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    A large number of people, institutions, journals and approaches have contributed to the history of (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands. Initially (around 1914) the legal approach was dominant; from 1964 onwards, political science would become the dominant approach; and from 1990 onwards, Public Administration would increasingly profile itself as an independent discipline. This essay concentrates on the influence on this development of sociology and its, typically Dutch, predecessor sociography. The starting point here is the promotion tree of the founder of the Dutch sociology Sebald Steinmetz. Through him various lines (via his doctorates Nicolaas ter Veen and Jakob Kruijt) go to modern Public Administration. This essay tells the story of the influence of sociography and sociology on the development of the administrative sciences and modern Public Administration in six acts, in which two persons from the promotion tree are discussed (via Sjoerd Groenman, who is promoted by Nicolaas ter Veen there are two different lines again). The line via Jakob Kruijt contains Aris van Braam (he wrote in 1957 what is considered the first Dutch empirical study in Public Administration) and Jos Raadschelders. The first line via Sjoerd Groenman contains Henk Brasz (the first full-time professor in Public Administration in the Netherlands), Fred Fleurke and Ko de Ridder. The second line via Sjoerd Groenman contains Joop Ellemers, Geert Braam (professor at the first regular Dutch Public Administration programme in Twente) and Wim Derksen. These acts are framed with short intermezzos about the other sociological key figures who played an important role in the story of sociography, sociology and Public Administration. In conclusion, the author of this essay discusses the continuing relevance of sociology for modern Public Administration.


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.

    From 1974 until 1994 John Wevers was alderman in Maastricht (an old city in the deep south of the Netherlands) in the area of urban development. Before (from 1967 until 1974) Wevers was already a political activist in this domain. In 2016 he published his autobiography, which is very interesting for several reasons. The autobiography not only gives insight in the policy and the organization in the area of urban renewal in that period, but also in the functioning of local politics in general. At his farewell as an alderman in 1994 Wevers was the last remnant of a generation of Dutch Labour politicians (the other three were Adri Duivesteijn in The Hague, Ypke Gietema in Groningen and Fons Asselbergs in Amersfoort) who made architecture a public matter during the eighties. During the seventies Wevers also belonged to the generation of Dutch Labour politicians (amongst Jan van der Ploeg in Rotterdam, Max van den Berg in Groningen and Jan Schaefer in Amsterdam) who propagated the human scale and living in the inner city for ordinary people. In this respect they could rightfully call themselves the heirs of the legendary Labour alderman Floor Wibaut (alderman in Amsterdam from 1914 until 1931).


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.

    This essay contains a short history of the municipal and other administrative sciences in the Netherlands. This history is divided into seven lives. Each life has its own specific characteristics and approaches. The story starts in 1914 with the dissertation of Gerrit van Poelje and the aldermanship of Floor Wibaut (for the Dutch Labour Party) in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, the authors make a plea to view 1921 as the actual starting point, because it is the year of the introduction to municipal administration written by Van Poelje and the first Dutch academic magazine on municipal administration (‘Gemeentebestuur’). This means that we can prepare for the celebration of 100 years of (municipal) administrative sciences in 2021. A great challenge for all universities, but certainly for the Public Administration programme of the University of Twente, which is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. The challenge is to work on current topics such as the relationship between public administration and technology in smart, sustainable and resilient cities.


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

    Reflection and debate initiates academically inspired discussions on issues that are on the current policy agenda.


Prof. Dr. Rens Vliegenthart
Dhr. Rens Vliegenthart is hoogleraar Communicatiewetenschap aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam.
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