Voting in water authority elections

Anyone resident in the Netherlands can vote in waterschapsverkiezingen (water authority elections), regardless of citizenship, provided that you meet certain conditions. Water authority elections take place every 4 years at the same time as the provincial council elections.

Last updated 18 April 2023

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Water authorities in the Netherlands

There are 21 water authorities in the Netherlands. They are responsible for maintaining the dikes and sluices. They ensure the correct water level and are responsible for purifying waste water.  

Each water authority has an elected General Board, the majority of whose members are elected by residents who are eligible to vote.  

The other members represent the interests of farmers and the natural environment, and are not elected by residents. 

Who can vote in water authority elections?

You may vote for the management of your water authority if: 

  • you are at least 18 years of age;  
  • you are not excluded from voting (in Dutch); 
  • you are a resident of an area covered by the water authority; You are entitled to vote for the water authority where you live on the day when the candidates are nominated, i.e. 44 days before the election.

Voting for a water authority

Bear the following things in mind when voting: 

At least 14 days before the election: 

stempas (polling card) in Dutch will be sent to you at your home address. You must take the polling card, together with  proof of your identity (link in Dutch), to the stembureau (polling station).

At least 4 days before the election: 

You will receive the list of candidates, including the addresses of the polling stations.  

Proxy voting: 

If you are unable to vote in person, for example because you have to work or are on holiday, you can authorise another voter to cast your vote on your behalf (in Dutch).

Laws and regulations (in Dutch)

Grondwet, artikel 4

Kieswet, artikelen B 2a tot en met B 5

Kiesbesluit, afdeling II

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