XVIth meeting of the Association of European Senates


Dear visitor,

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.

Ankie Broekers-Knol

President of the Senate of the Kingdom of the Netherlands


Short impression of the meeting

 Video of the plenary session



Background paper on the theme of the meeting

List of participants


Association of European Senates

At the invitation of the President of the French Senate, M. Christian Poncelet, the Presidents of fourteen upper parliamentary chambers in Europe decided, during a meeting held in Paris on 8 November 2000, to create an Association of European Senates.

As of today, this Association brings together the Federal Councils (Bundesrats) of Germany and Austria; the Senates of Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Spain; the House of Lords of the United Kingdom; the House of Peoples of Bosnia-Herzegovina; the Russian Federation Council; the National Council of Slovenia; and the Swiss Council of States, as well as the Council of State of Luxembourg in the capacity of observer.

The Association's objectives are to develop relationships between members, promote bicameralism within the framework of parliamentary democracy and strengthen European identity and awareness. Each year the Association organizes at least one meeting of Senate Presidents on specific topics to be determined in advance by joint agreement.


Conference Secretariat (for the programme)

Eerste Kamer der Staten Generaal

Communication and Protocol

Postbus 20017

2500 EA The Hague

Telephone: +31 (0)70 3129221 or +31 (0)6 46820689

E-mail: aes2015@eerstekamer.nl  

Contact during office hours: Ms. Myrna Prenger

Conference Office (for organisation and logistics)


Jan van Nassaustraat 93A

2596 BR The Hague

Telephone: +31 (0)703282929

E-mail: aes2015@kronenburg.nl  

Contact: Ms. Ingrid Vermeeren