The forthcoming local elections in The Netherlands will take place within some weeks. The law concerning who has the right to vote without being Dutch is regulated in the “de Kieswet” – the law dealing with elections. “De Kiesraad” – the Dutch National Electoral Council - gives further details and advice in this respect, see www.kiesraad.nl
In local elections expats have the right to participate as long as they are registered in their municipality. This also applies to Dutch and other EU citizens abroad, however, not to embassy and consular staff. Non-EU citizens must have lived permanently in The Netherlands for at least five years. For non-EU expats living in Amsterdam, it is possible to vote in the District Council (Bestuurscommissie) elections provided they have been registered in the city for more than three years.
The number of expats in The Netherlands is significant, however mainly concentrated in the Randstad. Amsterdam has a population of 77.000 expats, The Hague 50.000, Rotterdam 48.000, Maastricht 25.000 and Eindhoven 20.000. In a recent article of the magazine "Binnenlands Bestuur" it appears that only one of these cities, namely Maastricht, provides for specific information for Expats. More info at www.binnenlandsbestuur.nl . This information concerns the legal rights of the local political parties as well as their policies and aims. There are also different clubs/associations for expats, and relevant information with respect to Dutch elections etc. in English is to be found at their websites.
Wassenaar is well known for its international community. There is no municipality where there are so many diplomatic residences in relation to the number of inhabitants. Lokaal Wassenaar! is proud of our international community. There are several good examples of excellent integration at local level. For example ASH, the American School of The Hague and the sports club Blauw-Zwart where locals and expats cooperate well together. On cultural level the cooperation between the local band, Excelsior Harmony, and the band of the ASH is very successful indeed.
Lokaal Wassenaar! is aware of the necessity of further integration of our international community in Wassenaar. In our party there will be one person responsible for expats and contact with the international municipality. Several candidates of our party and members of our board have been expats. Our policy will be to further increase and provide for assistance and information to the expats living in Wassenaar. This will also include the assistance in terms of the Dutch language and more online information via social media. This will be done at our own website www.lokaalwassenaar.com and on Facebook.
Last but not least local political parties, particularly Lokaal Wassenaar! , concentrate on the values and needs of the village of Wassenaar and its inhabitants whereas the main political parties are more directed to increase their own power nationwide.