mensen eisen hun plek op in deze samenleving, zowel maatschappelijk als in het bedrijfsleven."#Exitpoll #uitslagenavond #GR2018 #Gemeenteraadsverkiezingen #IkStemDENK — DENK (@DenkNL) March 21, 2018 The other big winner among the smaller parties is the pro-animal Partij voor de Dieren, which has increased its vote everywhere and now has 33 local councillors nationwide. Fantastische groei: naar 33 zetels in de gemeenteraden. Dat is bijna een verdriedubbeling! 🎉🎉🎉 #GR2018 #gemeenteraadsverkiezingen #gemeenteraad Lees meer: — PvdD (@PartijvdDieren) March 22, 2018 In The Hague, Richard de Mos, the former PVV parliamentarian whose local party won nine seats on Wednesday, is also thinking coalitions. 'There are a lot of key things which we want to realise so we are going to negotiate,' he told local news website Den Haag Centraal. 'I will extend a hand to every party, we have never ruled anyone out,' he said. 'We want to work with everyone who wants to improve The Hague. And congratulations to GroenLinks and the VVD who won as well.' Majority In two local authority areas there was an absolute majority, so no need to form a coalition administration. In Tubbergen in Twente, the CDA won over 61% of the votes and in Reusel-de Mierden in Brabant, local party Samenwerking won 51% and has eight of the 15 seats on the town council. More election articles GroenLinks and local parties on top Wilders breaks through with a whimper, not a bang What happened in the focus cities What the papers say about the elections GroenLinks win in Amsterdam Groep de Mos, the surprise winners in The Hague    More >

Surprise win for Groep De Mos in The Hague

Local election 2018: Who are Groep De Mos, the surprise winners in The Hague? Former PVV MP Richard de Mos sprung an upset in The Hague's municipal elections by leading his independent party to victory in what was expected to be a close four-way contest. De Mos's group won nine of the 45 council seats with 16.8% of the vote, with the VVD claiming seven seats in second place on 13.8%. D66, which won the election last time, was reduced from eight seats to six. De Mos put his party's success down to what he termed 'ombudsmanpolitiek' – a pragmatic approach built on listening to voters' concerns, with the motto: 'No theme is too small.' 'Being a councillor isn't a well-paid job,' he told NOS on Wednesday. 'And I have given up a lot because I love this city. I think this is the finest city in the Netherlands.' The 41-year-old De Mos quit the PVV in 2012 after being deselected by Geert Wilders for that year's parliamentary elections, having been elected as an MP on the party's list two years earlier. He described the decision as a 'hammer blow', but started his own party to contest The Hague's council elections in 2014, as a direct rival to Wilders. The three seats won by Groep De Mos allowed D66 to edge out the PVV for top spot and deprive Wilders of the chance to form a coalition in the Netherlands' third city. It is likely that his party picked up votes this year from the PVV, which won just two seats after four years riven by internal conflict and the loss of a councillor who quit in protest at Wilders's 'fewer Moroccans' comments. Populist Though De Mos bills his policies as apolitical, they have a populist right-wing flavour, albeit of a more moderate variety than the PVV or Leefbaar Rotterdam. His party favours deregulation for small businesses, transport policies that encourage car use (De Mos wants to halt the extension of The Hague's paid parking zones) and referendums for major decisions. The party has a welfare-to-work agenda and says benefit claimants should be required to do voluntary work if they are capable. 'The state welfare system is a safety net, not a hammock,' he has said. A former teacher, De Mos wants to introduce stricter discipline in schools, with smartphones banned from classrooms and children required to address teachers with the formal 'u' form. Elderly care Until recently De Mos's party was also known as the 'Older People's Party of the Hague. It has pledged to introduce free public transport for over-65s and tackle poverty among the elderly so they can live at home for as long as possible. As a prospective MP De Mos was an outspoken climate change sceptic who derided supporters of renewable energy as 'flat earth thinkers' and 'alarmists'. Soon after being elected he was found to have exaggerated his online CV by describing himself as a former director of the school where he previously worked. De Mos apologised for the error and corrected his details. His party now faces a challenge to build a coalition in the wake of a fragmented election result that has divided the 45 council seats between 15 parties. At least four parties will be needed in the new coalition, though this is not unprecedented – the city's last administration had five. Likely coalition partners include the VVD's seven councillors and the CDA, who have three. But De Mos will almost certainly have to bring in either D66 or GroenLinks to make up the majority. The city's other local party, the more left-leaning Haagse Stadspartij, is unlikely to be considered; neither are the PVV or any of the three Islamic parties which have one seat each. Election results Turnout in The Hague was 48.3%, below the 2014 level of 51.3%. Groep De Mos/ Hart voor Den Haag 9 (3) VVD 7 (4) D66 6 (8) GroenLinks 5 (2) CDA 3 (3) PvdA 3 (6) Haagse Stadspartij 2 (5) Partij van de Dieren 2 (1) PVV 2 (7) Islam Democraten 1 (2) ChristenUnie/SGP 1 (1) SP 1 (2) 50Plus 1 (0) Nida 1 (0) Partij van de Eenheid 1 (1)  More >

What happened in focus cities

Election 2018 Turnout has gone up in all but one of the 10 cities singled out by for special attention during the local election campaign. Only in The Hague (separate story) is turnover down on 2014. For Amsterdam results, see separate story. Rotterdam Leefbaar Rotterdam, the right-wing populist party currently working with D66 and the Christian Democrats in the port city's coalition, managed to retain its leading position in Wednesday's vote. Despite losing two seats, Leefbaar's total of 11 is more than double that of its nearest rivals. Party leader Joost Eerdmans said he aimed to create a broad coalition that did justice to the results and was looking into an alliance with the VVD, D66, PvdA and GroenLinks. Geert Wilders' PVV, challenging Leefbaar on its home turf, only managed to win two seats.  Islamic party NIDA retained its two while newcomer Denk took 3, showing the strength of the immigrant vote. Turnout was low at 46.8% but up on 2014's 45.1%. Leefbaar 11 (13) VVD 5 (3) PvdA 5 (8) D66 5 (6) GroenLinks 5 (2) Denk 4 NIDA 2 (2) SP 2 (5) CDA 2 (3) PVV 1 PvdD 1 (1) 50Plus 1 CU/SGP 1 (1) Eindhoven The VVD and GroenLinks are level pegging in Eindhoven, while the PvdA, in 2014 the biggest city, is now in joint second place with D66. With several local parties also winning or holding seats, there will be 13 parties in the city council. Turnout, at 46.4% is the lowest in our 10 focus cities, but that is up on 2014 when just 44.7% of voters cast their ballot. VVD 7 (6) GroenLinks 7 (4) PvdA 8 (6) D66 7 (6) CDA 5 (4) SP 4 (7) Ouderen 2 (5) LPF 2 91) 50Plus 2 Denk 1 Leefbaar 1 (2) CU 1 (1) BRBE 1 Amstelveen Amstelveen shows a fairly stable result compared with many of the other cities, with the VVD remaining the biggest party and increasing its seats from nine to 10. D66 managed to lose just one seat, to remain on seven. Turnout 58% (55.4%) VVD 10 (9) D66 7 (8) GroenLinks 5 (4) Burbel 4 (4) PvdA 3 (3) SP 3 (2) CDA 3 (2) Actief 2 Ouderen 1 (2) CU 1 (1) Leiden Leiden’s current council coalition spans four parties, from left to right, but GroenLinks has doubled its support from four to eight, clearing the way for a more left-leaning administration. D66 remains the biggest party. Turnout 57.3% (56.9%) D66 9 (11) Groenlinks 8 (4) VVD 6 (5) PvdA 4 (5) CDA 3 (4) PvdD 3 (1) SP 3 (5) Parsleut 2 CU 1 (1) Maastricht With four parties each on five seats and 13 in the council as a whole, putting together a new coalition in Maastricht will be a jigsaw puzzle. The PVV debuted in the southern Limburg city, but only managed to win two seats. Turnout is the among the lowest among our 10 focus cities at 48.1%, but up on the 46.9% turnout in 2014. CDA 5 (5) Senioren 5 (6) GroenLinks 5 (4) D66 5 (5) PvdA 3 (5) VVD 3 (3) SP 5 (3) PVM 3 (3) Moed 2 PVV 2 SAB 1 60Plus 1 LibPart 1 (1) Utrecht GroenLinks have overtaken D66 as the biggest party, while the PVV, which had high hopes of doing well, only managed to capture one seat. At least three parties will be needed for a coalition. Turnout tbc, was 51.3% GroenLinks 12 (9) D66 10 (13) VVD 6 (5) PvdA 3 (5) CDA 2 (3) PvdD 2 (1) Denk 2 SP 2 (4) CU 2 (2) Student 2 (1) PVV 1 Stadsb 1 (2) Haarlem GroenLinks has overtaken D66 to become the biggest party in Haarlem, which is one of the few places where support for the Labour party (PvdA) has held up. The current coalition is made up of D66, PvdA, GroenLinks and CDA. Turnout 55.4% (52.7%) Groenlinks 8 (5) PvdA 6 (6) VVD 5 (5) D66 5 (7) CDA 4 (4) SP 4 (3) Trots 2 (1) Ouderen 2 (2) Hart voor Haarlem 1 (1) Jouw Haarlem 1 (1) CU 1 (1) Actie 1 (2) Delft The university town has its own student party, STIP, which this year has increased its share of the vote to win six seats. GroenLinks, with seven seats, is the biggest party after support for D66 fell sharply. Turnout 56.1% (55.6%) GroenLinks 7 (4) STIP 6 (4) D66 5 (8) Indep Delft 5 (3) VVD 3 (3) CDA 3 (3) SP 3 (3) PvdA 3 (4) CU 2 (2) Stadsbel 2 (2) Check out how your town did with the NOS results map.  More >