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    In this essay, the author is looking for pioneering local administrators in the Netherlands who dared to push existing boundaries. However, the story starts in Great Britain where progressive liberals under the label ‘municipal socialism’ proceeded to provide public utilities through municipal governments rather than private enterprises. Their example was adopted by the so-called ‘radicals’ in Amsterdam led by Wim Treub. ‘Aldermen socialism’ with Floor Wibaut in Amsterdam as its most important representative, took it a step further. Their aim for a welfare municipality anticipated the later welfare state. After the Second World War we also saw some strong local administrators who in their own way strived for changes in their municipalities. After 1970 the phenomenon of ‘urban renewal’ led to a new flourishing of ‘aldermen socialism’ in the Netherlands with Jan Schaefer (in Amsterdam) as its most appealing figurehead. Since 2000, we have been in a new era of dualism, citizen participation and devolution that has produced new 'boundary pushers', which generated interest abroad (see the book on mayors by Benjamin Barber). At the end of the article, the author takes a look into the future. Current global problems also confront municipalities and they require local administrators with a good mix of political leadership, new civic leadership, inspiring commissioning and good stewardship. This essay is written for the ‘Across boundaries’ annual conference of the VNG (the Association of Netherlands Municipalities founded in 1912) held in Maastricht (in the far south of the Netherlands) in 2018.


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

    An element of the theme of the VNG 2018 ‘Across boundaries’ annual conference in Maastricht is the necessity for Dutch politicians and administrators to push existing boundaries. In many cases this will involve a national border, which is closer in the region than in the national administrative center in The Hague. More than half of the twelve Dutch provinces have national borders, so cross-border cooperation is a regular phenomenon. National or EU regulations and subsidies may help to realize policy goals that are found important at a regional or local level, but when policy crosses national borders in practice it is also confronted with other ‘European’ boundaries. If there are incomprehensible, impracticable or conflicting rules, there is tension between common European policy and Dutch decentralization. Therefore this essay focuses on the control that the European Union has as an administrative challenge. It first discusses the shaky European consciousness and then the actions taken to break this vicious circle.


Dr. Mendeltje van Keulen
Dr. M. van Keulen is lector Europese Studies bij de Haagse Hogeschool. Van 2011 tot 2017 was zij griffier Europese Zaken bij de Tweede Kamer.

    The (changing) relations between citizens and administration are in the middle of attention and therefore the Dutch cabinet indicated in a white paper on ‘do-democracy’ (that is a literal translation of the Dutch word “Doe-democratie”) its willingness to contribute actively to the transition to more ‘do-democracy’ (a form of co-decision making of citizens by handling societal issues themselves). In a number of examples the cabinet showed which possibilities it sees to support civilian forces, but also mentioned several dilemmas, risks and objections it brings about. The white paper received praising as well as critical reactions. Especially from the critical reactions we can learn in which respects further action or reflection is necessary. To stimulate thinking and especially doing this article treats four criticisms not enough dealt with in the white paper itself: 1) ‘do-democracy’ is just a cover-up for expenditure cuts; 2) ‘do-democracy’ does a moral appeal on (affective) citizenship; 3) ‘do-democracy’ is reserved for the wealthy and the high-educated: a ‘do-aristocracy’; 4) it not a real form of democracy, because no control is handed over. To help our government every criticism is accompanied by a reply. In a short conclusion the author (himself secretary of the white paper) calls the government to make a start with the actual implementation of the ideas of the white paper.


Vincent van Stipdonk
Drs. V.P. van Stipdonk is redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen. Hij was als zelfstandig Raadgever & Redacteur penvoerder van de kabinetsnota ‘De doe-democratie’.

Hans Blokland
Hans Blokland studeerde politieke wetenschappen en promoveerde in de sociale en politieke filosofie. Hij was fellow van de Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen en onder meer verbonden aan Yale University, Department of Political Science. Tot zijn recente publicaties behoren Pluralisme, Democratie & Politieke Kennis (Van Gorcum 2005) en Modernization and its Political Consequences (Yale University Press 2006). Zie voor informatie over zijn werk: www.hans-blokland.nl.

    Although long recognized as beneficial, a global language has not come to fruition despite considerable past efforts. A major reason is that many policy makers and citizens fear that such a universal language would undermine the particularistic, constituting primary languages of local and national communities. This dilemma can be greatly diminished by a two tier approach, in which efforts to protect the primary language will be intensified but all the nations involved would agree to use the same second language as the global one. Although theoretically the UN or some other such body could choose such a language, in effect English is increasingly occupying this position. However, policies that are in place slow down the development of a global language, often based on the mistaken assumption that people can readily gain fluency in several languages.


Amitai Etzioni
Amitai Etzioni is universiteitshoogleraar aan de George Washington University in Washington DC en directeur van het Insititute for Communitarian Policy Studies. Hij wordt beschouwd als een van de grondleggers van het communitarisme. Enkele van zijn meest bekende werken zijn The Active Society (1969), The Spirit of Community (1993) en The New Golden Rule (1996).

Bob de Graaff
Bob de Graaff is hoogleraar terrorisme en contraterrorisme aan de Campus Den Haag van de Universiteit Leiden; tevens is hij Socrates-hoogleraar voor politieke en culturele reconstructie aan de Universiteit Utrecht. Correspondentiegegevens: Prof. dr. B.G.J. de Graaff Universiteit Leiden Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen Instituut Bestuurskunde Wassenaarseweg 52 2333 AK Leiden bgraaff@fsw.leidenuniv.nl
Discussie

Doing better, feeling worse

Over de erosie van het overheidsgezag

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 4 2005
Auteurs Paul 't Hart
Auteursinformatie

Paul 't Hart
Prof dr. P. 't Hart is verbonden aan de Australian National University in Canberra en de Utrechtse School voor Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschappen, Universiteit Utrecht. Correspondentie: p.thart@usg.uu.nl
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