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    From 1964 until roughly 1990, political science would become the dominant approach within the (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands. This central position was taken over from the legal approach. Important impulses from political science for Public Administration came only from the second-generation political scientists: Gijs Kuypers at the Free University Amsterdam, Hans Daudt at the University of Amsterdam and Hans Daalder at the University of Leiden. In their footsteps, a political scientist emerged who, through his contribution to several universities (the Free University, the University of Nijmegen and the University of Twente), had a great deal of influence on the further development of Dutch Public Administration: Andries Hoogerwerf. Two other approaches emerged from political science that were important for the development of modern public administration in the Netherlands, namely policy science and the new political economy (public choice). In this essay the author outlines the input of the main figures from political science, policy science and public choice until 1990 in various stages that are most relevant to Public Administration. These stages take us to various cities and universities in the Netherlands. In addition, we see important cross-fertilization between the institutions through the transfer of people from one university to another. After 1990 however, Public Administration would increasingly profile itself as an independent inter-discipline.


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.

    The vast majority of Dutch municipalities organize part of their activities on a smaller scale than those of the municipality as such: it is called intra-municipal organization. In this article an inventory is made of the existing knowledge about the effects of various forms of intra-municipal organization in the Netherlands. On the basis of recent research, this knowledge is supplemented and it is also made clear which forms of intra-municipal organization are currently used. An analysis is also made of what legal leeway Dutch municipalities have in this regard. A new and richer typology of intra-municipal organization is also being developed. Finally, the authors place the results of the research reported here in a broader perspective. In particular, they reflect on two presuppositions under many forms of intra-municipal organization, namely that activities are location specific and democracy must necessarily be of the ‘representative’ type. Its relevance for practitioners is that the article provides insight into the legal leeway for intra-municipal organization and into the design of intra-municipal organization. It also contains a reflection on the design of the intra-municipal organization.


Dr. Linze Schaap
Dr. L. Schaap was tot 1 augustus 2019 universitair hoofddocent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en is sindsdien directeur van de Noordelijke Rekenkamer.

Dr. Gert-Jan Leenknegt
Dr. G. Leenknegt is universitair hoofddocent constitutioneel recht aan de Tilburg Law School van de Universiteit van Tilburg.
Artikel

Hulp bij het vormen van lokale coalities en colleges

De lokale externe (in)formateur in Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2020
Auteurs Dirk Winkelmolen MSc en Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In many Dutch municipalities, a ‘local external (in)formateur’ is deployed after the municipal elections. Local (in)formateurs guide the process of coalition formation. They investigate which political parties and political groups want to work together and try to bring them closer together. They can also play a role in the board formation, such as selecting alderman candidates and allocating portfolios. External (in)formateurs come ‘from outside’. They do not have an official political or official position in the municipality where they do their work at the time of their deployment as informateur. In 2014, forty percent of the municipalities made use of such an external (information) officer. However, we still know relatively little about the work of these local external informateurs, their background and results. The authors try to fill that gap on the basis of a literature study, interviews with stakeholders and a survey among 115 local external informateurs. They also consider the added value of local external (in)formateurs for local democracy. The work of local external (in)formal formateurs can contribute to a stable and well-functioning municipal executive. Nonetheless, they tend to have a rather one-sided socio-demographic profile and the desired party political experience and involvement with the municipality can be at odds with the desired independence and objectivity.


Dirk Winkelmolen MSc
D. Winkelmolen MSc deed de master Bestuurskunde aan de Universiteit van Tilburg en is momenteel beleidsmedewerker Maatschappelijke Ontwikkeling in de gemeente Roerdalen (Limburg).

Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.
Thema

Access_open Principes voor goed lokaal bestuur in de digitale samenleving

Een aanzet tot een normatief kader

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2019
Auteurs Prof. dr. Albert Meijer, Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer en Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article presents a normative framework for good local governance in the digital society. We build on the five principles of Frank Hendriks (laid down in an article in Urban Affairs Review in 2014): participation, effectiveness, learning ability, procedural justice and accountability. An analysis of these five principles leads to the refinement of these principles for the digital society. The overarching points are that attention is needed for the possibility of human contact, that avoiding discrimination must be central, that higher demands are made with regard to speed of action, that the principles increasingly apply to networks of organizations, and that the principles increasingly apply to the design of systems. This overview thus provides concrete tools for organizations that want to reflect with citizens and stakeholders on the extent to which they are able to achieve good local governance in the digital society.


Prof. dr. Albert Meijer
Prof. dr. A.J. Meijer is hoogleraar Publieke Innovatie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Dr. Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Dr. M.T. Schäfer is universitair hoofddocent aan de Universiteit Utrecht bij het departement Media- en Cultuurwetenschappen.

Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
Dr. E.M. Branderhorst is gemeentesecretaris en algemeen directeur in de gemeente Gouda en lid van de Raad voor het Openbaar Bestuur (ROB).

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.
Thema

Access_open Hoeder van de raad of functie zonder inhoud?

Een beschouwing op het vicevoorzitterschap van de gemeenteraad

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2019
Auteurs Dr. Niels Karsten en Dr. Sabine van Zuydam
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    At the time of the ‘dualization’ of Dutch local government in 2002 the acting municipal chairman of the local council under article 77 (1) of the Dutch Municipal Act was seen as the ‘guardian of the local council’, who has a special responsibility for the functioning of the council as a whole and who can give the council a face opposite the local board. However, this role has never been given to this ‘vice-president’. This option has recently been suggested again, with the aim of promoting cooperation within the local council and facilitating the changing role of the council. In this article, the authors show that the role of the vice-president in practice is limited, although importance is attached to it and a majority of municipal councils use the power to appoint their own vice-president. For the time being the Netherlands does not seem inclined to learn from Flanders, where the council now appoints its own chairman. This is partly due to differences between the mayor’s positions in the Netherlands and in Flanders. At the same time, it cannot be ruled out that in the Netherlands too in the future more attention will be paid to the issue of the (vice-)presidency of the municipal council.


Dr. Niels Karsten
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Sabine van Zuydam
Dr. S. van Zuydam is als onderzoeker en docent verbonden aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg, onderzoeker en adviseur bij Necker Van Naem en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Thema

Access_open Lokaal bestuur in Vlaanderen en Nederland: een verkennende vergelijking

Inleiding op het themanummer ‘De gemeenteraad in Vlaanderen en Nederland vergeleken’

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2019
Auteurs Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers en Prof. dr. Herwig Reynaert
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    There are many good reasons to dwell a little longer on current developments in Dutch and Flemish local government and to examine what both countries can learn from each other. Despite all the differences, Flemish and Dutch municipalities have more in common than with local government in France, the United Kingdom, German Länder or Scandinavian countries. Different words are used on both sides of the border, but the duties and powers of local officials are largely the same. It is therefore a good reason to subject the local government on either side of the border to a first comparison, as a prelude to the contributions in this special issue. After an initial interpretation of the institutional and administrative differences and agreements, the editors of this special issue discuss a number of current discussions about the role and position of the municipal council in Flanders and the Netherlands. They conclude with a brief introduction to the two contributions to this special issue.


Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en hoofdredacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. Herwig Reynaert
Prof. dr. H. Reynaert is hoogleraar politieke wetenschappen bij het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Thema

De raad in beraad

Een vergelijking en evaluatie van de formele hervormingen ter versterking van de gemeenteraad in Vlaanderen en Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2019
Auteurs Dr. Tom Verhelst, Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters en Prof. dr. Koenraad De Ceuninck
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Until 2002, local government in Flanders and the Netherlands had a monistic approach. In both systems, the city council was formally the head of the board. However, due to the interplay of factors and evolutions, the influence of the council in practice was increasing. This contribution compares and evaluates the institutional reforms that have been implemented in Flanders and the Netherlands over the past decades in an attempt to reassess the role and position of the council. While Flanders opted for more limited reforms within the existing monistic system (e.g. its own chairman for the council, a special committee for intermunicipal cooperation, a procedure for restoring structural unmanageability), the Netherlands opted with dualism for a radical personnel and functional separation between council and board. Although the reforms in Flanders often seem half-hearted and councilors in the Netherlands attribute more influence to themselves, research also shows that the revaluation of the council in the Netherlands is (still) incomplete too. This theme will undoubtedly remain on the political agenda in the coming years. The authors are thinking of the development of a better statute for council members, or the functioning of the council as a democratic watchdog of the network society.


Dr. Tom Verhelst
Dr. T. Verhelst is postdoctoraal medewerker bij het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek (vakgroep politieke wetenschappen) van de Universiteit Gent.

Prof. dr. Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. C.E. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist, bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Prof. dr. Koenraad De Ceuninck
Prof. dr. K. De Ceuninck is politicoloog en hoogleraar bij het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent.
Serie

Ambitieuze en ambivalente vernieuwing van de lokale democratie in Nederland

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2019
Auteurs Dr. Linze Schaap, Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks, Dr. Niels Karsten MA e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors argue that municipal democracy in the Netherlands has become a multiple democracy. Within the formal framework of representative democracy, numerous democratic arrangements have emerged that may be referred to as participatory, direct and also what the authors call ‘do-democracy’. Additions to representative democracy did not come without reason: representative democracy is not a perfect system, either in theory or in practice. Efforts have been made to improve the functioning of representative democracy in a number of ways. Three of these are discussed in this article. The authors note that these three reforms do not solve the problems in representative democracy. So the Dutch municipalities have started looking for additions to representative democracy. In this article various forms of participatory, do-it-yourself and direct democracy are discussed. Many effects of these reforms are still unknown and knowledge about them has crumbled, but one conclusion can be drawn: people with a low education are not inclined to take part, even with arrangements that are easily accessible. Striving for a more vital local democracy seems meaningful; the authors formulate a number of ways of thinking about this.


Dr. Linze Schaap
Dr. L. Schaap is universitair hoofddocent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Prof. dr. Frank Hendriks
Prof. dr. F. Hendriks is hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Niels Karsten MA
Dr. N. Karsten MA is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

Dr. Julien van Ostaaijen
Dr. J.J.C. van Ostaaijen is universitair docent aan de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg en voorzitter van de Rekenkamercommissie in de gemeente Zundert.

Charlotte Wagenaar MSc.
C.C.L. Wagenaar MSc is onderzoeker bij de Tilburgse School voor Politiek en Bestuur van de Universiteit van Tilburg.

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.

    In this article in the series on the local democratic audit, the authors discuss the relationship between decentralization, scaling-up and local democracy. Decentralizations and scaling-up operations have changed the face of local government in the Netherlands considerably in recent decades. What have the consequences for the functioning of local democracy been? Although decentralizations aim to increase democratic control of government tasks, decentralizations appear to have weakened local democracy in two ways. First of all, they have led to a substantial scaling-up of the local government, through municipal amalgamations and especially through the formation of regional partnerships. Regionalization in particular has had all kinds of negative consequences for the functioning of local democracy. Decentralization policy itself has also weakened the steering and controlling role of the city council – certainly in the short term – while decentralization presupposes that the city council has a strong role in coordinating decentralized policy with local wishes and circumstances. We can speak of a ‘double decentralization paradox’ that entails both bottlenecks and opportunities. From the legislator’s side, therefore, an integral vision for the organization of domestic governance is needed.


Prof. dr. Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente, senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC en tevens redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

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.

    Civil servants at the Dutch authorities increasingly make use of behavioural insights in the policy process. These insights are primarily put on the agenda at the level of the national government in the Netherlands. However, they also seem to be particularly useful at the local level. After all, behaviour-conscious policy focuses on behavioural change through the redesign of the direct environments of citizens, and local authorities have a clear view and control over these environments. In the light of this potential, this article explores the current rise and institutionalization of behavioural expertise in local government. The work practices of local behavioural experts are examined on the basis of three dimensions of local government: positioning, practices and politics. The findings show that local behavioural experts are still in an experimental and start-up phase, but at the same time are already working with a wealth of behavioural assignments. In doing so, they deal tactically with scarce resources, resistance and abrasive institutional logics. The article shows that behavioural insights and designs are also promising in local government, that a local administrative landscape of behavioural expertise is already being developed; and that making meters in the field of behavioural expertise calls for several forms of coordination.


Joram Feitsma MSc
J.N.P. Feitsma MSc is promovendus bij het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij studeerde bestuurs- en organisatiewetenschap en filosofie aan de Universiteit Utrecht en de Washington University in Saint Louis.

    ‘The Netherlands is a country of commissions. Some are useful: they draw up an analysis that clarifies, declares success or denounces failure’, as the author wrote in his PhD-thesis ‘Looking with strange eyes’ in 2014. This essay also deals with commissions. In the three decentralization operations in the Netherlands, a so-called social affairs advisory council has made its appearance in the Dutch municipalities. Advisory committees or councils play an important role in our political system. For a long time discussions have been held about the position of these advisory bodies and their added value for policy and stakeholders. This fits in with municipalities that are in full development with concepts such as self-management, co-creation and vital communities. Advisory councils want to know if their work matters. There may be growing disappointment about the effects of their advice. That feeling of disappointment is understandable. In 1979 Carol Weiss was rather negative at the time about the degree of utilization of research. In 1983 Arno Korsten put this into perspective: ‘The view that there is underutilization on a large scale requires revision. An important reason is the fact that applying research results is often not immediately and easily visible, neither for researchers involved nor for policy makers.’ Research is something other than advice, but the insights are a source of inspiration for the use of advice. An advisory council wants to increase the effectiveness of its advice. For that reason, in this essay an approach is developed that provides insight into the factors that determine the way in which and the extent to which the advice is used in political decision-making. With this insight, an advisory council for the social domain can strengthen the influence of its advice, as is expected.


Dr. Jean Schutgens
Dr. J.M.L.R. Schutgens is bestuurskundige en bestuurlijk vrijwilliger van het provinciaal Huis voor de Zorg in Limburg. Hij was gemeentesecretaris van Landgraaf in de periode 1992-2008.

    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.
Artikel

Access_open In de schaduw, uit de schaduw

Oorsprong, aard en mogelijkheden van schaduwverkiezingen of exit polls

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2018
Auteurs Prof. dr. Jelke Bethlehem en Prof. dr. Joop van Holsteyn
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    There is a lot of polling in the Netherlands, especially in the run-up to elections. The assessment of future voting behavior in the run-up to elections is inherently difficult, because many voters do not know in advance whether they will vote, let alone for which party. There is therefore constant debate about the quality of these surveys. However, there are also polls that are not held prior to elections, but on election day instead. They are called exit polls or shadow elections. The sample consists of voters who actually visited the polling station and cast their vote. In this article the authors emphasize the nature and useful and interesting role of exit polls. Exit polls are an important tool for making an accurate prognosis of the results shortly after the closing of the ballot boxes. Secondly, an exit poll can provide further insight into electoral gains and losses, and thus counteract unfounded speculation. After all, the data collected form an empirical source for a first analysis of the outcome and electoral behavior. All in all, the exit poll is a relatively easy-to-organize and attractive ingredient for a results evening. Confusing pre-election polls with exit polls probably does not do justice to the higher quality of exit polls in terms of prognosis. The article explains where exit polls differ from pre-election polls and what the most important choices are when setting up such a poll; it also shows that a well-designed exit poll is accurate and has adds value to a results evening. The authors give practical examples in their argument and discuss the exit poll that was organized in Leiden at the council elections of 21 March 2018.


Prof. dr. Jelke Bethlehem
Prof. dr. J.G. Bethlehem is bijzonder hoogleraar in de survey-methodologie aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden. Hij was tevens senior methodologisch adviseur bij het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek in Den Haag.

Prof. dr. Joop van Holsteyn
Prof. dr. J.J.M. van Holsteyn is hoogleraar politiek gedrag en onderzoeksmethoden aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.

    Exploration of the future is about systematically exploring future developments and the possible consequences for an organization or issue. The demand for future explorations at local policy level has increased in recent years. This article focuses on the relationship between participatory future exportations and local strategic policy processes. On the basis of four case studies, the meaning of participatory foresight studies for local policy processes was investigated. The research, which was carried out as action research, shows that future explorations in local strategic policy processes can be significant in different ways: they provide new knowledge, they promote learning in an integral and future-oriented manner and they encourage social learning processes that are independent of the content, which is valuable for group dynamics. In addition, future explorations can be useful in different phases of the policy cycle. Despite the fact that participatory explorations of the future can be meaningful in local strategic policy processes, there is still a bridge between the method of future exploration on the one hand and policy processes and organizations on the other. The research shows that a demand-driven approach starting from the needs of the participants in the policy process and responding to the culture, structure and working method of the organization is a promising approach. At the same time, the research shows that there are several factors that need to be considered in order to achieve a stronger interrelatedness of future exploration and policy. The policy practice and the exploratory practice seem to be gradually evolving towards each other. On the one hand, policy practice is becoming more rational, transparent and analytical in nature through the use of future explorations, at least in policy preparation. The explorations promote substantive discussions on policy agendas and policy intentions. On the other hand, they are becoming more policy oriented through more reasoning from the policy practice in terms of process design and knowledge needs of the policy process.


Dr. Nicole Rijkens-Klomp
Dr. N. Rijkens-Klomp is in 2016 gepromoveerd aan de Universiteit Maastricht bij prof. Pim Martens, met dr. Ron Cörvers als haar co-promotor. Ze heeft sinds 2004 een eigen bedrijf in Antwerpen op het gebied van toekomstverkenning (foresight & design studio Panopticon). Daarnaast werkt ze aan het Scientific Institute for Sustainable Development (ICIS) van de Universiteit Maastricht.

Dr. Ron Cörvers
Dr. R.J.M. Cörvers is wetenschappelijk directeur van het Scientific Institute for Sustainable Development (ICIS) van de Universiteit Maastricht.
Essay

Kantelt de stad?

Alles verandert, maar … blijft toch niet alles hetzelfde?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2018
Auteurs Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    It may seem obvious to say that society changes and that this is happening at an increasing speed. But not everyone fully realizes that society as a whole is undergoing fundamental changes and that this will lead to a complete transformation and structural change of society over a longer period of time. Some think that tomorrow is a multitude of today, others think that the present is not really a good compass for what tomorrow and especially the day after tomorrow will be. In this respect, municipalities are faced with the considerable task of making a ‘future-proof’ diagnosis of ‘municipal reality’ and of forming a picture of what that future will be, or should be. Municipalities differ considerably in the way in which they deal with these aspects administratively: from ‘government as usual’ on the one hand to ‘complete tilt’ on the other side of the continuum. Much municipal policy is a slightly adapted version of what they have been doing for a long time. The real initiatives to ‘fundamentally tilt’ systems have yet to reach many municipalities. In other words: everything changes, but… have things not remained the same? In this essay the author discusses these issues in the context of his hometown Maastricht (in the south of the Netherlands) as an example.


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

    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 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.
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