King's Commissioner

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.

LimburgZeelandZeelandZeelandZeelandZeelandGelderlandSouth HollandSouth HollandNorth HollandNorth HollandNorth HollandNorth HollandUtrechtFlevolandFlevolandOverijsselDrentheGroningen (province)Groningen (province)Groningen (province)FrieslandFrieslandFrieslandFrieslandFrieslandFrieslandFrieslandNorth BrabantSint EustatiusSint EustatiusSabaSabaBonaireBonaireBonaire
Map of the Netherlands, linking to the province articles

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, renewable. 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 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 informally 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

Province King's Commissioner Party Serving since
Flag of Drenthe
Jetta Klijnsma Jetta Klijnsma
(born 1957)
Labour Party 1 December 2017
(1 year, 174 days)
Flag of Flevoland
Leen Verbeek Leen Verbeek
(born 1954)
Labour Party 1 November 2008
(10 years, 204 days)
Frisian flag
Arno Brok Arno Brok
(born 1968)
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
1 March 2017
(2 years, 84 days)
Flag of Gelderland
John Berends John Berends
(born 1956)
Christian Democratic Appeal 6 February 2019
(107 days)
Flag of Groningen
Netherlands politic personality icon René Paas
(born 1966)
Christian Democratic Appeal 18 April 2016
(3 years, 36 days)
Flag of Limburg (Netherlands)
Theo Bovens Theo Bovens
(born 1959)
Christian Democratic Appeal 1 October 2011
(7 years, 235 days)
North Brabant-Flag
Wim van de Donk Dr.
Wim van de Donk
(born 1962)
Christian Democratic Appeal 1 October 2009
(9 years, 235 days)
Flag of North Holland
Netherlands politic personality icon Arthur van Dijk
(born 1963)
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
1 January 2019
(143 days)
Flag of Overijssel
Andries Heidema Andries Heidema
(born 1962)
Christian Union 11 July 2018
(317 days)
Flag of South Holland
Jaap Smit Jaap Smit
(born 1957)
Christian Democratic Appeal 1 January 2014
(5 years, 143 days)
Utrecht (province)-Flag
Netherlands politic personality icon Hans Oosters
(born 1962)
Labour Party 1 February 2019
(112 days)
Flag of Zeeland
Han Polman Han Polman
(born 1963)
Democrats 66 1 March 2013
(6 years, 84 days)

See also

Ank Bijleveld

Anna Theodora Bernardina "Ank" Bijleveld-Schouten (born 17 March 1962) is a Dutch politician serving as Minister of Defence in the Third Rutte cabinet since 26 October 2017. She is a member of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).A civil servant by occupation, she served as a member of the House of Representatives from 16 November 1989 until 16 January 2001, when she was appointed Mayor of Hof van Twente, serving from 1 January 2001 until 22 February 2007. She resigned after she was appointed as State Secretary for the Interior and Kingdom Relations in the Fourth Balkenende cabinet, serving from 22 February 2007 until 14 October 2010. After the election of 2010, Bijleveld returned to the House of Representatives serving from 17 June 2010 until 1 January 2011 when she resigned after she was appointed as King's Commissioner of Overijssel. Following the election of 2017 Bijleveld was asked to become Minister of Defence in the Third Rutte cabinet. Bijleveld accepted and resigned as King's Commissioner of Overijssel the same day she took office as the new Minister of Defence on 26 October 2017.

Arno Brok

Arnoud Adrianus Maria "Arno" Brok (born 29 July 1968) is a Dutch politician serving as the King's Commissioner of Friesland since 2017. A member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), he previously served as Mayor of Sneek from 2003 to 2010 and Mayor of Dordrecht from 2010 until 2017.

Arno Brok is one of three openly gay politicians who served as King's Commissioner, the other two are: Clemens Cornielje, and Jan Franssen.


Bloemendaal [ˈblumə(n)daːl] (listen) is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Bloemendaal is, together with Wassenaar, the wealthiest place in the Netherlands.In October 2015, after persistent problems with the local governance in Bloemendaal, the King's Commissioner of North Holland, Johan Remkes, threatened to disband the municipality if the problems were not fixed within a year. Bernt Schneiders, the mayor of Haarlem, was appointed as acting mayor of Bloemendaal.


Drenthe (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈdrɛntə] (listen); German: Drente) is a province of the Netherlands located in the northeastern part of the country. It is bordered by Overijssel to the south, Friesland to the west, Groningen to the north, and Germany (districts of Emsland and Bentheim, Lower Saxony) to the east. In January 2017, it had a population of 491,867 and a total area of 2,683 km2 (1,036 sq mi).

Drenthe has been populated for 150,000 years. The region has subsequently been part of the Episcopal principality of Utrecht, Habsburg Netherlands, Dutch Republic, Batavian Republic, Kingdom of Holland and Kingdom of the Netherlands. Drenthe is an official province since 1796. The capital and seat of the provincial government is Assen. The King's Commissioner of Drenthe is Jetta Klijnsma. The Labour Party (PvdA) is the largest party in the States-Provincial, followed by the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA).

Drenthe is a sparsely populated rural area, unlike many other parts of the Netherlands. Except for some industry in Assen and Emmen, the land in Drenthe is mainly used for agriculture.

Groningen (province)

Groningen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣroːnɪŋə(n)] (listen); Gronings: Grunn; West Frisian: Grinslân) is the northeasternmost province of the Netherlands. It borders on Friesland to the west, Drenthe to the south, the German state of Lower Saxony (districts of Leer and Emsland) to the east, and the Wadden Sea to the north. In 2014, it had a population of 582,640 and a total area of 2,960 km2 (1,140 sq mi).

The area was subsequently part of Frisia, the Frankish Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Dutch Republic, which is the precursor state of the Netherlands. In the 14th century, the city of Groningen became a member of the Hanseatic League.

The capital of the province and the seat of the provincial government is the city of Groningen. Since 2016, René Paas has been the King's Commissioner in the province. A coalition of the Labour Party, People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, Democrats 66, and ChristianUnion forms the executive branch. The province is divided into 23 municipalities.

The land is mainly used for agriculture. There are sea ports in Delfzijl and Eemshaven. The Groningen gas field was discovered in 1959. The province is home to the University of Groningen and Hanze University of Applied Sciences.

Han Polman

Johannes Marcellus Maria "Han" Polman (born 16 January 1963) is a Dutch politician of the Democrats 66 (D66) party. He has been the King's Commissioner of Zeeland since 1 March 2013. Previously he was Mayor of Bergen op Zoom and Noordwijkerhout.

Jaap Smit

Jaap Smit (born 8 March 1957) is a Dutch preacher, manager and since 1 January 2014 the King's Commissioner of South Holland. He was previously trade union leader of the Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond.

Jacques Tichelaar

Jacques Tichelaar (born 2 January 1953) is a Dutch politician and former trade union leader and educator. He is a member of the Labour Party (Partij van de Arbeid). Since 1 May 2009 he has been the King's Commissioner (governor on behalf of the king) in the province of Drenthe. He resigned on March 1st 2017.

Previously he was a teachers' trade union leader from 1994 to 2002 and a MP from 2002 to 2009. He acted as a Parliamentary group leader from 2007 to 2008.

In 2002 he received an honorary doctorate in business administration at Kingston University.

Jan Franssen

Jan Franssen (born 11 June 1951 in Hilversum) is a Dutch politician.

Franssen is a member of the VVD. He began his political career as an advisor to Hans Wiegel, having previously worked as a history teacher. Franssen was also a city councillor of Nederhorst den Berg, leader of the provincial parliament of North Holland and a member of the House of Representatives (1982–1994). From 1994 to 2000 Franssen was mayor of Zwolle. Finally. he was named King's Commissioner in South Holland in 2000. He resigned on December 31, 2013. He was made member of the Council of State of the Netherlands the next day.

He is the current chairman of the Interprovinciaal Overleg (IPO), that looks after provincial interests.

Franssen is openly gay.Jan Franssen is one of three openly gay politicians who served as King's Commissioner, the other two are: Clemens Cornielje, and Arno Brok.

Jetta Klijnsma

Jellejetta "Jetta" Klijnsma (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjɛtaː ˈklɛinsmaː]; born 18 March 1957) is a Dutch politician of the Labour Party (PvdA). She is the King's Commissioner of Drenthe since 1 December 2017.

Elected to the House of Representatives from 2010 to 2012, she focused on matters of culture, senior citizens, disabled people and medical ethics. Previously she was State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment in the Fourth Balkenende cabinet (2008–2010) and an alderwoman of the municipality of The Hague (1998–2008). From 2012 to 2017 she was appointed again as State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment, dealing with unemployment insurances, pay equality, long-term unemployment, poverty, and health and safety at work in the Second Rutte cabinet.

Leen Verbeek

Leendert "Leen" Verbeek (born 5 March 1954) is a Dutch politician serving as the King's Commissioner of Flevoland since 2008. A member of the Labour Party (PvdA), he previously served as Mayor of Purmerend from 2003 to 2008.Verbeek spent his early years in Eindhoven. After the MULO (current-day VMBO) and a year of high school in the United States, he attended the Academy for Educational Labour in Baarn. He then started to work as a youth worker in Leiden.

Ten years later Verbeek started his political career through political institutions, ending up as an alderman in Houten (1989–96). He was appointed Mayor of Purmerend seven years after he left the political sphere. In between he was director of a self-created company.

On 18 December 2007, it was announced that Verbeek was a candidate for Mayor of Eindhoven along with Rob van Gijzel. A referendum was held on 23 January 2008, in which Verbeek scored 33% of the votes, but because the required number of voters was not met, the referendum was nullified and the decision was made in-house, which resulted in Van Gijzel being appointed Mayor of Eindhoven. Verbeek was replaced by Fons Hertog as Mayor of Purmerend in November 2008, as Verbeek was appointed the Queen's Commissioner (in 2013 the title changed to King's Commissioner) for the province of Flevoland.

Lord High Commissioner to the Parliament of Scotland

The Lord High Commissioners to the Parliament of Scotland, sometimes referred to as the fifth estate of the Estates of Scotland, were the Scottish Sovereign's personal representative to the Parliament of Scotland following James VI of Scotland's accession to the throne of England and his becoming, in personal union, James I, the first Stuart king of England (see Union of the Crowns).

The Lord High Commissioners were appointed from 1603 until 1707. The Act of Union 1707, which merged the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England to create the Parliament of Great Britain, rendered the post redundant.

They were effectively the heads of government in Scotland during this period, exercising de facto control over the Estates and the Privy Council, although nominally this role was still held by the Lord Chancellor.

North Holland

North Holland (Dutch: Noord-Holland [ˌnoːrt ˈɦɔlɑnt] (listen), West Frisian Dutch: Noard-Holland) is a province of the Netherlands located in the northwestern part of the country. It is situated on the North Sea, north of South Holland and Utrecht, and west of Friesland and Flevoland. In 2015, it had a population of 2,762,163 and a total area of 2,670 km2 (1,030 sq mi).

From the 9th to the 16th century, the area was an integral part of the County of Holland. During this period West Friesland was incorporated. In the 17th and 18th century, the area was part of the province of Holland and commonly known as the Noorderkwartier (English: "Northern Quarter"). In 1840, the province of Holland was split into the two provinces of North Holland and South Holland. In 1855, the Haarlemmermeer was drained and turned into land.

The capital and seat of the provincial government is Haarlem, and the province's largest city is the Netherlands' capital Amsterdam. The King's Commissioner of North Holland is Johan Remkes, serving since 2010. There are 51 municipalities and three (including parts of) water boards in the province.

Provincial-Executive (Netherlands)

The Provincial-Executive (Dutch: Gedeputeerde Staten, GS) is the executive branch of government of a province of the Netherlands.Together with the King's Commissioner they form the College van Commissaris van de Koning en Gedeputeerde Staten, which is the executive council of the province. The Gedeputeerde Staten are elected by the States-Provincial, the elected assembly of the province. The members of the Gedeputeerde Staten all have their own competence on which they prepare, coordinate and plan policy and legislation for the Provinciale Staten and execute legislation. The Gedeputeerde Staten has the duty to inform the Provinciale Staten on all aspects of their policy. The Gedeputeerde Staten functions as a collegial body and most decisions are taken by consensus.

Provincial politics in the Netherlands

The Politics of the Dutch provinces takes places within the framework of the politics of the Netherlands. The province is the second highest level of government, after the national government. The Netherlands is divided into twelve provinces.

In provincial politics there are three functions: the King's Commissioner, the States Provincial and the States Deputed. Together they share legislative power. The King's Commissioner chairs both the States Provincial and the States Deputed. The States Deputed and the King's Commissioner exercise the executive power of the provincial government. The relationship between the States Deputed and the States Provincial is officially dualistic, that is they have separated responsibilities.

René Paas

Frederik Johannes "René" Paas (Dutch pronunciation: [freːdəˈrikʏs joːˈɦɑnəs rəˈneː paːs]; born 16 September 1966) is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal. He was chairman of the Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond from 2005 to 2009. He has been the King's Commissioner in the province of Groningen since 18 April 2016.

Theo Bovens

Theodorus Jozef Franciscus Marie "Theo" Bovens (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈteːjoː ˈboːvəns]; born 1 October 1959) is a Dutch politician serving as the King's Commissioner of Limburg since 30 June 2011.

A member of the Christian Democratic Appeal, he was a member of the municipal council of Maastricht from 1986 to 2002 and served as one of the city's aldermen from 1994 to 2003. From 2003 to 2005 he was Vice Chairman of the Open University in the Netherlands and from 2005 until 2011 he served as Chairman. From 2006 to 2011 he was also a member of the Social-Economic Council.

Bovens was born in Maastricht and studied history at Radboud University Nijmegen. He is married and has a daughter.

Willem Anne Schimmelpenninck van der Oye

Willem Anne, Baron Schimmelpenninck van der Oye (6 January 1800, Doesburg, Gelderland – 12 December 1872, Voorst) was a Dutch politician.

Belonging to a noble family, Schimmelpenninck was a member of the House of Representatives of the Netherlands and Minister of Interior (1841–1846) and Foreign minister (1843) under King William II, who was a proponent of some reform in government. From 1847 to 1853 he was King's Commissioner of the province of Gelderland.

He was at the time befriended with Thorbecke. However, when Thorbecke had become the first Dutch Prime Minister, he considered Schimmelpenninck as a conservative unfit to remain King's Commissioner and fired him towards the end of his first cabinet (much against the king's wishes). Their friendship ended with that. Afterwards Schimmelpenninck held high functions at the court and returned to the House of Representatives, of which in 1858 he was President. Later he was as confidant of the king a member of the Senate of the Netherlands.

As major of the schutterij, Schimmelpenninck was awarded the Military William Order on 7 February 1844. In 1846 he received the Grand Cross in the Order of the Netherlands Lion. The King of Württemberg awarded him the Grand Crossof the Friedrich Order.

Willibrord van Beek

Willibrordus Ildefonsus Ignatius "Willibrord" van Beek (born 15 January 1949) is a retired Dutch politician and financial adviser. He is a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD).

As a member of the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie, VVD) he was a member of the House of Representatives from 19 May 1998 to 19 September 2012. From 8 March until 29 June 2006 he was parliamentary leader. He focused on matters of public administration, administrative law and the defence.Between October 2012 and 15 September 2013 he was Acting Mayor of Bernheze; he served until his appointment as the King's Commissioner of Utrecht. He served in an acting capacity until 1 January 2015; on 1 February 2019, he was succeeded by Hans Oosters.

King's Commissioners
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