Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Netherlands)

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Netherlands)

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The Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (Ministerie van Sociale Zaken en Werkgelegenheid; SZW) is the Dutch ministry of social affairs: it is occupied with employment, relations between employers and employees, the system of social security, and emancipation. The current minister is Henk Kamp.



The ministry is responsible for five fields of policy:


The main office in The Hague

The ministry is currently headed by one minister and one state secretary. The ministry's main office is located in The Hague. The civil service is headed by a Secretary General and a vice-secretary general, who head a system of three directorates general:

  • Relations between employers and employees and international affairs
  • Occupational safety and Health and social insurances
  • Labour market policy and social welfare

Furthermore, there is an inspector general responsible for the inspection employment and income, who supervises the local centres for employment and income.


The ministry was founded in 1933, at the height of the Great Depression. Before that the limited social policy had been the responsibility of the ministry of Economic Affairs. After the Second World War the ministry became much more important, as the Netherlands transformed into a welfare state.

In 1982 the responsibility for labour market policy was transferred to the ministry from the ministry of Economic Affairs in order to enlarge the portfolio of vice-prime minister Joop den Uyl. Emancipation also became a responsibility of the ministry.


Since 1989 the following politicians have been minister of Social Affairs and Employment


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