This Is Why Dutch Voted 'No' On Ukraine
11 April, 2016

Hromadske travels to the Netherlands to report on crucial vote regarding Ukraine. The Dutch are deciding by referendum whether they support an association agreement between Ukraine and the EU.

Boris van Westering lives near the polling station on Herengracht street in Amsterdam. He voted “Yes”. The station where Boris voted at is situated in an elite district of Amsterdam. It is home to lawyers, financiers and university professors. Most of them are for the association. These people believe in a European future and admit that Ukraine must be a part of it; they don’t support the eurosceptics. The most noticeable radical eurosceptic party, “For Freedom” is led by Geert Wilders.

While waiting for a train or drinking a coffee, one can vote for or against Ukraine’s European integration. One of the voting stations is located in the central railway station, right on the platform. The voting station was set up in a coffeehouse, to encourage as many voters as possible to take part in the referendum. Nevertheless, the turnout appeared to be lower than in national elections, according to the commission. Just like at the voting station in the elite district, many supporters of the association vote here. The “Young Democrats,” the unofficial youth wing of the “Democrats 66” party, share such European optimism. Their video about the annexation of Crimea, where a Dutch town by the name of de Krim appears, received 10,000 views on YouTube. To recreate the annexation of Crimea, the young politicians even rented a military machine. They call to support the association and to free Ukraine as well.

However, the referendum is more than just discussion. It will have a judicial consequence. Experts are encouraging people not to succumb to the optimism that is prevalent at the central voting stations in Amsterdam. In smaller villages and towns, people are more critical about the association. And many Dutch citizens, as appeared to Hromadske reporter, just don’t care about it.