Peace, justice & security


In a democracy, citizens elect their own representatives. Therefore, it is important that they know and understand how the national government works. The Dutch government encourages its citizens to become involved in politics and participate in society. The Netherlands is a parliamentary democracy, with elections held at least every 4 years.

Traditionally, Budget Day (known as Prinsjesdag) marks the official start of the new parliamentary year. It takes place on the third Tuesday of September, when the national government presents its plans and annual budget for the coming year.

The occasion is surrounded by pomp and circumstance. The reigning monarch, King Willem-Alexander, accompanied by other members of the Royal House, is taken by horse-drawn carriage through the city centre of The Hague.

The tour ends at the Binnenhof, which accommodates both houses of the States General of the Netherlands, the Dutch prime minister’s office and the Ministry of General Affairs. In the Hall of Knights (Ridderzaal), King Willem-Alexander addresses a joint session of the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives with the Speech from the Throne (Troonrede).

After the Speech from the Throne, the minister of finance delivers the budget. This is followed by parliamentary debates. Parliament has the power to amend government proposals by majority vote. At the end of the year on Accountability Day (Verantwoordingsdag), the government evaluates the implementation of its plans.