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The Dutch 2016 Referendum: Voice, No Exit

In a referendum, the electorate has its say. Subsequently it is up to the politicians to translate the ‘vox populi’ into specific policy and legislation. But that is not as straightforward as it may seem. What are voters actually saying, and why? Reflecting on the Dutch experience (the 2016 referendum on the EU-Ukraine association treaty and earlier cases), political scientists Joop van Holsteyn and Tom Louwerse (Leiden University), find that referendums give a voice to criticism towards the European project. The Dutch ‘no’ in April 2016, however, was not a step towards a ‘Nexit’, as those in favour of a ‘Brexit’ currently like to frame it.

Joop van Holsteyn & Tom Louwerse
16 June 2016
History & Policy
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