- on invitation only -

Taking a closer look at the consequences of the Dutch parliamentary elections results

The impact of the Dutch election results of 22 November 2023 on Humanitarian NGOs and the development organisations will be big. It is expected that the new right-wing parliament will make new policy choices with major implications for the positioning of the Netherlands on a variety of global issues (climate, migration, human rights) and in the field of humanitarian diplomacy.

The election results can be seen as a wake-up call. The small progressive left in the House of Representatives faces a large block of conservatives, nationalist and populists. Furthermore, the tone of discussions about refugees, minorities, environment, development cooperation and the cultural norms has changed. Of course, the result could (must) be seen as a justified call from the voters to draw more attention to livelihood security (living/work). However, does this result also mean that there is a big group of Dutch people that has little or no affinity left for international solidarity? Or is it that ‘we’, as the humanitarian NGOs and development organisations, do not reach this group of Dutch people well enough? Either way, the election result forces the sector to further reflect on this result.

This was a private meeting for policy makers, communication staff from members and partners of KUNO.


A critical-constructive introduction was facilitated by:

  • René Cuperus (Clingendael), co-author of the ‘Atlas van Afgehaakt Nederland’ (2021). (Atlas of disengaged Netherlands)
  • Mirjam Vossen, media scientist

Several sub-themes were further explored in parallel thematic work sessions. The morning was concluded with short feedback from the work sessions and the panel discussion

Summary event

The first introduction was given by René Cuperus who spoke about growing populism that causes weakening of Western democracies. The humanitarian sector needs national solidarity. However, right now there is a mismatch between the public opinion and the humanitarian sector. A big group in the Netherlands does not feel heard and respected by the Dutch government, causing distrust. Therefore, the humanitarian sector needs to be able to explain again what their share is in saving Europe.

The second introduction was given by Mirjam Vossen who touched upon the problems surrounding communication about migration. In their communication, NGOs seem to use messages that only resonate with a small group of people. It is therefore important for them to adapt their messages to something that the people they want to reach can identify with.

Interested in learning more about this session? Read the report <here>. This report is written in Dutch.

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