The municipal council elections take place on 21 March. But who can vote and whom should you vote for? On Friday 9th of March, about 65 (international) students and expats gathered in Luna to hear more about local politics in Eindhoven.
Eva de Bruijn, Master student Industrial Design (TU/e) and council candidate for GroenLinks, initiated the evening organized together with Studium Generale and international student association Cosmos.
“My mission for Eindhoven is to be a city where everyone is welcome, everyone can participate and everyone feels heard. As I discovered that many internationals in Eindhoven are not aware of their right to vote during the municipal elections, I approached SG and Cosmos to organize an informing event.”
All EU citizens have the right to vote in municipal elections, as do non-EU citizens who have lived in the Netherlands for five years or more (more info here). In a short presentation, Eva introduced the audience to local politics and elections in The Netherlands – taking them from an explanation of the Dutch political system to a step-by-step ‘how to vote’. Politicians from seven political parties (SP, PvdA, ChristenUnie, Ouderen Appèl Eindhoven, VVD, CDA and GroenLinks) were present to discuss such topics as the expansion of Eindhoven Airport and social housing.
Eva: “in the interactive discussion with the audience, two topics stood out. It was painful to hear that many internationals feel excluded when applying for student housing. Furthermore, the attendees pointed out that there is a lack of English information. All the info on the polling card, for example, is in Dutch. To solve this last issue, a first step has now been taken. This Tuesday, GroenLinks, PvdA, VVD, ChristenUnie, BBL, CDA and D66 will present a motion in the city council meeting, in which they request the executive committee to improve the information supply for subsequent elections.”
“The coming four years, I hope we can make Eindhoven more inclusive. Therefore, I hope that internationals will make use of their vote the upcoming elections – no matter what party they choose to support. And if you have ideas to involve internationals in the development of our city, I would love to drink a cup of coffee with you!”
If you would like to discover what party is right for you, an English voting compass is available.
Also check out Cursor’s report of the event.