Formal and Informal Constitutional Change in the Netherlands
The Dutch Constitution beyond 200: tradition and innovation in a Multilevel Legal Order (Ferrari, Passchier and Voermans eds., The Hague: Eleven International Publishers, 2018 Forthcoming)
13 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2017 Last revised: 28 Sep 2017
Date Written: May 27, 2017
This paper starts by evaluating the relevance of the formal constitutional revision mechanism of the Constitution of the Netherlands. It argues that, although the Dutch constitution has been revised many times, the importance of its article 137 formal revision procedure for Dutch constitutional development should be put into perspective. Secondly, it explores processes of informal constitutional change. It sheds light on such processes by taking different perspectives. It argues that constitutional change outside the formal constitutional revision procedure can best be understood by taking a ‘historical institutionalism’ view. In conclusion, the paper suggests that, in the Dutch context, informal process of constitutional change have been much more important than formal constitutional revision and that, therefore, the theme of informal constitutional change should be the central concern of anyone who seeks to understand Dutch constitutional development.
Keywords: constitutional change, Netherlands
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