Minister (Minister)

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A minister is a politician who is politically responsible for a policy area. If a minister is not ultimately responsible for a department (ministry), one speaks of a minister without portfolio. A minister without portfolio is responsible for certain policy areas within a department, but is not ultimately responsible for the department, because this is the minister. A minister without portfolio may, however, co-decide and vote on decisions within the Council of Ministers. Ministers without portfolio have been in the Netherlands since 1948 and have been introduced to provide additional support to ministers within certain heavy departments. There is therefore an important difference between a minister with a portfolio and a minister without portfolio, because a minister without portfolio is not ultimately responsible for the department and because he does not have his own department. If a political official supports a minister without the political official being allowed to vote on decisions within the Council of Ministers, one speaks of a state secretary and not of a minister without portfolio. The word minister comes from Latin and means servant. The position of minister is an important function and a position in which you have major responsibilities. It is the ministers who take important political decisions, who concern all citizens and businesses. A minister is politically responsible for the assigned policy areas. This means that ministers are judged on any abuses. In the event of serious abuses, members of the House of Representatives have the opportunity to submit a motion of no confidence. With broad support of the motion of no confidence, a minister will have to resign. A minister can also choose to resign. All ministers are part of the government together with the king. The cabinet consists of all ministers and all state secretaries.

A minister is therefore responsible for a department (ministry) and can be assisted by a minister without portfolio and a state secretary, depending on the type of department. In all cases, the minister is ultimately responsible for the department. A commonly used term for this responsibility is political responsibility. As a minister, you are busy every day to exercise government policy and you manage civil servants for this, who fall under the responsibility of the minister. In addition to implementing existing policies, a minister is busy every day coming up with new policies and reading reports and reports. The civil servants within ministries and departments support the ministers in the development of new policies and in the implementation of existing policies. These civil servants therefore work for a particular minister or department and can be seen as policy advisers to the minister, whereby the minister bears responsibility for his or her civil servants. There are also usually several staff members.


As a minister, you are part of the Council of Ministers, which is held weekly. A Council of Ministers is a special meeting at which all ministers are present. All ministers have the right to vote within the Council of Ministers. Within the Council of Ministers, general government policy is discussed and every minister has the right to vote, so that decisions can be adopted if there is a majority of votes. Only ministers who have the right to vote may be present during the Council of Ministers. This means that a state secretary will not be part of the Council of Ministers, because he does not have the right to vote within the Council of Ministers. A State Secretary can be present during the Council of Ministers if he or she has received an invitation from the ministers. The Prime Minister is the President of the Council of Ministers.


As a minister, you are part of the government and the cabinet. This means that ministers regularly have to defend new policies or other important points in the House of Representatives. It is the members of the House of Representatives who ask critical questions to ministers, and it is the Members of the House of Representatives who vote on new legislative proposals. Members of the House of Representatives are representatives of the people, who control the government and the cabinet just as municipal councillors do within municipalities. Members of the House of Representatives are members of a political party and are part of a political group. It is the group chairman who is the leader of a group of MPs, who are part of the same party. Forming political groups is important to appear unambiguous, so that goals can be achieved.

Despite the fact that ministers mainly work in The Hague, it also regularly happens that ministers work in the field. Consider, for example, the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, who will make working visits to farmers, ecologists, environmentalists or food manufacturers. Ministers do this mainly because it is important to gain knowledge from practice. As a minister, you generally deal with many different people. Think also of ambassadors, diplomats, the Commander of the Armed Forces, deputy, dike graves and mayors.



There are no training courses for the profession of minister, because a minister will be asked for the position after which he will be appointed and sworn in by the king in consultation with the government. In most cases, the future minister is a well-known person within politics, who is affiliated with a particular party and who, after an extensive screening, will be asked to hold the position. This can also relate to people from the business world who have built up a good reputation. In general, we can say that in all cases a minister will have to have a good education or study and work experience before he or she will be asked for the position.


A minister does not work for companies, but for the government of the Netherlands. In addition, we cannot really speak of a profession, because the position of minister should be seen as a vocation rather than a profession. A minister therefore works for the B.V. Nederland.


One of the most important competences of a minister is the national interest. In addition, a minister must have administrative experience. Obviously, a minister will have to have good communication skills, because you are dealing with many lobbyists, civil servants, advocates and other ministers. Being able to network and negotiate is also important as a minister. Generally important words are vision, innovation, motivation, inspiration, leadership, energy, passion, planning, organizing, perseverance and stress resistance.


The labour market perspective of a minister is small. The chance of becoming a minister is not great, since there are not many ministers. The career opportunities of a minister are generally highly dependent on the political climate in which the minister governs, and the possible successes achieved as a minister. In most cases, a minister will work in business after his or her political career, but a former minister can also hold another political position. Consider, for example, becoming a European Commissioner. Publishing your own book as a publicist is also common.


The working conditions as a minister are well regulated as government personnel. A minister within the Netherlands receives a salary of 11,270.20 euros gross per month excluding an annual expense allowance of 4,193 euros per year.

The content on this page has been automatically translated from the Dutch language. For this reason, texts and videos on this page may contain small errors.

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