Who's in charge?


The Netherlands is a democracy. But how does a democracy work? And what influence do you have on the composition of the government and parliament? This clip explains it to you.

Complete text

The Netherlands is a democracy. This literally means: the people govern. But it's impossible to ask the opinion of all 16 million Dutch people whenever a new law or regulation has to be made. That's why every 4 years the Dutch people who are 18 years or older vote to elect the members of the Lower House. These elections are based on the principle of 'whoever gets the most votes, wins'. Because none of the political parties ever gets the absolute majority in the Netherlands the biggest party will have to  look for other parties who want to join them. And when the government has been formed, it will make laws and regulations. In turn, the government is checked by the rest of the Lower House. By the way, the Lower House and thus the government is chosen in the Netherlands the politics represent the various opinions there are in the Netherlands. The 150 member of the Lower House are therefore a kind of the Netherlands in miniature form. This system is called 'proportional representation'. If you're not 18 yet, politics may still be a distant thing for you. But this doesn't mean that you cannot have any influence yourself on how everything is regulated. You could perhaps join a student council at your school. Or you can join an action group or get involved with a youth department of a political party. 'Rood' is the youth department of the Socialist Party, the SP. The SP has three focal points solidarity, equality and human dignity. Those are the three key issues. We act, for instance, against animal testing. Or against the housing shortage because there are so many empty office buildings. Here in Haarlem we organized a campaign. And in cooperation with the local SP party this has resulted in a motion that was accepted: when office building in Haarlem remain empty after 2 years they can be converted into apartments. Your point of view is really formed by the people living in your community. Otherwise you wouldn't be a good politician because you represent the people of your community.