There is only one topic more important than any Covid-19 mutation or vaccination program. The upcoming elections. Billboards and advertising pillars show the faces of politicians. The usual ‘See you soon’ and ‘We can do this together’ slogans have disappeared for now. A welcome change.
As a non-Dutch citizen, I am not allowed to vote. But because I am living in the Netherlands, the program of the new government will have an impact on my life as well. During the last four years my Dutch has improved a lot. This allows me to finally follow the debates and campaigns. I have also noticed that the Dutch, in comparison to other nationalities, are very open and honest about their voting preferences. While I have learned to not ask Germans about what party they voted for, Dutch people casually discuss these topics over coffee. For other internationals, let me try to sum up what I learned about the political parties in the Netherlands:
VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie): This is the party of the current Prime minister Mark Rutte. They are expected to receive the majority of votes again. Even though they mostly focus on economy, rather than healthcare. And now we have the trouble.
CDA (Christen-democratisch appél): The party of current health minister Hugo de Jonge. That’s the guy who is always standing next to Mark Rutte at press conferences. Also, he wears funny shoes.
PVV (Partij voor de Vrijheid): A right-wing party. The party leader you see on their posters is Geert Wilders. He once shouted at a party gathering if people want ‘more or less Moroccans’. He is also known for his interesting haircut. Like all populistic politicians nowadays.
D66 (Democraten 66): A young guy with brown hair is sitting in every talk show but the actual party leader is a blond woman Sigrid Kaag. D66 actually promised to prevent the rise of student loans but, in the end, did not.
GroenLinks: A left-wing and green party popular among young people. The party leader Jesse Klaver is especially popular among female students. This party cares about everything that involves the environment, climate and social injustice.
PvdA (Partij van de arbeid): Party leader is Liliane Ploumen. And while the flyers of PvdA use very vague slogans for their program, the chairwoman is doing great in discussions.
PvdD (Partij voor de dieren): A party for the animals. I guess it is an environmental party because animals are not allowed to vote.
FvD (Forum voor Democratie): A party that has been in the news lately because of racist and anti-Semitic messages being sent between party members. Otherwise, this party seems to be simply against everything in the current system.
Of course, there is a lot more to it than that. But I am glad that I will not have to make a choice next week. I will be watching the elections like a movie as the events unfold. A crumb of comfort until it is possible to go to a movie theater again.