An introduction to Dutch politics

What is the lower house?

In 2017 you have probably heard a lot about the Lower House, or parliament. On 15 March, the Netherlands voted for a new parliament. The results of this election means the make up of the Lower House is changing and eventually there will be a new government. Half of the members of the Lower House have left following the elections. And there have been 71 new members elected to the Lower House. But what are they going to do? What does the Lower House do? And what does that have to do with all of the laws and rules in the Netherlands?

More seats means more power

A week after the elections for the Lower House on 15 March the definite results were announced. Thirteen parties have gained seats in the Lower House. There are 150 seats in the Lower House and we call these zetels, or chairs. The more chairs a party has, the more influence that party will have in the Netherlands. These are the results of the chairs in the Lower House:

VVD - 33 chairs
PVV - 20 chairs
CDA - 19 chairs
D66 - 19 chairs
GroenLinks - 14 chairs
SP - 14 chairs
PvdA - 9 chairs
ChristenUnie - 5 chairs
Partij voor de Dieren - 5 chairs
50PLUS - 4 chairs
SGP - 3 chairs
DENK - 3 chairs
Forum voor Democratie - 2 chairs

So many opinions, so many parties

Freedom of speech is very important in the Netherlands. That is why there are many political parties with many different perspectives such as Liberals, Socialists, Social-Democrats, Christian-Democrats. Every party has its own opinion about political subjects.

Who should I vote for?

The Netherlands is a democracy. That means that the people have an important voice in the governing of the country. Via elections the population decides how many seats every party will receive in the Lower House. Voting is a right for every Dutch citizen of 18 years and above. As a newcomer you can only vote for parliament once you have received the Dutch nationality.

Who is the boss in the Netherlands?

The Netherlands is a democracy. That means that the people rule! But through who? The Lower House or the Upper House? Is it the king of the ministers?