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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).

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People’s representation

Photo of many faces, the people of the Netherlands.
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?

House of representatives

Partially photo of the chairs in the Plenary Hall.
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 policy-making.

Senate

Photo of the Plenary Hall of the Senate.
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.

Duties and rights

Photo of representatives in the Plenary Hall.
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 of Representatives. The Senate makes only limited use of its right to scrutinize the work of the Government. Both chambers together constitute the States-General (the Parliament). The Government is obliged to provide both chambers with the necessary information, so as to enable Parliament to scrutinise the work of the Government properly. This obligation is laid down in the Constitution.

The Cabinet

Third Rutte Cabinet after its inauguration
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 Cabinet formulates and is accountable for the Government’s policies.

Coalition vs Opposition

Photo of the House of Representatives meeting in the Plenary Hall.
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 the coalition parties, as it were.