Third Rutte cabinet

The third Rutte cabinet has been the cabinet of the Netherlands since 26 October 2017. It was formed by a coalition government of the political parties People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Democrats 66 (D66) and Christian Union (CU) after the general election of 2017. The cabinet formation took 225 days, a record high in the Netherlands.

Third Rutte cabinet
Rutte–De Jonge–Ollongren–Schouten cabinet
Flag of the Netherlands.svg
70th cabinet of the Netherlands
Kabinet-rutte3-bordes.jpg Rutte-3.png
Date formed26 October 2017 (2017-10-26)
3 years, 360 days in office
Date dissolvedDemissionary since 15 January 2021 (2021-01-15)
People and organisations
Prime MinisterMark Rutte
Deputy Prime MinisterHugo de Jonge
Kajsa Ollongren
Carola Schouten
Total no. of members16
Member partyPeople's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)
Democrats 66 (D66)
Christian Union (CU)
Status in legislatureCentre to centre-right coalition government
Opposition leaderGeert Wilders
Election(s)2017 election
Outgoing election2017
Legislature term(s)2017–2021
Incoming formation2017 Dutch cabinet formation
PredecessorRutte II

The cabinet served during the late 2010s and the start of the 2020s. Notable issues during the third Rutte cabinet included the childcare allowance affair (Dutch: toeslagenaffaire), the farmers protests and the COVID-19 pandemic in the Netherlands. The cabinet fell on 15 January 2021 as a response to a critical report about the childcare allowance affair.[1]


The 2017 general election resulted in a House of Representatives where at least four parties would be required to form a coalition with a majority (76 seats). Media sources speculated that incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the VVD would seek to form a government with the support of the centre-right CDA and liberal D66. The CU was thought to be the most likely candidate to be the fourth member of the coalition.[2] Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Edith Schippers, was selected by the VVD to serve as the party's informateur on 16 March and appointed by Speaker of the House Khadija Arib, seeking to determine whether Jesse Klaver of GroenLinks (GL) solely desired a left-wing government, or instead simply viewed the VVD as an unlikely coalition partner. Similarly, talks with Emile Roemer of the Socialist Party (SP), who repeatedly stated during the campaign that his party would not govern with the VVD, remained a possibility.[3]

The leaders of D66, the CDA, the PvdA, the VVD, the SP, GL and the CU stated that they would not enter a coalition with the PVV;[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] Roemer also said that the SP would not join a coalition with the VVD.[11]

The first proposed coalition was one involving the VVD-CDA-D66 and GL. This was the preferred coalition of Alexander Pechtold, Lodewijk Asscher and Gert-Jan Segers, while Jesse Klaver continued to argue that the major policy differences between GL and the VVD would make a coalition difficult.[12] Nevertheless, the four parties began more serious negotiations toward a coalition agreement. The Nederlandse Omroep Stichting (NOS) reported that "labour market reform, investment in law enforcement and additional money for nursing homes" would be areas of agreement between the parties, while "refugee policy, income distribution, climate and medical ethics issues are potential stumbling blocks".[13]

On 15 May, talks on the proposed four-way VVD-CDA-D66-GL coalition failed. It was reported that the main dispute concerned immigration, but GL Leader Jesse Klaver cited climate issues and income differences as other issues where the parties disagreed. The end of the talks was reported to be a consensus decision, with no party blaming any others.[14][15]

Coalition talks were reported to be at an impasse, with the VVD and CDA favouring a coalition with the CU, D66 favouring a coalition with either the PvdA or the SP, the SP being absolutely opposed to a coalition with the VVD, the CDA being opposed to a coalition without the VVD, the PvdA rejecting any coalition, and all parties with more than five seats rejecting a coalition with the PVV. D66 said that it would consider a coalition with the CU very difficult due to disagreements on medical-ethical issues such as doctor-assisted suicide, due to the lack of representation of the political left within that coalition, and due to the small majority of one seat in both chambers, which could make for an unstable coalition.[16][17]

In late June 2017, discussions began again between the VVD, D66, the CDA and the CU under the lead of new informateur Herman Tjeenk Willink. After a three-week summer break, talks resumed on 9 August 2017, and were reported to be close to a conclusion due to representatives of unions and employers' organizations joining the discussions, which typically happens near the end of such negotiations.[18][19] In September 2017, a budget deal compromise was reached allowing the coalition talks to continue. While still 'close to conclusion', it appeared likely that the talks about government formation would exceed the record since World War II of 208 days set in 1977.[20] After 208 days of negotiations, the VVD, D66, CDA and CU agreed to a coalition under a third informateur, Gerrit Zalm,[21][22][23] and all members of the House of Representatives of the involved parties approved the agreement on 9 October 2017.[24] On 26 October the new cabinet was formally installed, 225 days after the elections, setting a record for the longest cabinet formation in Dutch history.

On 7 October 2019, the government lost its majority when Wybren van Haga, after being expelled from Rutte's VVD party for allegedly renovating a building he owned without the necessary permits, decided to sit as an Independent. Had he resigned, another member on the VVD electoral party list would have replaced him, maintaining Rutte's parliamentary majority of one. According to Politico EU, van Haga wrote he would vote with the government on established coalition policy, but would make his own decisions on future laws.[25]



The Third Rutte cabinet repealed the Referendum Act passed in 2015, although that proposal was written in none of the coalition parties' election platforms. It stated the law had not delivered what was expected; results from the 2016 Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum and 2018 Intelligence and Security Services Act referendum have been going against government proposals. The cabinet also deconstitutionalised the method of appointment of mayors and King's commissioners, thus allowing the method to be changed by law.[26]


The cabinet plans to simplify income tax, reducing the number of tax brackets to two. Income below 68,600 would be taxed at 36.9% and income from 68,600 onward at 49.5%. There are also plans to increase the lower VAT rate from 6 to 9%.[26] A plan to abolish dividend tax proved so controversial that it was discarded in October 2018.[27] Instead, the cabinet will now lower corporation tax more than was initially planned; the higher rate will be lowered from 25 to 20.5%, and the lower rate from 20 to 15%.[26]


In judicial matters, the cabinet intends to end the automatic conditional release of prisoners after two thirds of their sentence and to shorten asylum permits from five to three years, after which refugees can request an extension of another two years.[26]


The cabinet intends to reform the labour market and pension system. Laws around the termination of employment will be relaxed, while paid sick leave will be shortened. The cabinet initially planned to allow employers to pay handicapped people below the minimum wage, which would then be supplemented by local government. However, this proposal was later retracted.[26]


The cabinet pledged to ban the sale of non-emission-free cars by 2030. There are also plans to introduce a flight tax by 2021.[26] In March 2018, the cabinet also pledged to end gas extraction from the Groningen gas field within twelve years.[28]


Ministers in the third Rutte Cabinet
Title Minister Term of office Party
Start End
Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs   Mark Rutte 14 October 2010[i] Incumbent VVD
First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport   Hugo de Jonge 26 October 2017 Incumbent CDA
Second Deputy Prime Minister   Kajsa Ollongren 26 October 2017 1 November 2019[ii] D66
  Wouter Koolmees (acting) 1 November 2019 14 May 2020
  Kajsa Ollongren 14 May 2020 Incumbent
Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality   Carola Schouten 26 October 2017 Incumbent CU
Minister of Foreign Affairs   Halbe Zijlstra 26 October 2017 13 February 2018[iii] VVD
  Sigrid Kaag (ad interim) 13 February 2018 7 March 2018 D66
  Stef Blok 7 March 2018 25 May 2021[iv] VVD
  Sigrid Kaag 25 May 2021 17 September 2021[iii] D66
  Tom de Bruijn (ad interim) 17 September 2021 24 September 2021
  Ben Knapen 24 September 2021 Incumbent CDA
Minister of Justice and Security   Ferd Grapperhaus 26 October 2017 Incumbent CDA
Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations   Kajsa Ollongren 26 October 2017 1 November 2019[ii] D66
  Raymond Knops (acting) 1 November 2019 14 April 2020 CDA
  Kajsa Ollongren 14 April 2020 Incumbent D66
Minister of Education, Culture and Science   Ingrid van Engelshoven 26 October 2017 Incumbent D66
Minister of Finance   Wopke Hoekstra 26 October 2017 Incumbent CDA
Minister of Defence   Ank Bijleveld 26 October 2017 17 September 2021[iii] CDA
  Ferd Grapperhaus (ad interim) 17 September 2021 24 September 2021
  Henk Kamp 24 September 2021 Incumbent VVD
Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management   Cora van Nieuwenhuizen 26 October 2017 31 August 2021[iii] VVD
  Barbara Visser 31 August 2021 Incumbent
Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy   Eric Wiebes 26 October 2017 15 January 2021[iii] VVD
  Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (ad interim) 15 January 2021 20 January 2021
  Bas van 't Wout 20 January 2021 25 May 2021[iii]
  Stef Blok 25 May 2021 Incumbent
Minister of Social Affairs and Employment   Wouter Koolmees 26 October 2017 Incumbent D66
Ministers without portfolio in the third Rutte Cabinet
Ministry Title Minister Term of office Party
Start End
Foreign Affairs Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation   Sigrid Kaag 26 October 2017 10 August 2021[v] D66
  Tom de Bruijn 10 August 2021 Incumbent
Justice and Security Minister for Legal Protection   Sander Dekker 26 October 2017 Incumbent VVD
Education, Culture and Science Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media   Arie Slob 26 October 2017 Incumbent CU
Health, Welfare and Sport Minister for Medical Care and Sport   Bruno Bruins 26 October 2017 19 March 2020[iii] VVD
  Martin van Rijn (ad interim) 23 March 2020 9 July 2020 Ind.[vi]
  Tamara van Ark 9 July 2020 3 September 2021[iii] VVD
Interior and Kingdom Relations Minister for the General Intelligence and Security Service   Ank Bijleveld (acting)[vii] 1 November 2019 14 April 2020 CDA
Minister for the Environment and Housing   Stientje van Veldhoven (acting)[vii] 1 November 2019 14 April 2020 D66
State secretaries in the third Rutte Cabinet
Title Portfolio State secretary Term of office Party
Start End
State Secretary for Justice and Security[viii]
  • Integration
  • Immigration
  • Asylum Affairs
  • Minority Affairs
  Mark Harbers 26 October 2017 21 May 2019[iii] VVD
  Ankie Broekers-Knol 11 July 2019 Incumbent
State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations
  • Privatization Policy
  • Government Real Estate
  • Kingdom Relations
  Raymond Knops 26 October 2017 1 November 2019[ix] CDA
14 April 2020 Incumbent
State Secretary for Finance
  • Fiscal Affairs
  • Tax Administration
  • National Mint
  • Gambling Policy
  Menno Snel 26 October 2017 18 December 2019[iii] D66
  Hans Vijlbrief 29 January 2020 Incumbent
  • Benefits
  • Customs Administration
  Alexandra van Huffelen 29 January 2020 Incumbent
State Secretary for Defence
  • Personnel Affairs
  • Equipment Policy
  • Special Ops Policy
  Barbara Visser 26 October 2017 31 August 2021[x] VVD
State Secretary for Infrastructure and Water Management
  • Environmental Policy
  • Public Transport
  • Rail Infrastucture
  • Meteorological Institute
  Stientje van Veldhoven 26 October 2017 1 November 2019[xi] D66
14 April 2020 19 July 2021[iii]
  Steven van Weyenberg 10 August 2021 Incumbent
State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
  • Small Business Policy
  • Regional Development
  • Digital Infrastructure
  • Tourism Affairs
  Mona Keijzer 26 October 2017 25 September 2021[xii] CDA
  • Climate Policy
  • Energy Policy
  Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius 25 May 2021 Incumbent VVD
State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment
  • Social Security
  • Youth Policy
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Unemployment Affairs
  • Equality
  • Emancipation
  Tamara van Ark 26 October 2017 9 July 2020[xiii] VVD
  Bas van 't Wout 9 July 2020 20 January 2021[xiv]
  Dennis Wiersma 10 August 2021 Incumbent
State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport
  • Elderly Policy
  • Disability Affairs
  • Veteran Affairs
  Paul Blokhuis 26 October 2017 Incumbent CU
  1. ^ Retained this position from the previous cabinet.
  2. ^ a b Kajsa Ollongren took an extended medical leave of absence on 1 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Resigned from this position.
  4. ^ Stef Blok was appointed Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.
  5. ^ Sigrid Kaag was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs on 25 May 2021, and was replaced as Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation by Tom de Bruijn on 10 August 2021.
  6. ^ Martin van Rijn is a member of the Labour Party, but joined the cabinet independently as Minister for Medical Care (ad interim).
  7. ^ a b Served in an acting capacity due to the medical leave of absence of Kajsa Ollongren.
  8. ^ Allowed to use the title "Minister for Migration" while on foreign business.
  9. ^ Raymond Knops was appointed Minister for the Interior and Kingdom Relations (acting).
  10. ^ Barbara Visser was appointed Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management.
  11. ^ Stientje van Veldhoven was appointed Minister for the Environment and Housing (acting).
  12. ^ Mona Keijzer was dismissed as State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy on 25 September 2021.
  13. ^ Tamara van Ark was appointed Minister for Medical Care.
  14. ^ Bas van 't Wout was appointed Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.


  1. ^ "Kabinet-Rutte III gevallen". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  2. ^ "Dutch election: Wilders defeat celebrated by PM Rutte". BBC News. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Nederland Kiest: 'formatie wordt moeilijk, moeilijk, moeilijk'". NOS. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Wilders: liever een coalitie dan een revolte". NOS. 2 February 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Buma weigert regeren met PVV nog steeds". De Telegraaf. 18 October 2015. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  6. ^ "PvdA-voorzitter Spekman: Henk en Mark, zeg nee tegen de PVV". NOS. 14 January 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Rutte: kans op regering VVD met PVV is nul". NOS. 15 January 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  8. ^ Sasha Kester (14 January 2017). "Roemer sluit samenwerking met VVD uit en roept PvdA op hetzelfde te doen". Volkskrant. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  9. ^ "ChristenUnie sluit samenwerking met PVV uit". Groot Nieuws Radio. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  10. ^ Edwin van der Aa; Hans van Soest (14 January 2017). "Emile Roemer sluit VVD uit". Algemeen Dagblad. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
  11. ^ Vries, Joost de (20 March 2017). "Van middenkabinet tot 'christelijk progressief', alle formatiewensen op een rij - Binnenland - Voor nieuws, achtergronden en columns". De Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  12. ^ "Formatie dag 8: de onderhandelingen gaan beginnen". NOS (in Dutch). 23 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  13. ^ Dutch coalition talks failed say officials, (in English)
  14. ^ BBC News, Europe.
  15. ^ Geen kans op slagen met CU (in Dutch),
  16. ^ Formatie in impassie: D66 nog geen zin in CU (in Dutch),, 2017.05.18.
  17. ^ Dutch government talks near finish line Politico, 4 August 2017.
  18. ^ Talks to form Dutch govt kick off again after break Yahoo News 9 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Dutch budget deal prevents collapse of shaky coalition". The Irish Times. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
  20. ^ "208 Days to Forge Four-Party Coalition Dutch Government". The Australian. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  21. ^ Kroet, Cynthia (9 October 2017). "Dutch Coalition Partners Agree on Government Deal, Seek Party Backing". Politico. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  22. ^ Henley, Jon (9 October 2017). "Dutch Parties Agree Coalition Government After a Record 208 Days". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  23. ^ Kroet, Cynthia (10 October 2017). "Dutch Government Coalition Deal Receives Parliamentary Backing". Politico. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  24. ^ Schaart, Eline (2019-10-07). "Dutch coalition loses majority in parliament". Politico Europe. Retrieved 2019-10-07. The Dutch coalition government on Monday lost its majority in parliament when an MP who had been expelled from Prime Minister Mark Rutte's party said he would sit as an independent.
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Volg hier de wetgeving van Rutte III". NRC (in Dutch). 15 January 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  26. ^ "Kabinet en coalitie schaffen dividendbelasting definitief niet af". (in Dutch). 15 October 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  27. ^ "Kabinet: binnen 12 jaar einde aan gaswinning in Groningen". NOS (in Dutch). 29 March 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.

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