Wikipedia says

If the House of Representatives is dissolved, due to a severe conflict between the House of Representatives and cabinet, or within the cabinet, a snap election takes place as soon as possible, usually after two months to give parties time to prepare.

But who can dissolve it and under what circumstances? E.g. can the cabinet do it unilaterally, or does the House need to vote to dissolve itself?


Formally, the House is dissolved by Royal Decision (Koninklijk Besluit), which effectively means by cabinet decision. No vote is needed in the House. (Constitution, Art 64)

There are also exceptional grounds; the House is also dissolved as part of a constitutional change or if the King would die without a successor.

  • Additionally, it's a custom that when the House ("Tweede Kamer") passes a "motion of no confidence" the cabinet will dissolve the House and a snap election takes place. So in practice, the House is able to trigger a snap election, although indirectly and without legal guarantee. – Sjoerd Oct 30 '19 at 1:12

To elaborate on the other reasons which were already named by MSalters. The two more ways to force an election, as outlined by nederlandrechtsstaat.nl (in Dutch):

Naast het ‘politieke’ ontbindingsrecht in artikel 64, vermeldt de Grondwet twee specifieke gevallen waarin Kamerontbinding is vereist, namelijk bij een grondwets­herziening (artikel 137) en bij het treffen van een voorziening bij ontbreken van een troonopvolger (artikel 30). Ontbindingen in verband met grondwetsherziening komen regelmatig voor, maar worden gewoonlijk zo gepland dat ze samenvallen met periodieke verkiezingen, waardoor de grondwetsherziening aan de gemiddelde kiezer ongemerkt voorbij gaat.

Translation and links to the articles named (links in Dutch):

In addition to the ‘political’ dissolution right in article 64, the constitution lists two more specific cases in which dissolution of the House is required, namely when the constitution is amended (article 137) and when making a provision when there is no heir to the throne (article 30). Dissolutions relating to amending of the constitution happen regularly, but are normally planned to coincide with periodic elections, causing the amending of the constitution to go unnoticed to the average voter.

Upon reviewing those articles of law, I noticed that per article 137 only the House is dissolved, whereas article 30 causes both the House and the Senate to be dissolved.

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