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