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Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815, rev. 2008)

1The following text is from the Constitute Project, who through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, has generously made this content available for use for noncommercial purposes. Follow (right-click) the links and read the annotation to learn more. 1

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3CHAPTER 1. Fundamental Rights

4Article 1

5All persons in the Netherlands shall be treated equally in equal circumstances. Discrimination on the grounds of religion, belief, political opinion, race or sex or on any other grounds whatsoever shall not be permitted.

6Article 2

71. Dutch nationality shall be regulated by Act of Parliament.

82. The admission and expulsion of aliens shall be regulated by Act of Parliament.

93. Extradition may take place only pursuant to a treaty. Further regulations concerning extradition shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

104. Everyone shall have the right to leave the country, except in the cases laid down by Act of Parliament.

11Article 3

12All Dutch nationals shall be equally eligible for appointment to public service.

13Article 4

14Every Dutch national shall have an equal right to elect the members of the general representative bodies and to stand for election as a member of those bodies, subject to the limitations and exceptions prescribed by Act of Parliament.

15Article 5

16Everyone shall have the right to submit petitions in writing to the competent authorities.

17Article 6

181. Everyone shall have the right to profess freely his religion or belief, either individually or in community with others, without prejudice to his responsibility under the law.

192. Rules concerning the exercise of this right other than in buildings and enclosed places may be laid down by Act of Parliament for the protection of health, in the interest of traffic and to combat or prevent disorders.

20Article 7

211. No one shall require prior permission to publish thoughts or opinions through the press, without prejudice to the responsibility of every person under the law.

222. Rules concerning radio and television shall be laid down by Act of Parliament. There shall be no prior supervision of the content of a radio or television broadcast.

233. No one shall be required to submit thoughts or opinions for prior approval in order to disseminate them by means other than those mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, without prejudice to the responsibility of every person under the law. The holding of performances open to persons younger than sixteen years of age may be regulated by Act of Parliament in order to protect good morals.

244. The preceding paragraphs do not apply to commercial advertising.

25Article 8

26The right of association shall be recognized. This right may be restricted by Act of Parliament in the interest of public order.

27Article 9

281. The right of assembly and demonstration shall be recognized, without prejudice to the responsibility of everyone under the law.

292. Rules to protect health, in the interest of traffic and to combat or prevent disorders may be laid down by Act of Parliament.

30Article 10

311. Everyone shall have the right to respect for his privacy, without prejudice to restrictions laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament.

322. Rules to protect privacy shall be laid down by Act of Parliament in connection with the recording and dissemination of personal data.

333. Rules concerning the rights of persons to be informed of data recorded concerning them and of the use that is made thereof, and to have such data corrected shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

34Article 11

35Everyone shall have the right to inviolability of his person, without prejudice to restrictions laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament.

36Article 12

371. Entry into a home against the will of the occupant shall be permitted only in the cases laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament, by those designated for the purpose by or pursuant to Act of Parliament.

382. Prior identification and notice of purpose shall be required in order to enter a home under the preceding paragraph, subject to the exceptions prescribed by Act of Parliament.

393. A written report of the entry shall be issued to the occupant as soon as possible. If the entry was made in the interests of state security or criminal proceedings, the issue of the report may be postponed under rules to be laid down by Act of Parliament. A report need not be issued in cases, to be determined by Act of Parliament, where such issue would never be in the interests of state security.

40Article 13

411. The privacy of correspondence shall not be violated except in the cases laid down by Act of Parliament, by order of the courts.

422. The privacy of the telephone and telegraph shall not be violated except, in the cases laid down by Act of Parliament, by or with the authorization of those designated for the purpose by Act of Parliament.

43Article 14

441. Expropriation may take place only in the public interest and on prior assurance of full compensation, in accordance with regulations laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament.

452. Prior assurance of full compensation shall not be required if in an emergency immediate expropriation is called for.

463. In the cases laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament there shall be a right to full or partial compensation if in the public interest the competent authority destroys property or renders it unusable or restricts the exercise of the owner's rights to it.

47Article 15

481. Other than in the cases laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament, no one may be deprived of his liberty.

492. Anyone who has been deprived of his liberty other than by order of a court may request a court to order his release. In such a case he shall be heard by the court within a period to be laid down by Act of Parliament. The court shall order his immediate release if it considers the deprivation of liberty to be unlawful.

503. The trial of a person who has been deprived of his liberty pending trial shall take place within a reasonable period.

514. A person who has been lawfully deprived of his liberty may be restricted in the exercise of fundamental rights in so far as the exercise of such rights is not compatible with the deprivation of liberty.

52Article 16

53No offence shall be punishable unless it was an offence under the law at the time it was committed.

54Article 17

55No one may be prevented against his will from being heard by the courts to which he is entitled to apply under the law.

56Article 18

571. Everyone may be legally represented in legal and administrative proceedings.

582. Rules concerning the granting of legal aid to persons of limited means shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

59Article 19

601. It shall be the concern of the authorities to promote the provision of sufficient employment.

612. Rules concerning the legal status and protection of working persons and concerning codetermination shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

623. The right of every Dutch national to a free choice of work shall be recognized, without prejudice to the restrictions laid down by or pursuant to Act of Parliament.

63Article 20

641. It shall be the concern of the authorities to secure the means of subsistence of the population and to achieve the distribution of wealth.

652. Rules concerning entitlement to social security shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

663. Dutch nationals resident in the Netherlands who are unable to provide for themselves shall have a right, to be regulated by Act of Parliament, to aid from the authorities.

67Article 21

68It shall be the concern of the authorities to keep the country habitable and to protect and improve the environment.

69Article 22

701. The authorities shall take steps to promote the health of the population.

712. It shall be the concern of the authorities to provide sufficient living accommodation.

723. The authorities shall promote social and cultural development and leisure activities.

73Article 23

741. Education shall be the constant concern of the Government.

752. All persons shall be free to provide education, without prejudice to the authorities' right of supervision and, with regard to forms of education designated by law, their right to examine the competence and moral integrity of teachers, to be regulated by Act of Parliament.

763. Education provided by public authorities shall be regulated by Act of Parliament, paying due respect to everyone's religion or belief.

774. The authorities shall ensure that primary education is provided in a sufficient number of public-authority schools in every municipality. Deviations from this provision may be permitted under rules to be established by Act of Parliament on condition that there is opportunity to receive the said form of education, whether in a public-authority school or otherwise.

785. The standards required of schools financed either in part or in full from public funds shall be regulated by Act of Parliament, with due regard, in the case of private schools, to the freedom to provide education according to religious or other belief.

796. The requirements for primary education shall be such that the standards both of private schools fully financed from public funds and of public-authority schools are fully guaranteed. The relevant provisions shall respect in particular the freedom of private schools to choose their teaching aids and to appoint teachers as they see fit.

807. Private primary schools that satisfy the conditions laid down by Act of Parliament shall be financed from public funds according to the same standards as public-authority schools. The conditions under which private secondary education and pre-university education shall receive contributions from public funds shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

818. The Government shall submit annual reports on the state of education to the States General.

82CHAPTER 2. Government

83§1. The King

84Article 24

85The title to the Throne shall be hereditary and shall vest in the legitimate descendants of King William I, Prince of Orange-Nassau.

86Article 25

87On the death of the King, the title to the Throne shall pass by hereditary succession to the King's legitimate descendants in order of seniority, the same rule governing succession by the issue of descendants who predecease the King. If the King has no descendants, the title to the Throne shall pass in the same way to the legitimate descendants of the King's parent and then of his grandparent who are in the line of succession but are not further removed from the deceased King than the third degree of consanguinity.

88Article 26

89For the purposes of hereditary succession, the child of a woman pregnant at the moment of the death of the King shall be deemed already born. If it is stillborn it shall be deemed to have never existed.

90Article 27

91Hereditary succession to the Throne in the event of abdication shall take place according to the rules set out in the above articles. Children born after an abdication and their descendants shall be excluded from the hereditary succession.

92Article 28

931. The King shall be deemed to have abdicated if he contracts a marriage without having obtained consent by Act of Parliament.

942. Anyone in line of succession to the Throne who contracts such a marriage shall be excluded from the hereditary succession, together with any children born of the marriage and their issue.

953. The two Houses of the States General (Parliament) shall meet to consider and decide upon a Bill for granting such consent in joint session.

96Article 29

971. One or more persons may be excluded from the hereditary succession by Act of Parliament if exceptional circumstances necessitate.

982. The Bill for this purpose shall be presented by or on behalf of the King. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session. Such a Bill shall be passed only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favor.

99Article 30

1001. A successor to the Throne may be appointed by Act of Parliament if it appears that there will otherwise be no successor. The Bill shall be presented by or on behalf of the King, upon which the Houses shall be dissolved. The newly convened Houses shall discuss and decide upon the matter in joint session. Such a Bill shall be passed only if at least two- thirds of the votes cast are in favor.

1012. The Houses shall be dissolved if there is no successor on the death or abdication of the King. The newly convened Houses shall meet in joint session within four months of the decease or abdication in order to decide on the appointment of a King. They may appoint a successor only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favor.

102Article 31

1031. An appointed King may be succeeded only by his legitimate descendants by virtue of hereditary succession.

1042. The provisions on hereditary succession and the first paragraph of this article shall apply mutatis mutandis to an appointed successor who has not yet become King.

105Article 32

106Upon assuming the royal prerogative the King shall be sworn in and inaugurated as soon as possible in the capital city, Amsterdam, at a public and joint session of the two Houses of the States General. The King shall swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that he will faithfully discharge his duties. Specific rules shall be laid down by Act of Parliament.

107Article 33

108The King shall not exercise the royal prerogative before attaining the age of eighteen.

109Article 34

110Parental responsibility for and guardianship of a King who is a minor, and the supervision thereof, shall be regulated by Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall meet in joint session to consider and decide upon the matter.

111Article 35

1121. If the Cabinet (Ministerraad) is of the opinion that the King is unable to exercise the royal prerogative it shall inform the two Houses of the States General accordingly and shall also present to them the recommendation it has requested from the Council of State (Raad van State). The two Houses of the States General shall then meet in joint session.

1132. If the two Houses of the States General share this opinion, they shall then resolve that the King is unable to exercise the royal prerogative. This resolution shall be made public on the instructions of the Speaker presiding over the joint session and shall enter into force immediately.

1143. As soon as the King regains the ability to exercise the royal prerogative, notice of the fact shall be given in an Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session. The King shall resume the exercise of the royal prerogative as soon as the Act has been made public.

1154. If it has been resolved that the King is unable to exercise the royal prerogative, guardianship over his person shall, if necessary, be regulated by Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.

116Article 36

117The King may temporarily relinquish the exercise of the royal prerogative and resume the exercise thereof pursuant to Act of Parliament. The relevant Bill shall be presented by or on behalf of the King. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.

118Article 37

1191. The royal prerogative shall be exercised by a Regent:

120 a.until the King has attained the age of eighteen;

121 b.if the title to the Throne may vest in an unborn child;

122 c.if it has been resolved that the King is unable to exercise the royal prerogative;

123 d.if the King has temporarily relinquished the exercise of the royal prerogative;

124 e.in the absence of a successor following the death or abdication of the King.

1252. The Regent shall be appointed by Act of Parliament. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.

1263. In the cases specified in paragraph I (c) and (d) above, the descendant of the King who is the heir presumptive shall become Regent by right if he has attained the age of eighteen.

1274. The Regent shall swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that he will faithfully discharge his duties before the two Houses of Parliament meeting in joint session. Rules regarding the office of Regent shall be made by Act of Parliament, which may contain provisions for succession and replacement. The two Houses of the States General shall consider and decide upon the matter in joint session.

1285. Articles 35 and 36 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the Regent.

129Article 38

130The royal prerogative shall be exercised by the Council of State until such time as alternative provision is made for the exercise of such power.

131Article 39

132Membership of the Royal House shall be regulated by Act of Parliament.

133Article 40

1341. The King shall receive annual payments from the State according to rules to be laid down by Act of Parliament. The Act shall also specify which other members of the Royal House shall receive payments from the State and shall regulate the payments themselves.

1352. The payments received by them from the State, together with such assets as are of assistance to them in the exercise of their duties, shall be exempt from personal taxation. In addition anything received by the King or his heir presumptive from a member of the Royal House by inheritance or as a gift shall be exempt from inheritance tax, transfer tax or gifts tax. Additional exemption from taxation may be granted by Act of Parliament.

1363. Bills containing legislation as referred to in the previous paragraphs may be passed by the States General only if at least two-thirds of the votes cast are in favor.

137Article 41

138The King shall organize his Household, taking due account of the public interest.

139§2. The King and the Ministers

140Article 42

1411. The Government shall comprise the King and the Ministers.

1422. The Ministers, and not the King, shall be responsible for acts of government.

143Article 43

144The Prime Minister and the other Ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by Royal Decree.

145Article 44

1461. Ministries shall be established by Royal Decree. They shall be headed by a Minister.

1472. Non-departmental Ministers may also be appointed.

148Article 45

1491. The Ministers shall together constitute the Cabinet.

1502. The Prime Minister shall chair the Cabinet.

1513. The Cabinet shall consider and decide upon overall government policy and shall promote the coherence thereof.

152Article 46

1531. State Secretaries may be appointed and dismissed by Royal Decree.

1542. A State Secretary shall act with ministerial authority in place of the Minister in cases in which the Minister considers it necessary; the State Secretary shall observe the Minister's instructions in such cases. Responsibility shall rest with the State Secretary without prejudice to the responsibility of the Minister.

155Article 47

156All Acts of Parliament and Royal Decrees shall be signed by the King and by one or more Ministers or State Secretaries.

157Article 48

158The Royal Decree appointing the Prime Minister shall be countersigned by the latter. Royal Decrees appointing or dismissing Ministers and State Secretaries shall be countersigned by the Prime Minister.

159Article 49

160Upon accepting office Ministers and State Secretaries shall swear an oath or make an affirmation and promise in the presence of the King, in the manner prescribed by Act of Parliament, that they have not done anything which may legally debar them from holding office, and shall also swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that they will faithfully discharge their duties.

161CHAPTER 3. The States General

162§1. Organization and Composition

163Article 50

164The States General shall represent the entire people of the Netherlands.

165Article 51

1661. The States General shall consist of a Lower House (Tweede Kamer) and an Upper House (Eerste Kamer).

1672. The Lower House shall consist of one hundred and fifty members.

1683. The Upper House shall consist of seventy-five members.

1694. The two Houses shall be deemed a single entity when they meet in joint session.

170Article 52

1711. The duration of both Houses shall be four years.

1722. The duration of the Upper House shall be amended accordingly if the duration of the provincial councils (provinciale staten) is altered by Act of Parliament to a term other than four years.

173Article 53

1741. The members of both Houses shall be elected by proportional representation within the limits to be laid down by Act of Parliament.

1752. Elections shall be by secret ballot.

176Article 54

1771. The members of the Lower House shall be elected directly by Dutch nationals who have attained the age of eighteen, with the exception of any Dutch nationals who may be excluded by Act of Parliament by virtue of the fact that they are not resident in the Netherlands.

1782. Anyone who has committed an offence designated by Act of Parliament and has been sentenced as a result by a final and conclusive judgment of a court of law to a custodial sentence of not less than one year and simultaneously disqualified from voting shall not be entitled to vote.

179Article 55

180The members of the Upper House shall be chosen by the members of the provincial councils. The election shall take place not more than three months after the election of the members of the provincial councils except in the event of the dissolution of the House.

181Article 56

182To be eligible for membership of the States General, a person must be a Dutch national, must have attained the age of eighteen years and must not have been disqualified from voting.

183Article 57

1841. No one may be a member of both Houses.

1852. A member of the States General may not be a Minister, State Secretary, member of the Council of State, member of the Court of Audit (Algemene Rekenkamer), National Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman, member of the Supreme Court, or Procurator General or Advocate General at the Supreme Court.

1863. Notwithstanding the above, a Minister or State Secretary who has offered to tender his resignation may combine the said office with membership of the States General until such time as a decision is taken on such resignation.

1874. Other public functions which may not be held simultaneously by a person who is a member of the States General or of one of the Houses may be designated by Act of Parliament.

188Article 57a

189The temporary replacement of a member of the States General during pregnancy and maternity leave or during illness shall be regulated by Act of Parliament.

190Article 58

191Each House shall examine the credentials of its newly appointed members and shall decide with due reference to rules to be established by Act of Parliament any disputes arising in connection with the credentials or the election.

192Article 59

193All other matters pertaining to the right to vote and to elections shall be regulated by Act of Parliament.

194Article 60

195Upon accepting office members of the Houses shall swear an oath or make an affirmation and promise before the House in the manner prescribed by Act of Parliament that they have not done anything which may legally debar them from holding office, and shall also swear or promise allegiance to the Constitution and that they will faithfully discharge their duties.

196Article 61

1971. Each House shall appoint a Speaker from among its members.

1982. Each House shall appoint a Clerk who, like the other officials of the two Houses, may not be a member of the States General.

199Article 62

200The Speaker of the Upper House shall preside when the two Houses meet in joint session.

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