Relationship between government and parliament

In the Netherlands, the monarch and the ministers together make up the government. The ministers and state secretaries (junior ministers) collectively govern the country and implement government policy. The government must have the confidence of a majority of the House of Representatives and is subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

Ministerial accountability

Ministers are accountable to parliament, both collectively and individually. Although this also applies to state secretaries, ministers bear final responsibility.

Confidence in the goverment

The government and individual ministers must enjoy the confidence of parliament. In practice, this applies only to the House of Representatives. 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. In the event of a conflict with parliament, the government usually offers its resignation to the King. That often leads to elections and the formation of a new government.


In a dualist system government and parliament are separate, each having its own responsibilities. In the Netherlands, both the government and parliament have legislative powers. There is, however, still a dualist system as ministers and state secretaries may not be members of parliament. The only exception to this rule is following elections, during the formation of a new government.