I was sent an e-mail today by Faten, a voter in Maastricht in the EU elections [EDIT: Fatan isn't actually a voter, because she is South African. But her partner is Dutch and voted in the elections]. She offers a personal account of going to vote in the Netherlands:
As promised I wanted to drop you a quick email on my observations on how the elections went in Maastricht.
It was a normal cold Thursday morning; people going to work as one sees it every morning on bikes. Pretty much like other days, really. There was no rush to vote. I live next to a voting office, which I pass on my way to work.
The voting office is a school and the traffic of this morning was rather calm - again the usual traffic caused by parents dropping off their kids at school. The City Hall also housed a voting station. To guide the voters, small signs were put up to direct the voters. Those were the only noticeable signs that some type of elections were taking place (if one doesn't know he wouldn't recognize that EU elections are taking place due to the lack of some type of poster of even a sign of the EU flag). However, the preliminary estimates show that 40% of Dutch went out to vote - a higher figure than initially predicted.
One of the key concerns in the run up to the election was that the radical PVV party of Geert Wilders would win the majority of votes. As it looks now, they only got the 2nd position (of course official results still have to be announced). Preliminary results show that CDA (the leading party in government) is leading (20% - 5 seats which is a decline of 2 seats from the previous election) followed by the radical PVV which has secured 15% of the votes according to the preliminary estimates.
The elections were not only 'spiced-up' by the radical PVV but an animal for the animals also run for elections and the preliminary results show that they are close to securing 1 seat. The party is said to represent those who are victims of human cruelty. Interesting!
Hope this helps.