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    On 1 April 2019 in the town hall of the Dutch municipality Zwolle the second Van Poelje lecture (named after the founder of Dutch Public Administration, Gerrit van Poelje) was held. The lecture is organized by the Department of Public Administration of the Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences (BMS) of the University of Twente, in close cooperation with BMC advice, the municipality of Zwolle and the province of Overijssel (of which Zwolle is the capital). The subject of this second lecture was ‘Regional development: task-oriented operating and cooperating ’. The keynote speech of the lecture was delivered by the minister of Home Affairs Kajsa Ollongren. The coreferents were Andries Heidema (the King’s Commissioner in the province of Overijssel) and Bas Denters (professor of Public Administration at the University of Twente). Marcel Boogers (the new chief editor of this magazine, Bestuurswetenschappen) acted as chair of the day and as moderator of the discussion between the attendees and the speakers. In his opinion a clearly different wind is blowing from the Home Office, with more attention for regional differences, which demands more tailor-made work from municipalities and provinces. The minister’s main message was that, because not all provinces have the same position and the problems also differ per province, the tasks must be the guiding principle and the scale must be adjusted accordingly. Therefore, administrative culture and style must be central in the present discussion in her opinion, and not so much the administrative structure.


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.

    Nowadays municipalities in the Netherlands work together more intensively with other municipalities in the region. Also cooperation with companies, institutions and societal organizations is more often looked for at the regional level. In practice this brings along many problems and difficulties. For several reasons it appears not to be easy to combine the implementation strengths of municipalities and societal partners. This article presents a new approach (based on the theory of ‘new regionalism’) to regional implementation strength. This approach is not only about designing regional administrations, but is mainly about the factors that induce administrations as well as companies and institutions to commit themselves jointly for the region. To increase the regional implementation strength more is needed than the formation of a regional administrative structure in which municipalities do not cooperate in a non-committal manner. To induce municipalities and societal partners to commit themselves jointly to handling new tasks or new challenges it is also necessary to have a clear strategic vision on these issues that binds parties and makes them enthusiastic and that regional cooperation is rooted in a societal breeding ground. It also asks for an administrative structure that does justice to the contribution every municipality and societal partner makes to the realization of the strategy and for a democratic involvement of municipal councils and sector-based interest groups.


Marcel Boogers
Prof. dr. M.J.G.J.A. Boogers is hoogleraar Innovatie en Regionaal Bestuur bij de vakgroep Bestuurskunde van de faculteit Management en Bestuur aan de Universiteit Twente en senior adviseur Openbaar Bestuur bij BMC.
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