As if trying to change things for the better by voting wasn’t appealing enough, some Dutch cities have come up with amusing ways to convince their residents to vote tomorrow in the Dutch general election.
Hilversum is going to give people a condescending-sounding ‘voting diploma’, as if they were children learning how to swim, but swiftly make up for the condescension by giving them a free bluetooth speaker, so they can annoy people in the train during their commute.
In the village of Losser, Overijssel, they thought it would be a good idea for the mayor to get into a limo and pick up people all day long to go and vote. The goal is to encourage first time voters aka young people to vote, so apparently those questionable music videos have been sending the right message all along.
The big cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague will use schools as polling stations to get the kids to do their civic duty by them not having to go far to vote. No limos for you!
And then if cycling, walking and rocking the limo isn’t doing it for you, there’s always taking a boat to the polling station in the region of Marker Wadden north of Amsterdam, which, I can tell you from personal experience, is an absolutely delightful place to visit by boat.
And then if transport and a bluetooth speaker is not your jam, imagine some good old-fashioned cupcakes, tea and coffee in Zeist, Utrecht, accompanied by live piano music. The goal here is to attract older voters that need to make an extra effort to vote. No transport for you.
Half of 24oranges HQ can vote and the other half will just hope for the best.
(Link: binnenlandsbestuur.nl, Photo by Photo RNW.org, some rights reserved)
Tags: boat, elections, Hilversum, incentives, limousine, voting
Waterschap Zuiderzeeland has animated a tweeting turd, Drolly_21, to create interest for the water board elections in the Netherlands next week.
We follow Drolly on its way from the toilet bowl to the fertilizer plant. Drolly gets stuck in the sewer behind a balloon animal, but a crew of the city government and the water board quickly take care of that problem. Even when turned into phosphate, Drolly keeps tweeting the most inane messages: “I’ve become feritilizer!”
Water boards form a parallel local government that controls water ways, water barriers, water quality and sewage treatment, amongst others. The water board elections are held simultaneous with the provincial elections.
(Video via a Dutch knock-off of John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight, Zondag met Lubach)
Tags: cartoons, elections, feces, water boards
This week elections are being held for the European Parliament, a body that has become a serious democratic institution since the previous elections as a result of the Treaty of Lisbon. Yesterday it was the Dutch and English’s turn to vote. The voting will last until Sunday in the rest of the union and because of that the Dutch government has forbidden municipalities to publish their tallies until then.
Shock blog Geenstijl decided to crowd source its own exit polls based on actual vote counts.
The blog called its readers to go to the polling stations and stick around for the count. Geenstijl claims that 1,378 volunteers went to the stations to witness the public vote counting. The volunteers managed to collect tallies representing 15% of all the Dutch votes.
The results are largely similar to that of the exit poll held by Ipsos for state broadcaster NOS and in line with predictions from February. Centrist party D66 (Lib-dem) is cautiously predicted to be a winner whereas extreme right-wing PVV did not deliver on its land-slide victory promise and may even have to give up one of its four seats. My personal favourite, the Pirate Party, appears to have fared better than in the recent national elections, but the 1% or 2% of the votes they seem to have received probably won’t be enough for a seat in the EP.
The European Commission threatened the Netherlands with legal action if the country were to show a love of democracy and transparency by publishing the results before Sunday and had asked Minister Plasterk what he thought of Geenstijl’s intended stunt. Plasterk uncharacteristically told the EC he saw nothing wrong with citizens using their democratic right to be at the polling stations to witness the count.
See also: Voting booth ‘stemfie’ to be contested in court
(Illustration: screenshot of Geenstijl.nl)
Tags: crowd sourcing, elections, transparency, votes, voting
The municipal elections are around the corner and many news outlets took the opportunity to discuss what they feel are the funniest (Binnenlands Bestuur), clumsiest (AD) or outright silliest (Adformatie) election posters of the current campaign.
The hockey poster for VVD (“we want more artificial grass for our hockey players”) caused one punter to say: “VVD has an eye for the serious problems of the rich”.
The poster for Platform Lokale Partijen will raise an eyebrow with those familiar with the earlier work of satirists Van Kooten and De Bie. The two men on the poster are the spitting image of two early 1980s’ characters of the comedians, the two extreme right-wing politicians (and part-time crooks) Jacobse and Van Es. The duo killed off the characters when a certain part of the electorate started to take the over-the-top policies of their fictional party seriously.
Koen Hawinkels became a minor Facebook sensation with his “do me” campaign—presumably everybody thought “why?” In Dutch “Koen” rhymes with “doen”. The party with the curious name Sociaal Rechts (‘social right-wing’) drew attention for obvious reasons; their poster shows a man spanking somebody else’s bare bottom. If you look closer you will see that the victim’s underwear sports the logos of two other parties, VVD and PvdA, who currently form the national government.
Tags: elections, municipalities, political posters, politics, posters, Van Kooten en De Bie
In 2005 a man called Ben Schattenberg organised a poll for the most beautiful town name in the Netherlands.
After a round of nominations voters could send an e-mail to say which one of four names was their favourite:
- Doodstil (literally deathly silent, but in fact Doede’s bridge).
- Muggenbeet (mosquito bite).
- Waterlandkerkje (water land church).
- ‘s-Hertogenbosch (the duke’s forest).
I am not sure how many people participated in the poll (half-way the voting period 5,447 votes had been counted) or how often the poll was held, but it did end up in this sign proclaiming the town’s pride (“de mooiste plaatsnaam van Nederland” means ‘the most beautiful town name of the Netherlands’). According to Doodstil.net the town with 100 inhabitants celebrated the election at the time with a barbecue in the garden of the Knol family.
(Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Gouwenaar who dedicated it to the public domain; link: Eamelje.net)
Tags: Doodstil, elections, Groningen, names, polls, toponyms
Today the members of the 12 provinces will be electing a new Senate (in Dutch, Eerste Kamer) in the Netherlands.
It could be make-or-break time for the current right-wing cabinet who stand to lose a majority. There are three scenarios, likely to be decided on a single vote. 1) The government keeps its outright majority and continues on its merry way. 2) The government loses its majority and needs to negotiate a deal with the SGP (fundamentalist Christians who believe things like women should not be allowed to hold jobs). 3) The Senate will have a left-wing majority, and Prime Minister Rutte will have to negotiate majorities on a case by case basis.
As the left is fairly divided, none of the scenarios will be very problematic for Rutte. He might even forgo an alliance with SGP, who could mistakenly demand too much power in return for what little they have to offer.
The outcome may in fact be beneficial to Rutte personally, whichever way it turns out. A feisty senate—a political body otherwise mostly known for its roll-over-and-play-dead mentality—is what he is going to get anyway, and now at least he gets to show off his political acumen. For somebody of his ‘tender age’ (44) that’s not a bad place to be.
The election results are expected to be made public on Wednesday, although according to Elsevier the press will have their predictions ready around 4:30 pm this afternoon.
(Photo by Petra de Boevere, some rights reserved)
Tags: elections, politics, Rutte, Senate, SGP
A Dutch friend of mine, Bente, who now lives and works in New Orleans (of all places!) and who didn’t sleep much last night, hung out at a few places, and everywhere she went, she watched the results with a full house of serious Obama fans.
Allow me to freely translate some of her thoughts:
It’s a historical day in America. More than we sober Dutch people realise. Today a black president was elected.
That Obama is not a real African-American – his father was a Kenyan student in Hawaii and his mother was a white American – barely makes a difference. The man has coloured skin so he’s black and here this means that you’re “one of us” (at least for African-Americans). For many conservative white people, it’s just as bad: the man is black and therefore evil.
That the colour of one’s skin is so important never ceases to amaze me, but here it’s a fact. Obama’s tint has united many and as of today every black kid can grow up with the idea that they too can become president.
I was never this happy about an election result in the Netherlands, but this really touched me. Not because I think the man is a saint or will bring about worldly changes. No, he’s going to have a tough time, and if he survives this, I’ll be impressed. However, the hope he gives people, especially African-Americans is something no one can take away from them. And who knows, maybe something will really change.
UPDATE: The photo credit is always of who takes the picture, not of who is in it!
Tags: America, elections, New Orleans, obama