Politics of theNetherlandsCreated and presented by: Benedict S. Gombocz
Netherlands in brief Location: Western Europe,with islands in CaribbeanSea. Official name: Kingdom ofthe Netherlands (Koninkrijkder Nederlanden) Capital (and largest city):Amsterdam* Official language: Dutch Demonym: Dutch*Even though Amsterdam isthe constitutional capital ofthe Netherlands, The Hague(Den Haag) is seat ofgovernment.
Geography of the Netherlands Mainland Netherlandsdirectly borders North Sea,Belgium, and Germany; italso shares maritime borderswith Belgium, Germany andthe United Kingdom. Netherlands is geographicallya flat (with exclusion offoothills in far southeast andvarious low-hill ranges incentral parts), low-lyingcountry, with approximately25% of its area and 21% ofits population located undersea level, and 50% of its soillying less than one metreover sea level.
Netherlands’ membership in worldorganizations One of the first nations to have aparliamentary system. Founding member of EU, NATO, OECDand WTO, and other affiliations. Forms Benelux economic union withBelgium and Luxembourg. Home to Organization for Prohibition ofChemical Weapons and five internationalcourts: Permanent Court of Arbitration,International Court of Justice,International, International CriminalTribunal for the Former Yugoslavia,International Criminal Court and SpecialTribunal for Lebanon; former four areheadquartered in The Hague, much likethe EU’s criminal intelligence agencyEuropol and judicial co-operation agencyEuro just, giving The Hague theunofficial nickname of “the world’s legalcapital”.
Government of the Netherlands Government (overheid):Constitutional monarchy, Unitaryparliamentary representativedemocracy Monarch: Willem-Alexander Prime Minister (Demissionary): MarkRutte (VVD) Deputy Prime Minister(Demissionary): Lodewijk Asscher(PvdA) Current coalition (Demissionary):VVD- PvdA coalition Legislature: States-General (Staten-Generaal) Upper house: Senate (Eerste Kamerder Staten-Generaal) Lower house: House ofRepresentatives (Tweede Kamer derStaten-Generaal)
Parliamentary parties People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheiden Democratie, VVD) Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid, PvdA) Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV) Christian Democratic Appeal (Christen-Democratisch Appèl, CDA) Socialist Party (Socialistische Partij, SP) Democrats 66 (Democraten 66, D66) GreenLeft (GroenLinks, GL) ChristianUnion (ChristenUnie, CU) Reformed Political Party (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij, SGP) Party for Animals (Partij voor de Dieren, PvdD) 50Plus (50+) Independents Senate Fraction (Onafhankelijke Senaatsfractie, OSF)
States-General of the Netherlands Bicameral legislature of theNetherlands, comprising Senate andHouse of Representatives. The parliament meets at Binnenhof inThe Hague. Old-fashioned Dutch word statenoriginally related to feudal classes(“estates”) where medieval Europeansocieties were arranged (clergy,nobility, and commons). As in the United Kingdom, themeaning of the Commons broadenedfrom only the social class, toassembly where those wererepresented; in Dutch, statenbecame to refer to political bodywhere respective classes were (to anextent) combined. Dutch explorers named distinctplaces Staten Island, a name thatoriginates from name of parliament.
Willem-Alexander Reigning King of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Head of the Dutch royal house and the House ofAmsberg; when he assumed the throne, became theNetherlands’ first male monarch since his grandfatherWilliam III’s death in 1890. Born 27 April 1967 in Utrecht; oldest child of Beatrixand German diplomat Claus von Amsberg. Became Prince of Orange and heir apparent to thethrone of the Netherlands on 30 April 1980, when hismother became queen regnant; took the throne on 30April 2013 upon his mother’s abdication, and, at 46,was Europe’s youngest monarch when he assumed thethrone. Attended both primary and secondary schools, servedin the Royal Netherlands Navy, and majored in Historyat Leiden University. Married Máxima Zorreguieta Cerruti in 2002; they havethree daughters Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange(born 2003), Princess Alexia (born 2005), and PrincessAriane (born 2007). Has an interest in sports and global water managementissues. Was a member of the International Olympic Committeefrom 1998-2013; also served as chairman of theAdvisory Committee on Water to the Dutch Minister ofInfrastructure and the Environment (2004-2013), andchairman of the Secretary-General of the UnitedNations’ Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation(2006-2013).
Mark Rutte Member of People’s Party for Freedom andDemocracy (VVD) and current PM of theNetherlands and Minister of General Affairs, as headof cabinet since 14 October 2010; leader of VVDsince 31 May 2006. Born 14 February 1967 in The Hague. Was previously State Secretary for Social Affairs andEmployment from 22 July 2002-17 June 2004 inCabinets Balkenende I and II; afterwards he wasState Secretary for Education, Culture and Sciencefrom 17 June 2004 until he resigned on 27 June2006, when he was elected to succeed Jozias vanAartsen as new VVD leader. Member of House of Representatives from 30January 2003-27 May 2003 and 28 June 2006-14October 2010. Leader of People’s Party for Freedom andDemocracy in House of Representatives (29 June2006-14 October 2010). People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy underRutte lost six seats in 2006 general election, makinghim opposition leader, serving during CabinetBalkenende IV. Following the end of Cabinet Balkenende IV, snapelection was called, making Rutte VVD’s Lijsttrekker(top party list candidate) a second time for 2010general election; VVD had greatest number of votescast, winning the party 31 of 150 seats in House ofRepresentatives. Became PM after lengthy formation period andformed cabinet; became first liberal Dutch PM in 92years when he assumed office on 14 October 2010.
Lodewijk Asscher Member of Labour Party (PvdA). Born 27 September 1974 in Amsterdam. Current Minister of Social Affairs and Employment and Deputy PMin Cabinet Rutte II since 5 November 2012; was alderman ofFinances from 7 July 2010. Previously served as Acting Mayor of Amsterdam between 12March 2010 and 7 July 2010 after Job Cohen resigned as mayorto become Labour Party leader and lijsttrekker (top candidate) for2010 general election. Born to mixed religious family; his father is of Jewish descentwhile his mother is Roman Catholic. His father is an affiliate of People’s Party for Freedom andDemocracy; his mother is a member of Labour Party. Entered city council following 2002 municipal elections; partookin commission on General Affairs, in addition to his role asLabour Party parliamentary leader in Amsterdam city council. Taught Law at University of Amsterdam until 1 January 2006. Supported eventual disappearance of De Wallen (red-lightdistrict) in his book New Amsterdam, but withdrew thatstatement shortly after that book was released, saying he wasnot opposed to prostitution, but opposed to sexual slavery. Led Labour Party’s campaign after 2006 municipal elections andwas installed as alderman on 26 April, serving as alderman ofEconomics, Airport and Harbour, and Deputy Mayor ofAmsterdam for Labour Party from 2006-2010. Has been married to Jildau Piena since 15 July 2007, and theyhave three sons.
People’s Party for Freedom andDemocracy Conservative-liberal party. Founded 24 January 1948. Advocates private enterprise in theNetherlands; is often understood aseconomic liberal party, as opposed tosocial-liberal Democrats 66 (D66), alongwhich it sits in European Parliament. Second biggest opposition party in House ofRepresentatives after formation of fourthBalkenende cabinet. Acquired biggest number of votes castduring 2010 general election; subsequentlygained 31 of 150 seats in House ofRepresentatives. Currently senior party in centre-rightminority coalition with Christian DemocraticAppeal (CDA) and Rutte cabinet, backed byParty for Freedom (PVV) to win majority. Current PM Mark Rutte is VVD’s leadersince 31 May 2006.
Labour Party Social-democratic political party. Second biggest political party inthe Netherlands since 2003general election. Was a coalition participant infourth Balkenende cabinet after 22February 2007. Pulled out of government on 20February 2010 after disputesconcerning the Netherlands’ role inAfghanistan, leading to 2010general election. Is in coalition with conservative-liberal VVD in second Rutte cabinetsince 5 November 2012, whenLodewijk Asscher assumed officeof PM.