Obviously, the major recent story out of the Netherlands is the recent election, which took place on Wednesday. The top three parties in the legislature, the House of Representatives, maintained rank, with the top two gaining seats from last time. (The Dutch use proportional representation.) The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) took first place with 41 out of the 150 seats (up 10 seats from last time), and with the second-place Labour Party gaining 38 seats (up 8 from last time), that's enough to form a coalition. That shuts out the third-place Party For Freedom, which pulled out of the coalition formed in the previous election in 2010 over- what else- the pan-European financial crisis. The VVD (center-right) and Labour Party (center-left) were on board for sticking with the Eurozone gameplan; the Freedom Party (right-wing) wanted to pull out of the euro and go back to the guilder. In all, nine parties won at least one seat, the same nine as last time.
VVD and Labour have to hammer out exactly what will happen now that the Freedom Party is out of the coalition (down 9 seats, from 24 to 15), with the austerity-vs.-stimulus debate taking center stage. That's still taking place. But the feeling is that they've basically excised the crazy from a position of power. Geert Wilders, the Freedom Party leader who triggered the election in the first place, is widely seen as the biggest loser of the election, having made a major tactical blunder. In addition to his anti-euro platform, the election also deals a blow to his accompanying anti-Islam and anti-immigration platform planks.
Two other big losers on Wednesday were Christian Democratic Appeal (center-right), which fell from fourth place and 21 seats to fifth place and 13 seats; and GreenLeft (left, duh), which dropped from a tie for sixth and 10 seats to eighth place and 4 seats. VVD and Labour accounted for all but three seats worth of gains on the night. The Pirate Party, which focuses on freedom of information, was hoping to get a seat in the House, but came up just short in tenth place.
Instead, for now the Pirates, and their multinational brethren, will just have to keep focusing on shooting down SOPA clones.