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Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen x Jaar 2018 x Rubriek Discussion x

    Since 2018, the Department of Public Administration of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) of the University of Twente, in close cooperation with the municipality Zwolle, the Province of Overijssel and BMC advice, have been organizing the yearly Van Poelje lecture (named after administrative scientist and founder of Dutch Public Administration Gerrit van Poelje). The first lecture took place on 29 January 2018 in the ‘Grote Kerk’ in Zwolle. The subject of the lecture was the secret of successful regions: which policy works? Otto Raspe of the Dutch Planning Agency for the Environment delivered the keynote speech. Presentations from the administrative field were given by Henk Jan Meijer (mayor of the municipality Zwolle) and Staf Depla (alderman of the municipality Eindhoven) who respectively addressed the cooperation in the regions Zwolle and South-East Brabant. Bert van Delden responded from the point of view of the Home Office (he deputized for his minister, Kajsa Ollongren). After a short debate, the afternoon was closed by Marcel Boogers (senior advisor at BMC and professor at the University of Twente) with a scientific reflection on the subject of the lecture. The main message of the keynote speaker Otto Raspe was that an urban region is successful if it is able to use its agglomeration advantages. This is possible by seeking connections between clusters and the knowledge infrastructure, and between human capital and a pleasant living and social climate.


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.

    Debates about the quality of local democracy are not new. This was also the case 100 years ago. In 1918 the ground-breaking dissertation of Adriaan Buriks on democratic municipal government was published in the Netherlands. In his dissertation Buriks proposed a radical democratic reform of Dutch municipal government by adopting the new system of ‘commission government’ from the US. That is a system of city government in which (almost) all city authority functions are concentrated in a small commission. The commission is organized in such a way that each member of the commission is the head of a city government department, every member is chosen by the population of the whole city and the exercise of authority is controlled by the whole population. The essay describes the remarkable life of this social revolutionary and municipal law expert. It goes on to discusses the dissertation through an introduction on the central issue of democratic municipal government, a description of the government systems of the US before and after the American Revolution of 1787, a description of the new system of ‘commission government’ and his proposal to adopt the new system in the Netherlands. The essay is closed by the author’s reflection on how the dissertation was received and its impact.


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.
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