Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR)
European section of United Cities and Local Governments

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The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy. The state of the Netherlands is a decentralised unitary state composed of municipalities (gemeenten) and provinces (provincies) and water boards (waterschappen).

Data: 2016
Local level: 390 municipalities (gemeenten)
The local council (gemeenteraad) is the municipality's deliberative body. Its members are councillors elected for a total of four years via the proportional representation system. The local council is in charge of the college of mayor and aldermen, makes all main municipal decisions and has the power to pass by-laws. It is chaired by the mayor, who cannot take part in any of the council votes.

The college of mayor and aldermen (burgemeester en wethouders) is the municipality's executive body. The college prepares and implements local council decisions and is responsible for executing national policies at the local level. Aldermen, whose number varies depending on the municipality, are elected from within the council for a four-year mandate.

The mayor (burgemeester) chairs the local council and the college of mayor and aldermen. He/she is formally appointed for a six-year mandate by the national government at the proposal of the local council.  The mayor has the power to vote within the college of mayor and aldermen and his/her vote can be decisive.


• Urban planning*
• (Social) Housing*
• Civil engineering*
• Transport: local roads, city transport and public transport*
• Public health and youth care: prevention and education*
• Public safety and order
• Disaster management*
• Primary and secondary education: school buildings*
• Employment
• Local and regional economy
• Childcare
• Social services and welfare*
• Culture and sports
• Leisure, Recreation and Tourism
• Local media and broadcasting

(*shared with the national or provincial government)
Regional level: 12 provinces (provincies)
The provincial states (provinciale staten) are the provinces' legislative body. Their members are elected by direct universal suffrage for a four-year mandate. The provincial states have the power to pass by-laws and are chaired by the king's commissioner, who cannot take part in any provincial state votes. The provincial states also elect the Senate.

The provincial executive board (gedeputeerde staten) is the province's executive body. It prepares and implements decisions taken by the provincial states and is responsible for executing national policies at the provincial level. The provincial executive board is composed of the king's commissioner and of three to nine members designated by the provincial states.

The king's commissioner (commissaris van de koning) chairs the provincial executive board and is appointed for a six-year term by the national government at the proposal of the provincial states.


• Regional planning
• Environment
• Culture
• Leisure and tourism
• Public transport, provincial road maintenance and traffic
• Energy
• Regional media and broadcasting

CEMR in Netherlands

Association of Netherlands Municipalities
Director General: Leonard GELUK
Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG)
Nassaulaan 12, Postbus 30435, NL - 2500 GK Den Haag
Tel.: +31 70 373 83 93
Fax: +31 70 363 56 82
Association of Provinces of the Netherlands
Director General: Henry MEIJDAM
Interprovinciaal Overleg (IPO)
Herengracht 23, 2511 EG Den Haag
P.O. Box 16107, NL – 2500 BC Den Haag
Tel.: +31 70 888 1212
Fax: +31 70 888 1280
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