The Dutch Anomaly: Appointed Mayors. Can Appointed Mayors Cope with Role Changes and Societal Demands?

  • Niels Karsten Tilburg University, Tilburg School of Politics and Public Administration, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg
  • Lex Cachet Erasmus University Rotterdam, Department of Public Administration, PO Box 1738, 30000 DR Rotterdam
  • Linze Schaap Tilburg University, Tilburg School of Politics and Public Administration, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg
Keywords: local leadership, legitimate leadership, mayors, leadership strategies, Netherlands

Abstract

In many European countries mayors are local political leaders. Dutch mayors, however, are neither local nor political, as national government appoints them. Their office is subject to serious changes. While it still carries a lot of ‘natural’ authority, its content has changed rather drastically. In this article we first of all give an overview of the mayoral office in Western Europe and sketch the Dutch mayorship. The next step is to discuss recent developments: councils gaining influence on the actual mayoral selection, mayors getting more legal capacities and responsibilities, and society demanding stronger (mayoral) leadership. We will explore the ways present mayors cope with the emerging tensions between these developments, and between the responses to them. The focus is on tensions between the various developments and the risks the mayorship runs.

Author Biography

Linze Schaap, Tilburg University, Tilburg School of Politics and Public Administration, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg
Associate professor Public Administration
Published
2013-04-11
Section
Articles