Back to overview

UPDATE DUTCH POLITICS: local parties big winners of municipal elections

National parties lose a bit and PvdA/Social Democrats win Amsterdam.

  • On March 14, 15 and 16, the Netherlands went to vote for the municipal elections. Taking place exactly one year after the last national elections, these elections can be seen as a first benchmark for the newly formed coalition. But have they survived the test?
  • Since the national elections in the beginning of last year, a lot has happened. In addition to the ongoing pandemic we witnessed the longest formation period in Dutch history – which led to a lot of criticism – saw the housing crisis reach new heights, and are now dealing with the situation in Ukraine. All these events might have impacted the election results to some extent.
  • Prior to the elections, voter turnout was expected to be slightly lower than the previous local elections, posibly due to the war in Ukraine. In the past weeks this led to less media coverage than in other election years. On the other hand, the polls were open for three days this year, in order to manage the crowds with regards to COVID. This in turn was expected to have a positive effect on voter turnout. In the end, of the 13,6 million eligible voters, ultimately 50,3% showed up to the polls, which is historically low. During the last local elections in 2018 voter turnout was 54,1%.
  • The conclusion of these municipal elections is that once again, local parties are the big winners. In the last election in 2018, they already received 28.6% of the votes, this year they have secured 36,5%. Coalition parties VVD (Liberal Conservatives) & CDA (Christian Democrats) turned out to be the biggest national-level parties operating at local level, but they’ve also lost seats to the locals. For example, in 2018 they both got over 13% of the vote, this time it’s 11,5% (VVD) and 11,2% (CDA). A minor victory was seen, among others, by PvdA (Labour), which did particularly well in the capital Amsterdam and became the largest party there.
  • The preliminary results of the municipal elections can be found in the table below. In this table, the results of national parties are compared to the results of last national elections (March 2021). It’s good to note that although the table does not include local parties – as they cannot be compared to number of seats in parliament – they are still to be considered the “big winners”. The table shows how the national political parties performed in these local elections.
  • Most national parties remain fairly stable. A small gain is visible for the PvdA (Labour), especially in Amsterdam, the PvdD (Animal Party), FVD (Right-wing Eurosceptics), SGP (Christian Conservatives), BIJ1 (Left-wing), Volt (Pro-European), JA21 (Conservatives) and Belang van Nederland of Wybren Haga (Conservatives). A loss is in sight for PVV (Freedom Party), GroenLinks (Green Left), ChristenUnie (Christian), 50PLUS (Elderly party).
Percentage Number of seats
Exitpolls Parliament Difference Exitpolls Parliament Difference
VVD / Liberal Conservatives 18,1 22,7 -4,6 27 34 -7
CDA / Christian Democrats 17,6 9,3 8,3 26 14 12
PVV / Freedom Party 1,4 11,4 -10 2 17 -15
D66 / Liberal Democrats 13,5 16 -2,5 20 24 -4
GroenLinks / Green Left 13,1 5,3 7,8 20 8 12
SP / Socialists 4,3 6 -1,7 6 9 -3
PvdA / Labour 12,1 6 6,1 18 9 9
CU / Christian 6,1 3,3 2,8 9 5 4
PvdD / Animal party 3 4 -1 5 6 -1
SGP / Christian Conservatives 3,6 2 1,6 5 3 2
DENK / Multicultural 1,6 2 -0,4 2 3 -1
FvD / Right-wing Eurosceptics 1,7 3,3 -1,6 3 5 -2
Volt / Pro-European 1,1 2 -0,9 2 3 -1
JA21 / Conservatives 0,4 2 -1,6 1 3 -2
Other 2,4 4,7 -2,3 4 7 -3
Total 100 100 150 150


Public Matters is the leading public affairs & lobby consultancy in the Netherlands, supporting clients on influencing policy and strategic communications. We are expert, creative and result driven. Curious to find out what the 2022 local elections mean for your business, and how to influence policies in the coming period? Do not hesitate to contact us to explore opportunities and threats, and how to seize or mitigate them.


For more information or questions:
E bbatelaan@publicmatters.nl  |  T +31 6 1985 8401