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    From 1964 (until around 1990), political science became the dominant approach within (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands. This position was taken over from the legal approach. In this period, the concepts of politics, policy and decision-making were central to research and theory. In the period up to 1990, we still see a predominantly administration-centric or government-centric perspective among these political scientists, although we already see incentives from different authors for a broader perspective (the politics, policy and decision-making concepts remain relevant however) that will continue in the period thereafter. This broader perspective (on institutions, management and governance) took shape in the period after 1990, in which Public Administration would increasingly profile itself as an independent (inter)discipline. This essay tells the story of the (local) administrative sciences in this period as envisaged by twelve high-profile professors. The story starts in 1990 in Leiden with the (gradual) transition from classical to institutional Public administration, as is revealed in the inaugural lecture by Theo Toonen. This is followed by eleven other administrative scientists, who are divided into four ‘generations’ of three professors for convenience. In conclusion, the author of this essay argues that there is mainly a need for what he calls a (self-)critical Public Administration.


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

    For administrative sciences in the Netherlands in general and for local administrative sciences in particular 2021 is a special year. It is the year in which our Dutch journal Administrative Sciences (the first issue was published in November 1946) celebrates its 75th anniversary, even though 1947 was the first full volume. But it is also the year in which it is 100 years ago since its predecessor, Municipal Administration, was founded; the first issue was published in January 1921. This means that we can speak of 100 years of having an (academic) journal for local government in the Netherlands. In 2016 we paid extensive attention in an editorial to the start of our Administrative Sciences journal and the men (and a woman) who have worked in it from the very beginning. In this editorial, we therefore draw attention to the men from the very beginning (this time there was no women involvement) of the Municipal Administration journal. It is the first academic journal in the field of local government in the Netherlands, first published every two weeks from January 1921 and on a monthly basis after 1922. The editorial board of the new journal was entrusted to a committee, of which, in addition to the board of the VNG (that is the Dutch association for municipalities) and its secretary, six people were members: Herman Nieboer (after his sudden death on 16 November 1920, he was replaced by Willem Drees in January 1921), Gerrit van Poelje, Willem van Sonsbeeck, Ate Roelof Veenstra, Bastiaan Verheij and Jacob de Wilde. Henri Vos, Pieter Bakker Schut and Jakob Herman van Zanten joined them in 1922.


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

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 Uitvoeringsorganisaties tussen staat en straat

De relevantie van maatschappelijke verantwoording voor directeuren van ZBO’s en agentschappen

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 1 2021
Auteurs Lars Brummel, Sjors Overman en Thomas Schillemans
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This contribution analyzes the degree of relevance that administrators of independent administrative bodies (ZBOs) and agencies assign to their accountability relationships with social stakeholders. Although there is a lot of attention for social forms of accountability in the scientific literature, no large-scale quantitative research has been conducted into how administrators of implementing organizations experience this accountability. This study fills this gap on the basis of survey research by: (1) mapping the importance of forms and practices of social accountability for implementing organizations; and (2) weighing potential explanations for differences in the importance of social accountability in implementing organizations. The authors show that administrators of ZBOs and agencies in the Netherlands attach great importance to accountability towards their broad public environment, also compared to other countries with similar types of implementing organizations. This observation is in line with the Dutch reputation of consensual and interactive governance. Differences in the importance of social accountability between implementing organizations cannot be explained by the vertical accountability relationship with the parent department or other institutional organizational characteristics. The analysis shows that social orientation is greater among ZBOs and agencies where the media has more influence over administrators. Social accountability is associated with greater perceived media pressure.


Lars Brummel
L. Brummel MSc is promovendus aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht. In 2018 rondde hij zijn researchmaster bestuurskunde en organisatiewetenschap af in Utrecht.

Sjors Overman
Dr. S.P. Overman MSc is universitair docent aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht. Hij is in 2016 gepromoveerd aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen.

Thomas Schillemans
Prof. dr. T. Schillemans is hoogleraar Verantwoording, gedrag en instituties aan de Utrecht School of Governance (USG) van de Universiteit Utrecht.

    While authorities sometimes make it appear that the coronavirus outbreak in the first half of 2020 did not allow for policies other than those in place, we saw remarkable variations in policy approaches in Western Europe. Governments almost everywhere pushed for ‘social distancing’, but differences in wording and communication, and implementation and enforcement emerged that could not be entirely explained by differences in the manifestation of the coronavirus. In order to understand and explain such differences, this article points out the institutional filter that exists between the corona threat and policy action. The interaction between two central components of the institutional filter – national culture and state tradition – is elaborated in this article for six Western European countries in particular: the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom, on the one hand, and Belgium, France and Italy, on the one hand. Policy action in these countries is largely consistent with what could be expected given the combinations of national culture and state tradition in these countries. The institutional filter forms a comprehensive framework with which more specific explanations from social trust or manifest public leadership can be placed.


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

    Adriaan Koelma fits in with the list of legal scholars who helped to shape the early history of the (local) administrative sciences in the Netherlands, which was dominated by a legal approach to local administration. In that respect, he was not only a follower of the first Dutch public administration scholar, Gerrit van Poelje, but also his successor. He held the chair in Public Administration in Rotterdam, which Van Poelje vacated in 1933, first as a lecturer and later as a professor (from 1946 onwards). Nowadays, Koelma is mainly remembered for the state commission named after him: he (in vain) advocated the introduction of districts (next to municipalities). He was chairman of this state commission that was installed by Minister Beel on 19 December 1946. He fulfilled his scientific activities in addition to a career in the Dutch civil service. Koelma was a typical ‘self-made man’ who worked his way up from junior employee at the municipal clerk’s office of Dordrecht to municipal clerk and, if only briefly, mayor of Alkmaar. His experiences in the Second World War had a great influence on his later life. Due to a war-related illness, he had to give up the chairmanship of the Koelma Commission in 1947 and in 1948 his professorship and role as mayor of Alkmaar. This war also gave him insight into the pernicious influence of Nazi ideology on governance theory and governance practice. He could not have suspected how hard the German occupier would put the Dutch administration and its servants to the test during his public lesson of 1934, because at that time the Nazi regime in Germany had not yet shown its true nature at the local level of government.


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 article is about how the number of downfalls of aldermen can be controlled or reduced. Behind this main question are two sub-questions: should the alderman, who is now filling his office increasingly professionally, professionalize even more? Or should the alderman take a pause for reflection by thinking about how to hold the office in a more politicizing way, so that it remains accessible to untrained administrators? The answers to these questions are based on the research conducted on the downfalls of aldermen in four consecutive board periods from 2002 to 2018 in the Netherlands. The investigation shows that, for at least half of the downfalls, the alderman directly influenced his fall through his own behaviour or omissions. Better preparation, sharper selection and more professional implementation and guidance during the aldermanship is desirable to reduce the large number of downfalls that are detrimental to the image, role and position of the office of alderman. At the same time, more professionalization of the office because of the desire for efficient and effective implementation, as well as simultaneous decentralization and regionalization, is turning the alderman more and more into a manager. That could mean the end of political aldermanship. The relevance for practitioners is that this article shows that (a) the early departure and the political downfall of aldermen in the period 2002-2018 shows a stable pattern; (b) for at least half of the downfalls the alderman fall through his own behaviour or neglect of influence; (c) better preparation, sharper selection and more professionalization may limit the number of political downfalls of aldermen.


Mr. Henk Bouwmans MPM
Mr. H.M.J. Bouwmans MPM is directeur van de Nederlandse Vereniging voor Raadsleden (NVvR) en zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist voor De Collegetafel.
Thema

Access_open De ‘strijd om kerken’

Een bestuurskundige schets van een (geloofs- en beleids)gevoelig onderwerp

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 3 2020
Auteurs Dr. Marlies Honingh en Prof. dr. Nico Nelissen
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    While many new churches were built in the Netherlands sixty years ago to meet the demands of religious communities for space for their worship, the situation in 2020 is completely different. It is true that a church is sometimes built here and there in the Netherlands, but the general picture is that many churches have been withdrawn as places of worship in recent years, that a number have been demolished and that many have been given a new designated purpose. The fate of a church building often evokes many emotions in people. For example, we experienced this when we, together with the Parisians, watched in disbelief as fire destroyed parts of Notre Dame. This is related to the fact that for many people churches are more than just ‘beautifully stacked stones’. They are directly linked to the highs and lows of people’s individual and collective lives. People were baptized and married in that church, funeral services of loved ones were held there and the church is still a familiar part of the image of city or village. Rightly so that churches are also seen as ‘affective monuments’. The central question, however, is how to deal with religious heritage (policy related) now that churches are emptying? In this article the authors first give a brief outline of the background, nature and scope of what they call the ‘church problem’. Then they discuss the ‘battle for churches’ associated with this problem, which they subsequently try to interpret from a number of Public Administration theories. The role of certain individuals and organizations in the ‘battle for churches’, the so-called ‘entrepreneurs’, is further explored. They pay specific attention to the role of the municipality in this as a whole and call on all parties involved to deal (politically) with the ‘church problem’ rather than ‘spasmodically’.


Dr. Marlies Honingh
Dr. M.E. Honingh is universitair hoofddocent bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

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

    This essay discusses the book L’archipel français: naissance d’une nation multiple et divisée. In addition, the French author Jérôme Fourquet is discussed, what the central thesis of the book is, what research methods the author uses, how the book is structured and what conclusions he comes to. Subsequently, the second part of the essay raises the question of the extent to which (in the opinion of the author of the essay) there is also a metamorphosis of society in the Netherlands, as is seen in France. This enables him, among other things, to report on a longitudinal research project at Radboud University Nijmegen, which is known as ‘Socio-cultural Developments in the Netherlands’ (SOCON). The central proposition of the bestseller is that France was once a nation that could be seen as ‘one and indivisible’ (and was experienced as such), but that France has changed fundamentally over the past decades and is now a ‘multiform and divided’ country: an ‘archipelisation’ process has occurred. Fourquet derives the term ‘archipelago’ from geology and uses it as a metaphor for the sub-worlds that have emerged: largely autonomous ‘islands’ with a limited joint bond. The Dutch SOCON study and other evidence supports Fourquet’s notion that there is also a huge shift in society in the Netherlands and that here too (perhaps less than in France) there are indications for ‘archipelisation’.


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

    The care for religious heritage is no recent phenomenon in the Netherlands. King Willem I (1813-1840) was the first king of the Netherlands personally committed to the preservation of churches. But striving for conservation does not mean that a building is frozen in time; on the contrary. Many a church is made smaller, rebuilt or expanded in the course of its existence. The use of churches for other than religious purposes is also nothing new in the Netherlands, as is the re-designation of churches. The ‘Grote Kerk’ of Veere has been re-designated many times since 1600. Of the current approximately 7,100 buildings in the Netherlands that were built for a religious function, some 1,700 have already been re-designated. It is said that around 1,000 church buildings have been closed since the 1960s, hundreds of which have been demolished. As far as religious buildings are concerned, change is not an exception, but a constant. So desperately wanting to keep everything as it is – or was – seems impossible. But all this does not alter the fact that church buildings are dear to Dutch society. For example, churches make up only 4% of the total stock of national monuments in the Netherlands, but together they receive about 40% of all maintenance funds. Church buildings apparantly offer something extra and lift us up as people. And from that perspective alone, the recommendation is to keep these buildings as much as possible for the future.


Drs. Frank Strolenberg
Drs. F.J.G.M. Strolenberg is programmaleider Toekomst Religieus Erfgoed bij de Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed en werkt als zelfstandige vanuit Frankenvrij.net.

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.

    Given the increasing importance of local administration and its range of tasks, it is important to know whether municipal councils are succeeding in properly controlling the administration. That is one of the main tasks that has been entrusted to the municipal council when dualism was introduced in the Netherlands in 2002. Council members are aware of the importance of the monitoring task, but little is known about the way in which they perform this task. Research in ten Dutch municipalities into the use of the available set of tools for framing and monitoring shows that municipal councils make little or no use of some of the instruments, in particular with regard to information gathering and the support of the council. Good information provision to the council sometimes appears to be subordinated to the political importance of the coalition. And everywhere councillors are struggling with the set of programmes for programme budgeting and accounting introduced during the dualisation process: it offers insufficient possibilities for framing and checking. In the absence of a clear assessment framework, it is not possible to determine whether this detracts from the effectiveness of control and framework. What good or effective control is and what its purpose is are also apparently not a topic for discussion in the local arena. This article shows (a) that council members can make more and better use of available framework and control instruments and the possibilities for supporting the council; b) the instrument of the programme budget (and the program account) does not seem to live up to the expectations of the dualisation process; c) mayors, as chairmen of the council, do not always feel responsible for the proper provision of information for the council and, in a broader sense, for better positioning of the council as a framework-setting and controlling body. More leadership is required here.


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.

Dr. Peter Castenmiller
Dr. P. Castenmiller is verbonden aan adviesbureau PBLQ en is tevens voorzitter van de rekenkamer van de gemeente Delft.

    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.
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