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House of Representatives (Netherlands)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

House of Representatives

Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal
States General of the Netherlands
Coat of arms of the Tweede Kamer.svg
Khadija Arib, Labour Party
since 13 January 2016
First Deputy Speaker
Netherlands Tweede Kamer 2020.svg
Political groups
Government (demissionary)(75)[1]
  •   VVD (32)
  •   CDA (19)
  •   D66 (19)
  •   CU (5)

Opposition parties (75)

Party-list proportional representation D'Hondt method
Last election
15 March 2017
Next election
17 March 2021
Meeting place
The Second Chamber sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague
The Hague,
House of Representatives

The House of Representatives (Dutch: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, pronounced [ˈtʋeːdə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(n) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] (About this soundlisten); commonly referred to as the Tweede Kamer, literally Second Chamber of the States General) is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands, the States General, the other one being the Senate. It has 150 seats, which are filled through elections using a party-list proportional representation. It sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague.


Although this body is officially called the "House of Representatives" in English, this is not a direct translation of its official Dutch name, the "Second Chamber of the States General", "Second Chamber" or more colloquially just the "Chamber". Rather than "representatives" (afgevaardigden), members of the House are referred to as Tweede Kamerlid ("member of the Second Chamber").


The House of Representatives is the main chamber of the States General, where discussion of proposed legislation and review of the actions of the cabinet takes place. Both the Cabinet and the House of Representatives itself have the right to propose legislation; the House of Representatives discusses it and, if adopted by a majority, sends it on to the Senate. Review of the actions of the cabinet takes the form of formal interrogations, which may result in motions urging the cabinet to take, or refrain from, certain actions. No individual may be a member of both parliament and cabinet, except in a caretaker cabinet that has not yet been succeeded when a new House is sworn in.

The House of Representatives is also responsible for the first round of selection for judges to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. It submits a list of three names for every vacant position to the Government. Furthermore, it elects the Dutch Ombudsman and their subsidiaries.


The normal term of the House of Representatives is four years. Elections are called when the government loses parliament's confidence, the governing coalition breaks down, the term of the House of Representatives expires or when no governing coalition can be formed.


Anybody eligible to vote in the Netherlands also has the right to establish a political party and contest elections for the House of Representatives. Parties wanting to take part must register 43 days before the elections, supplying a nationwide list of at most 50 candidates (80 if the party already has more than 15 seats). Parties that do not have any sitting candidates in the House of Representatives must also pay a deposit (11,250 euro for the November 2006 elections, for all districts together) and provide 30 signatures of support from residents of each of the 20 electoral districts in which they want to collect votes.

Party lists

The candidate lists are placed in the hands of the voters at least 14 days before the election. Each candidate list is numbered, with the person in the first position known as the lijsttrekker ("list puller"). The lijsttrekker is usually appointed by the party to lead its election campaign, and is almost always the party's political leader and candidate for Prime Minister. Parties may choose to compete with different candidate lists in each of the 20 electoral districts, but as seats are allocated on national rather than district level, most parties have almost identical lists in all districts with candidates running nationwide. Only large parties usually have some regional candidates at the bottom of their lists. From 1973 until abolition in June 2017 it was possible for two or more parties to combine their separate lists to increase the chance of winning a remainder seat. This was known as a 'list combination' or Lijstverbinding / lijstencombinatie.[2]

Registration and voting

Citizens of the Kingdom of the Netherlands aged 18 or over have the right to vote, with the exception of 1) prisoners serving a term of more than one year 2) those who have been declared incapable by court because of insanity 3) residents of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, unless they have spent ten years residing in the Netherlands or work for the Dutch civil service.[3] Eligible citizens resident in the Netherlands are able to vote if they are registered on a municipal population register (Basisregistratie Personen). Eligible citizens outside the Netherlands can permanently register to vote at the municipality of The Hague, provided they have a current Dutch passport or identity card.

A single vote can be placed on any one candidate. Many voters select one of the lijsttrekkers (Jan Peter Balkenende, for example, received 2,198,114 of the CDA's 2,608,573 votes in the November 2006 elections), but alternatively a preference vote may be made for a candidate lower down the list.

Allocation of seats

Exterior of the House of Representatives
Exterior of the House of Representatives

Once the election results are known, the seats are allocated to the parties. The number of valid national votes cast is divided by 150, the number of seats available, to give a threshold for each seat (the kiesdeler); 1/150th is approximately 0.67% of the valid votes. Each party's number of votes is divided by this threshold, and rounded down to the nearest whole number, to give an initial number of seats equal to the number of times the threshold was reached.[4] Any party that received fewer votes than the threshold fails to gain representation in the House of Representatives. After the initial seats are allocated, the remainder seats are allocated among the parties that received at least one seat, using the D'Hondt method of largest averages. This system slightly favours the larger parties. Since parties that received fewer votes than required to obtain one whole seat are not eligible for remainder seats, there is a de facto election threshold of 0.67%.[5] This threshold is one of the lowest for national parliaments in the world, and there are usually multiple parties winning seats with 2% or less of the vote. Any party that did not have seats in the House at the time of the election will have its deposit refunded if it receives more than 75% of the threshold (1/200th of the vote).

Once the number of seats allocated to each party is known, in general they are allocated to candidates in the order that they appear on the party's list. (Hence, before the elections, the candidates near the top may be described as in an electable position, depending on the number of seats that the party is likely to obtain.) At this stage, however, the preference votes are also taken into account. Any candidate receiving more than one quarter of the threshold on personal preference votes (the 'preference threshold' or voorkeursdrempel, 0.1675% of the total number of valid votes), is considered elected in their own right, leapfrogging candidates higher on the list. In the November 2006 elections, only one candidate received a seat exclusively through preference votes, while 26 other candidates reaching the preference threshold were already elected based on their position on the list. If a candidate cannot take up the position in parliament (e.g., if they become a minister, decide not to enter parliament, or later resign) then the next candidate on the list takes their place.

Formation of governing coalition

After all seats are allocated, a series of negotiations take place in order to form a government that, usually, commands a majority in the chamber. Since 2012, the House of Representatives appoints a "scout" to ask the major party leaders about prospective coalitions. On the basis of the scout's interviews, the House of Representatives then appoints an informateur, who checks out possible coalitions, and formateur, who leads negotiations (in previous years the informateur and formateur were appointed by the monarch). It typically takes a few months before the formateur is ready to accept a royal invitation to form a government and become prime minister. All cabinet members must resign from parliament, as the constitution does not allow a cabinet member to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.

Due to the nationwide party-list system and the low election threshold, a typical House of Representatives has ten or more factions represented. Such fragmentation makes it nearly impossible for one party to win the 76 seats needed for a majority in the House of Representatives. Indeed, since the current party-list proportional representation system was introduced in 1918, no party has even approached the number of seats that are even theoretically needed to govern alone, let alone win enough for an outright majority. The highest proportion of seats won by a single party since then has been 54 out of 150, obtained by the CDA in 1986 and 1989. Between 1891 and 1897, the Liberal Union was the last party to have an absolute majority of seats in the House of Representatives. All Dutch cabinets since then have been coalitions of two or more parties.

House of Representatives offices

The buildings that house the individual offices of the Members of the House of Representatives and conference rooms for closed-door party meetings are all located on the Binnenhof. The main buildings of the old Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Colonial Affairs are used as accommodations.


Historical compositions

Representation per party, between 1946 and 2018
Representation per party, between 1946 and 2018

Until 1956, there were 100 seats. This was expanded to 150 seats, which is the current number.

To give an overview of the history of the House of Representatives, the figure on the right shows the seat distribution in the House from the first general elections after World War II (1946) to the current situation. The left-wing parties are towards the bottom, the Christian parties in the centre, with the right-wing parties towards the top. Occasionally, single-issue (or narrow-focus) parties have arisen, and these are shown at the extreme top. Vertical lines indicate general elections. Although these are generally held every four years, the resulting coalition governments do not always finish their term without a government crisis, which is often followed by fresh elections. Hence the frequent periods shorter than four years.

Current situation

The Dutch general election of 2017 was held on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, and followed the call for new elections after the Second Rutte cabinet had completed its four-year term. The new Members of the House of Representatives were installed on 23 March 2017. Four parties were required to form a coalition with a simple majority (76 seats). Rutte's VVD, as well as the CDA, D66 and CU parties, later agreed to form a governing coalition with the required one-seat majority after the longest time since an election took place, 209 days, surpassing the previous record of 208 days set after the 1977 general elections.

Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

e • d Summary of the 15 March 2017 Dutch House of Representatives election results
Party Lijsttrekker Votes % +/ Seats +/
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy VVD Mark Rutte 2,238,351 21.3 −5.3 33 −8
Party for Freedom PVV Geert Wilders 1,372,941 13.1 +3.0 20 +5
Christian Democratic Appeal CDA Sybrand Buma 1,301,796 12.4 +3.9 19 +6
Democrats 66 D66 Alexander Pechtold 1,285,819 12.2 +4.2 19 +7
GroenLinks GL Jesse Klaver 959,600 9.1 +6.8 14 +10
Socialist Party SP Emile Roemer 955,633 9.1 −0.6 14 −1
Labour Party PvdA Lodewijk Asscher 599,699 5.7 −19.1 9 −29
Christian Union CU Gert-Jan Segers 356,271 3.4 +0.3 5 +0
Party for the Animals PvdD Marianne Thieme 335,214 3.2 +1.3 5 +3
50PLUS 50+ Henk Krol 327,131 3.1 +1.2 4 +2
Reformed Political Party SGP Kees van der Staaij 218,950 2.1 +0.0 3 +0
Denk DENK Tunahan Kuzu 216,147 2.1 New 3 +3
Forum for Democracy FvD Thierry Baudet 187,162 1.8 New 2 +2
VoorNederland VNL Jan Roos 38,209 0.4 New 0
Pirate Party PP Ancilla van de Leest 35,478 0.3 +0.0 0
Artikel 1 A1 Sylvana Simons 28,700 0.3 New 0
Nieuwe Wegen NiWe Jacques Monasch 14,362 0.1 New 0
Entrepreneurs Party OP Hero Brinkman 12,570 0.1 New 0
Lokaal in de Kamer LidK Jan Heijman 6,858 0.1 New 0
Non-Voters NS Peter Plasman 6,025 0.1 New 0
The Civil Movement DBB Ad Vlems 5,221 0.1 New 0
GeenPeil GP Jan Dijkgraaf 4,945 0.0 New 0
Jezus Leeft JL Florens van der Spek 3,099 0.0 New 0
Free-Minded Party VP Norbert Klein 2,938 0.0 New 0
Libertarian Party LP Robert Valentine 1,492 0.0 +0.0 0
Party for Human and Spirit / Basic Income Party / V-R MenS-BIP Tara-Joëlle Fonk 726 0.0 −0.2 0
StemNL SNL Mario van den Eijnde 527 0.0 New 0
Free Democratic Party VDP Burhan Gökalp 177 0.0 New 0
Total valid votes 10,516,041 100 150
Blank votes 15,876 0.15
Invalid votes 31,539 0.3
Total 10,563,456 100
Registered voters & turnout 12,893,466 81.9 +7.3
Source: Kiesraad

Parliamentary leaders

Portrait Name Party Service as
Parliamentary leader
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Klaas Dijkhoff
Klaas Dijkhoff
(born 1981)
VVD 25 October 2017
(3 years, 86 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)

17 June 2010 –
20 March 2015
(4 years, 276 days)
Geert Wilders
Geert Wilders
(born 1963)
[Party Leader]
PVV 30 November 2006
(14 years, 50 days)
26 July 2002
(18 years, 207 days)

25 August 1998 –
23 May 2002
(3 years, 271 days)
Pieter Heerma
Pieter Heerma
(born 1977)
CDA 21 May 2019
(1 year, 243 days)
20 September 2012
(8 years, 121 days)
Rob Jetten
Rob Jetten
(born 1987)
D66 9 October 2018
(2 years, 102 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Jesse Klaver
Jesse Klaver
(born 1986)
[Party Leader]
GL 12 May 2015
(5 years, 252 days)
17 June 2010
(10 years, 216 days)
Lilian Marijnissen
Lilian Marijnissen
(born 1985)
[Party Leader]
SP 13 December 2017
(3 years, 37 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Lilianne Ploumen
Lilianne Ploumen
(born 1962)
PvdA 14 January 2021
(5 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Gert-Jan Segers
Gert-Jan Segers
(born 1969)
[Party Leader]
CU 10 November 2015
(5 years, 70 days)
20 September 2012
(8 years, 121 days)
Esther Ouwehand
Esther Ouwehand
(born 1976)
[Party Leader]
PvdD 9 October 2019
(1 year, 102 days)

9 October 2018 –
31 January 2019
(114 days)

24 January 2012 –
14 May 2012
(111 days)
18 October 2016
(4 years, 93 days)

30 November 2006 –
17 November 2015
(8 years, 352 days)
Corrie van Brenk
Corrie van Brenk
(born 1960)
50+ 3 May 2020
(261 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Kees van der Staaij
Kees van der Staaij
(born 1968)
[Party Leader]
SGP 9 June 2010
(10 years, 224 days)
19 May 1998
(22 years, 245 days)
Farid Azarkan
Farid Azarkan
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
DENK 22 March 2020
(303 days)

23 April 2018 –
2 September 2018
(132 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Thierry Baudet
Thierry Baudet
(born 1983)
[Party Leader]
FvD 23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Parliamentary leader
Former Party
Service as
Parliamentary leader
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Femke Merel van Kooten
Femke Merel 
 van Kooten

(born 1983)
Member Van Kooten
(Left the PvdD)
6 August 2020
(166 days)

16 July 2019 –
3 May 2020
(292 days)
4 February 2019
(1 year, 350 days)

23 March 2017 –
15 October 2018
(1 year, 206 days)
Henk Krol
Henk Krol
(born 1950)
Member Krol
(Left 50+)
3 May 2020
(261 days)

10 September 2014 –
3 May 2020
(5 years, 236 days)

20 September 2012 –
4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
10 September 2014
(6 years, 131 days)

20 September 2012 –
4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg
Wybren van Haga
(born 1967)
Member Van Haga
(Expelled from VVD)
24 September 2019
(1 year, 117 days)
31 October 2017
(3 years, 80 days)
Also Party Leader

Members of the Presidium

Portrait Name Position Party Service in the Presidium Service as a member of
the House of Representatives
Khadija Arib
Khadija Arib
(born 1960)
Speaker PvdA 13 January 2016
(5 years, 6 days)
1 March 2007
(13 years, 324 days)

19 May 1998 –
30 November 2006
(8 years, 195 days)
Ockje Tellegen - 2018.jpg
Ockje Tellegen
(born 1974)
First Deputy Speaker VVD 31 October 2017
(3 years, 80 days)
20 September 2012
(8 years, 121 days)
MartinBosma2017 (cropped).jpg
Martin Bosma
(born 1964)
Second Deputy Speaker PVV 30 June 2010
(10 years, 295 days)
30 November 2006
(14 years, 50 days)
Madeleine van Toorenburg (2017) (cropped).jpg
Madeleine van 

(born 1968)
Third Deputy Speaker CDA 31 October 2017
(3 years, 80 days)
1 March 2007
(13 years, 324 days)
Vera-Bergkamp (cropped).jpg
Vera Bergkamp
(born 1971)
Fourth Deputy Speaker D66 31 October 2017
(3 years, 80 days)
20 September 2012
(8 years, 121 days)
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg
Tom van der Lee
(born 1964)
Fifth Deputy Speaker GL 14 June 2018
(2 years, 219 days)
23 March 2017
(3 years, 302 days)
Ronald van Raak
Ronald van Raak
(born 1969)
Sixth Deputy Speaker SP 23 June 2010
(10 years, 302 days)
30 November 2006
(14 years, 50 days)
Joël Voordewind
Joël Voordewind
(born 1965)
Seventh Deputy Speaker CU 20 September 2012
(8 years, 121 days)
30 November 2006
(14 years, 50 days)
Henk Nijboer
Henk Nijboer
(born 1983)
Eighth Deputy Speaker PvdA 5 June 2018
(2 years, 228 days)
20 September 2012
(8 years, 121 days)

Parliamentary Committees

Parliamentary Committee Ministry Jurisdiction Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for the Interior Ministry of the Interior 
 and Kingdom Relations
Domestic policyCivil servicePublic administration
Local Government AffairsProvincial Government AffairsElections
Erik Ziengs (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for Foreign Affairs Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign relationsForeign policyBenelux UnionNATODiaspora Pia Dijkstra (D66)
Parliamentary committee for Finances Ministry of Finance Economic policyMonetary policyFiscal policyTax policy
Financial marketGovernment budget
Judith Tielen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Justice and Security
Ministry of Justice and Security Justice systemLaw enforcementPublic security
Emergency managementImmigration policy
Paul van Meenen (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Ministry of Economic Affairs 
 and Climate Policy
Commercial policyIndustrial policyEnergy policy
Environmental policyTechnology policySpace policyTourism
Isabelle Diks (GL)
Parliamentary committee for Defence Ministry of Defence Armed forcesMilitary policyVeterans AffairsMilitary police
Defence diplomacyHumanitarian aid
Aukje de Vries (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Health, Welfare and Sport
Ministry of Health, 
 Welfare and Sport
Health careHealth policyHealth insurancePharmaceutical policy
Vaccination policyWelfareBiomedical sciencesSport
Helma Lodders (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Social Affairs and Employment
Ministry of Social Affairs 
 and Employment
Social policyEmploymentLabour economicsOccupational safety and health
Social securityConsumer protectionTrades unionsEmancipation
Michel Rog (CDA)
Parliamentary committee for
Education, Culture and Science
Ministry of Education, 
 Culture and Science
Education policyCultural policyScience policyKnowledge policy
ResearchArtGender equalityCommunicationMedia
Ockje Tellegen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for 
 Infrastructure and Water Management
Ministry of Infrastructure 
 and Water Management
TransportWater ManagementAviationHousing policyPublic works
Spatial planningLand management
Agnes Mulder (CDA)
Parliamentary committee for 
 Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature 
 and Food Quality
Agricultural policyFood policyFood safetyFisheries
Natural resourceNatural conservationForestryAnimal welfare
Attje Kuiken (PvdA)
Select Parliamentary Committee Ministry Jurisdiction Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for 
 Kingdom Relations
Ministry of the Interior 
 and Kingdom Relations
Kingdom Relations Jan Paternotte (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
European Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs European Union Hayke Veldman (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Investment policyInternational tradeExport promotionDevelopment Cooperation
Foreign Disaster reliefInternational Environmental policies
Raymond de Roon (PVV)
Parliamentary committee for
Building Supervision
Ministry of Infrastructure 
 and Water Management
Illegal construction • Construction Fraud Ockje Tellegen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Petitions and the Citizen Initiatives
ReferendumsInitiatives Sven Koopmans (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for 
 Intelligence and Security
IntelligenceSecurityNational securityComputer security Klaas Dijkhoff (VVD)
Presidium of the House of Representatives House of Representatives Administration Khadija Arib (PvdA)
Special Parliamentary Committee Ministry Jurisdiction Current Chair
Special Parliamentary committee for
Digital Future
Digital Infrastructure • Internet accessWi-FiDigital rights Kathalijne Buitenweg (GL)
Special Parliamentary committee for
Investigation of Unwanted Influence from Foreign Entities
Foreign electoral intervention • Foreign donations policy Michel Rog (CDA)

In the media

Plenary sessions of the house are broadcast via a live audio-only transmission called the Tweede Kamerlijn, available on the internet and through most Dutch cable operators. The service also broadcasts important committee meetings if there is no plenary at the time.


  1. ^ "Netherlands: Coalition deal reached after 209 days". DW. Deutsche Welle. 9 October 2017. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  2. ^ Gijs Herderscheê (20 June 2017). "Fenomeen politieke lijstverbinding sneuvelt in Eerste Kamer". Volkskrant.
  3. ^ Kiesgerechtigdheid, Government of the Netherlands, retrieved December 2, 2018
  4. ^ "Kieswet, Hoofdstuk P". (in Dutch). 2019-02-22. Retrieved 2019-07-07.
  5. ^ "Kiesdrempel, kiesdeler en voorkeurdrempel". (in Dutch). 2016-04-22. Retrieved 2019-07-07.
  6. ^ "Nieuwkomers Denk en Forum krijgen geen andere plek in zaal Tweede Kamer". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). 2017-04-06. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  7. ^ "Verhuizing Kamer lastige puzzel door eisen kleine partijen". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 2017-04-07. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  8. ^ "Reken niet zomaar op de SGP". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). 2017-06-02. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  9. ^ "Partijen onderhandelen over werkplek - wie eindigt op zolder?". NRC Handelsblad (in Dutch). 2017-03-21. Retrieved 2017-11-04.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 January 2021, at 18:38
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