The purpose of political parties

The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy with various political parties. Under the Political Parties (Grants) Act, national political parties can receive government grants to subsidise their activities.

Political parties in a parliamentary democracy

In a parliamentary democracy, citizens elect their representatives. In the Netherlands this happens every 4 years. The candidates are members of political parties. Citizens vote for  the party of their choice and, in this way, influence government policy.

Role of political parties

A political party brings together people with the same political ideas. By taking part in an election, parties hope to get as many of their members as possible into a representative body, like parliament or a municipal council. At the same time they try to hold as many posts as possible in the government, or in the municipal or provincial executive.

Political parties have various functions. One is promoting the interests of their voters. They also draw up party programmes. Citizens can join political parties, enabling them to help shape the party programme.

Founding a political party

Under the terms of the Elections Act, anyone in the Netherlands can found a political party, even minors and foreign nationals. Political parties wishing to participate in an election can contact the Electoral Council for more information.

Grants for political parties

National political parties that have at least one seat in the House of Representatives or Senate are eligible for grants. These can be used for research, training or the recruitment of new members. With the help of these grants parties can reinforce their position as part of a parliamentary democracy.