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    Local political parties are clearly on the rise in the Netherlands in both the municipal council and the municipal board. Their average percentage of council seats increased from 25% in 1998 to 37% in 2018 and the percentage of councillors from 21% to 32%. This coincided with a greatly increased fragmentation. For example, the average number of political parties on the council rose from 6.5 in 1998 to 8.0 in 2018 and the number of parties providing one or more aldermen increased from 2.8 to 3.4 during this period. Fragmentation expressed in the number of effective parties shows a similar trend. If we use the Chapel Hill score, it appears that the average political colour of both the municipal council and the alderman part in the municipal board has shifted to the right. This is mainly because political parties are becoming increasingly right wing according to this index and not so much because there are more local votes for right-wing parties. Significant differences in the representative representation are also noted. The local parties as well as the Socialist Party (SP) are less successful than average in converting their seats on the council into councillor seats, while the three large traditional (and especially the CDA) and smaller Christian parties have succeeded above average in this.


Raymond Gradus
Prof. dr. R.H.J.M. Gradus is hoogleraar bestuur en economie van de publieke en non-profitsector aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, en is tevens verbonden aan de vakgroep Accounting en het Zijlstra Center for Public Control, Leadership and Governance.

Tjerk Budding
Dr. G.T. Budding is universitair hoofddocent Management and Financial Accounting en opleidings­­directeur van de Public Controllers­­opleidingen aan de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Elbert Dijkgraaf
Prof. dr. E. Dijkgraaf is hoogleraar empirische economie van de publieke sector aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en fellow van het Tinbergen Instituut.

    Wie iets wil doen aan de vele grote problemen waar de wereld zich anno 2021 mee geconfronteerd weet, die heeft de best mogelijke antwoorden nodig op de vraag of een bepaalde interventie werkt of niet. In deze column wordt dan ook gepleit voor het hoog blíjven leggen van de lat voor zowel op effectiviteit gericht als responsief evaluatieonderzoek.


Peter van der Knaap
Peter van der Knaap is directeur van IOB – Instituut voor Internationaal Onderzoek & Beleidsevaluatie en voorzitter van Vide – Evaluatiegenootschap van Nederland.

Simon Otjes
Dr. S.P. Otjes is onderzoeker bij het Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (DNPP) van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen en universitair docent aan de Universiteit Leiden.

Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is als lector Recht en Veiligheid verbonden aan Avans Hogeschool in Den Bosch en als universitair docent Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

    Because local political parties are by definition only active in one municipality, the assumption is that they are less effective compared to national parties because they have no representation at other levels of government and in other municipalities. It is then expected that aldermen of local parties will have more difficulty advocating the interests of their municipality in the region or province, the national government or the European Union. Interviews with aldermen of local parties and a survey among aldermen show that this picture needs some nuance. Aldermen from local parties say they can compensate for the lack of party political contacts by investing in personal relationships. It is striking that the non-partisan role of these aldermen also benefits them: because they do not have to take party political interests into account, they can more forcefully propagate the interests of their municipality if they are at odds with provincial or national policy. Because of their party-politically neutral role, they also acquire key positions more quickly in the region. The only disadvantage that aldermen of local parties do experience is the lack of support in the form of professionalisation and of knowledge exchange. They see that aldermen of national parties, who usually receive support from their national party bureau, sometimes have an advantage in this regard. This sheds new, and relatively little mentioned, light on the importance of party-political contacts.


Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, onderzoeker bij Necker van Naem en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Franziska Eckardt
Dr. F. Eckardt promoveerde op 3 september 2021 bij de vakgroep Bestuurskunde van de Universiteit Twente op een onderzoek naar drie G-1000-initiatieven. Momenteel werkt ze als onderzoeker in Utrecht bij Citisens voor verschillende overheden aan projecten op het snijvlak van democratie, participatie en innovatie.

    Barack Obama’s autobiography ‘A Promised Land’, of which the Dutch translation was published in 2020, is a clearly and vividly written (political) life story devoted to the first term of his US presidency. Of course it also mentions the journey to the top and the efforts he had to make to achieve it. Not an easy task for a young, inexperienced newcomer, who is also African-American. The book is a candid account of what happened during the primaries and his first term in office. It gives the impression that it is based on diary notes, which he later processed, and then turned into a successful story by the editors of the publishing house. The book is also pedantic to a certain extent: it points out what is worth pursuing, how to approach things, and what you can learn from your experiences (and mistakes). By extension, it contains numerous (intended) messages and (life) lessons. Above all, it provides a fascinating insight into the immense struggle that Obama had to fight to be able and allowed to hold the highest office in his country as a black man. Nico Nelissen also discusses the question of what local politicians and local administrators can gain from this autobiography.


Nico Nelissen
Prof. dr. N.J.M. Nelissen is emeritus hoogleraar aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, redactielid en oud-hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    Since 1989, the parties participating in the Dutch elections have been obliged to opt for the legal form of an association with full legal capacity, if they wish to be stated on the ballot under their own name. What this has meant in practice for the structure of local party organisations is, however, unknown. For this reason, this article focuses on the question of how local parties are organised. How have the parties arranged their internal functioning and what human and financial resources do they have at their disposal? A second reason to take a closer look at the organisation of local parties lies in their increased electoral significance. Since 2010, as a collective category, they have managed to attract the largest percentage of voters, with 29% of the total number of votes in the 2018 municipal elections. This justifies the question of whether the social significance of local parties is now just as strong. How do local parties organise their members, sympathisers and volunteers. On the basis of this exploratory study into the organisation of local parties, it can be concluded that both the internal and the external facets of the party organisation are relatively highly developed. Where, according to the literature, national political parties place less emphasis on the external mobilisation function, we see that local parties perform better than the branches of national parties in terms of both the internal organisational function and the external mobilisation function.


Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, onderzoeker bij Necker van Naem en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Gerrit Voerman
Prof. dr. G. Voerman is directeur van het Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (DNPP) en hoogleraar Ontwikkeling en functioneren van het Nederlandse en Europese partijstelsel aan de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

    The history of local parties in the Netherlands is quite a mystery. Since their first appearance at the dawn of the twentieth century, local parties were founded sooner or later in all municipalities. They seemed to have served as an addition to local representatives of national parties. Despite the variety in their ideologies, shapes and modi operandi, they could be qualified and studied as ‘niche parties’, offering an alternative to the viewpoints and divisions of the traditional (national) party politics. With this article, the authors aim to contribute to a better understanding of Dutch local parties, whose origins and development have largely remained a black box due to the scarcity of sources and studies. They do so by adopting a partly quantitative, partly qualitative or narrative approach, while looking at the election results of local parties in the past century, including salient regional differences, and by comparing these to the success of national parties in local elections. Within the boundaries of their research, their hypothesis seems to hold true that the popularity of local parties, as ‘niche parties’, depended largely on the strategies of national parties, which justifies the assumption that these two types of parties have acted as communicating vessels.


Ingrid van Biezen
Prof. dr. I. van Biezen is hoogleraar vergelijkende politicologie aan de Universiteit Leiden. Daarvoor was ze verbonden aan de University of Birmingham.

Geerten Waling
Dr. G.H. Waling is historicus en is als onderzoeker verbonden aan de Universiteit Leiden. Hij studeerde geschiedenis en wijsbegeerte aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.

Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de joint degree Public Governance across Borders aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Michiel Herweijer
Prof. dr. M. Herweijer is sinds september 2011 bijzonder hoogleraar Bestuurskunde verbonden aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, en sinds november 2018 als universitair docent aan de Campus Fryslân, een vestiging van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

    In this study, the authors analyse the development of the 46 Dutch local parties that received at least ten per cent of the vote in the 2014 municipal elections as a new party. The aim is to determine which factors are most relevant to the successful entry and survival of this group of parties. To this end, they conduct interviews with leaders of these parties, but also, for comparison, with the leaders of parties who failed to win a seat. An important common feature of the most successful local parties is that they express dissatisfaction with local politics in an appealing way and offer voters perspective. They do this by putting people on the list who are known in the small communities and who are actively involved. The following factors are present in varying compositions among the parties that even exceeded their election victory four years later: unity in the party or at least no ‘hassle’ visible to society, visible and appealing to residents, having clearly achieved something and being able to transmit that to society. Most founders of the most successful newcomers were previously politically active for a local branch of a political party. It is also striking that three quarters of the most successful newcomers come from municipalities with a maximum of 40,000 inhabitants.


Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is als lector Recht en Veiligheid verbonden aan Avans Hogeschool in Den Bosch en als universitair docent Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Milou Peeters
M. Peeters BSc is masterstudent Management van de Publieke Sector aan de Universiteit Leiden. Ook doet ze als student-assistent bij de Universiteit Maastricht onderzoek naar de controlefunctie van gemeenteraden. Zij deed een bachelor Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Sander Jennissen
S. Jennissen BSc is masterstudent Management van de Publieke Sector aan de Universiteit Leiden. Hij deed een bachelor Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg.

    Local political parties are an important factor in local politics in the Netherlands. These parties, which participate in municipal elections but are not affiliated with national political parties, are currently the largest ‘political family’ in the municipal councils. Yet surprisingly little is known about these parties. The existing research indicates that this ‘party family’ has a protest character. But at the same time, more precise analyses indicate that this party family is more diverse: and that the label ‘local party’ describes all kinds of different movements. However, a comprehensive analysis of the programmatic positioning of all parties in this family in relation to national parties is lacking. That is the purpose of this article. For this research, all election manifestoes of the departments and parties that participated in the municipal elections in November 2013, March and November 2014, November 2017 and March and November 2018 were collected. On this basis, the positions of all these parties are estimated on the left-right dimension, a scale that measures anti-elitist rhetoric and a scale that measures localism, based on modern quantitative text analysis techniques (bag-of-words approaches). In this way, for the first time, a picture is obtained of the programmatic cohesion and diversity of this party family as a whole.


Simon Otjes
Dr. S.P. Otjes is onderzoeker bij het Documentatiecentrum Nederlandse Politieke Partijen (DNPP) van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen en universitair docent aan de Universiteit Leiden.

    Welke kennis is nodig om zicht te krijgen op de te verwachten effecten van beleid? Hiervoor moet worden ingeschat of een beleidsinterventie effectief zal zijn en binnen een bepaalde context zal uitwerken zoals beoogd. Twee typen kennisclaims zijn hierbij van belang, namelijk die over de verklarende mechanismes tussen interventie en uitkomst, en die over de ondersteunende factoren die voorwaardelijk zijn voor de uitkomst. Dit standpunt wordt geïllustreerd aan de hand van twee voorbeelden van beleidsinterventies in de praktijk: de inzet van kleinere schoolklassen en de publieke registratie van zedendelinquenten.


Gerdien van Eersel
Gerdien van Eersel is universitair docent Interdisciplinaire Sociale Wetenschap aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Ze was daarvoor onderzoeker bij de lokale overheid en heeft een achtergrond in de wetenschapsfilosofie.

Wieke Pot
Dr. W.D. Pot is universitair docent bij de leerstoelgroep Bestuurskunde van Wageningen Universiteit.

Jorren Scherpenisse
Dr. K.J. Scherpenisse is co-decaan en adjunct-directeur van de Denktank van de Nederlandse School voor Openbaar Bestuur (NSOB).

Paul ’t Hart
Prof. dr. P. ’t Hart is professor Bestuurskunde bij Utrecht Universiteit en co-decaan bij de NSOB.

Peter van der Knaap
Dr. P. van der Knaap is directeur Internationaal Onderzoek en Beleidsevaluatie bij het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken en redactielid bij het tijdschrift Bestuurskunde.

Roel in ’t Veld
Roel in 't Veld, emeritus hoogleraar Bestuurskunde en associate KWINK groep.

Janine Mulder
Janine Mulder, directeur KWINK groep.
Thema-artikel

Van waterschappen naar ‘klimaatschappen’? Kansen en belemmeringen voor strategische herpositionering in tijden van crisis

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Trefwoorden water boards, climate crisis, strategic repositioning, integrated planning, mission mystique
Auteurs Margo van den Brink en Britta Restemeyer
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Dutch water boards are commonly viewed as important player in making the Netherlands climate-proof, resonating in calls to transform water boards into ‘climate boards’. Upcoming legislative changes (i.e. the Environment and Planning Act) stress the importance of integrated approaches, emphasizing spatial quality and collaboration. Dutch water boards are therefore in a strategic repositioning process, in which the relation to the spatial planning domain stands central. The institutions’ adaptation process started already in the 1990s, yet the urgency of the current climate crisis makes it more pressing. However, strategic repositioning might be hampered due to the corona crisis. An acute crisis can absorb all attention and thereby impede a long-term transition. The question is, though, if this also applies to the water boards, as they do not have a primary responsibility in combatting Covid-19. Based on a framing analysis of strategic position papers and interviews with water board employees, we shed light on this repositioning process by identifying the water boards’ new ‘mission mystique’ and accompanying opportunities and dilemmas. We conclude that water boards remain rather cautious in living up to their new mission of a proactive partner in integrated planning; they could use their strong reputation as water authorities to act more courageous in climate-related spatial planning decisions.


Margo van den Brink
Dr. M.A. van den Brink is universitair hoofddocent Water en Ruimte aan de Faculteit Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.

Britta Restemeyer
Dr. B. Restemeyer is postdoc-onderzoeker aan de Faculteit Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen.
Dissertatie

Deciding for tomorrow today

What makes governmental decisions about water infrastructure forward looking?

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Auteurs Wieke Pot

Wieke Pot
Vrij artikel

Een vak apart: topambtelijk vakmanschap in tijden van politieke ­volatiliteit

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Trefwoorden political-administrative relations, senior civil servants, craft of administration, public leadership, publicness
Auteurs Erik-Jan van Dorp
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Recent events and media reporting have turned the spotlights on the role and behaviour of senior civil servants and their relationships with political office holders. In this article I ask how political-administrative interactions are perceived and enacted in the current Dutch core executive. I answer this research question by providing eight concise observations based on extensive qualitative fieldwork (300 hours) and dozens of interviews among top public servants and political executives. The observations fall into two heuristic categories: Institutional context and role and behaviour. Together, they provide an impressionistic picture how work of government elites takes shape, situated in the institutional context. These findings are particularly important as increasing media pressure and enhanced ‘publicness’ of public servants call for a stocktake of political-administrative relations and administrative behaviour. The findings have implications for both students and practitioners of public administration.


Erik-Jan van Dorp
G.H. van Dorp is promovendus bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap (USBO) van de Universiteit Utrecht.
Thema-artikel

De verleiding van bestuurlijke blikvernauwing: schuld en tijd in ­COVID-19-crisisbeleid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Trefwoorden crisis management, blame avoidance, COVID-19, crisis communication, time
Auteurs Joram Feitsma en Marij Swinkels
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    As public institutions seek to come to grips with the crisis of COVID-19, they risk getting trapped in a unilateral here-and-now crisis management style that overlooks other long-term societal issues. We raise the question how and why this is the case. What makes here-and-now crisis management so ‘attractive’ from a political-administrative perspective? Through which strategies is this style being promoted? Guided by the literature on blame management, we empirically analyze the Dutch COVID-19 crisis communication. We specifically zoom into a pivotal yet underexposed facet: the role of time. Three time-related blame management strategies are empirically explored and interpreted: 1) playing with the time horizon; 2) organizing self-reinforcing institutional rhythms of monitoring and decision-making; 3) selectively naming uncertainties and risks. All three subtly add to a short time horizon in managing the ­COVID-19 crisis, revealing how interwoven time and blame are in public decision-making.


Joram Feitsma
Dr. J.N.P. Feitsma is universitair docent bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht.

Marij Swinkels
Dr. E.M. Swinkels is universitair docent bij het departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht.
Thema-artikel

Access_open De dynamiek van sluipende crises: meekoppelen van klimaatbeleid met besluiten van vandaag

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Trefwoorden creeping crises, climate change, feedback, system dynamics
Auteurs Vincent de Gooyert en Heleen de Coninck
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Addressing a creeping crisis like climate change requires nothing less than a system transition. A system transition is very complex and hence its success depends to a large extent on feedback effects: mechanisms where an initial change reinforces itself or balances itself out. Urgent crises are more salient than creeping crises. However, it is possible to combine policies for both urgent and creeping crises, as can be seen in policies that aim for a green recovery. In this article, we conclude that up till now such policies have overlooked the relevance of feedback effects. We provide examples of corona recovery measures that simultaneously help to establish a system transition through feedback effects.


Vincent de Gooyert
Dr. V. de Gooyert is universitair hoofddocent systeemdynamica aan Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit.

Heleen de Coninck
Prof. dr. H.C. de Coninck is hoogleraar socio-technische innovatie en klimaatverandering, Faculteit Technische Bedrijfskunde en Innovatiewetenschappen, TU Eindhoven en universitair hoofddocent innovatiestudies en duurzaamheid, Faculteit der Natuurwetenschappen, Wiskunde en Informatica, Radboud Universiteit.
Van Slingelandtlezing

Nieuwe bestuurscultuur begint bij herijking van het sociaal contract

Van Slingelandtlezing, Vereniging voor Bestuurskunde ­4 november 2021

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2021
Auteurs Kim Putters
Auteursinformatie

Kim Putters
Prof. dr. Kim Putters is directeur bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau en hoogleraar Beleid en sturing van de zorg in de veranderende verzorgingsstaat bij Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management aan de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.
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