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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) 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.

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
Tweede Kamer 2017.svg
Political groups
Government (76)[1]
  •      VVD (33)
  •      CDA (19)
  •      D66 (19)
  •      CU (5)

Opposition parties (74)

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
Tweede Kamer


Although this body is called the "House of Representatives" in English, this is not a direct translation of its Dutch name, the "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 listsEdit

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 votingEdit

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 seatsEdit

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 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 coalitionEdit

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 officesEdit

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 compositionsEdit

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 situationEdit

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.

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 leadersEdit

Portrait Name Party Service as Parliamentary leader Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Klaas Dijkhoff
(born 1981)
VVD 25 October 2017
(1 year, 327 days)
23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)

17 June 2010 –
20 March 2015
(4 years, 276 days)
  Geert Wilders
(born 1963)
PVV 30 November 2006
(12 years, 291 days)
26 July 2002
(17 years, 83 days)

25 August 1998 –
23 May 2002
(3 years, 271 days)
  Pieter Heerma
(born 1977)
CDA 21 May 2019
(119 days)
20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)
  Rob Jetten
(born 1987)
D66 9 October 2018
(343 days)
23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
  Jesse Klaver
(born 1986)
GL 12 May 2015
(4 years, 128 days)
17 June 2010
(9 years, 92 days)
  Lilian Marijnissen
(born 1985)
SP 13 December 2017
(1 year, 278 days)
23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
Lodewijk Asscher
(born 1974)
PvdA 23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
  Gert-Jan Segers
(born 1969)
CU 10 November 2015
(3 years, 311 days)
20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)
  Marianne Thieme
(born 1972)
PvdD 31 January 2019
(229 days)

15 May 2012 –
11 October 2018
(6 years, 149 days)

30 November 2006 –
24 January 2012
(5 years, 55 days)
31 January 2019
(229 days)

15 May 2012 –
11 October 2018
(6 years, 149 days)

30 November 2006 –
24 January 2012
(5 years, 55 days)
  Henk Krol
(born 1950)
50+ 10 September 2014
(5 years, 7 days)

20 September 2012 –
4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
10 September 2014
(5 years, 7 days)

20 September 2012 –
4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
  Kees van der Staaij
(born 1968)
SGP 9 June 2010
(9 years, 100 days)
19 May 1998
(21 years, 121 days)
  Tunahan Kuzu
(born 1981)
DENK 2 September 2018
(1 year, 15 days)

23 March 2017 –
23 April 2018
(1 year, 31 days)
20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)
Thierry Baudet
(born 1983)
FvD 23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
Parliamentary leader
Group/Member Name
Former Party
Service as Parliamentary leader Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
  Femke Merel van Kooten
(born 1983)
Member Van Kooten
(Left the PvdD)
16 July 2019
(63 days)
4 February 2019
(225 days)

23 March 2017 –
15 October 2018
(298 days)

Members of the PresidiumEdit

Portrait Name Position Party Service in the Presidium Service as a member of
the House of Representatives
  Khadija Arib
(born 1960)
Speaker PvdA 13 January 2016
(3 years, 247 days)
1 March 2007
(12 years, 200 days)

19 May 1998 –
30 November 2006
(8 years, 195 days)
  Ockje Tellegen
(born 1974)
First Deputy Speaker VVD 31 October 2017
(1 year, 321 days)
20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)
  Martin Bosma
(born 1964)
Second Deputy Speaker PVV 30 June 2010
(9 years, 171 days)
30 November 2006
(12 years, 291 days)
Madeleine van Toorenburg
(born 1968)
Third Deputy Speaker CDA 31 October 2017
(1 year, 321 days)
1 March 2007
(12 years, 200 days)
  Vera Bergkamp
(born 1971)
Fourth Deputy Speaker D66 31 October 2017
(1 year, 321 days)
20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)
  Tom van der Lee
(born 1964)
Fifth Deputy Speaker GL 14 June 2018
(1 year, 95 days)
23 March 2017
(2 years, 178 days)
Ronald van Raak
(born 1969)
Sixth Deputy Speaker SP 23 June 2010
(9 years, 178 days)
30 November 2006
(12 years, 291 days)
  Joël Voordewind
(born 1965)
Seventh Deputy Speaker CU 20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)
30 November 2006
(12 years, 291 days)
  Henk Nijboer
(born 1983)
Eighth Deputy Speaker PvdA 5 June 2018
(1 year, 104 days)
20 September 2012
(6 years, 362 days)


  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 linksEdit