How the Dutch Cabinet works

Under the Dutch constitution the Cabinet is composed of all government ministers. Its job is to take decisions on overall government policy and promote the coherence of policy.

Rules of procedure

The rules of procedure deal with the Cabinet’s composition, powers and working methods. Article 26, for example, states that the matters discussed at Cabinet meetings are to be kept secret. The minutes of meetings are made public after 20 years.


The Cabinet is presided over by the Prime Minister and generally meets once a week, typically on Friday. If necessary, it can also convene at other times. Sometimes a Cabinet meeting may be preceded by a meeting of the Council of Ministers for the Kingdom, which includes the Ministers Plenipotentiary of Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten. Meetings take place in the Trêveszaal at the Ministry of General Affairs in the Binnenhof in The Hague. Sometimes the Cabinet also meets at other locations, such as the Catshuis, the Prime Minister’s official residence.


The Cabinet is assisted by two members of the civil service, a secretary and an assistant secretary. They oversee the agenda, take the minutes and draw up lists of decisions. The Director-General of the Government Information Service (RVD), or his or her deputy, is also present at the meetings. The Director-General is in charge of speaking to the media about what is discussed in Cabinet meetings. The RVD issues press releases on the meetings.

Ministry responsible