When you vote, you don’t necessarily have to go to the nearest polling station. You can go to any polling station in your municipality. You can also cast your vote in a different municipality if you want to, but remember to apply well in advance. Why not use election day to become better acquainted with the municipality? Here are six unique locations to make celebrating democracy more fun.

City Hall

Ah, a classic. Voting in City Hall, the heart of democracy in Rotterdam. Construction of what is now a national heritage building began in 1914. Not many buildings in the city centre were still standing after the bombardment of 14 May 1940, but the City Hall is one that was. It’s a beautiful building and it’s nice to take a look inside. There is a slight downside: it’s always a popular place to vote, so there’s a very real chance of long queues. Alternatively, you could book a tour for another time, or take a virtual tour online.

A football-themed outing

In the Netherlands, Rotterdam is football heaven. On 22 November, you can vote at all three Rotterdam clubs that are sitting above Ajax in the table. Have you always wanted to take a look inside Het Kasteel, Van Donge & De Roo or De Kuip stadiums? You can’t vote inside De Kuip itself, but you can vote right next door, in Rotterdam Topsportcentrum arena. Get together with your friends and visit all three. If you start with Sparta Stadium (known as ‘Het Kasteel’ – the Castle), then head south to Feyenoord’s home turf, you can cross the Van Brienenoord Bridge to Excelsior’s stadium. If you have a lecture on the Woudestein campus afterwards, you’ll be nice and close. This cycling route is 15.4 kilometres.

‘De Majesteit’ paddle steamer

If you often cycle along Maasboulevard, no doubt you’ve seen the sign: ‘De Majesteit’ paddle steamer. This 1926 cruise ship is usually tied up alongside Blue City 010. It can still sail, but it’s now a party venue. And on 22 November, from half past eight in the morning till nine at night, it will be a polling station. A paddle steamer is a boat propelled by a paddle wheel. As this wheel rotates, it drives De Majesteit’s engine. It’s the only remaining steam-powered ship in the Netherlands.

RSC/RVSV student association – Sociëteit Walhalla

If you’re not a member, you won’t have spent a lot of time inside a student association. This is your chance to visit RSC/RVSV’s Sociëteit Walhalla, the only student association serving as a polling station. The location was built in the late 1960s for the Rotterdam Student Corps. The previous location on Heemraadssingel was too small, and the university had relocated from Pieter de Hoochweg to Kralingen. The student association followed. Prince Bernhard officially opened the building in 1968.

Take a water taxi to Heijplaat

Have you ever travelled by boat to vote? There’s a polling station in Heijplaat, in De Huiskamer 2.0, which is a community hub for local residents. Have a coffee, read a book, play table tennis or pool – and on Wednesday, of course, vote. This corner of Rotterdam started life as a housing estate for the workers of Rotterdam Drydock Company (RDM), who built and maintained ships there. The coolest way to travel to Heijplaat is by water taxi, but you can also get there by metro.

Gallery Untitled

Looking at art while standing in a queue to vote – who wouldn’t want to do that? The Liskwartier neighbourhood has a rather special polling station: Gallery Untitled. It is currently showing a solo exhibition by a pair of collaborating artists, Driessens & van den Baar. Their artworks revolve around nature and landscapes, both threatened and protected. The subjects include fleeing people, forest fires and more. More art is on display in the other rooms. The gallery is not normally open on Wednesdays (only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays), but an exception will be made for the election.

If you don’t have time to go out on Wednesday, there are also polling stations at Erasmus University College, Erasmus MC and on the Woudestein campus. Just remember to take your voting card and your passport to your lectures. You can find all polling stations here.

Verkiezingen potlood stemmen stock illustratie_Bart Huijser

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