|First Chamber or Senate
|States General of the Netherlands|
First Vice President
Second Vice President
Length of term
|23 May 2011|
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politics and government of
The First Chamber (Dutch: Eerste Kamer [ˈeːrstə ˈkaːmər]), often known as the Senate (Dutch: 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. Here the bill is submitted to a parliamentary committee. The committee decides whether the bill can be immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber or whether there should first be preparatory study of the bill. If a bill is immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber, it will be 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 (i.e. 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.
|Parties||Seats 2011||Seats 2007||Seats 2003||Seats 1999||Seats 1995||Seats 1991|
|People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD)||16||14||15||19||23||12|
|Labour Party (PvdA)||14||14||19||15||14||16|
|Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA)||11||21||23||20||19||27|
|Party for Freedom (PVV)||10|
|Socialist Party (SP)||8||12||4||2||1|
|Democrats 66 (D66)||5||2||3||4||7||12|
|Christian Union (CU)||2||4||2||4||2*||2*|
|Political Reformed Party (SGP)||1||2||2||2||2||2|
|Party for the Animals (PvdD)||1||1|
|Independent Senate Group (OSF)||1||1||1||1||1|
|Pim Fortuyn List (LPF)||1|
|General Elderly Alliance (AOV)||2|
- Historic composition of the Senate of the Netherlands (since 1922)
- List of Presidents of the Senate of the Netherlands
- "English". Eerste Kamer. Retrieved 2 August 2014.
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