Dutch voters in Sweden nervously anticipate election day
Dutch expats in Sweden have been giving their views on Wednesday's parliamentary election in the Netherlands, which is widely seen as a barometer of whether the populist movements behind Brexit and Trump will sweep away centrist parties in Europe this year.
Close to 13 million Dutch people will head to the polls on Wednesday to cast their ballots in one of the mostly keenly anticipated parliamentary elections in the Netherlands for many years. It also kick-starts a "super election year" in Europe, with crucial votes to follow in France and Germany. Anti-EU sentiments and fears over immigration are also said to be running high in these European countries.
Will the anti-EU, anti-Islam rhetoric of Geert Wilders and his far-right Party for Freedom, which claims to protect Dutch values and norms, triumph on March 15th in the Netherlands, a traditionally open and tolerant country? And would that set the tone for this year's elections in some of Europe's largest economies?
Watching the campaign trail from afar on cable TV, but with thoughts never far from home, are Karen Haandrikman and Elisabeth Schreuder, two Dutch neighbours who live across the street from one another in the Stockholm archipelago.
Haandrikman, who moved to Sweden in 2010, tells Radio Sweden:
Of course when you live abroad you are a bit more distanced to what's going on in your own country and I think it's been a bit scary. If you compare it to Swedish politics - the language used - it's getting so tough and hard, and that's a bit scary. I'm so curious to see what will happen."
So how important is the outcome of this Dutch election for the EU? Elisabeth Schreuder says:
Before, people thought Trump would never get elected and Brexit would never happen, but now that has happened then anything is possible. If Wilder's really is going to win then it could have an effect on the rest of the member states wanting to leave the EU."