A number of prime ministers have been from the PvdA. The first one was Wim Schermerhorn, a former VDB politician, until July 1946. In 1948, Willem Drees became prime minister, which he remained for 10 years. After a period where the PvdA was threatened by newly formed left parties, it delivered Joop den Uyl as a prime minister again from 1973 to 1977. The party returned from the opposition in 1989, and in 1994, Wim Kok became prime minister, heading the so-called "purple" coalition with VVD and D'66.
The 2002 elections saw a big loss for the PvdA, which obtained only 23 seats in the Tweede Kamer, the lowest number since the party was established, as voters chose for the CDA or the newly formed LPF instead. The party's candidate Ad Melkert resigned from his position as a result of this election.
In the 2003 elections, the new political leader Wouter Bos managed to gain back almost all seats lost in the previous election, and the PvdA was once again the second-largest party of the Netherlands, only slightly smaller than the CDA. After the election they built up a commanding lead in the opinion polls, aided by the slow formation process for the second Balkenende cabinet.
Number of seats in the Tweede Kamer, of the 150 total: