King's commissioner

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Professor R. Kranenburg (left), the Queen's Commissioner in the province of Noord-Holland, appoints the Mayor of Zaanstad, R. Laan (PvdA), 1974

The Commissioner or Commissioner of the King (Dutch: Commissaris van de Koning ; before 2013 Commissaris van de Koningin ) is the head of a province in the political system of the Netherlands . The actual governing body is the college van Gedeputeerde Staten , of which he is chairman. His colleagues in this body are the deputies who are elected by the Provinciale Staten . The commissioner also presides over the provincial assembly. The Commissioner also represents the Reich within the province, i.e. the national level of the Dutch state.


Until 1850, the title was Gouverneur des Konings , as is still unofficially said in the province of Limburg. During the German occupation (1940–1945) almost all of the Queen's commissioners were dismissed, the title being called Commissaris of the Provincie at that time . The earlier form of the title, Commissaris der Koningin , has been increasingly replaced by Commissaris van de Koningin since the 1980s . When Beatrix changed the throne in April 2013 to Willem-Alexander , it became the Commissaris van de Koning .

Originally, after the establishment of the state in 1814, the governor was purely a representative of the king in the province, who dominated the province's politics. However, the governor also represented his province and its interests at government level. With the expansion of state activities from the government to the welfare state, the governor's behavior became less repressive and less focused on the maintenance of peace and order. He began to identify more with the province. Instead of overseeing the provincial government, he increasingly played the role of a political pioneer. The commissioner has only been a provincial body since the law on the provinces was amended in 1962. He became an intermediary between the administrative levels.

Appointment and office

Andries Heidema ( ChristenUnie ) is the commissioner in Overijssel .
Han Polman (D66) is a commissioner in Zeeland .

The King's Commissioner is appointed by the Dutch government, de facto by the Interior Minister. A term of office lasts six years with the possibility of renewal. Only the government can fire the commissioner, but it is also not uncommon for a commissioner to step down for reasons of personal career planning.

Often it is a former member of the government, a senior civil servant, university rector, parliamentarian or mayor. When making appointments, the government roughly takes into account the distribution of political power in the national parliament. In May 2014, four commissioners belonged to the Christian Democrats , four from the right- wing liberals , three from the social democrats and one from the left-wing liberals . One of the twelve is female.

Political hereditary farms have formed. The province of Friesland, for example, has only had politicians from the right-wing liberal VVD as commissioners since the Second World War, with one exception. In Catholic provinces such as Noord-Brabant , Overijssel and Limburg the commissioner is a KVP or now CDA politician, in Noord-Holland and Drenthe a social democrat. There was a greater change in political color in the province of Utrecht . Since the political majority in the provincial parliament is only partially important, politicians from smaller parties such as D66 are sometimes involved .

The powers and duties of the commissioner are partly provincial, so he is chairman of the provincial parliament and the provincial government. Others identify him as a functionary of the empire: he prepares official visits (for example by the king) to the province, recommends candidates for the mayor's office and is responsible for security and public order.

Classification and criticism

The king's commissioner cannot be compared with a German prime minister , but rather with a president of an administrative district within a German state . The provinces are not member states and have significantly fewer powers than a federal state.

In contrast to the mayor's office , which in the Netherlands is also filled by appointment, the appointment of the commissioner is hardly controversial. But in 2005 a news magazine published the inspectors' numerous part-time jobs. The commissioners refused to indicate their part-time jobs in the future, some said that the demanding position left no room for part-time jobs.

See also


  • Jan Wilhelmus Janssens: De Commissaris van de Koningin. History en functioneren. Diss. Leiden, Leiden 1992, ISBN 90-322-3318-1

supporting documents

  1. ^ Jan Wilhelmus Janssens: De Commissaris van de Koningin. History en functioneren. Diss. Leiden, Leiden 1992, pp. 391/392.
  2. ^ Jan Wilhelmus Janssens: De Commissaris van de Koningin. History en functioneren. Diss. Leiden, Leiden 1992, p. 392.