By 3pm, turnout in the Dutch general election was well above that of the 2012 vote, and in some polling stations, extra booths were being added to cope with demand.
In Amsterdam, almost 26% of those eligible to vote had cast their ballots by 1pm, almost double the 2012 total. There is a similar picture across the country, with long queues at popular destinations, such as the top of the Adam tower on the IJ waterway and on an uninhabited island on the Markermeer lake, which included a 3.5 hour boat trip.
People wishing to vote in the parliamentary complex in The Hague had to queue up in front of a long line of foreign journalists who are in town to cover the results.
In Amsterdam, city officials have intervened at a mosque in the east of the city where Turkish flags and nationalist posters were on the walls even though it is being used as a polling station, the Telegraaf said. Political statements are not allowed in polling stations.
The Netherlands is electing 150 members for the lower house of parliament and a new government. The polling stations close at 9pm and an early exit poll will be published shortly afterwards but it will not be until around 11pm that a clear idea about the result is likely.
The vote is being seen as a test of whether Europe really will swing to the right, in the wake of the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s election as US president and ahead of key elections in Germany and France.
Even if Geert Wilders does not win, and the polls show this is unlikely to be the case, his impact on the debate in terms of immigration and identity cannot be ignored, the New York Times wrote.
— Het Parool (@parool) March 15, 2017
— Gemeente Den Haag (@GemeenteDenHaag) March 15, 2017
— ZM Willem-Alexander♔ (@WiIIemAlexander) March 15, 2017