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Municipal governments keep merging into larger entities


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

RIJSWIJK The number of municipalities in the Netherlands continues on its downwards slide, faster than anywhere else in Europe. Since the Dutch started consolidating small local entities into larger units over forty years ago, the number of gemeenten has dropped from over 900 to the current 443. Most of the municipalities balk at merging, usually fearing loss of identity and special characteristics in a reconfigured, larger regional unit. Cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam developed a system of neighbourhood sub councils (deelraden) to avoid alienation and loss of identity. On January 1, 2007, the largest reconfiguration took effect in the southern Dutch province of Limburg where eleven municipalities re-emerged in four units.