Lessons from the Dutch local elections
In the recent local elections of March 2018, the Dutch GroenLinks (Green-Left) won 8.7 per cent of the vote, cementing their position as the largest force on the Left of Dutch politics. In 13 municipalities, including major cities such as Amsterdam, GroenLinks is now the largest party. There are many useful lessons for Greens around Europe to draw from both the context underlying the results and from the effective campaign that GroenLinks ran.
Prior to this election, GroenLinks had never won more than 6.7 per cent of the vote so the result is certainly historic. As is the fact that the party became the leading force in many municipalities, including the capital Amsterdam as well as university cities such as Utrecht, Nijmegen, and Delft. In the local elections four years ago, the party won 5.4 per cent. What is even more exceptional, however, is that the party performed impressively outside of its traditional strongholds. For instance, GroenLinks is now the largest party in the southern city of Helmond, once an industrial centre. Now poised to enter government in at least 36 of the 100 largest municipalities, before the elections it was in government in only 16. (...)