In America you have approximately five options. Citizens of the Netherlands have about 1000 options on the election day. Two weeks ago it is explained to you how the Dutch democratic system works and why you are able to execute more power by voting for specific politicians of a party. This article will briefly dive deeper into preferential voting and shows how to execute extra power by showing how to use it with preferential voting for younger politicians. Also, the doubts between ‘smaller vs bigger parties’ are briefly discussed.

Recap – what is preferential voting?

Preferential voting is voting for every potential listed politician, except number one. Therefore, you state that your preference is to someone else than the leader of the party. With approximately thirty parties eligible in every part of the country, citizens of the Netherlands have tomorrow about 1000 politicians to vote for. Mostly, voters vote for the leader of a party and do not dive into the other politicians on the list. If a candidate receives at least 25% of 1/150 of all votes, he or she will become elected even when they are listed as last. For example, if a party receives ten seats and numbers 11 and 24 both reached 25% of 1/150, they will replace numbers 9 and 10 of the party. In general, it is best to vote for someone that is listed high, but lower than the expected amount of seats. For example, if you want more woman in the House of Representatives, voting for the number 2 of VVD is not supporting more women in the House of Representatives since it is very likely that she is already elected. This is because she is listed very high and the party is expecting 36 up to 40 seats.

Preferential voting: representation for minorities or business areas

Preferential voting is used to vote for politicians that will result in more representation of minorities or more representation of a specific business area in the house of representatives. Voting for representation includes voting for several minorities that are underrepresented in the House of Representatives such as the youth, candidates of a specific region, women, etcetera. People like this strategy because they think that a good representation results in the best policies. They state that it is better to talk with, than about a certain group. Furthermore, voters may assume that all people on the list are potentially good politicians. Why should their parties otherwise put them on the list? Therefore, voting for a woman because she is a woman also means voting for a good politician that represents the party you want to vote for. Contradictors of voting for representation state that you should focus on voting for the highest quality and not for a specific skin color, gender or sexual orientation. Someone that represents your opinion the best should receive your vote, not based on gender, or skin color. Furthermore, it is also arguable that parties also list their top politicians higher.

Voting for more representation of a specific business area is a strategy that combines minorities and quality in preferential voting. This includes voters that use their preferential vote for specialists such as agricultural business owners or healthcare professionals in the House of Representatives. They search for politicians that are expected to be not elected with a specific ability. Mostly, the Linkedin page of a politician or the site of the party is the best source for your choice. Also, several google searches might bring you to organizations that already indicated the best politician for a specific business area. For example, the site helps you with choosing the right politicians that know a lot about climate change.

Base rule of preferential voting

The base rule of preferential voting is that you vote on someone that is not expected to be elected without enough preferential votes. As stated earlier, this is for example the number 37 of a party that is expecting 36 votes. This strategy is not that simple since there are many aspects that influence the lowest-listed elected politician. For example, if a party becomes a coalition party, which means they form a government, lower-listed politicians are also elected. This is because several of the chosen representatives have to give up their seats and start working for the government. Another aspect that influences the base rule is that it is not known how many politicians receive a preferential vote. A party with an expected twelve seats with a woman on number 11 might have two preferential elected politicians. Then, number 11 is not elected anymore. Therefore, keep in mind what you think the situation will be after elections and follow what you think is best since it is not predictable what the real voting results and governmental parties will be. Also, keep in mind that voting for representation will never result in less representation. The worst-case scenario is, for example, a woman replacing a woman. Below, the practical explanation of how preferential voting works is explained with young politicians. Also, the background of the politicians is briefly explained.

Voting for more youth representation

Currently, only one politician is below 30 years old, Rens Raemakers from D66. Therefore, voting for young politicians is very important in order to gain more representation. The youth is especially calling for more representation after the Corona measures that hit the youth hard. In this article young politicians are defined as 30 years or younger. The expected seats are retrieved from polls of  ‘the peilingwijzer’ which is the average of the three major polls about expected seats after elections.

Tim Simons – #52 VVD

First, the VVD has 34-38 expected seats and those 38 politicians include two 30-year-old ones. If you want to add a third, the highest listed young adult option is Tim Simons (#52). He is 26 years old and already was the leader of VVD in the municipality of Drimmelen (North-Brabant). He focussed on (sustainable) housing and wants to represent the youth in the housing problems. He finished a Bachelor in global development issues and studied to become a teacher in English.

Hidde Heutink – #26 PVV

The expected seats of PVV do not represent any young politicians. Hidde Heutink is the highest listed youth (#26) and he is born in 1994. His political experience is gained in the east of the Netherlands with several jobs for local governments. He is working for the University of applied science Saxion as a change manager and he is also an entrepreneur with his own special beer brewery. Furthermore, he already have political experience for the PVV at the state department of Overijssel.

The expected seats of CDA represent one young politician. Another potential young politician for this election is the second-highest listed young adult; Harmen Krul (#21). CDA presents him as the youth candidate of CDA. His background is in the ministry of defense as marine lieutenant. He is also the leader of CDA in Den Helder and born in 1994. His main goals are in education, the job market and the safety of the Netherlands.

Rens Raemakers – #19 D66

The expected seats of D66 (14-18) do not represent any youth. The only active younger politician, Rens Raemakers, is getting close to this expected seats as number 19. It is a dangerous position since D66 is expected to become a governmental party and therefore several more spots for the house of representatives might become available. He might become elected without preferential votes. Rens Raemakers is currently 29 years old. He wants to bridge the gap between the youth and politics and focuses on healthcare and youth criminality. If you think the 18 seats are reasonable for D66 and they will become a governmental organization, the second-highest young politician might need your vote more. Carline van Breugel (#32) is 26 years old and wants to focus on breaking taboos and normalize sexual diversity as a bisexual woman.

Julian Bushoff – #13 PvdA

If PvDA reaches many seats they will contribute to youth representation massively. Numbers 9, 13, 14, and 17 are young politicians. Unfortunately, due to the expected seats of 11-13, it is not likely that number 13 and 14 will enter the house of representatives both. Therefore, voting for Julian Bushoff (#13) is interesting. He is 23 years old and worked as jobcoach for refugees. Two years ago he became the leader of PvDA in the local government of Groningen. He finished two bachelors in Economics & Business and International relations & International organization. If you think PvDA might become a governmental organization, you can vote for their number 17.

It is expected that Groenlinks will represent the youth with one politician. After number 9, the second-highest youth candidate is Mark Brakel (#26). Mark Brakel is 30 years old and worked as a diplomat in Iraq. Born in the Netherlands and partly raised in Oman he wants to focus on climate change and human rights. He did several studies including a bachelor Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Oxford.

Bram Roovers – #30 SP

SP does not have any youth candidates highly listed. Bram Roovers (#30) is the highest young politician. He is born in 1999 and lives in Den Bosch. He works for the SP in the municipality of Den Bosch. He wants to bridge the gap between citizens & politics and wants to change the current liberal policies towards more social alternatives. Currently, he is finishing his study history at the University of Utrecht.

The first youth candidate of Christian Union is Bina Chirino (#14). She is 26 years old and the chairman of the youth organization of the Christian Union. She was proud to be the first black and first Roman Catholic chairman of this organization which haven’t had a woman for a while too. One of the key points in her work is diversity & inclusivity and representing the students & youth. She finished a Bachelor in language and culture studies.

Eva Akerboom – #7 PvdD

The party for the animals (PvdD) has 5-7 expected seats. Therefore, Eva Akerboom (number 7) will have a tensive night tomorrow. By voting for her, she might reach the House of Representatives when PvDD does not reach seven seats. Eva Akerboom is 29 years old and has already been a representative for five months in the House of Representatives, replacing a temporarily absent politician. Furthermore, she is active in the music industry and already has seven years of experience with the party, including a period as representative of the municipality in Amsterdam. She studied political science and global environment governance. If you think PvDD will reach eight seats or more you might vote for Falco van Hassel (#16). He is 20 years old (born 2000) and is focused on animal rights and is currently studying a master in animal sciences.

Stephan van Baarle – #3 DENK

DENK is one of the parties that have more than 25% of their list filled with youth. With 1-3 expected seats it might have serious options for Stephan van Baarle (#3). He is born in 1991 and the leader of DENK Rotterdam. He also carries 6 years of experience as a policy officer at the Dutch House of Representatives and finished a bachelor Sociology and a master Urban Sociology – urban issues and policy.

The first listed youth candidate of the SGP is Nathanaël Middelkoop (#10), aged 27. He is a councilor of the local government in Urk and filled his CV besides jobs by SGP with two years of policy advisor in the fish industry. He did several studies including a political science and public administration study.

The highest listed youth of Forum voor Democratie (FvD) is Frederik Jansen (#7). He is chairman of the youth department of FvD and studied for three years at the University of Amsterdam. He is the information provider of the leader of the party, Thierry Baudet, in the House of Representatives. He wants a country in which the focus is on Dutch culture and representing the problems of the youth as a politician.  

Leon Baten – #6 JA21

If JA21 reaches two seats, the youth is represented by Nicki Pouw-Verweij. Since they have expected seats of 1-3, the focus is on Leon Baten (#6). Born in 2002 (18 years old), he is the youngest representative on the lists of all parties (except an underaged candidate of the party JONG). The main focus of Leon Baten is a critical reconsideration of the role and power of the EU. Due to his age, the only major aspect on his CV is his initiative of EFTA. They state that the EFTA (European free trade agreement) ensures the trade position of the Netherlands even without participation in the EU and therefore stating that the role of the EU on trade is way too big. His main focus is on reexamining the role of The Netherlands and EU, not establishing a NEXIT.  

Bibi Wielinga – #6 VOLT

Lastly, the party of VOLT has a list in which 43% is 30 years or younger. With 1-5 seats expected the highest listed youth, Ernst Boutkan (#3), might already enter the House of Representatives. Therefore it is a devil’s dilemma on whom to focus. If Volt reaches two seats the best option to vote for is Ernst Boutkan. If Volt reaches four or five seats, Bibi Wielinga (#6) is an interesting choice. She is 19 years old and wants to focus on representing minorities. Especially, her focus is on anticonception regulations, better sexual education, and limiting intimidation and aggression against women.

This list includes the highest-listed younger politicians that are not expected to become elected. If these stories are not in line with your opinion, you can search for other youngsters via the site In general, it might be strategically better to focus on the names mentioned above. This is because if the youth of the Netherlands votes for many different young politicians, it is likely that not many of them will reach 25% of 1/150 from the total amount of votes. Keep this in mind when you want to decide another politician than the highest listed in a non-expected seat position.

Voting for specific business areas

If you want to vote for specific business areas, you can analyze the specific business areas of politicians in order to decide which one has the specific quality you want more representing. For example, If you vote VVD and you think that climate is an under-addressed issue in that party, it might be an option to vote for someone that knows all ins and outs about climate change. The JKB is a youth climate movement organization in the Netherlands that organized a special climate change debate. They introduced nine climate candidates you can vote for. Although most of them are already on an expected seat, you might still vote for them to make a statement. If you want more climate knowledge representing in the House of Representatives, it might be interesting to search for someone else within your party than mentioned here. This gives more impact in the representation of politicians that focus on climate change. The climate candidates are: Lammert van Raan (#5 PvDD), Jimmy Dijk (#10 SP), Kauthar Bouchallikht (#9 GroenLinks), Joris Thijssen (#9 PvdA), Rob Jetten (#2 D66), Mark Harbers (#7 VVD) and Pieter Grinswin (#5 Christian Union). Henri Bontenbal (#17 CDA) and Ellen Verkoelen (#3 50Plus) are two climate politicians that are not sure of a place in the House or Representatives based on the polls. Therefore, if you consider one of these parties those two might be interesting climate candidates to vote for. If you want to vote for a specific business area, there is a lot of information available via Linkedin, the website of the specific parties and Google search (many organziations already made voting advise for specific business areas).

Voting for a smaller party vs a bigger party

Lastly, many voters doubt between a new or smaller party and a bigger party. Here it is very briefly and simplified explained what the difference is. It is beneficial to focus on a bigger party if you want direct impact. Bigger parties are likely to become a governmental party and therefore execute more influence than parties that are only represented in the House of Representatives. Some doubt between parties with five or six seats and 10+ seats. Four years ago the Christian Union became a governmental party because they had the missing five seats to support VVD, CDA, and D66 towards a majority. Therefore, smaller parties are those with three or fewer seats in this case. For example, doubts between Christian Union or PvDD (both on 5-7 expected seats) with a bigger party might not be a very valid doubt.

In contrast, voting for a smaller party also has benefits over a bigger party if it better represents your opinion. Many strategic voters prevent smaller parties to grow. If many vote strategically on bigger parties, smaller ones are not able to grow while voters might feel more represented by a smaller party. Especially for new parties reaching one seat is essential in a financial and promotional manner. Two years ago FvD became the biggest party in the country. This was not possible if they did not reach two seats four years ago during other elections. Furthermore, with just 0,67% votes required for a seat, nearly reaching one might influence voters over four years to not vote strategically on a bigger party and help the smaller one towards a seat. Therefore, your vote is definitely not lost when your party does not reach a seat, you might indicate it as an investment.  

Final recap of how to use your vote best

Because both articles are long and might be a lot of information at once, here the usage of preferential voting is summarized explained. First, you should think about what party to vote for and then check how many expected votes they have. Secondly, you should decide about a specific minority group or business area you want more represented in the House of Representatives. Thirdly, you should search for the highest listed politician of your preferential area on a non-expected seat place. You might also vote for a lower-listed politician that fits better with your opinion. However, strategically wise this might also result in two politicians not reaching the required 25% of 1/150. In that situation, none of the two will be represented in the House of Representatives. Furthermore, keep in mind that all uncertain aspects like exact results, become a governmental organization, and the number of politicians reaching 25% of 1/150 votes, all influence the real situation. Therefore, it is not easy to perfectly predict the highest ‘non-elected without enough preferential votes’ politician.

On the internet, there are many websites that focus on specific voting advice. This includes for example more representation of black citizens, entrepreneurs, farmers, women, youth etcetera. Keep in mind the base rule that you should focus on someone in a position that is expected to not receive a seat with the current polls and in most cases, your choice will be correct. Good luck with your choice and hopefully this article helped you out a bit!

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