Tomorrow most of the Netherlands goes to the polls for local elections. This will be the first time I can vote in the Netherlands! This is because I have lived in the Netherlands for five uninterrupted years.
Here is a picture of my stempas (voting card) with personal information greyed out:
The card arrived in the mail a few weeks back, automatically. In the Netherlands every person is required to register with the municipality in the Basisregistratie Personen (BRP) or the Personal Records Database. I did that within a few days of moving to the country. It records life’s big moments – birth, marriage, divorce, and death, along with address changes. The database is used to determine who can vote for what. (In my case, I can vote for the local elections but I will never be able to vote for anything higher unless I obtain Dutch citizenship.)
There are some good sites available for voters, both in English and in Dutch. In this case, I tend to seek out information in English due to the nature of what I am reading, but I also supplement it with information in Dutch. For example, DutchNews.nl has some information and links available for expat voters.
There are, of course, various polls available to see which party matches your interests the best. For example, Stemwijzer Den Haag (knowledge of Dutch required).
Finally, here’s a look at what the ballot looks like.