Even in the relatively open political system of the Netherlands, most new parties never pass the threshold of representation and keep waiting in vain in the wings of political power. Since 1989 only 10 out of 63 newcomers gained one or more seats in parliament, owing to a favourable political opportunity structure and significant resources. Three of them disappeared into political oblivion after one parliamentary term. Only two of them have participated in government. In this paper we offer some explanations as regards the variety in origins as well as a typology with respect to their differences in terms of ideology and policy agenda. The analysis shows that however short-lived parties in opposition may be they have an impact on the political agenda, in particular recently.