Modern Prime Ministerial Leadership in the Netherlands: Consensus or Confrontation?

E.M. Swinkels, Sabine van Zuydam, F.A.W.J. van Esch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


This chapter discusses the leadership style of Dutch prime ministers (PMs) and asks the question what type of leadership skills, relations, and reputations are most effective in modern Dutch politics: a consensual or confrontational style. While Dutch politics traditionally favors leaders who employ a consensus-oriented leadership style, prime ministers Balkenende (2002–2010) and Rutte (2010–present) served at a time when socio-cultural changes and mediatization of politics were challenging this political practice. By applying a modified version of the Leadership Capital Index (LCI), the chapter shows that to ensure re-election, both PMs struck a careful balance between the consensual and confrontational leadership styles. Whereas the study indicates that prime ministers have considerable leeway in how to strike that balance, the results suggest that it is essential that they maintain constructive relations with their peers in government and parliament to be electorally successful in the Dutch political system.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Leadership Capital Index
Subtitle of host publicationA New Perspective on Political Leadership
EditorsMark Bennister, Ben Worthy, Paul 't Hart
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)978–0–19–878384–8
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2017


  • leadership capital
  • LCI
  • Dutch politics
  • prime ministers
  • mediatization
  • leadership style
  • consensus democracy
  • democratic practices


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