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Overview

Seat of government

Published: 04 July 2013 Modified: 04 July 2013

The Netherlands maintains one of the most stable political and social environments in the world. The Hague acts as seat of government although it is not the nation’s capital.

The Dutch government understands the vital importance of the international business community, and corporations can feel extremely confident that government policies will remain generally consistent and flexible to their needs and interests. The broad-based coalitions of the mainstream political parties are committed to maintaining and promoting a strong private sector.

The Government

The Netherlands can be described as a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system; the constitution has determined how the powers are divided between the King and the other institutions of the government. However, the Ministers are accountable to Parliament; the King, who has no political responsibility, is not.

The Cabinet

The cabinet currently consists of 13 ministers and a prime minister. Its responsibilities are: preparing and implementing legislation, overseeing the local government, carrying out the day-to-day business of government and maintaining international relations. If you would like to know more about the different ministries please read the page about Dutch National Ministries.

The Parliament

The Netherlands has a representative democracy and its parliament, or Staten Generaal, is made up of two chambers: the Upper House, or Eerste Kamer, whose 75 members are elected by the members of the provincial councils; and the Lower House, or Tweede Kamer, whose 150 members are elected directly by the people.

The two Houses of Parliament have been given four rights: the right to set a budget; the right of interpellation (to ask the minister for more clarity); the right to put questions to ministers; and the right of enquiry. The Lower House has been given two further rights: the right of amendment and the right to propose legislation.

The Political Parties

The Dutch Lower House of Parliament is elected by proportional representation and there are about ten political parties in the Lower House. Government is put together through coalition with the party with most popular votes appointing the Prime Minister and other parties forming the opposition. For more information about the different political parties please read the page about Political Parties.

Voting

All Dutch citizens 18 years of age or older are eligible to vote. Foreigners who have been a legal resident of the Netherlands for at least five years are also entitled to vote. Since the Netherlands has a large number of political parties that compete for representation, no single party is likely to obtain a majority large enough to govern by itself. This has resulted in a broad distribution of political power.

For more information about the national government visit www.overheid.nl/english/ or www.government.nl

Seat of government