Relationship between government and parliament

The King and the ministers together make up the government. Parliament (known as the ‘States General’) scrutinises the government. The ministers answer to parliament for the policies they pursue.

Parliamentary scrutiny

The Dutch parliament has two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. It closely monitors the government and is responsible, with the government, for making laws. Laws only come into force after they have been passed by parliament.

Ministerial accountability

Ministers are accountable to parliament, both collectively and individually. This is known as ministerial accountability. State secretaries are accountable to parliament too, but their ministers bear final responsibility.

The government’s ‘duty to inform’ parliament

The government must provide parliament with any information it requests. This duty to inform parliament is laid down in the Constitution.

Confidence in the government

The government and individual ministers must enjoy the confidence of parliament. Parliament can withdraw this confidence by passing a motion of no confidence. If an individual minister, or the government as a whole, does not enjoy the confidence of a majority in parliament, they have to resign.