Most bills (a proposal for a new law) are introduced in Parliament by the Government. The House of Representatives can adopt, reject or amend a bill. An MP can also take the initiative to put forward a proposal for a new law, a so-called initiative bill. Not until after the Senate has also adopted the proposal does a bill become law.

European directives

The European Union makes rules, too. These are laid down in so-called directives. After all, it is important for the cooperation between the countries of Europe that some issues are dealt with in the same way everywhere. This is why the Dutch Government will incorporate European directives in Dutch legislation. The Government and the House of Representatives can exercise little influence on the content of laws of this kind, because all EU member states are held to comply with the European directives.

  1. Bills

    Bills

    If the ministers agree on the draft bill, it is submitted for advice to the Council of State, the major advisory body to the Government. The Council of State checks the draft bill against contravention of other laws or treaties and examines its impact on the citizens.

  2. Advice from the Council of State

    Advice from the Council of State

    If the ministers agree on the draft bill, it is submitted for advice to the Council of State, the major advisory body to the Government. The Council of State checks the draft bill against contravention of other laws or treaties and examines its impact on the citizens.

  3. Royal Message

    Royal Message

    A Government bill is conveyed to the King together with the advice of the Council of State. The so-called Royal Message is appended, i.e. the official text by which the King presents a bill to the House of Representatives. The bill is now made public.

  4. Standing Committee: preparatory examination

    Standing Committee: preparatory examination

    The bill and the accompanying advice from the Council of State are first examined by a Standing Committee of the House of Representatives. All political groups can propose changes to the bill, make remarks and pose questions.

  5. Plenary debate: amending and adopting

    Plenary debate: amending and adopting

    After consideration by a Standing Committee the bill is defended in a plenary meeting of the House by those who proposed it: usually the member(s) of the Cabinet in charge, but sometimes one or more MPs (initiative bill). In the debate about the bill, the various parties try to convince one another of their respective views.

  6. Senate: yes or no?

    Senate: yes or no?

    After a bill has been adopted by the House of Representatives it is submitted to the Senate. The Senate examines and discusses the bill in great detail and may only adopt or reject it. The Senate does not have the right to make changes to a bill by proposing amendments.

  7. The new law comes into force

    The new law comes into force

    When a bill has also been adopted by the Senate, the King or Queen will sign it and the Minister in charge will countersign it. The bill has now become a law.

  8. The law in actual practice

    The law in actual practice

    Departments and local authorities together constitute the country’s administration. They implement the laws, but the Government remains responsible. The House of Representatives verifies on behalf of the Dutch people that the Government carries out its work properly.