Opinion: Dear EU students, go out and vote!

‘Voting is easy. By regular mail you will receive a voting pass, a so-called stempas.’

EU students should exercise an important right that is part of their citizenship: the right to vote in the upcoming local elections, writes Monica den Boer, Member of Parliament.

Dear EU students,

Many of you have come to the Netherlands from all corners of the European Union. With this letter, I wish to remind you that as a European Union citizen, you enjoy many rights and privileges.
Being registered with a university in another EU Member State is a prime example of this. A privilege I personally enjoyed when I studied in Italy. Europe has become part of my identity ever since, and I sincerely hope it will become part of yours as well.

Besides your right to study in the Netherlands, you also have the freedom to find a job here. To work for a Dutch company or maybe even start your own business, after you finalise your studies. Or perhaps continue in scientific research. Many avenues are open. As of now, nothing is set in stone end the possibilities are endless. The freedom to move, study and work all over the EU is a boon to the young generations of Europeans today. Rights to be cherished.

I would like to invite you to actively exercise another important right that is part of your Union citizenship: the right to vote in the upcoming local elections. EU citizens are eligible to vote, no matter how long they have resided in the Netherlands. Other international residents need to live in the Netherlands for at least 5 years, in order to be entitled to vote.

You can take part in the democratic process in whichever city is currently your home. Amsterdam, Groningen, Rotterdam, Maastricht or any other city in the Netherlands.
Even if your residence is only temporary, you can have a say in how your city will be governed for the coming years, by voting on 21 March 2018.

By means of your vote, you have a say in how education, public transport, and bike lanes (I assume you all ride a bike) will develop. A say in local measures to tackle climate change in your city. Or the opening and closing hours of bars and restaurants.

Voting is easy. By regular mail you will receive a voting pass, a so-called stempas. Make sure your address is registered properly with your municipality. Take the stempas and your valid ID with you to a polling station in your municipality. Most probably there will be a polling station close to your university building. In just a few minutes, you can make a real difference in your city!

While our democracy isn’t flawless, it’s vibrant and colourful. Especially at the local level. There will be many parties to choose from. Most of them publish their information in English online. This should help you in making your choice. I wish you all a great deal of wisdom as well as fun in making your choice!

Monica den Boer is Member of
Parliament for the D66 party

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