Country Presentation Netherlands


Researched, written and presented by Drs. Bastiaan van de Loo

*All quotes have freely been translated by the presenter

1. Background on Netherlands Political system 2. Dutch Type of Political Executives 3. Dutch bureaucracy 4. Who is in charge? 5. Role and impact of civil society in Poldermodel (public participation) 6. Description of model Netherlands fits in 8. Key strengths and weaknesses of Holland 9. Solution

1. Background on Netherlands Political system
‡ Constitutional Monarchy ‡ Central government: First Chamber (controlling function, indirectly elected) and Second Chamber (law makers, directly elected for 4 years). ‡ Representative democracy also know as consensus democracy

Coalition government
Elections negotations governance-agreement formation cabinet duration max 4 years Political Spectrum
Green Left Socialist Progressive liberals Social Democrats Christian Democrats Liberalconservatives AntiIslam Party Right


Stability vs instability under coalition government
1982-1994: Stability 1994-2002 :Reform Stability 2002-2010: Stagnation Instability 2010- .?: Unstable Reform/failed military mission in Libya

2. Dutch Type of Political Executives
Academi Relevant Managem c Degree work ent backgro experienc und to e ministry Minister of the Interior and Piet Hein Kingdom Relations Donner Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten Deputy Prime Minister, Maxime Minister of Economic Affairs, Verhagen Agriculture and Innovation Minister of Defence Hans Hillen Minister of Foreign Affairs Uri Rosenthal Y Y Y Y Y N Y Y Y Other works experien ce than governm ent N N N Specialist or Generalis t

Generali st Specialis t Generali st Generali st Specialis t but on Interior affairs





Academic Relevant Managem Degree work ent backgro experienc und to e ministry

Minister for Immigration Gerd Leers and Asylum Policy Minister for Education, Culture and Science Minister of Finance Marja van BijsterveldtVliegenthart Jan Kees de Jager




Other works experie nce than govern ment Y

Specialist or Generalist


N (nurse) Y








Specialist Generalist

Minister of Infrastructure Melanie Y and the Environment Schultz van Haegen-Maas Geesteranus Prime Minister, Minister Mark Rutte Y of General Affairs





Academi Relevant Managem c Degree work ent backgro experienc und to e ministry Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Minister for Agriculture and Foreign Trade State Secretary for Finance Henk Kamp N Y Y Y Y Y Y

Other works experien ce than governm ent Y Y Y

Specialist or Generalis t

Edith Schippers Y Ben Knapen Y (PhD)

Generali st Generali st Generali st Generali st

Henk Bleker Frans Weekers

Y (PhD)




10 9 8 7 6 5 9 4 3 2 1 0 Previous minister Previous Assistant Minister. Previous 2nd 1st Chamber Chamber Representative Previous Mayor/city councilor 4 4 3 2

Most of ministers have no experience with controlling such a big complex organization. That revenges itself. A ministerial handbook on how to deal with civil servants would help. former Minister Ritzen Those politicians have frequently no intelligence of the area on which they will work. I remember that the VVD'er Frank the Grave became Head of the Dutch Care Authority. He didn t know jack shit of it. Now you see it with Hans Hillen, who became Minister of Defence. He s a highschool teacher in society studies Prof. Nico Baakman

2. Dutch Type of Political Executives: Summary
‡ Technical expertise: Limited ‡ Government form: Coalition cabinet: Farreaching Ministerial responsibility ‡ Role of Independent Advisors: Increasing ‡ Politician, policy maker and department manager: Coalition cabinet, selection criteria political experience and party loyalty ‡ Openness of government: will be discussed later

3. Dutch bureaucracy
Central Government Province Municipalities Waterboard Education and sciences Defence Police force Judiciary 124,000 13,000 177,000 10,000 512,000 69,000 65,000 4,000

3. Representative bureaucracy?
Central Public administration Highest 2e Kamer 1e Kamer ranking (Parliament) (Senate) bureacrats General Population

Men Women Nonwestern Dutch citizen

57.50% 42.50% 8.40%

80.5% 19.5% 1.3%*

59% 41% 11%

71% 29% 4%

49.50% 50.50% 11%

3. What do they do?
What do they do at central government ‡ Execution: 78% ‡ Policy: 9% ‡ Support: 7% ‡ Supervision: 6%

3. Recruitment of highest ranking bureaucrats
‡ Algemene Bestuursdienst

Recruited by Algemene Bestuursdienst

Ideal kind of Dutch public servant? " I have no Weberiaan conception of the role of civil servant. You can choose to be and your apply influence only internally as a grey mouse. That is most safe. But I find that a civil servant must step also to outside. He must play a role in the public debate. statement by Secretaris-Generaal Sweder van Wijnbergen after he was forced to resign (27sept 1999)

Ideal kind of public servant? The Dutch perspective
The businesslike public servant vs the YesMinister Narrow view on NPM not applicable for Netherlands: Public Servant as results-oriented who is policy entrepreneur and thus has high level of iniative, unconventionel and customer-oriented. A Public servant as reflective practitioner who is mediator between different rationalities (politics, legal and realistic)

3. Overview Bureaucracy
Training: mixture of generalist and functional specialist. Career : Little mobility between Departments Specialized bureaucratic organization: not present Recruitment: Decentralized except high ranking officials who have far-reaching decision making power

4. Role and impact of civil society in Poldermodel
Dutch political system also referred to use the Poldermodel a corporatist approach to economic and environmental planning Main political players: Employer organization vs labor unions nature and environmental organizations vs mobility organizations and Employer organization Agricultural association vs nature and environmental organizations Other players: NGOs: health sector, development organizations, student union, consumer union, organization for house owner Hybrid players but very powerful: Former government agencies now corporatized: Health Insurance providers, Housing agencies (mostly led by former political executives or top bureacrats International CSOs: Absent Role Media: changing as result of polarization, populism and waan van de dag

5. Who is in charge?
52% of previous members of 2nd Chamber were of opinion that bureaucrats had too much influence on decision-making process of cabinet and parliament Public servants are making politics in media Only 16% of bureaucrats is of opinion that 'political motivated plans are executable. They feel political leaders (ministers) are trying to do window dressing and short-time thinking. As such one can see a weakening of the ministerial influence.

4. Influence of civil society?
Important role of SER, Studygroup Budge space (SBR) Civil society ensured of having a prominent seat at the negotiation table: Why? 1. Expertise 2. Power to block/delay 3. Implementers (environment, social partners) 4. Culture of consensus/coaltion

5. Who is in charge?
Paradox of Ministerial Responsibility Previous conflicts: ‡ Minister Sorgdrager vs head of Public prosection and other public servants-‡ Minister Jorritsma vs Van Wijnbergen (Secretarisgeneraal who got job under Jorritisma s predecessor) ‡ Recent case: Senior Dutch bureaucrat advised US government on to coerce and how to coerce a Dutch Minister to stop his opposition towards a new military mission to Afghanistan

5. Who is in charge?
Politiek primaat Minister Responsible but doesn t leave, bureacrat not responsible but must leave (transferred) Conclusion:-when push comes to shove political executive always wins in the short run

Who is in charge? Some observations from some Dutch Political Scientists
Our democracy is bullshit Prof. Hans Daudt In the Netherlands we have an absolute oligarchy that has nothing to do with democracy Prof. Frissen Politics in Holland is walking a dead-end lane... The political party is nothing but a network of people who know and support each other. Prof. Tromp

6. Description of model Netherlands fits in
‡ Administrative functional State life: Bureaucrats have a lot of influence in policy making and implementation. ‡ Political Executives wearing two-hats gives bureaucrat to also wear different hats: Expert, Negotiator and connector with society. ‡ But final responsibility with political leaders recent trend reemphasis on political primaat

Tone Functional administrative village life state Winners Conflict Resolution Bargaining Style Impacts

Integrative Variable

Expertise Interest dominate d stability

Failure of NPM
Focus on short-term result and efforts to reestablish primaat of politiek has led to: - Weakening of ministerial and department influence over implementation - (Re-)Emergence Institutionalism distrust between political executives and bureaucrats

8. Key strengths and weaknesses of Dutch System
Weaknesses ‡ Politics is hindering progress ‡ High-turn over due to political instability political executives increases reliance on bureaucrats ‡ Low level of specialization makes political executives more prone to being steered by bureaucrats ‡ Politicians don t dare to make real decisions (door modderen) but dare to make symbolic decisions ‡ Politiek primaat: locks the experienced and skillful bureacracy in a contract without having its say ‡ Top bureaucracy heavily politicized

8. Key strengths and weaknesses of Dutch System
Strengths ‡ Consensus, involving all stakeholders, bureaucrats are not extrovert political animals ‡ Bureaucrats acting as additional checks and balance against waan van de dag ‡ Highly professional bureaucracy ‡ Continuous flow of new blood in bureaucracy ‡ Maatschappelijk middenveld/civil society is vibrant ‡ Elections continue to live and polarization leads to dialogue and focus on accountability and transparency

9. Solution
Need for solution? No PVV emerges as one of biggest party People are taking care of it Polarization of country and media leads to increased debates, transparency and accountability Bureaucracy is becoming more politically diverse

9. Solution
Need for solution? Yes Fear of a second Belgium Scenario, political stalemate and waan van de dag make country un-steerable and needs to be stopped How: ‡ Political parties should indicate who they propose to be their minister for what department prior to election ‡ Strengthen offices of members of Second Chamber to increase oversight on bureaucracy ‡ Change collective labor agreement for civil servants to ensure their labor rights are at same level as other sectors (less privileges) ‡ Strenghten

Sources used
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ The Polder Model in Dutch Economic and Environmental Planning, Yda Schreuder. Bulletin of Science Technology Society August 2001 vol. 21 no. 4 237-245 df sociale_partners


5. Clear distinction politics and bureaucracy?
Politics as opportunity to enrich oneself? One Senator has 14 additional functions with organizations including one with an organization where she as Director hires herself for 840 euro per day. Lose of seat in parliament wachtgeld Mayor Lose of cabinet function: private sector, Mayor of large city or position with international organization is waiting

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