Democracy in the Netherlands

The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy. Normally once every four years the Dutch citizens entitled to vote (Dutch nationals aged 18 or over) elect the people who will represent them in Parliament, so the elections are the basis of democracy.

Parliament’s duties include scrutinising the work of the Government and making new laws in cooperation with the Government. The Dutch Parliament is called “the States General”. It is bicameral, which means it consists of two chambers: the Senate (Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal) and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal).

People’s representation

The members of the Senate and the House of Representatives represent the people of the Netherlands. But how do these representatives of the people know what their voters want?

People walking in the streets of The Hague

House of representatives

The main duties of the House of Representatives are co-legislation and checking that the Government carries out its work properly. The House of Representatives also plays an important role in...

The front of the building of the House of Representatives.


The main task of the Senate is to adopt or reject bills, but it is also the duty of the Senators to scrutinise the work of the Government.

A man is standing in a room full of green desks, some of which members of the Senate are seated at.

Duties and rights

The House of Representatives has two main duties: making laws and scrutinising the work of the Government. The main task of the Senate is considering bills approved by the House...

A woman puts her vote into the election collection bin

The Cabinet

The Cabinet comprises the Prime Minister, the other ministers and the State Secretaries. The Prime Minister acts as president of the Cabinet and chairs the weekly "Council of Ministers". The...

Third Rutte Cabinet after its inauguration

Coalition vs Opposition

The political parties that make up the Cabinet are called coalition parties. Parties that are not included in the Cabinet are called opposition parties. They can be said to oppose...

a minister is speaking into the microphone. Next to him people are sitting behind a panel