On Elections

How people elect parliaments


Tweede Kamer



The Netherlands has a bicameral States-General of which the lower house is the Tweede Kamer (‘second chamber’), an assembly of 150 members.

The Netherlands has perhaps the world’s purest system of party-proportionality in allocating seats in its national parliament, with a single electoral division, no vote-share threshold (other than that caused by the number of seats itself) and an open list approach to finalising the individual candidates elected. (The most comparable system among the small number of other single-division national systems is that for electing the Isreali Knesset, which has 120 seats, a 3.25% vote share eligibility threshold and uses closed lists.)

Members of the Kamer are not directly elected, but seats are allocated to political parties on a national basis by the open party list system of seat allocation. Parties lodge lists of nominees in each of 18 electoral divisions six weeks in advance of the election. The lists are limited in number to a national total of 80 nominees for parties with at least 15 members in the previous Kamer, or 50 nominees for other parties. Voters submit a ballot for their chosen party and on that ballot they also directly vote for one candidate from those listed by the party (which party lists may differ in each of the 19 Dutch provinces). Parties receive one assured seat for each kiesdeler (quota) – equal to 1/150th (0.67%) of the national vote – that is won by their party nationwide. The remaining seats are allocated to parties using the D’Hondt divisor formula.

Prior to the election parties may agree to combine their vote totals through a form of apparentment (termed lijstencombinatie or ‘list combination’). The seats won by such a party combination are allocated proportionally among the parties within the combination by the largest remainder method. When determining the individual candidates to be awarded each party’s allotted seats, the total number of seats won according to the national calculation are allocated between the electoral division lists submitted in each of the electoral divisions in proportion (by the largest remainder formula) to the number of party votes received in each division. This calculation yields a number of seats for each party in each electoral division.

Individual candidates – typically including national party leaders – may have been listed in multiple electoral divisions. Any candidates who receive individual votes (in total across all divisional lists on which they were nominated) equal to 25% of the national kiesdeler (that is, 0.1675% of the national total of votes) are given preference in the award of each party’s allotted seats. Individual candidates who nominally win seats in two or more divisions will be allocated a seat in the division in which they won the most votes. After such seats are awarded the remaining places are filled in each division’s party list order.

Subsequent casual vacancies are filled by the next listed candidate in the division in which the departing member was awarded a seat.

Terms are up to four years.

The Netherlands has the representative parliamentary system of government, in which nominal executive authority is vested in the Koningin (Queen). However, actual executive power is exercised by the Ministeraad (Council of Ministers) led by its Minister-President (Prime Minister) on the basis of the continuing confidence of a majority in the Kamer.




[Inequality in the effective influence of voters caused by variations in xxx division enrolments]

[nomination openness – party configurations]

[summary of results]

[Inequality in the effective influence of voters caused by variations in division turnouts (formal votes)]

[inequality by margins]

Specific elections

2002 –  2002 – 2006 –  2010 –  2012 – 2017




[data source – data completeness – anomalous contests]


[Datasets are not yet published]

  • Netherlands election results – 2002-2017
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