May 8, 2018

Veenendaal wants input for new mayor

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 9:27 am


While the Dutch cannot vote for their mayors because mayors are still appointed, the city of Veenendaal has decided to let residents choose what qualities they want in a mayor, a bit like letting children ‘give their input’ on what they want for dinner and eventually serving them some sort of mash. I understand this is trying to get folks involved, but the best way to let people give their opinion is to let them vote for their mayor, something Veenendaal is not in a position to offer, but trying to alleviate.

Should the new mayor be an ‘enthusiastic renewer’ or more of a ‘stable factor’? Should they be ‘visibly active’ or more ‘involved in the background’? Folks of Veenendaal, tell them what you want in a survey. And you can continue to ‘give your opinion’ until May 16. Piet Zoon is currently acting mayor of Veenendaal, after Wouter Kolff left in September 2017.

Last month, the town of Stadskanaal appointed a mayor for all of 15 minutes, as they could not appoint new councillors without one, which the law has no provision to deal with.

(Link:, Photo of deceased former mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van de Laan)

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March 20, 2018

Dutchman fined for selling voting pass

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 8:20 pm


On 21 March, the country is holding municipal elections, and residents who are eligible to vote will have received their personalised voting pass by mail.

Some 44-year-old guy from Waalwijk wanting to make a few euro tried to sell his voting passes on Dutch bidding site Marktplaats. And it’s a two for one because in these elections, we’re also voting in a referendum on the Intelligence and Security Services Act 2017 (aka ‘Sleepwet’ in Dutch).

The Public Prosecution Service got wind of the sale and the man was fined 250 euro. The man was pretty relaxed about it, saying “I never vote, so I thought I could make someone happy with my passes”, which is odd since the person who would use them would have to prove their identity and that seems a bit much.

The Mayor of Waalwijk said he wanted the Public Prosecution Service to investigate why this happened (why did Marktplaats go along with this, I wonder) and our guy answered unfazed that he wasn’t afraid of the mayor’s threats.

(Link:, Photo by Photo, some rights reserved)

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March 14, 2017

Incentives to get people to vote tomorrow

Filed under: Automobiles,Food & Drink,Gadgets,General by Orangemaster @ 11:39 am


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:, Photo by Photo, some rights reserved)

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December 7, 2016

New political party to use a democracy app

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 12:04 pm


Since we’ll probably have to explain this at Christmas parties, shock blog ‘Geenstijl’, who brought us the crowdsourcing of Dutch European Parliament vote count and blocking the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement being ignored by the Dutch government for 238 days so far, has decided to found a political party.

GeenPeil – it rhymes with Geenstijl and refers to polling – promises to set up an Internet app to hold ‘microreferendums” for all bills that pass through parliament. “All rank-and-file members of the party will be able to influence how its MPs vote on law proposals, always voting the way of the outcome of the microreferendums.

Like them or not, the fact that Prime Minister Mark Rutte has ignored the results of the democratic referendum prompted by this lot on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and possibly passing on the problem to the next government after the 15 March 2017 elections, is really embarrassing and proves that democracy isn’t being respected at all.

GeenPeil, has its own issues. Last month, Dutch media reported that the European Parliament has demanded they pay back €14,500 in subsidies. GeenPeil had used the money, which came from the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe, a body created by Ukip, a British eurosceptic party, to pay for a newspaper advertisement calling on readers to support the Ukrainian referendum initiative for a referendum although the grant was not allowed to be used for national campaigning.

Although the referendum was legally non-binding, senior politicians had promised they would take the result into consideration and it’s such a thorny subject that the issue is on the agenda of this month’s EU summit in Brussels.

(Link:, Photo by Photo, some rights reserved)

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December 24, 2015

Food label lies put to the vote and publicly shamed

Filed under: Food & Drink by Orangemaster @ 3:25 pm

After voting for the cheesiest business slogan of the year (my horses won, placed and showed!), now it’s time to vote for Foodwatch’s Most Misleading Food Product of 2015, aka De Gouden Windei or ‘Golden Windegg’.

This year’s contestants are:

– Light peanut butter with a whopping 451% (!) more sugar than normal peanut butter.
– A small dessert of which half of it is air.
– Apple juice diluted with water and passed off as half as sweet.
– Cranberries that have a layer of syrup on them, sold as superfood.
– Children’s cookies “full of nutrients”, but with tons of sugar in them.

And two others with misleading labels that finally have less to do with hidden sugars and more to do with not enough proper product. I voted for the cranberries, which seems like the biggest con, but the cookies and peanut butter are right up there.

UPDATE: The cranberries won (in Dutch).


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July 20, 2015

Shock blog tries to stop Ukraine from joining EU

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:46 pm

vote-counting-rnwA new law allows Dutch citizens to call for a non-binding referendum in the Netherlands, the Dutch Pirate Party writes.

Shock blog Geen Stijl is trying to become the first organisation to scale the considerable thresholds the Dutch state imposes on such a referendum by getting the country to veto Ukraine’s entry to the European Union. The blog has four weeks to collect 10,000 signatures from people who support the collection of further signatures. If it succeeds, it has another six weeks to collect 300,000 signatures. Currently, signatures can only be collected in writing.

Once those two hurdles have been passed, the Yes and No campaigns may receive up to two million euro in subsidies for their campaigns. Geen Stijl claims it is unwise to let a country that is currently at war join the European Union.

The Pirate Party stresses that it doesn’t have an opinion either for or against the issue of Ukraine joining the EU, but applauds the addition of the referendum to the “rickety and unsatisfactory democratic toolkit we have now”.

The party for rich pensioners, 50Plus, was hoping to sabotage a new pension law from entering effect through a referendum last January, but the law that makes referendums legal only came into effect on 1 July. Observers believe that even though referendums under the new law are non-binding, parliament will respect them.

In 2005 the Netherlands used a special one-off referendum to let citizens rubber stamp something the European Union claimed to be a constitution. Dutch voters from both the pro- and anti-EU camps used the opportunity to vote against the document.

(Photo by Photo, some rights reserved)

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February 23, 2015

Tinder-style voting for States-provincial elections

Filed under: General,Technology by Orangemaster @ 6:16 pm


Talk show host Arjan Lubach has devised a Tinder-style voting app made for fun to help undecided voters for the upcoming States-provincial elections. The States-provincial or ‘Provinciale Staten’ in Dutch are the provincial parliament and legislative assembly in each of the 12 Dutch provinces.

With ‘StemTinder’ (‘Tinder Voting’) you can swipe left or right and find the political party match for you. It’s not the national elections, so why not vote on looks? And there’s nothing wrong with candidates trying to look trustworthy to win votes.

(Links:,, Photo by Photo, some rights reserved)

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May 23, 2014

Shock blog Geenstijl crowd sources Dutch EP vote count

Filed under: Technology by Branko Collin @ 12:50 pm

geenpeil-geenstijl_nlThis 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

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April 29, 2014

Voting booth ‘stemfie’ to be contested in court

Filed under: Online,Photography by Orangemaster @ 10:31 am

Following up on the selfie, Dutch word of 2013, there’s a new variant, the ‘stemfie’, which means taking a selfie while voting. The Dutch word for vote and also voice (noun) is ‘stem’, hence ‘stemfie’.

The trend kicked off during the last municipal elections on March 19, but now it’s time to go to court over it. Posting a selfie with your filled out voting ballot violates voting secrecy and therefore should be forbidden, according to the Dutch Foundation for the Protection of Civil Rights. The Ministry of the Interior has no problem with selfies and even encourages them, but this foundation claims international jurisprudence and says it’s a big no-no.

For the upcoming European elections, Belgium’s Guy Verhofstadt, campaigning to be head of the European Commission, has told voters, “Send us your selfie, showing us where or how you enjoy the benefits of European integration. Did you just board an airplane on a cheap flight or crossed a border without having to use your passport or to change currencies? Put it on your instagram profile and tag it with #selfEU.”

Illegal or not, I’m more worried about electronic voting in the Netherlands. In 2007, the government axed electronic voting because hacking into the devices was child’s play, and in April of this year, they’re planning to reintroduce electronic voting.

UPDATE (9 May): ‘Stemfies are not forbidden’, says a high court in The Hague (in Dutch).


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April 7, 2014

Dutch parliament to bin secure voting in favour of electronic voting

Filed under: General by Branko Collin @ 10:42 am

vote-counting-rnwThree weeks ago there were municipal elections and according to AD on 27 March there is a big discrepancy between the number of voters that showed up and the number of votes counted.

In 235 of the 380 municipalities that participated, the numbers didn’t add up. AD claims that at least 7,387 errors were made. Some of the municipalities decided to have a recount, NRC reported the same day, Wassenaar and Heerlen among them.

Counting both voters and votes makes it harder to commit fraud. The ‘ghost votes’ (spookstemmen) as AD termed the discrepancies led to commotion in parliament. Members for PvdA, D66, GroenLinks and VVD declared themselves to be in favour of the reintroduction of electronic voting which works much less transparent and is therefore much harder to check for fraud.

The fact that a discrepancy between votes and voters was discovered means that manual counting works. The political parties mentioned above said they only wanted to reintroduce electronic counting if it is completely secure. Considering that the job to build these computers must be given to the cheapest supplier according to European laws will pretty much ensure that security will end up at the bottom of the list of requirements though.

(Photo by Photo, some rights reserved)

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