Everything you need to know about Dutch Government


Dutch parliment view from the water pond with fountain

The Netherlands is a democratic country with a parliamentary system. People in the Netherlands have a say in who represents them in parliament. In addition, the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The Constitution establishes the King’s status.

Dutch History

The Netherlands has been a constitutional monarchy since 1815. It had been the proud republic, a confederation of provinces, for ages. The parliamentary democracy came into existence in 1848. The Dutch monarch has no actual political authority but acts as a representational head of state and a symbol of unity amid the country’s fragmented political system.

Dutch Government

In most cases, the Netherlands is ruled by a coalition of political parties. The prime minister is generally chosen from the political party that won more votes in the elections. A member of parliament cannot serve in the government, according to the constitution. The Council of Ministers, which consists of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, and Cabinet ministers, is the foundation of the Dutch government. The country’s policy is directed by the council of ministers, and the minister is in charge of the country with subordinate ministers.

Dutch Parliament

The Parliament also known as the Staten-Generaal der Nederlanden or the States-General of the Netherlands is divided into two houses; Lower House and Senate.

The lower house consists of 150 seats and is elected every 4 years in a direct national election together with the provincial parliaments. The house is responsible for approving budgets, taking legal initiatives, submitting amendments, initiate its inquiries and right to interrogate.

Senate consists of 75 members who approve or reject all Dutch laws without the capacity of making any changes.

When a Dutch citizen reaches the age of 18, he or she is eligible to vote in parliamentary elections. In the Netherlands, voting is not obligatory. Anyone who is 18 years old or older can run for election.


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Dutch Constitution

The Dutch Grondwet (Constitution) lays forth the fundamental framework of the government, as well as people’s rights and the Dutch government’s responsibilities to them. The Constitution is the most significant governmental document and the highest law in the Netherlands.

It was established in 1814, the year the monarchy was established. The Constitution in its current form dates from 1983. The Constitution is, however, subject to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which governs the constitutional relationship between the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Aruba, as well as the rest of the Kingdom.

Dutch other level government

The country is split into provinces on a regional level, each with its own council, administration, and King’s Commissioner. At local level, it is split into municipalities, with each having its council and executive (mayor and aldermen). In the public sector, tens of thousands of people work. Some draft policy and law, while others carry it out (e.g., the police, the army and teachers in state schools).

There are 12 provinces, 352 gemeenten (Municipalities) and lastly, there are also water boards in charge of the lakes, dikes, and other waterworks in the nation.

There are 12 ministries in the Netherlands. Each ministry has at least one minister, however, many have two, as well as a State Secretary in some cases.

Ministry of Justice & Security – Ferdinand Grapperhaus (Minister of Justice and Security), Sander Dekker (Minister for Legal Protection), Ankie Broekers-Knol (Minister for Migration)

Ministry of Finance – Wopke Hoekstra (Minister of Finance), Hans Vijlbrief (State Secretary for Finance – Tax Affairs and the Tax Administration), Alexandra van Huffelen (State Secretary for Finance – Benefits and Customs)

Ministry of Education, Culture & Science – Ingrid van Engelshoven (Minister of Education, Culture and Science) Arie Slob (Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media)

Ministry of General Affairs – This is the Ministry of the Prime Minister, who is also the Minister of General Affairs.

Ministry of Health Welfare and Sport – Hugo de Jonge (Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport), Paul Blokhuis (State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport)

Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy – Stef Blok (Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy), Mona Keijzer (State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy), Dilan Yeşilgöz (State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy)

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management – Barbara Visser (Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management), Steven van Weyenberg (State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management)

Ministry of Defence – Henk Kamp (Minister of Defence)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Tom de Bruijn (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation)

Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality – Carola Schouten (Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality)

Prime Minister The Prime Minister is the government’s leader. The Netherlands’ Prime Minister is Mark Rutte of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy – VVD (liberals).

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