Commissaris van de Koning(in)
Coat of Arms
The King’s Commissioner (Dutch: Commissaris van de Koning, abbr. to CvdK) is the head of a province in the Netherlands, who is chairman of both the Provinciale Staten (PS: the directly elected provincial parliament) and the Gedeputeerde Staten (GS: the executive branch), but has a right to vote only in the latter. When the reigning monarch is a female, the office is Queen’s Commissioner (Commissaris van de Koningin).
In the Dutch province of Limburg, the King’s Commissioner is usually called Gouverneur (“governor”), as in Belgium. Similarly, the Provinciehuis (“Province Hall”) at Maastricht is called Gouvernement (“Governor’s Residence”). This local custom arose from the particular status of the current province in the nineteenth century.
There are two levels of local government in the Netherlands: the provinces and the municipalities. The twelve provinces form the tier of administration between central government and the municipalities. The three tiers are organised in largely the same way, with a directly elected parliament, which in turn chooses the executive branch, headed by a non-democratically chosen chairman. On the national and municipal level, these are the king and the mayor, on the provincial level it is the King’s Commissioner (however the king has no political power, the “political head of state” is the Prime Minister (Minister President), similar to the United Kingdom).
Each province is governed by the Provinciale Staten (“PS”), who, in turn, choose the Gedeputeerde Staten (“GS”). The members of the PS are elected directly every four years. Its main tasks are to decide policies and to oversee their implementation by the GS. Each member of the council has a vote and decisions are taken by majority vote of the members present. Council members usually have an ordinary job and undertake their council duties in their spare time. They receive an attendance allowance. Membership in the GS is a full-time job.
Tasks of the King’s Commissioner
The King’s Commissioner is not elected by the residents of the province, but appointed by the Dutch Crown (the ministers, presided over by the monarch), for a term of six years, which may be extended by a second term. The King’s Commissioner can be dismissed only by the Dutch Crown. When a vacancy arises, the provincial council gives the Minister of the Interior a profile of the kind of candidate it would like to see in the job. Although all King’s Commissioners are prominent members of one or another of the major national political parties, their actions are expected to be politically impartial while they are in office.
The King’s Commissioners play a role within the provincial administration and are the official representatives of central government in the provinces. They coordinate disaster management and prevention and pay regular official visits to the municipalities in their region.
The King’s Commissioners play an important part in the appointment of municipal mayors. When a vacancy arises, the King’s Commissioner first asks the municipal council for its views as to a successor, then writes to the Minister of the Interior, recommending a candidate. Since the King’s Commissioners are both the chairs and full members of the provincial executives, they may include some of the executive’s tasks in their portfolio. They also oversee the official apparatus and any provincial utilities and represent the province in its dealings with business.
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
|Drenthe||Jacques Tichelaar||May 1, 2009||4 years, 49 days||Labour Party||January 2, 1953|
|Flevoland||Leen Verbeek||November 1, 2008||4 years, 230 days||Labour Party||March 5, 1954|
|Fryslân||John Jorritsma||May 16, 2008||5 years, 34 days||People's Party for Freedom and Democracy||September 16, 1956|
|Gelderland||Clemens Cornielje||August 31, 2005||7 years, 292 days||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy||June 10, 1958|
|Groningen||Max van den Berg||September 1, 2007||5 years, 291 days||Labour Party||March 22, 1946|
|Limburg ||Theo Bovens||June 30, 2011||1 year, 354 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||October 1, 1959|
|North Brabant||Wim van de Donk||October 1, 2009||3 years, 261 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||May 17, 1962|
|North Holland ||Johan Remkes||July 1, 2010||2 years, 353 days||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy||June 15, 1951|
|Overijssel ||Ank Bijleveld||January 1, 2011||2 years, 169 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||March 17, 1962|
|South Holland||Jan Franssen||May 3, 2000||13 years, 47 days||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy||June 11, 1951|
|Utrecht||Roel Robbertsen||June 1, 2007||6 years, 18 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||October 6, 1948|
|Zeeland||Han Polman||March 1, 2013||0 years, 110 days||Democrats 66||January 16, 1963|
- (Dutch) Official site