A Beginner’s Guide Through Our New Government

Picture of By Ninke Boshuizen

By Ninke Boshuizen

After almost 300 days of negotiation, the longest formation in Dutch history, a ‘new’ coalition was born. Ironically, the same coalition we had before. In this article I will guide you through everything you need to know about our new government. How do our politics work? Who are our new ministers and what are the plans of the new government? Questions important for everyone living in the Netherlands, but I can understand diving into it yourself can be pretty hard. Therefore, here’s my beginner’s guide.


How do our basic politics work?

The first thing you should know when you want to learn something about our new government is what kind of power our government has. In the Netherlands we have a parliamentary democracy. This means we vote for our own representatives in the parliament. However, the parliament is a controller of policy. They don’t make it themselves, but they do vote about new policies. When the government wants to change a law, more than half of the parliament has to vote to agree. When we voted for our representatives in March 2021, the parliament was chosen but the government had yet to be decided. The party that gets the most votes has to create a coalition. This coalition consists of a few parties who will work together on creating new laws. They need to form a coalition because their plans have to be accepted by the parliament. Therefore, more than half of the parliamentary members should preferably be agreeing with the government’s policy. In order to do this, the biggest party needs support for their plans.

By forming a coalition, and letting other parties in on the policy plans, all coalition parties in the parliament will vote to accept the government’s plans. Forming a new government can only begin when they are sure of this support, and have formed a coalition. In some cases they find another solution, but this time, like most times, they formed a coalition. Only when this part is over they can assign people to create the actual executive government. In this case, the formation to form a coalition that could settle on the plans and the collaboration with all other parties in the coalition took almost a year.

When we have a coalition, the parties can assign ministers and secretaries of state. These are the people that will actually put the plans from the coalition to work. They will lead the country, being controlled by the parliament. These are the people that walk down the stairs with the king to take a picture. Our ‘new’ premier is Mark Rutte. You might know him because he has been our premier since 2010.


Which parties are in our new coalition?

Our new coalition that has made the plans for the next few years in their coalition agreement are VVD, CDA, CU and D66. The People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) won the most votes at the elections. They are a conservative liberal party with Mark Rutte as their leader. They formed a coalition with the party that won second place in the elections, the social-liberal Democrats66, and two christian based parties, CDA and CU. The D66 is  known for their progressive stands with Sigrid Kaag as their leader. The Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) scored 4th in the elections and also made it into the coalition. They are a social conservative party and stand for a Christian democracy. Their leader is Wopke Hoekstra. The final party that makes the coalition complete is a small party, the Christian Union (CU). They also stand for a christian democracy and tend to be centre-left fiscally and centre-right on most social issues. Their current leader is Chris-Jan Segers.


What are their main plans?

The four parties have been making our country’s plans for the last few years. However, their new plans seem to be a lot more progressive than they have been before. This may be attributed to the big win of D66 in the last elections. When you read which parties the coalition consists of, the plans are rather progressive. The new plans have a big focus on climate change, our housing crisis and they want to finance students again. The big solution for this new period of policies seems to be money. Money to fix all our problems. Their spendings are bigger than their plans have ever been.

The government has a lot of critics, since they have been through a big scandal in their last reign. The case is a bit technocial but comes down to this: thousands of people got into poverty by a mistake of the government.Partly because of this the Netherland’s residents have never been more sceptical about a brand new government. And the new government therefore knows that the most important thing they have to do is  bring back some trust.


Get to know some new ministers

Sigrid Kaag is the first female minister of finance. Kaag made the newspaper headlines by becoming minister of finance and vice-president. She really is one of the ministers with the most power.

Rob Jetten is the first minister that is completely assigned to climate change. He will be the minister for Climate and Energy. You might know him from TikTok, because he has gone viral on TikTok after the last elections. The job seems fit for him since some other politicians have called him out for moaning too much about climate change.

Robbert Dijkgraaf is the new minister for Education, Culture and Science. The remarkable thing about him being our new minister is that he has not been in political functions before. He used to be the headmaster of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.

Ernst Kuipers is another new minister that comes from the field he is going to lead. Former managing physician is now our new minister for Health, Sports and Well-being. He has already made a name for himself during the covid-crisis, and is now getting into politics. He had taken over Hugo de Jonge’s function and therefore also his spot at the Covid-19 press conferences.

Hugo de Jonge has said goodbye to his Covid-19 challenges and has started to focus on housing. He will be our new minister for Housing and Spatial Planning.

Dilan Yeşilgöz-Zegerius is our first minister for Justice and Security without having studied law. A thing the Dutch media have loved to discuss about. Will this be a problem or not?

There is way more

Of course there are way more people and aspects to our new government. There is a lot of criticism, but also some hope. The future will tell us how well they are going to do. Hopefully you will now know a little bit more about the people that will be in charge of the Netherlands in the coming period of time. 

Cover: ANP

Edited by Carolina Alves

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