King's Commissioner

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The King’s Commissioner (Dutch: Commissaris van de Koning, abbreviated to CvdK) is the head of a province in the Netherlands. The officeholder chairs of both the States-Provincial (directly elected provincial legislature) and the Provincial-Executive (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). As there are twelve provinces in the Netherlands, there are twelve King's Commissioners.

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 legislature, which in turn chooses the executive branch, headed by an appointed chairman. At the national and municipal levels, these are the King and the Mayor; at 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, they 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[clarification needed] 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.

List of current King's Commissioners

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".)
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands
Province King's Commissioner Party Serving since
Flag Drenthe.svg
Jetta Klijnsma Jetta Klijnsma
(born 1957)
PvdA 1 December 2017
(224 days)
Leen Verbeek Leen Verbeek
(born 1954)
PvdA 1 November 2008
(9 years, 254 days)
Frisian flag.svg
Arno Brok Arno Brok
(born 1968)
VVD 1 March 2017
(1 year, 134 days)
Clemens Cornielje Clemens Cornielje
(born 1958)
VVD 31 August 2005
(12 years, 316 days)
Flag of Groningen.svg
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg René Paas
(born 1966)
CDA 18 April 2016
(2 years, 86 days)
Theo Bovens Theo Bovens
(born 1959)
CDA 1 October 2011
(6 years, 285 days)
North Brabant-Flag.svg
Wim van de Donk Wim van de Donk
(born 1962)
CDA 1 October 2009
(8 years, 285 days)
Flag North-Holland, Netherlands.svg
Johan Remkes Johan Remkes
(born 1951)
VVD 1 July 2010
(8 years, 12 days)
Flag of Overijssel.svg
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Boele Staal
(born 1947)
D66 19 December 2017
(206 days)
Flag of South Holland.svg
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Jaap Smit
(born 1957)
CDA 1 January 2014
(4 years, 193 days)
Utrecht (province)-Flag.svg
Willibrord van Beek Willibrord van Beek
(born 1949)
VVD 15 September 2013
(4 years, 301 days)
Flag of Zeeland.svg
Han Polman Han Polman
(born 1963)
D66 1 March 2013
(5 years, 134 days)

See also

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