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09 June

2015

The Dutch Parliament

By Margaret Forrest 2014 Bursary No Comments

On my way to work, I pass the Binnenhof (Inner Court), a square in the centre of The Hague around which the buildings of the Dutch Parliament are located. The oldest buildings in the Binnenhof were built in the early 13th century making it the oldest house of parliament in the world still in use.

The Netherlands has a bi-cameral parliament and both the Senate and House of Representatives meet at the Binnenhof. On Prinsjesdag (Prince’s Day) in September every year a joint sitting of both houses occurs in the Ridderzaal (Knight’s Hall) at the centre of the Binnenhof. The day is also known as budget day. The Dutch King addresses the joint sitting and presents the government’s plans for the coming year.

Provincial flags outside the Dutch Parliament.

Provincial flags outside the Dutch Parliament.

Since 1982, the Prime Minister’s office has been located in the Torentje (Little Tower) in the northern corner of the Binnenhof. The Cabinet also meet at the Binnenhof in a room called the Trêveszaal, which was originally built for negotiations during the Eighty Years’ War which occurred during the 16th and 17th centuries.