Local Government in Amsterdam

The principal form of local government in the Netherlands is the municipality; with the country boasting of having over 400 municipalities. As the capital city and biggest city in the Netherlands, Amsterdam fits the bill as the largest municipality with more than 800, 000 inhabitants. Amsterdam’s municipality territory spans the city of Amsterdam proper as well as a number of other smaller adjoining towns. In this article, we shall explore the organizational structure of Amsterdam’s local government, the people who make it up and their various functions.

Organisational Structure

The Municipality of Amsterdam is made up of three entities namely, the municipal council/ city council, Municipal executive/ College of mayors and Alderpersons and the district or borough committees.

1. Municipal Council ( City Council.)

The city council is the highest governing body in the Amsterdam municipality and is made up of 45 members elected by the population by way of popular vote. The City council is elected every four years with the current one having a term in office from 2018 to 2022.

The function of the city council includes debating and determining the general policies of the city of Amsterdam and monitoring if the municipal executive is properly implementing municipal policy. The Amsterdam city council holds the power to form municipal council as well as vacate its members from office if need be.

2. Municipal Executive. (College of Mayors and Aldermen)

This is an executive body which consists of the mayor, seven aldermen and a municipal secretary who heads the body of public officials and advises the municipal executive. The main task of the municipal executive is to implement municipal policy passed down by them from the city council. If the city council representatives feel that the aldermen are not performing their jobs satisfactorily, they can vacate them from office.

3. District Committee (Borough Committee.)

Unlike other municipalities in the Netherlands, Amsterdam is divided into eight districts or boroughs following a system introduced back in the 1980s. Prior to 2014, the boroughs were responsible for various activities that are now under the central city local government . The idea of forming this devolved units is to bring governance closer to the people. Since that time, however, the powers of the districts have been significantly curtailed although they are still allowed to have an elected council referred to as the district committee.

The following is a list of some of the boroughs that make up Amsterdam city:

1. Amsterdam-Centrum (English: Centre).
2. Amsterdam-Noord
3. Amsterdam-Oost
4. Amsterdam-Zuid
5. Amsterdam-West
6. Amsterdam-Zuidoost
7. Amsterdam Nieuw-West
8. Westpoort.