XVIth meeting of the Association of European Senates
Welcome to the special website of the Senate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands for the XVIth meeting of the Association of European Senates (AES) which was held on 21 - 22 May 2015 in the Plenary Hall of the Senate in The Hague. I am especially proud that we organised the AES meeting in 2015, since this is the year that the Netherlands celebrates the 200th anniversary of its bicameral parliament, the States General.
Theme of the meeting: Focus on the Senate
Worldwide, senates show a wide variety in composition, powers and the role they play in the national political decision making process. Over the years, the concept of upper houses has changed which in some cases has led to reform. Upper houses have been criticized for having too much power or too little, for being too democratic or not democratic enough or for being a carbon copy of the lower house.
The focus of this meeting was on changing concepts in the functioning of Senates in bicameral parliamentary systems. What legitimises a bicameral system in our time? Should both houses have the same legislative powers? What is the influence of public opinion? What changes have senates gone through in recent years? These and other questions were addressed in the XVIth meeting of the AES in The Hague in 2015.
President of the Senate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands