King's Commissioner

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King's Commissioner
Commissaris van de Koning
Royal coat of arms of the Netherlands.svg
Appointer Dutch Cabinet
Term length 6 years
Formation Dutch Constitution

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).

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.

Tasks of the King’s Commissioner[edit]

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.

Naming practice in Limburg[edit]

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 province in the nineteenth century. The official name of the office is currently the same as in the other provinces.

Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
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King’s Commissioners[edit]

Province Commissioner Assumed office Duration Party Born
Drenthe Jacques Tichelaar 1 May 2009 6 years, 285 days Labour Party (1953-01-02) 2 January 1953 (age 63)
Flevoland Leen Verbeek 1 November 2008 7 years, 101 days Labour Party (1954-03-05) 5 March 1954 (age 61)
Friesland John Jorritsma 16 May 2008 7 years, 270 days People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (1956-09-16) 16 September 1956 (age 59)
Gelderland Clemens Cornielje 31 August 2005 10 years, 163 days People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (1958-06-10) 10 June 1958 (age 57)
Groningen Max van den Berg 1 September 2007 8 years, 162 days Labour Party (1946-03-22) 22 March 1946 (age 69)
Limburg [1] Theo Bovens 30 June 2011 4 years, 225 days Christian Democratic Appeal (1959-10-01) 1 October 1959 (age 56)
North Brabant Wim van de Donk 1 October 2009 6 years, 132 days Christian Democratic Appeal (1962-05-17) 17 May 1962 (age 53)
North Holland [2] Johan Remkes 1 July 2010 5 years, 224 days People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (1951-06-15) 15 June 1951 (age 64)
Overijssel [3] Ank Bijleveld 1 January 2011 5 years, 40 days Christian Democratic Appeal (1962-03-17) 17 March 1962 (age 53)
South Holland Jaap Smit 1 January 2014 2 years, 40 days Christian Democratic Appeal (1957-03-08) 8 March 1957 (age 58)
Utrecht Willibrord van Beek 15 September 2013 2 years, 148 days People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (1949-01-15) 15 January 1949 (age 67)
Zeeland Han Polman 1 March 2013 2 years, 346 days Democrats 66 (1963-01-16) 16 January 1963 (age 53)


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