The Netherlands is a monarchy where the
monarch mainly has a symbolic function as head of state.
Political power lies with the elected parliament, and
the government is appointed based on the composition of
parliament. There are no barriers for small parties in
Parliament, which means that it often takes a long time
to assemble a government coalition after an election.
In the Netherlands, which is a constitutional
monarchy, the regent has limited influence. Previously,
the monarch could play a certain political role when it
comes to appointing government leaders after
parliamentary elections, but that function was
eliminated in 2012. Both female and male consecrations
were applied. When Queen Beatrix abdicated in 2013, son
Willem-Alexander became the first king in the country
Total population and chart of Netherlands for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. Also covers population density, birth rate, death rate and population growth rates.
The House (Staten-Generaal) consists
of two chambers: the First Chamber or the Senate,
and the Second Chamber or the House of
Representatives. Both have four-year terms, but
new elections to the House of Representatives can be
announced during the four-year period. The House of
Representatives has 150 members appointed in general,
proportional elections. They can change the government's
proposals and also initiate their own legislative
proposals. The 75 members of the Senate are elected
indirectly, by the assemblies in the twelve provinces.
The Senate examines legislative proposals and can only
reject or adopt them in their entirety. The second
chamber should always be dissolved at the end of March.
The voting age is 18 years.
The Government, the Council of Ministers, is formed
by parties based on the composition of the Second
Chamber and is only responsible for it. Every minister
has the right to make decisions on behalf of the
government in its area of affairs, so-called
The Council of State is an advisory
body that will review all legislative proposals,
proposals for government decisions and international
agreements that entail legislative changes. The Council
also acts as the country's highest administrative court,
with the right to overturn the decisions of lower
authorities. The members of the government are appointed
for life by the monarch, who is also chairman of the
The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces and
around 400 municipalities. The number of municipalities
has steadily declined in recent decades. The provinces
have limited self-government. They are governed by
councils whose members are elected for four years in
general elections. The governors are appointed by the
monarch. The municipalities have their own police corps
and are responsible for the national accounts. They are
governed by a mayor, appointed by the government,
together with a board appointed by the municipal
council. The members of the municipal council are in
turn elected in general elections.
In addition to the European part, the Kingdom of the
Netherlands also consists of the islands of Aruba,
Curaçao and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. These have
autonomy separately, but the foreign and defense policy
is carried out by the government in The Hague. The
islands were formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Aruba became self-governing in 1986, the other two in
2010 when the Netherlands Antilles dissolved. At the
same time, the Caribbean islands of Bonaire, Sint
Eustatius and Saba became special municipalities within
The Netherlands has a tradition of coalition
governments around the political center. Government
formation sometimes has several months. The work is
complicated by the fact that the number of political
parties in Parliament has at times been large because
there is no barrier to small parties.
The right-wing Liberal People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor
Vrijheid en Democratie, VVD) is rooted
in the business community and has good contacts with the
employers' organizations. It is headed by Mark Rutte,
Prime Minister since 2010. The party emphasizes
individual freedom and private ownership and advocates
reduced taxes. It has long had law and order as a heart
issue and stands for restriction of immigration. It is
basically EU-friendly but has also raised some criticism
of the EU. The VVD backed in the 2017 election compared
to the 2012 election, but it is still the largest party
in the Second Chamber and continued as the largest party
in the four-party government formed in October 2017.
The coalition government also includes the Left
Liberal Democrats '66 (Democrats '66,
D66), which was formed as a protest
party in 1966. The founders wanted to break the
traditional party system through a constitutional reform
that would allow referendums on important issues.
Nowadays, the party is socially liberal and is in many
questions close to the Labor Party.
Coalition governments were long dominated by three
Christian parties, one Catholic and two Protestant. As
voter support declined, the three parties began to
cooperate and in 1980 they disbanded to form a
Christian Democratic appeal (Christen
Democratic Appeal, CDA). The party
holds several political directions, from the left
liberal to the highly conservative. The common goal is
to create a society based on Christian values. The
party, or one of its predecessors, has been a member of
almost all governments since the introduction of
universal suffrage in the 1910s. An exception was
2012–2017, but CDA is part of the coalition government
formed in 2017.
The fourth party in the coalition government is the
Christian Union (Christen Unie,
CU), which was formed in 2000 when two small
parties merged. CU describes itself as a Christian
The populist and anti-immigrant anti- Freedom
Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV),
led by Geert Wilders who left the VVD in 2004, has among
other things campaigned against the "spread of Islam in
society" and demanded that immigration be stopped.
The Workers' Party (Partij van de
Arbeid, PvdA) is very similar to the
Swedish Social Democrats and works closely with the
leading trade union central federation Federatie
Nederlandse Vakbeweging (FNV). In 2012, the PvdA became
almost as large as the VVD and the two subsequently
formed government, but in the 2017 election, the PvdA
The Socialist Party (Socialist
Party, SP) has a Maoist background but,
as a general EU-critical left party, gained voter
success in 2006.
The Green Left (GroenLinks,
GL) was formed in 1989 through a merger of four
left-wing parties. GL lost large parts of its voter
support in the 2012 election.
Even small conservative Calvinist parties have long
been represented in Parliament. One of them, the
Political Reform Party (Staatkundig
Gereformeerde Party, SGP), is the
country's oldest and refuses the principle of
participating in governments. The party first decided in
2006, in the face of the threat of lost state party
support, to allow female party membership.
In Parliament there is also an animal rights party
(Partij voor de Dieren, PvdD) and a
pensioner party, 50+.
The newly formed right-wing Forum for
Democracy (Forum voor Democratie, FVD)
received two seats in the House of Representatives
elections in 2017, but roused in the 2019 provincial
elections and became the largest party. This means that
the right-wing nationalist and EU-critical party will be
the largest in the Senate. But in the EU elections a few
months later, things went much worse than predicted and
the FVD became only the fourth largest party.
Murder of contentious filmmakers
Theo van Gogh - a relative of the famous artist Vincent van Gogh - is
murdered after receiving several death threats. A few months earlier, Theo van
Gogh's controversial film "Submission" on violence against women in Islamic
societies had been shown on Dutch television. A 26-year-old Islamist with dual
citizenship - Dutch and Moroccan - is charged with the murder. Another number of
people are arrested in the following days, and several politicians receive death
threats. After the murder, mosques and Muslim schools are vandalized or
attacked. Churches are also subject to similar deeds.
Setback for the government in EU elections
In the elections to the European Parliament, the three government parties
back CDA, VVD and D66, while the PvdA and SP move forward. A newly formed
EU-critical party, Europe Transparent, led by former EU auditor Paul van
Buitenen, gets 7 percent of the vote (giving two seats in the European
Parliament). Paul van Buitenen was dismissed as an auditor within the EU after
revealing misconduct with the European Commission.
The Queen Mother dies
Queen Beatrix's mother Juliana dies, 94 years old. Juliana herself was queen
for 32 years, from 1948 to 1980.
Applicants for asylum should be expelled
Decides that 26,000 people who have refused their asylum applications should
leave the country within three years; Some of those affected by the decision
have stayed in the Netherlands for almost ten years.