Senate (Netherlands)

Eerste Kamer
States General
Coat of arms or logo
Ankie Broekers-Knol, VVD
Since 2 July 2013
First Vice President
Marijke Linthorst, PvdA
Since 9 July 2013
Second Vice President
Hans Franken, CDA
Since 5 July 2011
Seats 75
Political groups

Government (21)

  •      VVD (13)
  •      PvdA (8)

Opposition (54)

  •      CDA (12)
  •      D66 (10)
  •      PVV (9)
  •      SP (9)
  •      GL (4)
  •      CU (3)
  •      PvdD (2)
  •      SGP (2)
  •      50PLUS (2)
  •      OSF (1)
Length of term
4 years
Indirect party-list proportional
Last election
26 May 2015
Next election
Meeting place
Senate Chamber
The Hague, Netherlands
Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
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The Senate (Dutch: Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal [ˈeːrstə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(n) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] or simply Eerste Kamer [ˈeːrstə ˈkaːmər], literally "First Chamber", or sometimes Senaat [səˈnaːt]) is the upper house of the States General, the legislature of the Netherlands. Its 75 members are elected by the members of the twelve States-Provincial every four years, within three months of the provincial elections.

Members of the Senate are part-timers who often hold other positions as well. They receive an allowance which is about a quarter of the salary of the members of the House of Representatives. Unlike the politically more significant House of Representatives, it meets only once a week. Its members tend to be veteran politicians or part-time politicians at the national level, often having other roles.

It has the right to accept or reject legislative proposals but not to amend them or to initiate legislation. Directly after a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives, it is sent to the Senate and is submitted to a parliamentary committee. The committee decides whether the bill can be immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber or there should first be preparatory study of the bill. If a bill is immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber, it is passed as a formality without a debate.


The Senate was instituted by King William I in 1815. When the Netherlands and Belgium were united in 1815, the Belgians in particular pressed for the introduction of a bicameral system. In its early years, the Senate served as a bulwark of the Crown (the king and his ministers) since it was still able to block bills that displeased the king. Such bills were usually private member's bills from the House of Representatives. At that time, the members of the House of Representatives too were elected indirectly.

The members of the Senate were not elected, but were confidants of the king and were appointed for life. The Senate remained in existence after the separation from Belgium in 1830.

Much changed in the political sphere as a result of the introduction of a new constitution in 1848. The position of the Senate and the criteria governing eligibility to stand for election were among the changes. Monitoring the quality of legislation gradually came to be the main function of the Senate after 1848.[1]


Further information: Dutch Senate election, 2015
 Party breakdown of the Senate after the 2015 indirect elections
Parties Seats 2015 Seats 2011 Seats 2007 Seats 2003 Seats 1999 Seats 1995 Seats 1991
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) 13 16 14 15 19 23 12
Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA) 12 11 21 23 20 19 27
Democrats 66 (D66) 10 5 2 3 4 7 12
Party for Freedom (PVV) 9 10
Socialist Party (SP) 9 8 12 4 2 1
Labour Party (PvdA) 8 14 14 19 15 14 16
GreenLeft (GL) 4 5 4 5 8 4 4
Christian Union (CU) 3 2 4 2 4 2* 2*
Party for the Animals (PvdD) 2 1 1
Political Reformed Party (SGP) 2 1 2 2 2 2 2
50PLUS (50+) 2 1
Independent Senate Group (OSF) 1 1 1 1 1 1
Pim Fortuyn List (LPF) 1
General Elderly Alliance (AOV) 2
Total 75 75 75 75 75 75 75

* Reformatory Political Federation (RPF) and Reformed Political League (GPV)

See also


  1. "English". Eerste Kamer. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
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