Netherlands/Government

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Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland

Data code: NL

Government type: constitutional monarchy

Capital: Amsterdam; The Hague is the seat of government

Administrative divisions: 12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie); Groningen, Friesland, Drenthe, Overijssel, Flevoland, Gelderland, Utrecht, Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland, Zeeland, Noord-Brabant and Limburg

Dependent areas: Aruba, Netherlands Antilles

Independence: 1579 (from Spain)

National holiday: Queen's Day, 30 April

Constitution: adopted 1814; amended many times, last time 17 February 1983

Legal system: civil law system incorporating French penal theory; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980); Heir Apparent WILLEM-ALEXANDER (born 27 April 1967), son of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Wim KOK (since 22 August 1994) and Vice Prime Ministers Annemarie JORRITSMA (since 3 August 1998) and Els BORST-EILERS (since 3 August 1998)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; vice prime ministers appointed by the monarch
note: government coalition - PvdA, VVD, and D'66; there is also a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councilors consulted by the executive on legislative and administrative policy

Legislative branch: bicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils for four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held 25 May 1999 (next to be held NA May 2003); Second Chamber - last held 6 May 1998 (next to be held May 2002)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - CDA 20, VVD 19, PvdA 15, D'66 4, other 17; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - PvdA 30.0%, VVD 25.3%, CDA 19.3%, D'66 9.3%, other 16.1%; seats by party - PvdA 45, VVD 38, CDA 29, D'66 14, other 24 (see Politics for further information)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court or Hoge Raad, justices are nominated for life by the monarch

Political parties and leaders: Christian Democratic Appeal or CDA (Jaap de Hoop SCHEFFER); Democrats '66 or D'66 (Tom KOK); Labor Party or PvdA (Wim KOK); People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Liberal) or VVD (Hans F. DIJKSTAL); a host of minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders: Federation of Netherlands Trade Union Movement (comprising Socialist and Catholic trade unions) and a Protestant trade union; Federation of Catholic and Protestant Employers Associations; Interchurch Peace Council or IKV; large multinational firms; the nondenominational Federation of Netherlands Enterprises

International organization participation: AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, ECLAC, EIB, EMU, ESA, ESCAP, EU, FAO, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, NAM (guest), NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTSO, UNU, UPU, WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joris M. VOS
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 244-5300
FAX: [1] (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Cynthia P. SCHNEIDER
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: [31] (70) 310-9209
FAX: [31] (70) 361-4688
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam

Flag description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer


See also Politics