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EACEA National Policies Platform


5. Participation

5.2 Youth participation in representative democracy

Last update: 20 November 2020
On this page
  1. Young people as voters
  2. Young people as political representatives

Young people as voters

The age limit for voting is 18. At this moment there are no plans to lower the age of voting and there are no special provisions for young people in the electoral law and rules.

The turnout of young people in the national elections in 2012 was 71%. The age range of these voters was between 18-25 years. The overall population turnout was 74,6% in 2012.

In the latest national elections of March 2017 the overall population turnout was 89,1%, which was the highest turnout since 1989. Statistics Netherlands published about the outcome of the national elections in March 2017: ‘Political commitment in the Netherlands’ (Politieke betrokkenheid in Nederland, CBS, December 2017). Political participation by voting has risen compared to the years before. An important incentive for political participation is interest in politics. One of the outcomes is that the youngest voters (18-25 years) are more political active eg. in demonstrations and campaigns compared to people of 65 years and up, but they vote less often.

The latest elections for the municipal councils were held in March 2018, with an overall population turnout of 55%. The elections for the European Parliament in May 2014 had an overall turnout of 37,3%. No information could be found on the turnout of young people in these latest local and European Parliament elections.  

Young people as political representatives

Following the constitutional reform of 1983, the minimum age to become eligible as a member of the Tweede Kamer (The House of Representatives) was decreased to 18 years. There is no quota of seats reserved for young people. Almost every political party has a youth wing of which young people between 14 and 27 years can become members.

Examples are:

  • ROOD (RED) (only in Dutch) is  formally affiliated with the Socialistische Partij (SP) (Socialist Party) and is dependent upon the political party.

    De Jongeren Organisatie Vrijheid en Democratie (The Youth Organization Freedom and Democracy) (only in Dutch) is  formally affiliated with the Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) but is independent.

More information about Dutch polititical youth wings can be found on the website (only in Dutch). The age range of the members of the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) (only Dutch) varies from 31 to 66 years.