General provision to be added to the Dutch Constitution

A general provision will be added to the Dutch Constitution to make clear that the Netherlands is a democracy governed by the rule of law. This provision will be added before the existing article 1, and will read: 'The Constitution safeguards democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.'

The Cabinet has approved this proposal at the recommendation of Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk. The government has sent a letter to both Houses of Parliament submitting and explaining this proposed constitutional amendment.

The main reason for the government's proposal is that the three interrelated principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights are norms of the international legal order, to which the constitutions of other countries make explicit reference. The National Commission on the Review of the Constitution had recommended including such a general provision in the Constitution. The government took up the proposal again following a request from the Senate this March.

The government will prepare a constitutional amendment based on the above-mentioned proposal.