Published 13th August, 2012
Democrats 66 was formed in 1966 as a left of centre progressive non-socialist party by Hans Van Mierlo. They describe themselves as centrist and believe in Social Liberalism. They are also described as favouring pragmatism over ideology and inclined to be libertarian.
Democrats 66 took 11 seats in their first contested general election in 1971 and from 1973 to 1977 were part of the Den Uyl cabinet and again briefly between 1981 and 1982. In 1994 D66 had their greatest success when they took 24 seats and became part of the Purple Government led by the Labour Party (PdvA). Although they dropped to 14 seats in 1998, they remained part of the same coalition until 2002.
In the 2002 election D66 dropped to seven seats and were out of government, but in 2003 despite dropping to six seats they became part of the second Balkenende Cabinet and remained there until they left the coalition in 2006. Their departure did them little good as they dropped to just three seats in the subsequent general election of that year and were again in opposition.
In 2010 D66 climbed back up to ten seats but once more remained in opposition.
Democrat 66 is a member of the Liberal International and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party. In the European Parliament where they hold three of 26 national seats they are members of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group.