chapter  3
19 Pages

The dynamics of coalition governments in the Netherlands

WithArco Timmermans, Gerard Breeman

The Netherlands has long stood as a prime example of the consensus model of democracy, which Dutch-American political scientist Arend Lijphart deemed a “kinder, gentler type of democracy” than the majoritarian model (1999, 274). The key features of the country’s consensual system are: power sharing, compromise, and proportional political representation of social “pillars” and distinct social and political groups (Lijphart 1968; Daalder 1974; Van Schendelen 1984). Secularization, social and political change, and international developments, such as European integration and globalization, have all put pressure on the Netherlands’ political system in recent years. However, the political institutions – which evolved over centuries – have remained firmly in place and continue to reflect the ideologies and groups in Dutch society.