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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).

Sub Pages

Photo of many faces, the people of the Netherlands.

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?

Partially photo of the chairs in the Plenary Hall.

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 policy-making.

Photo of the Plenary Hall of the Senate.

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.

Photo of representatives in the Plenary Hall.

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 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.

Photo with the Queen and the Cabinet Rutte 2.

The Cabinet

The Cabinet comprises the Prime Minister, the other Ministers and the State Secretaries. The Cabinet formulates and is accountable for the Government’s policies. The Prime Minister acts as president of the Cabinet and chairs the weekly “Council of Ministers”.

Photo of the House of Representatives meeting in the Plenary Hall.

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 the coalition parties, as it were.