Elections and the formation of a Cabinet

The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy. On behalf of the Dutch people, Parliament scrutinises the Dutch Government and makes laws in cooperation with the Government. The Parliament of the Netherlands is called the States General and is bicameral, i.e. it consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal in Dutch) and the Senate (Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal). General elections for the House of Representatives are held at least every four years.

After the elections to the House of Representatives, the leaders of the political groups negotiate which parties are to form a coalition government for the next four years. Once this has become clear, the formateur selects the candidates for the post of minister or state secretary in the new Cabinet.

Standing for election

Any person wishing to represent the people of the Netherlands in the House of Representatives has to stand for election. People can join a political party or set up a...

The electoral Council sits behind a panel in front of a blue screen. One of the members is holding up a slip of paper which covers a part of his face.


Shortly before the elections, political parties will unveil their plans in their party manifestos. Politicians take to the streets to discuss their goals with the citizens. Throughout the election campaign...

A billboard with campaign posters is set up on the sidewalk. A cyclist cycles by. Across the street there are several houses and on the right hand side of the bill board someone has parked a bike.


On polling day, all Dutch nationals aged 18 or over may cast their vote for a candidate on the candidate list. By casting their vote, people make known which party...

A voting booth during election day

Election result

After the closure of the polling stations at 9 pm the votes are counted. The Central Electoral Office in The Hague gathers all the local polling results, adds them up...

The Chairman receives the definitive results of the elections by the electoral council

New members of the House of Representatives

After the elections, the chairperson of the Central Electoral Office officially notifies the newly elected members of the House of Representatives of their appointment. Subsequently, they must make known if...

In the full plenary hall a member of parliament stands up to take the oath for the inauguration into parliament

The formation process

The election of a new House of Representatives is followed by the formation of a new Cabinet, which is a complex and exciting process.

A room with a blue wall in which a large wooden table is placed. Seven chairs are set around it and flowers are placed on the table as centre pieces.

Tasks of the informateur

It is the informateur’s task to explore the various options for a new Cabinet. He examines which parties are able and ready to form a new Cabinet and any obstacles...

The temporary chairman and the informateur are seated at the official "schrijftafel" which forms the scene of the formation. The chairman is handing over a document to the informateur, who is reaching out to receive it.

Duties of the formateur

The formateur is the man or woman who is likely to become the new Prime Minister. He or she concludes the formation talks.

General Political Debate

Coalition agreement

The Government sets out in the Coalition Agreement what it wants to achieve in the next Cabinet period: for instance a reduction in unemployment, a cleaner environment without damaging the...

The Cabinet Rutte-III and King Willem Alexander

The new Cabinet

At the inauguration ceremony of a new Cabinet the King first appoints and swears in the ministers. This is followed by the traditional photograph of the King and the ministers...

The new cabinet in the Treveszaal 2017

The Government's Policy Statement

The new Cabinet first draws up the Government’s Policy Statement, stating the headlines of the Coalition Agreement. The Prime Minister delivers the Government’s Policy Statement in the House of Representatives...

Debate on the new government's statement 2017