Insight: Dutch Elections 2017

Originally published as Turkish in Foundation for Migration Studies

translated by Fatih Keçeci, from Bosphorus Migration Studies



On March 15, 2017, the Dutch public went to the ballot to elect the 150 seats of the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer).

In this information memo, the political behavior of the electorate and the election results will be presented.


Important Statistics

Number of eligible Voters: 12.893.466

  • Expat eligible voters: 80.660
  • Number of votes needed for a seat: 70.1062
  • Eligible voters who partook in the election: 10.563.456 (%81.9)
    • Voter turnout (%81.9) is the highest since 1986.
    • Voter turnout in 2012 was %74.6 (9.462.223)
  • 15,876 voter (%0.15)  cast empty ballots
  • 31.539 votes (%0.3) were deemed invalid



The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) under the leadership of Prime Minister Mark Rutte won the elections. However, despite coming in first place, the party suffered a great loss in votes. While receiving 41 out of 150 seats in the previous election, the VVD were only able to protect 33 (21.3%) of those seats in the House of Representatives.

Geert Wilders’ far-right Freedom Party (PVV) came second with 20 seats, amounting to 13.1% of the votes, increasing its seat number from 15 to 20. The Christian Democratic Party (CDA) came third with 12.4% of the votes followed by the Democrats ’66 with 12.2% of the votes. The Green Left (GL) and the Socialist Party (SP) followed with 14 seats and 9.1% of votes. From this result, it can be stated that the Green Left, which previously had four seats emerged victorious.

The DENK party, which was formed by Tunahan Kuzu and Selçuk Öztürk who were expelled from the Labour Party (PvdA) in 2014, also displayed a big surprise by obtaining three seats and 2.1% of the votes.

The Labour Party (PvdA), suffered a loss in votes after losing the support of many immigrants. While a coalition partner in the previous government with 38 seats, the center-left party was only able to field 9 seats this election with 5.7% of the votes.


Political Party # of Votes % Seats Win/loss
VVD 2.238.351 21,3 33 ˗8
PVV 1.372.941 13,1 20 +5
CDA 1.301.796 12,4 19 +6
D66 1.285.819 12,2 19 +7
GL 959.600 9,1 14 +10
SP 955.633 9,1 14 ˗1
PvdA 599.699 5,7 9 ˗29
CU 356.271 3,4 5 0
PvdD 335.214 3,2 5 +3
50+ 327.131 3,1 4 +2
SGP 218.950 2,1 3 0
DENK 216.147 2,1 3 +3
FvD 187.162 1,8 2 +2
Total 10.516.041 100,0 150

Source: Kiesraad


DENK Party

In 2014, Labour Party MPs Tunahan Kuzu ve Selçuk Öztürk were expelled for not giving a vote of confidence to their party’s integration policy. Upon this, they established the DENK party in 2015 and were able to make it into Parliament in their first election by winning three seats. In Schiedam, DENK received 8.2% of the votes; in Rotterdam 7.9%; in the Hague 7.3%; in Amsterdam 6.9% and in Leerdam 6.7%.  


Ethnic Origins: Out of 150 MPs, seven (4.7%) are Turkish-origin while nine (6%) are Moroccan-origin. When the percentage of Turkish-Dutch and Morrocan-Dutch are observed, this representation does not seem far-fetched. While Turkis-origined Dutch make up 2.34% of the population, 2.27% is of Moroccan origin. Additionally, no other non-Western immigrant was able to make it into Parliament.

Gender: 36% of the elected MPs are women. This means that there will be 54 women MPs. In 2012, it was 39% while in 2010 it was 42%. Additionally, with 60% of its MPS women, the Animals’ Rights Party has the largest ratio of woman representatives.

Age: The youngest MPis 25-year-old Rens Reamakers from D66. The oldest MP is Martin van Rooijen from +50.

Education: 82% of the MPs are university graduates. A large number of these have been educated in law, politics or economics.



The Turkey Crisis’s Influence on Voters

The crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands directly affected the political behavior of 26% of the electorate. More specifically, it was the PVV and VVD voters were critically steered. 41% of voters stated that this ordeal did not affect their decision.


The Labour Party’s Loss of Votes

80% of the 2012 constituents of the Labor Party voted for another party in 2017. The Labour Party, which lost 29 seats in the 2017 election, gave up most of its seats to the Green Left Party. 47% of 2012 Labour voters cast their votes to the Green Left on March 15.


featured photo: Reuters/Eric Vidal


Mehmet Enes Beşer
Director (BMS Europe)
Follow Send MailFollow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: