Trajectories and Consequences
Edited by John Wanna, Lotte Jensen and Jouke de Vries
Chapter 10: Budget Reform in The Netherlands: Sadder but Much Wiser Now
Jouke de Vries and Ton Bestebreur Reforms to the public sector and budget processes in The Netherlands have followed a particular international trend. Being a small European country, with an open economy, The Netherlands is oriented toward the Anglo-American world. It has drawn many of its ideas about public sector reform from such sources, sometimes labeled as new public management (NPM). It has also looked to ideas circulating within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) more generally, but in all cases it has ‘translated’ and implemented these initiatives in the Dutch institutional context. The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy embedded within a bicameral parliamentary democracy. The Dutch political system can be characterized as a multiparty democracy based on proportional representation, a party-list system of election and a single national electorate. Thus, government in The Netherlands is, almost by definition, coalition government. Coalitions come in various compositions and majorities depending on the election results and the subsequent formation processes. Dutch politics is more recently characterized by the growth of populist parties of the extreme left and right, and as a consequence there has been pressure on the political parties of the center also to move in these directions. The Dutch political and administrative system is driven by a unitary state, albeit highly decentralized. The national welfare state implements policy in cooperation with the 12 provinces and 443 municipalities. These decentralized entities receive their budgetary funding directly from the Province Fund and the Municipality Fund respectively. Provinces and municipalities also...
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