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Estates-General
Estates-Generaal
Estates-General of the Netherlands
Coat of arms or logo.
Type
Type Bicameral
Houses Senate
(Upper house)
House of Representatives
(Lower house)
Leadership
Senate President René van der Linden, CDA
since October 6, 2009
House of Representatives President Gerdi Verbeet, PvdA
since December 6, 2006
Structure
Members 225
75 (Senate)
150 (House of Representatives)
ZetelsEK2007.svg
Senate
Political groups
CDA
VVD
PvdA
SP
CU
GL
D66
SGP
PvdD
OSF
Independent
ZetelsTK2006-2.png
House of Representatives
Political groups
CDA
PvdA
SP
VVD
PVV
GL
CU
D66
PvdD
SGP
Trots op NL
Election
Senate
Voting system
Indirect election
House of Representatives
Voting system
Party-list proportional representation
Senate
Last election
May 29, 2007
House of Representatives
Last election
November 22, 2006
Meeting place
Den Haag Binnenhof.jpg
Binnenhof
The Hague
Netherlands
Website
http://www.parlement.nl/

The States-General (Staten-Generaal) is the parliament of the Netherlands. It consists of two chambers, the more important of which is the directly elected House of Representatives (in Dutch, Tweede Kamer, Second Chamber, the lower house). The Senate (in Dutch, Eerste Kamer, First Chamber, or Senaat, the upper house) is elected indirectly by members of provincial legislatures. The meeting rooms of the Staten-Generaal are at the Binnenhof (Inner Court) in The Hague.

Contents

Functions

The "Binnenhof", where the lower and upper houses of the States-General meet. The central turret is the prime minister's office.

The States-General meets in joint session at least once every year at the opening of the parliamentary year, when the queen gives her Speech from the Throne on the Day of the Princelings. On special occasions, such as when the States-General vote on a marriage of a member of the royal house, when a king is crowned or when a member of the royal house dies, both houses also meet in a joint session (Dutch: Verenigde Vergadering). The chair of the Senate presides over these meetings. They take place in the Ridderzaal (Knight's Hall) on the Binnenhof, except for the coronation which occurs in the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. The rest of the time, the two chambers hold meetings separately.

Constitutionally all functions of the parliament are given to both houses, except for the rights of initiative and amendment. In practice the House of Representatives has these functions, as the Senate meets only one day a week. The Joint Session also appoints the monarch if there is no heir to the throne and the regent is unable to exercise his or her powers.

An important question is whether the relationship between the cabinet and parliament should be dualistic or monistic. That is, whether ministers and leaders of governing parliamentary parties should prepare important political decisions. According to the dualistic position, members of parliament of governing parties should function independent of their cabinet. The term monism is used to refer to a stance that important decisions should be prepared by the members of the governing coalition in order to promote political stability.

History

Historically the convocation of the States-General consisted of delegates from the States-Provincial, and dated from about the middle of the 15th century, under the rule of the dukes of Burgundy. The first meeting was on January 9, 1464, in Bruges in Flanders at the behest of Philip III, Duke of Burgundy. Later, regular meetings were held at Coudenberg, Brussels (Brabant). After the abjuration of the king in 1581 and the separation of the northern Netherlands from the Spanish dominions, the States-General replaced the king as the supreme authority and national central government of the northern Netherlands, now known as the United Netherlands (with regional government taken on by the States Provincial). The representatives, now in The Hague (Holland), were elected by the seven sovereign provincial estates for the general government of the United Provinces. The States-General, in which the voting was by province – each of the seven provinces having one vote, as in the European Union today – were established from 1593. 20% of the new Republic's territory, the so-called Generality Lands, was not assigned to any provincial council and so was under the direct rule of the Generality (generaliteit) - as such, this territory had no vote in the States-General. Also the Dutch East India Company and the Dutch West India Company were under its general supervision; Staten Island in New York City (originally New Amsterdam) and Staten Island, Argentina (Discovered by Dutchman Jacob le Maire), for example, are named after the Staten-Generaal.

The Southern Netherlands kept their own States-General in Brussels.

Both States-General in The Hague and Brussels came to an end after 1795, in the South with the French annexation, in the North with the proclamation of the Batavian Republic and the subsequent convocation of the National Assembly (March 1, 1796). The title of Staten-Generaal, however, continued in the title of subsequent Dutch parliaments, that were reconstituted in 1814, after the Napoleonic rule: until 1815 one chamber, since then two.

They were defunct from 1940 - 1945, during the German occupation.

Trivia

In 1609, Henry Hudson established Dutch trade in Staten Island, New York City and named the island Staaten Eylandt after the Staten-Generaal, the Dutch parliament.

The Argentine island Isla de los Estados was also named after this institution.

References

External links

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