Commissaris van de Koning
|Term length||6 years|
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
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
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.
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|Drenthe||Jacques Tichelaar||1 May 2009||6 years, 64 days||Labour Party||2 January 1953|
|Flevoland||Leen Verbeek||1 November 2008||6 years, 245 days||Labour Party||5 March 1954|
|Friesland||John Jorritsma||16 May 2008||7 years, 49 days||People's Party for Freedom and Democracy||16 September 1956|
|Gelderland||Clemens Cornielje||31 August 2005||9 years, 307 days||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy||10 June 1958|
|Groningen||Max van den Berg||1 September 2007||7 years, 306 days||Labour Party||22 March 1946|
|Limburg ||Theo Bovens||30 June 2011||4 years, 4 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||1 October 1959|
|North Brabant||Wim van de Donk||1 October 2009||5 years, 276 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||17 May 1962|
|North Holland ||Johan Remkes||1 July 2010||5 years, 3 days||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy||15 June 1951|
|Overijssel ||Ank Bijleveld||1 January 2011||4 years, 184 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||17 March 1962|
|South Holland||Jaap Smit||1 January 2014||1 year, 184 days||Christian Democratic Appeal||8 March 1957|
|Utrecht||Willibrord van Beek||15 September 2013||1 year, 292 days||People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy||15 January 1949|
|Zeeland||Han Polman||1 March 2013||2 years, 125 days||Democrats 66||16 January 1963|
- (Dutch) Official site