Prime Minister of the Netherlands
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Because of his limited powers the prime minister is described as a primus inter pares (a first among equals). The prime minister chairs the weekly meetings of the council of ministers and he has the power to set the agenda of these meetings. The prime minister is also minister of General Affairs (Minister van Algemene Zaken), which takes an important role in coordinating policy and is responsible the Government Information Service (Dutch: Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst). The prime minister is also responsible for the royal house and has a weekly meeting with the Queen on government policy. Informally he also functions as the "face" of the cabinet to the public. After the meetings of the cabinet on Friday, the Prime Minister hosts a press conference on the decisions of the cabinet and current affairs. The prime minister also has some functions in international affairs, attending the European Council every six months and maintaining all kinds of bilateral contacts. The prime ministers' office is the Little Tower (Het Torentje) on the Binnenhof in the Hague. His official residence (which is only used for official functions) is the Catshuis.
Traditionally, the party with the highest number of seats in the Second Chamber will initiate coalition talks after elections. This usually leads to its party leader being instituted as formator of the cabinet. After the negotiations are concluded he become prime minister. A minister from the smaller coalition party usually becomes vice prime minister of the cabinet. If there is a third party in the coalition, one of its ministers will become second vice prime minister.
For a list of historic Prime Ministers, see List of Prime Ministers of the Netherlands
Gradually the prime minister became an official function of government leader, taken by the political leader of the largest party. Since 1848 the role of the first minister has become relevant. In that year a constitution was adopted which made ministers responsible to parliament and Kings inviolable. Before that year ministers were responsible to the King, who acted as leader of cabinet. Until 1901 the position chair of the council of ministers officially rotated between ministers. Between 1901 and 1945 the position formally still rotated but prominent politicians were able to claim a rotation period of four years. In 1937 a separate minister of General Affairs was founded which was informally linked to the prime minister was strengthened. In 1971-3 the Barend Biesheuvel was the last prime minister who was not political leader of the largest party in cabinet, but actually of the third largest. In 1983 the function of prime minister was laid down in the constitution.
The Dutch do not constistently use one word. The constitution used the word minister-president, but eerste minister ('first minister') and premier are also used.
 Netherlands Antilles and Aruba
The Prime Minister is responsible for the entire Netherlands, and therefore also for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The independent cabinets of Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles also have their own prime ministers. In the case of the Netherlands Antilles Emily de Jongh-Elhage and Aruba Nelson O. Oduber.
|Prime Ministers of the Netherlands||Image:Flag of the Netherlands.svg|
| Kappeyne van de Coppello | Van Lynden van Sandenburg | Heemskerk Azn. | Mackay | Van Tienhoven | Roëll | Pierson | Kuyper | De Meester | Heemskerk | Cort van der Linden | Ruijs de Beerenbrouck | Colijn | De Geer | Gerbrandy | Schermerhorn | Beel | Drees | De Quay | Marijnen | Cals | Zijlstra | De Jong | Biesheuvel | Den Uyl | Van Agt | Lubbers | Kok | Balkenende