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Netherlands: Government#

Country nameconventional long form: Kingdom of the Netherlands
conventional short form: Netherlands
local long form: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
local short form: Nederland
CapitalAmsterdam; note - The Hague is the seat of government Amsterdam, note - The Hague is the seat of government
geographic coordinates: 52 21 N, 4 55 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October
note: time descriptions apply to the continental Netherlands only, not to the Caribbean components
Administrative divisions12 provinces (provincies, singular - provincie); Drenthe, Flevoland, Fryslan (Friesland), Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant (North Brabant), Noord-Holland (North Holland), Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland (Zealand), Zuid-Holland (South Holland)
Constitutionprevious 1597, 1798; latest adopted 24 August 1815 (substantially revised in 1848); amended many times, last in 2010 (2013)
Dependent areasAruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten
Executive branchchief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER (since 30 April 2013)
head of government: Prime Minister Mark RUTTE (since 14 October 2010); Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk ASSCHER (since 5 November 2012); note - Mark RUTTE tendered his resignation 23 April 2012; new elections were held on 12 September 2012 in which his party won the most seats; during the interim period he remained in office in a care-taking position; he was sworn in again as prime minister on 5 November 2012
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch
elections: the monarchy is hereditary; following Second Chamber elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch; deputy prime ministers appointed by the monarch
note: there is also a Council of State composed of the monarch, heir apparent, and councilors that provides advice to the cabinet on legislative and administrative policy
Flag descriptionthree equal horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue; similar to the flag of Luxembourg, which uses a lighter blue and is longer; the colors were those of WILLIAM I, Prince of Orange, who led the Dutch Revolt against Spanish sovereignty in the latter half of the 16th century; originally the upper band was orange, but because it tended to fade to red over time, the red shade was eventually made the permanent color; the banner is perhaps the oldest tricolor in continuous use
Independence23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581 they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)
Judicial branchhighest court(s): Supreme Court or Hoge Raad (consists of 41 judges: the president, 6 vice-presidents, 31 justices or raadsheren, and 3 justices in exceptional service, referred to as buitengewone dienst); the court is divided into criminal, civil, tax, and ombuds chambers
judge selection and term of office: justices appointed by the monarch from a list provided by the Second Chamber of the States General; justices appointed for life or until mandatory retirement at age 70
subordinate courts: courts of appeal; district courts, each with up to 5 subdistrict courts
Legal systemcivil law system based on the French system; constitution does not permit judicial review of acts of the States General
Legislative branchbicameral States General or Staten Generaal consists of the First Chamber or Eerste Kamer (75 seats; members indirectly elected by the country's 12 provincial councils to serve four-year terms) and the Second Chamber or Tweede Kamer (150 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: First Chamber - last held on May 2011 (next to be held in May 2015); Second Chamber - last held on 12 September 2012 (next to be held by May 2017)
election results: First Chamber - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - VVD 16, PvdA 14, CDA 11, PVV 10, SP 8, D66 5, GL 5, other 6; Second Chamber - percent of vote by party - VVD 26.6%, PvdA 24.8%, PVV, 10.1%, SP 9.7%, CDA 8.5%, D66 8.0%, CU 3.1%, GL 6.7%, other 2.5%; seats by party - VVD 41, PvdA 38, PVV 15, SP 15, CDA 13, D66 12, CU 5, GL 4, other 7
International organization participationADB (nonregional member), AfDB (nonregional member), Arctic Council (observer), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CBSS (observer), CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMISS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
National holidayKing's Day (for 2014, the holiday will be on 26 April; thereafter it will fall on the King's Birthday of 27 April (1967))
Political pressure groups and leadersChristian Trade Union Federation or CNV (Jaap SMIT)
Confederation of Netherlands Industry and Employers or VNO-NCW (Bernard WIENTJES)
Federation for Small and Medium-sized businesses or MKB (Hans BIESHEUVEL)
Netherlands Trade Union Federation or FNV (Ton HEERTS)
Social Economic Council or SER (Wiebe DRAIJER)
Trade Union Federation of Middle and High Personnel or MHP (Reginald VISSER)
Political parties and leadersChristian Democratic Appeal or CDA (Sybrand VAN HAERSMA BUMA)
Christian Union or CU (Arie SLOB)
Democrats 66 or D66 (Alexander PECHTOLD)
Green Left or GL (Bram VAN OJIK)
Labor Party or PvdA (Diederik SAMSOM)
Party for Freedom or PVV (Geert WILDERS)
Party for the Animals or PvdD (Marianne THIEME)
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy or VVD (Mark RUTTE)
Reformed Political Party or SGP (Kees VAN DER STAAIJ)
Socialist Party or SP (Emile ROEMER)
plus a few minor parties
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Government typeconstitutional monarchy
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Rudolf Simon BEKINK (since 20 July 2012)
chancery: 4200 Linnean Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 244-5300, (1) 877-388-2443
FAX: (1) (202) 362-3430
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Miami, New York, San Francisco
consulate(s): Boston
National anthemname: "Het Wilhelmus" (The William)
lyrics/music: Philips VAN MARNIX van Sint Aldegonde (presumed)/unknown
note: adopted 1932, in use since the 17th century, making it the oldest national anthem in the world; also known as "Wilhelmus van Nassouwe" (William of Nassau), it is in the form of an acrostic, where the first letter of each stanza spells the name of the leader of the Dutch Revolt
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)lion
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: ambassador Timothy BROAS (since 19 March 2014)
embassy: Lange Voorhout 102, 2514 EJ, The Hague
mailing address: PSC 71, Box 1000, APO AE 09715
telephone: (31) (70) 310-2209
FAX: (31) (70) 310-2207
consulate(s) general: Amsterdam