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    A polarizing society, ever-changing politics and an administrative field that is fragmented: that is the present world of Dutch mayors. These three processes have had a profound impact on local government and on the office of mayor. The position of the mayor has become vulnerable and his or her functioning is being put under a magnifying glass, sometimes leading to negative imaging and even a premature departure of mayors. More and sometimes conflicting demands are being imposed on mayors on the basis of their different tasks and responsibilities, as a result of which their positional authority has come under pressure, among other things. Based on discussions with 20 Dutch mayors, the authors of this essay present five central leadership dilemmas for mayors: (1) internal versus external connection; (2) authenticity versus adaptability; (3) involvement versus distance; (4) setting the course versus being of service; and (5) knowledge of content versus process monitoring. Coping with these leadership dilemmas also requires a different set of skills. First, the mayor must be pro-active and have a good antenna for new developments. Secondly, it is essential that he or she not only keeps in mind the short-term perspective, but also the middle-term and the long-term perspective. Thirdly, the mayor is expected to be able to combine hard and soft personality traits: just being nice is not enough.


Dr. Saniye Çelik
Dr. S. Çelik is lector Diversiteit aan de Hogeschool Leiden. Zij is gepromoveerd aan de Universiteit Leiden op het onderwerp ‘sturen op verbinden in publieke organisaties’ en is mederegisseur van het leiderschapsprogramma voor burgemeesters bij het Centre for Professional Learning van de Universiteit Leiden.

Drs. Nikol Hopman
Drs. N. Hopman is directeur van het Centre for Professional Learning van de Universiteit Leiden en verantwoordelijk voor het leiderschapsprogramma voor burgemeesters. Zij is programmadirecteur van het Certified Public Manager Program (CPM) in Europa, daarnaast betrokken bij de International Leadership Association en Guest Editor van het International Journal of Public Leadership.

    In the safety domain important developments are currently taking place concerning the way in which administrative and tactical operations are dealt with in crises. It is characteristic for the approach that cooperation in chains and networks is increasingly needed to arrive at a suitable approach. In this essay, the authors analyse two subdomains in two concrete cases on how cooperation between several parties takes shape and functions. For that purpose, they differentiate between acute and non-acute crises. In the subdomain ‘acute crises’, they have chosen the case of the Dutch town Moerdijk (the fire at the Chemie-Pack company in 2011). In the subdomain of non-acute crises, they focus on community safety partnerships (‘Veiligheidshuizen’), especially on the community safety partnership in the Dutch province of Friesland (‘Veiligheidshuis Friesland’). In both subdomains the establishment of a good basic cooperation and leadership structure appears to be of prime importance. From there it is necessary to respond in a flexible manner (to be able to execute custom-made work). Within that framework, the capacity may develop to arrange a well-structured and effective cooperation at the operational level (ad hoc in acute crises), to monitor progress properly and to carry out targeted interventions if the developments in the situation ask for these interventions. A good knowledge of each other’s frame of reference is necessary to make this work, so that a maximum level of integration in the approach is achieved.


Dr. Jelle Dijkstra
Dr. J.H. Dijkstra is lector Persoonlijk Leiderschap & Innovatiekracht aan het Instituut voor Economie & Management (ECMA) van de NHL Hogeschool te Leeuwarden.

Dr. Marc Jacobs
Dr. M.A. Jacobs is voormalig districtschef bij de politiekorpsen Utrecht en Leeuwarden, senior docent en onderzoeker Integrale Veiligheid aan de Thorbecke Academie te Leeuwarden.

    Politicians and scientists in the Netherlands often claim that only municipalities with over 100,000 inhabitants (so called ‘100,000+ municipalities’) have enough administrative power to be able to carry out their tasks in the future well. This is also the case for the responsibilities that recently have handed over to the Dutch municipalities as part of the three decentralizations. Against the background of this debate, the authors of this essay argue that the experiences of the four European microstates – Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco and San Marino –may offer an interesting frame of reference where it concerns the delivery of public services. These four countries have all the responsibilities and tasks of a sovereign state, but at the same time three of the four countries have a population of fewer than 40,000 inhabitants. Also, the fourth country is smaller than a 100,000+ municipality. Despite the small size of these states, their public services are of an exceptionally high level. Therefore this essay tries to answer two questions: How is this possible? What can we learn from the experiences of these microstates about the debate on scale and administrative power in the Netherlands?


Dr. ir. Pepijn van Houwelingen
Dr. ir. P. van Houwelingen is onderzoeker bij het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau.

Dr. Wouter Veenendaal
Dr. W.P. Veenendaal is onderzoeker bij het Koninklijk Instituut voor Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde.

    Since 2001 the Dutch province of Overijssel has its own knowledge centre in the area of urban society next to the national knowledge centres: the ‘KennisInstituut Stedelijke Samenleving’ (KISS). In a previous essay an overview of KISS-meetings dedicated to citizen participation was given. Examples were used from all over the world. This essay zooms in on Deventer, a municipality with almost 100.000 inhabitants in the east of the Netherlands, that can be considered a frontrunner in the area of innovative community and area development. This essay gives an impression of some KISS-meetings on physical community development (to give the inhabitants a say in the physical renewal of their neighbourhoods), social community development (to stimulate inhabitants to improve their own life chances) and economic community development (to give the inhabitants better opportunities on the labour market). This approach was implemented in a deprived neighbourhood (‘Rivierenbuurt’) for the first time and was accompanied by ‘verbal renewal’. The case of area development (‘Havenkwartier’) concerns the subject of temporarily landscapes (‘pauzelandschappen’) that are developed, because the original development plans have incurred a delay. Apart from its willingness to break new ground Deventer shows a lot of attention for issues of sustainability and the positive role of the art sector. In short it is a versatile ‘micropolis’ that uses the available ‘social capital’ and the ‘creative class’ well.


Dr. Rik Reussing
Dr. G.H. Reussing is onderwijscoördinator van de opleiding European Public Administration aan de Universiteit Twente en redactiesecretaris van Bestuurswetenschappen.
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