Acta Politica

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 117–132

The Dutch Electoral System on Trial

  • Henk van der Kolk
  • Jacques Thomassen
Original Article

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500152

Cite this article as:
van der Kolk, H. & Thomassen, J. Acta Polit (2006) 41: 117. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500152


As in several other countries, the electoral system in the Netherlands is a matter of dispute. The main purpose of this special issue is to assess to what extent the comparative study of electoral systems offers a solid body of knowledge on the possible effects of various proposals to change the electoral system. Such an assessment is not only useful for the ongoing discussion in the Netherlands but also produces a state-of-the-art of the comparative study of electoral systems. In this introduction, we first present an overview of the main characteristics and the historical background of the current Dutch electoral system. Subsequently, we discuss the critique evoked by this extremely proportional system. We then summarize the main objectives of a recent proposal of the Dutch government to change the electoral system. In the second half of this introduction, we present the outline of this special issue. Finally, we evaluate what we have learned about the relevance of the study of electoral systems for specific attempts to reform electoral systems.


electoral reformelectoral systemsThe Netherlandscomparative research

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henk van der Kolk
    • 1
  • Jacques Thomassen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and Methodology, School of Business, Public Administration and Technology, University of TwenteEnschedeThe Netherlands