House of Representatives (Netherlands)

The House of Representatives (Dutch: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal [ˈtʋeːdə ˈkaːmər dər ˈstaːtə(ŋ) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] , literally "Second Chamber of the States General", or simply Tweede Kamer) 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 party-list proportional representation. Generally, the house is located in the Binnenhof in The Hague, however, it has temporarily moved to the former building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Bezuidenhoutseweg 67 in the Hague while the Binnenhof is being renovated.[3]

House of Representatives

Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal
States General of the Netherlands
Vera Bergkamp, D66
since 7 April 2021
First Deputy Speaker
Roelien Kamminga, VVD
since 7 July 2021
Second Deputy Speaker
Martin Bosma, PVV
since 30 June 2010
Political groups
Coalition (demissionary) (77)[1]
  •   VVD (34)
  •   D66 (24)
  •   CDA (14)
  •   CU (5)

Opposition (73)

Party-list proportional representation D'Hondt method
Last election
22 November 2023
Meeting place
Binnenhof, The Hague
(pictured, not in use due to ongoing renovation)
Bezuidenhoutseweg 67, The Hague
House of Representatives

Name edit

Although the body is officially called the "House of Representatives" in English, it 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 "representative" (afgevaardigde), a member of the House is referred to as (Tweede) Kamerlid, or "member of the (Second) Chamber".

Functions edit

Exterior of the House of Representatives at Binnenhof
Exterior of the temporary House of Representatives at Bezuidenhoutseweg 67

The House of Representatives is the main legislative body of the States General, where discussions of proposed legislation and review of the actions of the cabinet take 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.

Elections edit

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

Parties edit

Anyone eligible to vote in the Netherlands also has the right to establish a political party and contest in elections for the House of Representatives. Parties wanting to take part must register 43 days before the elections, supplying a nationwide list of no more than 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 March 2021 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 edit

Candidate lists are given to voters at least 14 days before the election. Each candidate list is numbered, with the candidate in the first position being 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 a national rather than district level, most parties have almost identical lists in all districts with candidates running. Only large parties usually have some regional candidates at the bottom of their lists. From 1973 until its 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.[4]

Registration and voting edit

Citizens of the Kingdom of the Netherlands aged 18 and over have the right to vote. Eligible citizens residing in the Netherlands are automatically invited to vote through their mandatory registration in a municipal population register (Basisregistratie Personen). Eligible citizens living outside of the Netherlands can permanently register to vote at the municipality of The Hague, provided they have a current Dutch passport or identity card. Residents of the constituent countries Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, can only vote if they have spent ten years residing in the Netherlands or work for the Dutch civil service.[5]

Prisoners serving a term of more than one year and in addition have been given the additional penalty of having their voting rights retracted. From 2009 onwards mentally incapacitated citizens have regained the right to vote.[6]

A single vote can be placed on any one candidate. Many voters select one of the party leaders, usually topping the list of party candidates. Voters can give a preference vote for a candidate lower down the list.

Allocation of seats edit

Once the votes have been counted, 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.[7] 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%.[8] 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, they are usually 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. After the November 2006 elections, only one candidate received a seat exclusively through preference votes, while the 26 other candidates who reached 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 edit

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 basis of the scout's interviews, the House of Representatives then appoints an informateur, who checks out possible coalitions, and formateur, who leads negotiations (before 2012, 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 simultaneously 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. Since the current party-list proportional representation system was introduced in 1918, no party has approached the number of seats needed for an outright majority. This fragmentation also makes it almost prohibitively difficult to win enough seats to govern alone. The highest amount of seats won by a single party since then has been 54 out of 150, 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.

Composition edit

Historical compositions edit

Representation per party, between 1946 and 2021

Historically, there have been 100 seats in the House of Representatives. In 1956, this number was increased to 150, at which it remains today.

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 most recent election. The left-wing parties are located towards the bottom, while the Christian parties are located in the centre, and 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 new elections.

Current composition edit

The general election of 2021 was held on 17 March 2021.

People's Party for Freedom and Democracy2,279,13021.8734+1
Democrats 661,565,86115.0224+5
Party for Freedom1,124,48210.7917−3
Christian Democratic Appeal990,6019.5015−4
Socialist Party623,3715.989−5
Labour Party597,1925.7390
Forum for Democracy523,0835.028+6
Party for the Animals399,7503.846+1
Christian Union351,2753.3750
Volt Netherlands252,4802.423New
Reformed Political Party215,2492.0730
Farmer–Citizen Movement104,3191.001New
Code Orange40,7310.390New
Pirate Party22,8160.2200
Trots op Nederland13,1980.1300
Henk Krol List9,2640.090New
List 308,2770.080New
Libertarian Party5,5460.0500
Jesus Lives5,0150.0500
The Party Party3,7440.040New
Ubuntu Connected Front1,8800.020New
Free and Social Netherlands9420.010New
Party of Unity8040.010New
We Are the Netherlands5530.010New
Modern Netherlands2450.000New
Party for the Republic2550.000New
The Greens1190.0000
Valid votes10,422,85299.62
Invalid/blank votes39,8250.38
Total votes10,462,677100.00
Registered voters/turnout13,293,18678.71
Source: Kiesraad

Wasted vote edit

The small fraction of voters, which were not represented by any party in the House of Representatives of the Netherlands despite valid vote, is increasing. The wasted vote fraction is shown below:[9]

Parliamentary leaders edit

Parliamentary leaders Party Service as
parliamentary leader
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
  Sophie Hermans
(born 1981)
VVD 10 January 2022
(1 year, 324 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
  Jan Paternotte
(born 1984)
D66 10 January 2022
(1 year, 324 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
  Jesse Klaver
(born 1986)
[Party Leader]
GL–PvdA 12 May 2015 –
27 October 2023
(8 years, 168 days)
(as leader of the GL parliamentary group)

27 October 2023
(34 days)
(as leader of the GL–PvdA parliamentary group)
17 June 2010
(13 years, 166 days)
  Geert Wilders
(born 1963)
[Party Leader]
PVV 30 November 2006
(17 years, 0 days)
26 July 2002
(21 years, 157 days)

25 August 1998 –
23 May 2002
(3 years, 271 days)
  Pieter Heerma
(born 1977)
CDA 10 January 2022
(1 year, 324 days)

21 May 2019 –
31 March 2021

(1 year, 314 days)
20 September 2012
(11 years, 79 days)
  Lilian Marijnissen
(born 1985)
[Party Leader]
SP 13 December 2017
(5 years, 352 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
Thierry Baudet
(born 1983)
[Party Leader]
FvD 23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
Christine Teunissen
(born 1985)
PvdD 13 October 2022
(1 year, 48 days)
(Temporarily replacing Esther Ouwehand
during her sick leave)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)

11 October 2018 –
31 January 2019
(112 days)
  Mirjam Bikker
(born 1982)
[Party Leader]
CU 17 January 2023
(317 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
  Laurens Dassen
(born 1985)
[Party Leader]
Volt 31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
  Joost Eerdmans
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
JA21 31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)

25 September 2006 –
30 November 2006
(66 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)

23 May 2002 –
30 November 2006
(4 years, 191 days)
  Kees van
der Staaij

(born 1968)
[Party Leader]
SGP 9 June 2010
(13 years, 174 days)
19 May 1998
(25 years, 195 days)
  Farid Azarkan
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
DENK 22 March 2020
(3 years, 253 days)

23 April 2018 –
2 September 2018
(132 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
  Caroline van
der Plas

(born 1967)
[Party Leader]
BBB 31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
  Sylvana Simons
(born 1971)
[Party Leader]
BIJ1 31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
Parliamentary leaders
Service as
parliamentary leader
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
van Haga

(born 1967)
Van Haga
(split from FvD)
13 May 2021
(2 years, 201 days)

24 September 2019 –
1 December 2020
(1 year, 68 days)
31 October 2017
(6 years, 30 days)
Pieter Omtzigt
(born 1974)
(split from CDA)
15 September 2021
(2 years, 76 days)
15 September 2021
(2 years, 76 days)

26 October 2010 –
26 May 2021
(10 years, 212 days)

3 June 2003 –
17 June 2010
(7 years, 14 days)
  Liane den Haan
(born 1967)
Den Haan
(split from 50+)
6 May 2021
(2 years, 208 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)

(born 1977)
(expelled from
28 March 2022
(1 year, 277 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
Geert Wilders is the Party Leader and Chairman of the PVV
Lilian Marijnissen is the Party Leader of the SP
Jesse Klaver is the Parliamentary Party Leader of GroenLinks–PvdA
Thierry Baudet is the Party Leader and Chairman of FvD
Esther Ouwehand is the Party Leader of the PvdD
Mirjam Bikker is the Party Leader of the CU
Laurens Dassen is the Party Leader of Volt
Joost Eerdmans is the Party Leader of JA21
Kees van der Staaij is the Party Leader of the SGP
Farid Azarkan is the Party Leader of DENK
Caroline van der Plas is the Party Leader of the BBB
Sylvana Simons is the Party Leader of BIJ1

Members of the Presidium edit

Portrait Name Position Party Service in the Presidium Service as a member of
the House of Representatives
  Vera Bergkamp
(born 1971)
Speaker D66 31 October 2017
(6 years, 30 days)
20 September 2012
(11 years, 71 days)
  Roelien Kamminga
(born 1978)
First Deputy Speaker VVD 7 July 2021
(2 years, 146 days)
31 March 2021
(2 years, 244 days)
  Martin Bosma
(born 1964)
Second Deputy Speaker PVV 30 June 2010
(13 years, 245 days)
30 November 2006
(17 years, 0 days)
  Anne Kuik
(born 1987)
Third Deputy Speaker CDA 14 April 2021
(2 years, 230 days)
23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
  Michiel van Nispen
(born 1982)
Fourth Deputy Speaker SP 2 April 2014
(9 years, 242 days)
  Tom van der Lee [nl]
(born 1964)
Sixth Deputy Speaker GL–PvdA 23 March 2017
(6 years, 252 days)
  Frank Wassenberg
(born 1966)
Eighth Deputy Speaker PvdD 14 April 2021
(2 years, 230 days)
17 November 2015
(8 years, 13 days)
  Salima Belhaj
(born 1978)
Ninth Deputy Speaker D66 26 January 2016
(7 years, 308 days)

Parliamentary Committees edit

Parliamentary Committee Ministry Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for the Interior [nl] Ministry of the Interior
and Kingdom Relations
Kiki Hagen (D66)
Parliamentary committee for Foreign Affairs [nl] Ministry of Foreign Affairs Attje Kuiken (GL–PvdA)
Parliamentary committee for Finance [nl] Ministry of Finance Judith Tielen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Justice and Security
Ministry of Justice and Security Paul van Menen (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
Ministry of Economic Affairs
and Climate Policy
Agnes Mulder (CDA)
Parliamentary committee for Defence Ministry of Defence Raymond de Roon (PVV)
Parliamentary committee for
Health, Welfare and Sport
Ministry of Health,
Welfare and Sport
Bart Smals (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Social Affairs and Employment
Ministry of Social Affairs
and Employment
Tunahan Kuzu (DENK)
Parliamentary committee for
Education, Culture and Science
Ministry of Education,
Culture and Science
Ingrid Michon (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Infrastructure and Water Management
Ministry of Infrastructure
and Water Management
Tjeerd de Groot (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
Ministry of Agriculture, Nature
and Food Quality
Jaco Geurts (CDA)
Select Parliamentary Committee Ministry Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for
Kingdom Relations
Ministry of the Interior
and Kingdom Relations
Mariëlle Paul (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
European Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Laura Bromet (GL–PvdA)
Parliamentary committee for
Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Jorien Wuite (D66)
Parliamentary committee for
Building Supervision
Ministry of Infrastructure
and Water Management
Ockje Tellegen (VVD)
Parliamentary committee for
Petitions and the Citizen Initiatives
Parliamentary committee for
Intelligence and Security
Sophie Hermans (VVD)
Presidium of the House of Representatives [nl] Vera Bergkamp (D66)
Special Parliamentary Committee Ministry Current Chair
Parliamentary committee for
Digital Affairs
Roelien Kamminga (VVD)

Notes edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Netherlands: Government inaugurated after longest formation to date". DPG Media. 10 January 2022. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  2. ^ "GroenLinks-PvdA (GL-PvdA)". Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal. 27 October 2023. Retrieved 27 October 2023.
  3. ^ "Renovatie van het Binnenhof en de tijdelijke verhuizing van de Tweede Kamer". (in Dutch). 27 February 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  4. ^ Gijs Herderscheê (20 June 2017). "Fenomeen politieke lijstverbinding sneuvelt in Eerste Kamer". Volkskrant.
  5. ^ Kiesgerechtigdheid, Government of the Netherlands, 22 April 2016, retrieved 2 December 2018
  6. ^ Uitsluiting kiesrecht, Government of the Netherlands, 22 April 2016, retrieved 3 September 2023
  7. ^ "Kieswet, Hoofdstuk P". (in Dutch). 22 February 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  8. ^ "Kiesdrempel, kiesdeler en voorkeurdrempel". (in Dutch). 22 April 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2019.
  9. ^ "Bekendmaking uitslag Tweede Kamerverkiezing 2021". Kiesraad (in Dutch). 22 April 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2021.

External links edit

52°4′47″N 4°18′53″E / 52.07972°N 4.31472°E / 52.07972; 4.31472