700,000 people in NL go to the polls in boundary change elections

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some 700,000 people in 37 different local authority areas are voting in local elections on Wednesday, eight months after the rest of the country went to the polls.

As a result of an efficiency drive to concentrate municipal services, the 37 municipalities, will, by January 2019, become just 12. This means the vote will result in 12 local councils instead of 37.

Changing the boundaries of towns and villages is nothing new. Two hundred years ago the Netherlands had over 1,200 municipalities. After the latest reshuffle the number will have shrunk to 355.

The operation has not always gone smoothly. The town of Haren, which has now been added to Groningen, has fought long and hard to remain independent over the years.

The changes in the north means Groningen city will have 230,000 residents, almost the same number as Eindhoven.


Residents in Leerdam and Zederik will even wake up in a different province come the new year as the provincial border moves from Zuid-Holland to Utrecht.

According to the NRC, campaigning by the government party leaders in the new municipalities has been subdued. The municipalities represent 10% of the votes, which is not enough, the paper says, for full-blown electioneering.

That will have to wait until the provincial government elections in March which may lead to Mark Rutte’s cabinet losing its majority in the senate.

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