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    Dutch municipalities and provinces have been obliged to have an audit office or audit office function for about 20 years. How does the audit office work nowadays and what contribution does it make to decentralized administration? That is the question at the center of this article. To this end, the authors list the available knowledge about audit offices or committees and present the results of their own analysis of 982 audit reports from 234 audit offices or committees from 308 Dutch municipalities. The audit office or committee has been institutionalized in the vast majority of municipalities and in all provinces. Council members are increasingly less likely to (also) be members of this board and the output has increased slightly from approximately one to an average of one and a half surveys per year. Where initially mainly business management-oriented subjects were examined, some broadening to more policy-related themes has taken place. Municipal councilors are quite satisfied with their audit office or committee. At the same time, the actual social effects of policy are rarely measured in audit institutions. Moreover, council members make little use of audit reports in controlling the municipal board, and audit offices or committees also add little to their framework-setting role. Little is known about the extent to which the research of the audit offices makes a more objective contribution to the administration and strengthening of the functioning of the municipal council, which is also a theme for future research.


Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. K. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist en bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht; zij is voorzitter van de Rekenkamer Venlo en rekenkamerdirecteur in Beuningen, en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Sabine van Zuydam
Dr. S. van Zuydam is onderzoeker bij Necker van Naem en is verbonden aan de Universiteit Twente; daarnaast is zij (plaatsvervangend) voorzitter van verschillende rekenkamercommissies en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Klaartje Peters
Prof. dr. K. Peters is zelfstandig onderzoeker en publicist en bijzonder hoogleraar Lokaal en regionaal bestuur aan de Universiteit Maastricht; zij is voorzitter van de Rekenkamer Venlo en rekenkamerdirecteur in Beuningen, en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.

Sabine van Zuydam
Dr. S. van Zuydam is onderzoeker bij Necker van Naem en is verbonden aan de Universiteit Twente; daarnaast is zij (plaatsvervangend) voorzitter van verschillende rekenkamercommissies en redactielid van Bestuurswetenschappen.
Artikel

Digitaal leiderschap

Verkenning van de veranderende rol van gemeentesecretarissen in de informatiesamenleving

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 4 2020
Auteurs Dr. Martiene Branderhorst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Rapid technological change and the information society have consequences for the role and duties of municipal clerks. To increase understanding of the implications of digital technologies for the role of municipal clerk (town clerk), this article presents an exploration of the ‘digital leadership’ of municipal clerks, i.e. leadership that suits a time when digital technologies are growing explosively. By using the four leadership perspectives of Bolman and Deal and the public value thinking of Moore, it was investigated which leadership themes are mentioned in the literature. In this way, this article aims to contribute to the leadership role of the municipal clerk so that he gives shape and direction to the organization from a vision on this change task and leads this transition instead of seeing it as a collection of smart gadgets or an issue concerning the IT department. This means that he will have to be aware of technological developments, can think critically about their significance and acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to lead the municipal organization in the information society. This article shows practitioners that: (a) municipal clerks play an important role when it comes to the structure of the municipal organization in the information society; (b) the way in which municipalities innovate digitally has an impact on society and people’s lives; and (c) it is therefore important to shape the leadership of municipal clerks based on public values in order to realize legitimate applications of digital technologies with added social value.


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).

    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.

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.

    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.

    The author of this contribution asks whether and, if so, in which specific cases, the principle of the separation of church and state applies to situations related to the emptying of churches. As a result of the closure, restoration and re-designation of church buildings, governments may be confronted with issues that touch on this principle. The principle of the separation between church and state prescribes that the government must be neutral. This contribution explains that this neutral attitude differs according to the social domain in which the issue arises. Using a contextual approach, he makes clear which interests (religious, general, private and the interests of others) should be decisive in government policy in this area in the various domains.


Mr. dr. Jos Vleugel
Mr. dr. A. Vleugel is als onderzoeker en universitair docent staatsrecht verbonden aan de faculteit Recht, Economie, Bestuur en Organisatie van de Universiteit Utrecht. Zijn expertise ligt bij de volgende thema’s: grondrechten, de neutrale overheid, religieuze tolerantie en de scheiding tussen kerk en staat.

    Large government investments are regularly preceded by an ex-ante evaluation. This article examines the quality of two ex-ante studies and considers the use made by administrators and representatives of the people of these ex-ante studies. In both cases it concerned qualitatively sound ex-ante studies. In both cases, these studies also demonstrably affected the debate about these investment plans in the people’s representations. But there was no question of power-free decision making. In both cases, the representatives of the people were put under great pressure. Not only was there time pressure. The public debate came late. The use of sound ex-ante studies is not only an investment in rationality, but is also accompanied by political-strategic manoeuvring. The relevance of this article to practitioners is that it (a) contains four reasonable requirements that the representative may make of each ex-ante study offered by the executive board; (b) also shows that an ex-ante analysis on which important decisions are based should not be characterised by secret parts or by undefined assumptions and an ex-ante analysis must be transparent; and (c) demonstrates it is important as a representative to be tenacious, to keep a firm hand and not to decide before all questions have been answered and a full list of safeguards is on the table.


Prof. dr. Michiel Herweijer
Prof. dr. M. Herweijer is bijzonder hoogleraar Bestuurskunde aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen. Hij was tot 1 januari 2019 directeur van de Noordelijke Rekenkamer. Sinds 1 november 2018 is hij docent publiek management aan de Universitaire Campus Fryslân te Leeuwarden (een nevenvestiging van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen).

    In her farewell editorial Helen Stout (member of the editorial board of this magazine from 1998 till 2020) addresses the contradictions in the climate policy of the Dutch city of Rotterdam. She notices that the new Dutch Climate Act is brimming with ambitions, but that there has not been much progress. The elaboration of the new law is yet to come. That has not prevented several municipalities from getting started. Some have been busy for years. For example, the municipality of Rotterdam launched the ‘Rotterdam Climate Initiative’ in 2007 with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions by half by 2025. Against this background, the issues of coal transshipment in the port of Rotterdam, the autonomy of the port authority as a public limited company and the commissioning in 2015 and 2016 of two brand new coal-fired power stations on the Maasvlakte arise, which are discussed further in this editorial. The council’s failed attempt at intervention in renewing the leasehold illustrates the powerlessness of the municipality and shows the general feeling that the port authority is not an ‘ordinary’ company. The question arises of how interests other than economic ones can also be involved in the assessment of the port authority, assuming that reversal of its autonomy is not an option. We can use the constitutional framework for the institutional structure formed by the company’s articles of association. The Dutch General Administrative Law Act (Awb) could impose mandatory rules with regard to the content of the articles of association, like the obligation to broaden the objects stated under the articles of association.


Prof. mr. dr. Helen Stout
Prof. mr. dr. H.D. Stout is hoogleraar aan de Erasmus School of Law van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam en was van 1998 tot 2020 redactielid 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.

    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.

    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.

    Digital transformation offers provinces both opportunities and threats. A long-held wish that social tasks (and the demand from citizens and companies) can be put at the center seems to be fulfilled. But, in addition to opportunities, the transformation also provides the necessary risks for, for example, the privacy of citizens and companies, but also due to the disruptive nature of digital transformation. This contribution looks at the digital transformation from a provincial perspective. The data vision in the making of the Dutch province of Noord-Brabant forms the basis for this essay, but what emerges applies broadly (with differences in emphasis) to several provinces. The author also gives a number of suggestions for the implementation of the transformation.


Dr. Marcel Thaens
Dr. M. Thaens is Chief Information Officer van de Provincie Noord-Brabant en lid van de Regiegroep Interprovinciale Digitale Agenda (IDA).
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).
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.

    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.
Vrij

Van transitie naar transformatie van de jeugdhulp

Biedt de transactiekostentheorie aanknopingspunten voor meer kwaliteit, minder uitvoeringskosten en lagere administratieve lasten?

Tijdschrift Bestuurs­wetenschappen, Aflevering 2 2019
Auteurs Drs. Nanko Boerma en Dr. Bert Bröcking
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In the implementation of the Dutch Youth Act, since the so-called ‘transition’ of 2015 under the responsibility of the municipalities, there are three major problems: the municipalities are short of money, the implementation of youth aid is accompanied by high administrative burdens and there are serious quality concerns, especially where different care providers must work together for one client. This article deals with the possibilities of the economic transaction cost theory for realizing improvements through organizing more effective collaboration between municipalities and healthcare providers. Transactions are a ‘forgotten’ cost source. There are three sources of transaction costs: limited rationality, opportunistic behavior and ‘asset specificity.’ In this article the authors analyze twelve problems documented in the literature on youth care from this perspective. This creates a framework from which municipalities can tackle these problems in order to improve the quality of youth care, to keep costs under control and to reduce the administrative burden. In a number of sectors and large projects ‘linking zones’ appear to be a way to increase the trust between players in a chain, so that transaction costs fall. Where poor cooperation between chain partners in youth care is a major cause of the problems, municipalities can make significant gains by establishing linking zones with care providers contracted by them. This article outlines the method in a linking zone.


Drs. Nanko Boerma
Drs. N. Boerma is van huis uit politicoloog en is voorzitter/directeur van de stichting Transactieland, het kennisinstituut voor transactie-innovatie.

Dr. Bert Bröcking
Dr. B.C. Bröcking is adviseur op het terrein van de jeugdhulp. Hij schreef over de rollen van cliënt, hulpverlener en overheid in de jeugdhulp.

    On January 9 2015, Job Cohen held his inaugural speech at the University of Leiden as extraordinary professor at the prestigious Thorbecke chair. His study field was the theory of the municipality as an administrative, political and legal system. The title of his inaugural speech was ‘The fourth D’, in which the first three Ds stand for three different decentralizations of tasks to Dutch municipalities and the fourth D for democracy. In his speech Job Cohen advocated a deliberative form of democracy, because it doesn’t emphasize differences and the exaggeration of differences, but emphasizes what the members of a community have in common. This essay contains the farewell lecture that he held on November 30 2018. In it Cohen says that we are still in the transition of a gigantic operation, the three decentralizations of youth care, social services and labor participation. In many areas, therefore, cooperation at a higher level than the original municipalities is necessary and indeed established. Due to the increased regional cooperation, the House of Thorbecke no longer has such a strong foundation, which has long been the case. It is therefore inevitable, according to Cohen, that the House of Thorbecke receives more than just a new coat of paint. In his farewell lecture he furthermore discusses two kinds of citizen participation. The first kind concerns policy-influencing participation, the second involves self-reliant participation, or do-democracy or civil administration, in which the Right to Challenge is currently in the center of attention. This requires a delicate coordination between those who have and exercise government powers and citizens who want to exert influence on it.


Prof. mr. dr. Job Cohen
Prof. mr. dr. M.J. Cohen was tot 1 december 2018 als bijzonder hoogleraar decentrale overheden (Thorbecke-leerstoel) verbonden aan de Universiteit Leiden en redacteur van Bestuurswetenschappen.

    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.

    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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