Since 1848 the Dutch Constitution has provided that the ministers, and not the King, are responsible for acts of government; in other words, the ministers are accountable to parliament for the policies pursued by the government. The ministers are also politically responsible for what the monarch says and does.

The King signs Acts of Parliament and Royal Decrees, which are then countersigned by a minister or state secretary. When a new government is formed, the King also signs the decrees appointing its members, and swears them in. In addition, the King is president of the Council of State, and every year delivers the Speech from the Throne. The Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which the king is head of state, comprises the Netherlands, Aruba, CuraƧao and St Maarten.