What you should know about the Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy. Every four years the people cast their vote for the House of Representatives. This is a part of the legislative power. The more votes a party has, the more seats (and therefore power) it gets in the House. So if a party gets 20% of the votes, it should get 20% of the seats (there are 150 seats to divide in the House in total). It's as simple as that.
The Netherlands is also a constitutional monarchy. The government exists of the King and the cabinet: the formation of ministers and state secretaries. The political parties now have to form a majority coalition to form the cabinet. The winning party, in this case the VVD, will be the first to talk to other parties.
What happened exactly?
The VVD, the conservative liberal party of current Prime Minister, won with 33 seats. Although this party is the winner, they lost eight seats compared to the last elections in 2012. Following up is the PVV (Party for Freedom), the extremist right-wing party of Geert Wilders. It won 20 seats, five more than last time. It is not likely that these two will form a coalition, but it could be. Both parties are on the right side of the political spectrum. The PVV being more radical of course.
Tied for third place are CDA (Christian Democratic Appeal) and D66 (Democrats 66, social-liberal) with 19 votes. Big winner of the night was Green Left, they won ten seats compared to their four in the last elections. Big loser was the Labour Party, losing a historical number of 29 seats. They stranded on nine seats now and will probably not be included in the new cabinet.
While many thought the extremist right-wing PVV had a clear shot on winning, this didn't happen. Some said yesterday that was because the Dutch got scared watching America. Geert Wilders has often been compared to Donald Trump. That they didn't vote for Wilders does not mean they didn't vote right-wing. Wilders still got an increase in votes, meaning that more people agree on his points of view now than in 2012. The biggest part of the Netherlands also voted for the VVD, which is a conservative party, only not as radical. Of course the VVD had the advantage of having governed for the last four years and a half. And they did well, the Netherlands grew economically. A change of power doesn't happen often after a period of economic growth.
What happens next?
Now we just have to wait for the new cabinet to be formed. And this might take a long time, Prime Minister Rutte said. If he doesn't chose a coalition with the PVV he needs to have a majority with other parties. VVD definitely needs CDA and D66,but even with them it needs at least one more party. The most logical choice would be Green Left, if it wasn't for the fact that its points of view are really far from those of VVD. So then they would have to look at the Christian parties, but they clash with D66 ethically. To make a long story short, it will take a long time.