he Netherlands is a representative democracy premised upon a bicameral system. King Willem-Alexander is the official head of state. The Government always consists of a coalition of different political parties, since a multitude of parties are elected to Parliament and none of them has ever had an absolute majority. The political climate in the Netherlands in the past 15 years has been influenced considerably by the rise of far right-wing parties, such as the Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid, PVV). Issues brought up by such parties, in particular concerning immigration and anti-Islam or antiterrorism measures, now dominate political discourse in general. In 2017 a new coalition Government was formed after a long period of negotiations. It consists of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, VVD) (liberal), the Christian Democrats (Christen-Democratisch Appèl, CDA), the Christian Union (Christenunie, CU) and the Democrats 66 (Democraten 66, D66). The Netherlands is party to all the major international agreements relevant to combating discrimination, including the European Convention on Human Rights (including Protocol No. 12), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the Optional Protocol to the Covenant, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), including the Optional Protocol to this Convention, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The latter was ratified in 2016 and upon ratification the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was extended. The above-mentioned instruments constitute part of the domestic legal order after they have been published in the official Law Gazette and can be applied directly by domestic courts if the provision concerned is sufficiently clear and precise. The Kingdom of the Netherlands has the second highest population density in the European Union, after Malta. People of immigrant origin predominantly come from Turkey, Morocco, Suriname and the Dutch Antilles (although people from the Dutch Antilles cannot really be described as ‘immigrants’, they are nevertheless often perceived or treated as such). The main religions are Roman Catholic 24 %, Protestant 15 %, Muslim 5 %, other 6 % and none 51 % (2017).