Netherlands - Political parties

Party descriptions and CMP left-right scores
Party Type 94 98 02 03 Average
VVD Liberal 15.1 7.2 18.9 28.1 17.3
PvdA Social Democratic 4.3 -22.1 -7.6 -2.8 -7
PVV Conservative (Centre-right)
CDA Christian Democrat -2.6 -1.6 2.5 2.5 0.2
SP Communist -18.2 -18.2 -18.2 -16.9 -17.9
D66 Social Democratic -8.2 -17.8 -8.8 8.4 -6.6
GL Ecologist -15.7 -22.8 -9.1 20 -6.9
CU Christian Democrat 10.6 32.4 21.5
PvdD Special Issue/Ecologist
SGP Christian (Right-wing)

The table shows the periodical scores on left-right position as given in the Comparative Manifesto Project (Volkens, Andrea,, 2010). The scores range from -100 (left) to +100 (right).

Type: Tentative grouping of political parties and alliances based on information provided in the Comparative Manifesto Project and from party descriptions in Europa World Yearbook, Encyclopædia Britannica and in election reports from the European Journal of Political Research and/or Electoral Studies.

VVD - People's Party for Freedom and Democracy - (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie)

VVD was established in 1948 with basis in the secularized middle class. VVD represents the liberal tradition and constitutes a strong supporter of private enterprise in the Netherlands, and is often perceived a centre-right, free market or conservative liberal party. The party promotes fiscal responsibility, democracy and international cooperation, and is in general committed to the idea of the welfare state.

PvdA - Labour Party - (Partij van de Arbeid)

Social-democratic party established in 1946 as a merger between socialist Social Democratic Workers' Party (Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij, SDAP), the minor left-liberal Free-minded Democratic League (Vrijzinnig Democratische Bond, VDB) and the social-protestants Christian-Democratic Union (Christelijk-Democratische Unie, CDU) , in an attempt to break with the tradition of pillarization. The party has four main ideals: shared responsibility, stewardship, justice, and solidarity.

PVV - The Party for Freedom - (Partij voor de Vrijheid)

A Dutch conservative political party which combines economic liberalism with a conservative programme towards immigration and culture. Founded in 2006 as the successor to Geert Wilders's one-man party (Groep Wilders).

CDA - Christian Democratic Appeal - (Christen Democratisch Appèl)

The CDA is a Christian-democratic party established in 1980 as a result of a merger between three religious parties: the Catholic People's Party (Katholieke Volkspartij, KVP), the Christian-Historical Union (Christelijk-Historische Unie, CHU) and the Anti Revolutionary Party (Anti Revolutionaire Partij, ARP). The party represents a center position in terms of economy and defence related politics, combined with conservative leanings. The party has formed part of most ruling coalitions since the end of World War II.

SP - The Socialist Party - (Socialistische Partij)

The Socialist Party was founded in October 1971 as a Maoist party named Communist Party of the Netherlands (Marxist-Leninist). In its manifesto of principals it calls for a society where human dignity, equality and solidarity are most important. Its core issues are employment, social welfare, and investing in education, public safety and health care. The party opposes privatization of public services and is the most vocal Dutch critic of globalisation.

D66 - Democrats 66 - (Democraten 66)

D66 was established in 1966 as a progressive-liberal and radical-democratic political party. The founders appealed to the people of the Netherlands to re-take their democratic institutions. The party renounced the 19th century political ideologies, which dominated the political system and wanted to end pillarization. There are two currents within the party: the radical democrats and the progressive liberals.

GL - GreenLeft - (GroenLinks)

Founded in 1989 as a merger of the Radical Political Party, the Pacifist Socialist Party, the Communist Party of the Netherlands and the Evangelical People's Party. The core ideals of GroenLinks are democracy, respect for the environment, social justice and international solidarity. The party has its historical roots in socialism and pacifism and emphasises the conservation of nature and the environment.

CU - The Christian Union - (ChristenUnie)

Founded in 2000 the CU constitutes an orthodox reformed political party. It combines a conservative point of view on ethical and social issues, with more centre-left ideas on economic and environmental issues.

PvdD - The Party for the Animals - (Partij voor de Dieren)

Animal rights and animal welfare party which claims not to be a single-issue party. The party gained representation in the Dutch parliament in the 2006 elections.

SGP - The Political Reformed Party - (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij)

SGP is an orthodox protestant political party. Founded in 1918 it is the longest existing party in the Netherlands, and for its entire existence it has been in opposition. For its orthodox political ideals and its refusal to cooperate in any cabinet, the party is called a testimonial party.


Political Organizations (The Netherlands), in Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved 16 December 2009 from

Electoral Studies (Elsevier), election reports on the Netherlands.

European Journal of Political Research (European Consortium for Political Research), reports on the Netherlands.

Keman, H. 2008. The Low Countries: Confrontation and Coalition in Segmented Societies. In J.M. Colomer, ed. Comparative European Politics. New York: Routledge, pp. 208-246.

Budge, I.; Klingemann, H.-D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Tanenbaum, E., with Fording, R.C.; Hearl, D.J.; Kim, H.M.; McDonald, M. and Mendez, S. (2001). Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, H.D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Budge, I.; McDonald, M. (2006). Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Volkens, Andrea; Lacewell, Onawa; Regel, Sven; Schultze, Henrike; Werner, Annika (2010): The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR), Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB):