political system The Netherlands
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March 2021: Ducht elections.

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Today we are going to discuss the political system in The Netherlands, known as Holland, due to their close election scheduled for the 17th of March 2021.

In this country, political power is divided between several different bodies. We will give you a concise summary of how the Dutch Political system works.

The Netherlands is actually run by four authoritative bodies:

  1. The central Dutch government

The central Dutch government is the major political institution in the Netherlands. It is a ‘monarchical’ government, which means that it is not made up of only ministers and state secretaries. The Dutch monarch, King Willem-Alexander, is part of the government too.

Therefore, the Dutch government can also be described as a ‘constitutional monarchy’, with a parliamentary system.

Some examples of how power is distributed: The Parliament holds certain rights, which allow them to check the power of the government, the Ministers are accountable to Parliament whereas the King is not although he has no political responsibility.

The Dutch King is in a strange political position compared to other western and closer systems. Since 1848 the Ministers have been responsible for acts of Parliament, even for everything the King does or says. Nevertheless, the Queen, the King and the princesses cannot make any public statements without first consulting the Prime Minister.

  1. A Provincial Government

Responsible for: social work, cultural affairs, environmental management.

  1. Municipal Governments

Involved in such duties: traffic, housing, social services, health care, sport, culture.

  1. Water Boards

They manage the water levels, the sewage treatment, the water barriers, the waterways and the water quality.

The Dutch government is composed of the lower house (Parliament) and the upper house (Senate).

There are 150 MPs (Members of Parliament) in the Parliament elected every four years or earlier if the government collapses.

Their function is to make new laws and pay attention to what ministers are up to. The 75 senators are elected every four years too. The responsibilities of the members of the senate are to think wisely on the implications of new legislation.

This body cannot amend rules or norms, it is only allowed to accept it or reject it.

To vote for electing the new Parliament, people must be a Dutch national aged at least 18.

This year, due to the Covid, some polling stations had been opened early on March 15[th] and 16[th] as well. Furthermore, this year, citizens aged more than 70 had been able to vote by post.

Non-Dutch nationals had been allowed to vote in the local and EU elections and for the water boards, provided they meet certain conditions.

Political system in The Netherlands: how does voting work?

The Dutch system is based on proportional representation according to an approved list of candidates.

The Leader of the party is located on the top list, while the last name is frequently a celebrity who wants to show his or her support for the party. Several parties may appear on the ballot paper, but only which overcame the electoral quota will end up with an MP.

The results

There is much work to be done: Prime minister Mark Rutte has thanked voters for giving his party its fourth election victory in a row, and sent ‘major congratulations’ to D66 leader Sigrid Kaag.

The programme for the months ahead is huge,’ he said. ‘We need to lead the Netherlands through the current crisis with the present cabinet and make a fresh start as a country.’ That, he said, means focus on the middle class, on small firms, on the climate and on housing. ‘We want to make sure that the Netherlands is again one of the best performing countries in the world,’ he said. ‘There is a very, very, very large amount of work to do.


Denk was founded in 2015 by two Dutch Turkish MPs when they split from the Labour party (PvdA) and went on to win three seats in the 2017 vote.

Forum voor Democratie

This party is conservative, right-wing populist and Eurosceptic.


It was formed in 1990 from a grouping of four smaller left-wing and green parties. The main values are environmental sustainability and social justice.


Labour Party was formed in 1946 and immediately formed part of the first post-war coalition government but it has struggled in recent years and its support collapsed at the last election, when it won just nine seats. The party is still struggling to find its feet.


Party for Animals was established in 2002 and claims to be the first mainstream political party in the world to put animal rights first.

This is the most orthodox of the fringe Christian parties and usually wins 2 or 3 seats in the 150-member parliament.


The populist-left Socialistische Partij is anti-EU, anti-globalisation, and pro the working man – similar to the PVV, but without the racism.

Three days of voting has began Monday 15th morning and has ended at 9 pm, with the voting spread out over several days due to the ongoing pandemic.

The Netherlands is one of the EU’s larger and more prosperous economies.

In fact, their economy contracted by 4% in 2020, compared to the 6,8% contracted experienced by the wider euro zone.


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Info Astrid Amodeo

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European citizen and Consular Agent. She has a diplomatic background and a degree in EU law. She began traveling abroad to study at the age of 14, knows seven foreign languages including Arabic and Russian, and is fluent in four of them. Committed to the EU and politics, Astrid writes for Liguria.Today and in each monthly appointment discusses a changing Europe, vast and complex but not difficult to be understood.

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