May 3rd, 2004

beach bum

Dutch politics for outsiders (2)

Dutch politics for outsiders (2)

I have started to enjoy politics. The world can’t live without it; I can’t understand people who completely ignore the centre of power, just because they do not like certain politicians. Or most. Or even all. Politics are everywhere. Different in different places though. So, here is, in short, the rundown of the political system of my country, the Netherlands.

Dutch people get to vote 4 times. European elections, later this year, like everyone else in 25 European countries. Not very popular, like the Provinciale Staten. They are the ‘government’ of the 12 provinces we’ve got. In such a small country, provinces are fairly useless according to most people. They have got some influence on public space, but to be honest, they aren’t very glamorous. They do vote the “eerste kamer” (first chamber), the part of public office that checks the “Tweede Kamer” (second chamber), the part where it really happens.

This time I’ll concentrate on the Tweede Kamer. Once every four years (unless a government falls prematurely) we get to vote for the Tweede Kamer. This is the most basic form of elections I can imagine. 150 seats are to be redistributed, every vote counts. No difficult calculations, no winner takes it all, just divide the number of total votes by 150 and you know how many votes you need to take a seat.

Usually some 20 to 30 parties participate in this election. The first 10 or so get enough votes to take at least one seat. The three major parties usually take about 100-120 seats among them, we have never had one party taking a majority yet, I don’t think this will happen soon. To form a government 2 or more parties need to talk after the results are known (late the same night) and get to a consensus government. As easy calculations go, the government needs at least the backing of 76 members of parliament, to be able to govern properly.

Next time: Political Parties in the Netherlands.

Adriaan van Dis – Onder het zink – ABCdaire de Paris (04-022)

Adriaan van Dis – Onder het zink – ABCdaire de Paris (04-022)

Number: 04-022
Title: Onder het zink. Abcdaire de Paris
Author: Adriaan van Dis
Language: Dutch
Year: 2004
# Pages: 64 (4274)
Category: Journal
ISBN: 90-5965-001-8

Following the theme of the Dutch book week this year, Van Dis produced this booklet about his days in Paris. As so many (Dutch?) authors he feels that Paris is the place to live, should you want to produce some good literature. He rents an apartment, walks the streets and tells us, readers, what he sees.

Nothing spectacular. Nothing brilliant. Just some nice observations. Just an in between real books book.
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