@user Do you remember voting booth curtains in The Netherlands?
Curtains in Dutch Polling stations (2010)
4 years ago
While lurking around this subreddit I suddenly remembered a HUGE, national Mandela Effect type situation a few years ago in my country, The Netherlands.
And the most interesting thing is: that nobody mentioned the Mandela Effect, probably because it was not yet known at that time.
On election day and the days after many, thousands, of people started asking the same question: why were the curtains in our polling station missing? And even a University Professor called it out as a breach of privacy and stated the election should be held again.
Everyone seemed to remember that there used to be curtains in previous elections. To make a long story short, I'm making a bullet timeline about this occurance, for easier reading.
Many, many people seemed to remember the curtains
Including most journalists
Election committee was asked 'where were the damn curtains'?
Answer: we don't know; there were never any curtains
Media jumped on this
Radio 1 (news station) got many angry calls from people that remembered that there in fact were curtains and they felt insulted by the government that claims there were not.
Radio 1 searched the photo archives; unable to produce any picture with curtains
Listeners were not having it and became increasingly militant about it we zijn toch godverdomme niet gek?
Radio 1 asked people to produce their own pictures; stating that many people photograph their first time voting
Nobody came up with evidence
People were shocked that even in their familiy photo's they were robbed of the damn curtains
Meanwhile, journalists coerced the election committee to get physical access to the buildings they stash the poll booths to find the said curtains. Maybe they were somewhere
A picture with curtains popped up, there was much rejoicing
But then a twist: it turned out to be a Belgian polling station
People were still adamant: remembering going behind the curtain with their parents
Radio 1 stated: 'people, there were no curtains, nobody has seen them, there are no receipts, nothing'
Radio 1 now got DEATH THREATS from people refusing to believe there were no curtains.
The station abandoned the search after this, claiming not to speak of it again, since it leads to death threats.
I just realised that this was/ is a ME on a huge scale, 7 years ago, when there was no r/mandelaeffect; nor any trolls; nor false claims. Just people that were very much confused.
My dad still gets pissed when I ask him about those damn curtains.
Any reactions? Maybe fellow Dutchies remembering this?
When you all are interested I could find some more sources on this, but only when you guys find it interesting, since it would take quite some translation from my end. Time I'll only invest if people are in fact interested.
Edits: Example of 1956 polling station | PHOTO |
1971 polling station | PHOTO |
And 2017 polling station | PHOTO |
Recent article from 2017 with a source from local Government who claim that curtains were getting dirty and that was the reason they are not used anymore. Still, no evidence that there were ever curtains.
I wish radio 1 would have done a poll to find out how many people remembered the curtains versus those that said there never were any. I bet we’d see something along the lines of what we see now with ME’s, a large crowd on both sides of the fence. And I bet many were indeed freaked out that their photos had changed to show no curtains in sight. As for the person now saying that the curtains were removed it would be interesting to hear what he is basing this on considering the backlash when this first occurred
Chances are they probably created the story about the curtains being dirty BECAUSE of the backlash, and I'm not sure if I blame them in this case, what with the death threats.
Yeah, like they couldn't wash the goddamn curtains.
Seems like a golden example of an ME.
So I am dutch but I am probably a little too young to give any good feedback on it. I am 25, so I would become 18 and vote for the first time in 2010, but the elections were like a month before my birthday so I did not go. With that said, I can remember the stories about the curtains. I even can remember the stories in the news about the "stemfie" a selfie made while voting. It was deemed against law at some point and was looked into and I remember clearly that part of the reason why people could make them without interference was because curtains would obstruct the view of the voters. Later it was deemed not illegal by a judge but then again, the first time I actually went voting I remember that me to was thinking "Dude, I tought there would be curtains for some privacy?".
I don't remember this it all, haha. Then again, I've never voted in my life, even tho I'm 25.
I asked my mom if she remembered curtains and she said yes. My dad agreed and she asked why I asked and now she's stunned that there never were curtains.
Op · 4y
Funny, you see? Ask anyone above 40 - 45 about this and you will most likely get the same reaction.
Great example of a Mandela Effect, in that it affects a large group of people, and even more interesting in that it is a large group of specific people that provides both a known quantity and locality.
We have a similar problem here in the States but due to the fact that polling places are run a little differently from place to place here, there could be a lot of fluctuation in how the "voting booth" is set up.
The last two times I voted there wasn't a curtain - just a counter top at the recreation center that was used as a polling center.
Prior to that, there was always a curtain in the booths at the polling centers I voted in.
I remember absolutely nothing to do with this, so strange. I was definitely old enough to vote and I did so every chance I had. I know there are no curtains now, but I also don’t remember that they where ever there. But the strangest thing for me is not remembering the discussion about this.
Op · 4y
I guess it depends a lot how tied into the news you were at the time. It was not a total media hype, although it got a lot of attention.
I follow this kind of news quite a lot actually, that’s why I find it so strange. Do you have some sources (no translation needed), I could not find anything more than a blogpost here and there.
There never were curtains, but whenever you see a voting booth on tv or in movies, there's a very high chance you're seeing an American one, which do have curtains, thus causing your confusion.
Op · 4y
This could be the case, since the United States is a big cultural influence on the Netherlands. But it is also a slippery slope. Consider the implications if your mode of reasoning was correct. Would Europeans suddenly find it strange we dont have a Jury in the courtroom? Or would we be baffled by the abcence of Walmarts? Or the fact that you need to be 18 to get a driver's licence and not 16. Etc. Etc.
This would make sense if somebody hypothesized that American movies have a powerful influence on everything you remember, but that's not what's going on here. We are working backwards to find a cause for something that we know for a fact happened (people think there were curtains when there weren't). So we already know that something unusual is going on. Since we know that there isn't a general influence like that from movies, then we can assume that it's something very specific about the depiction of polling places that makes them influence Dutch memory, something that doesn't apply to things like juries and drivers' licenses.
So if we were to guess why people picked up on voting booth curtains from media but not the other things you mentioned, we can compare them to the criteria for a mass false memory--it has to be a common experience, and it should also be something that doesn't really make much practical difference to peoples' lives, because if it did, then reality would tend to correct peoples' misconceptions about it forcefully. Hardly anyone has a jury trial, and drivers' licenses have a huge impact on your life, you are definitely going to be aware of what age you are when you get one. So both of those examples fail one of the criteria. But voting booths fit both criteria--they are a common experience, and whether they have curtains or not doesn't really affect anything. Prime material for the Mandela Effect.
I really can't believe movies caused the confusion. It's a huge group of people and seems half the nation remembers curtains. Not only remembers, but know the smell, texture and color.
Can you explain why people are so confused they are issuing death threats against the radio station?
At least your voting booths are made of actual solid materials, here in australia we have to fill out our giant ballot papers on a tiny flimsy cardboard thing.
· 4y · edited 4y
Yep, this still is a thing when you ask for it in NL 🙂 I'm 36 and I definetly remember the curtains before 2010. The curtains in the polling station in my hometown where thick blue/grey-ish, smelling like old quilt 🙂 You could stand in the booth without being bothered or looked at.
Edit: Seems like you can rent them with curtains: http://paskamerhuren.nl/
I remember curtains from before, but i can't remember when they went missing for me, but i know for sure last election there were no curtains. I also can't remember any of the confusion or media attention mentioned in the post.
This ME would go by completely unnoticed for me if it was not for this post, thanks.
Solved ? hehe
This reminds me of Santa's unwinking episode.
This is great.
One of the best MEs I ever heard of. We need one like that in the US to bring the issue more to the forefront.
"DEATH THREATS from people refusing to believe there were no curtains."
Death threats, how nice. From some confused people... I don't believe they came from some disgruntled listeners... But it does mean that what we are discussing here is serious. You don't get death threats because of an Internet or radio quarrel regarding some obscure memories. Something bigger must be going on.
Check out this story from my neck of the woods from just a couple weeks ago. I couldn't help but think ME. Even I remember what he's talking about but it never happened... LOL
'Privacy in stemhokjes niet gewaarborgd'
NIJMEGEN - In alle stemlokalen in Nijmegen, en mogelijk ook elders in het land, wordt de Kieswet geschonden.
03 maart 2010 18:28
De stemhokjes zijn namelijk niet dusdanig ingericht dat het stemgeheim is gewaarborgd. Door het ontbreken van gordijnen kan niet worden uitgesloten dat mensen tijdens het stemmen worden bespied.
Dat vindt Marcel Wissenburg, hoogleraar politieke theorie aan de Radboud Universiteit. Hij heeft burgemeester Thom de Graaf van Nijmegen in een brief geadviseerd de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen ongeldig te verklaren.
''Een principekwestie'', stelt hij, hoewel hij niet van plan is stappen te ondernemen als De Graaf zijn advies niet opvolgt.
Met de stemcomputer was stemmen volgens Wissenburg veiliger, en bovendien sneller. Maar met het ophangen van gordijnen waarmee de stemhokjes kunnen worden afgesloten, zou hij ook al tevreden zijn.
''Het belangrijkste is dat stemmen vrij en veilig is'', aldus de hoogleraar
Waarom zitten / zaten er geen gordijnen voor de stemhokjes vandaag?
03 March 2010 21:46
Als deze eerder gesteld is dan mijn excuses, maar het viel mij zelf op dat het stemgeheim mogelijk niet gewaarborgd was in mijn stembureau, in Nijmegen (zo las ik net op: http://www.nu.nl/raadsverkiezingen/2197663/privacy-in-stemhokjes-niet-gewaarborgd.html ) heeft een hoogleraar de burgemeester gevraagd de verkiezingen ongeldig te verklaren om dezelfde reden.
Eigenlijk frappant, want volgens mij is het vaker zo 'open' geweest tijdens de vorige verkiezingen hier, dus mijn vraag is, hoe kan dit?
Do's en don'ts in het stemhokje
maandag 13 maart 2017, 22:30
De stemhokjes van vroeger werden gekenmerkt door gordijntjes. Tegenwoordig zijn die overal verdwenen. Van der Veen: ‘Die gordijnen werden een beetje smerig. Jaren geleden is dat in de wet veranderd. Het moet namelijk inzichtelijk zijn wat je in het stembureau doet. Leden van het stembureau kunnen niet zien wat je stemt, maar ze moeten wel zien wat je doet. Zo kan je bijvoorbeeld niet 10 stembiljetten uit je zak halen in het stemhokje.’