Who governs Amsterdam-Noord?
Read more about how Amsterdam-Noord is governed and about the function of the borough and borough council.
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The borough model
With nearly 750,000 inhabitants, Amsterdam is too big to be governed by one central administration. Therefore, in the early eighties an experiment with the borough model was started up, giving two city districts their own administration, with responsibilities, budget, and civil service of their own. The expectation was that the decision process would become more efficient and citizens would feel more involved with the administration.
The end result is that nowadays, Amsterdam is divided into 15 boroughs, of which 14 have their own borough council.
A borough council is comparable to a central city administration. The borough council can decide independently about most issues to do with the borough: education, employment, sports, housing and building development, permits, and subsidies.
City-wide services such as the police force, fire brigade, public transport, and welfare service still fall under the central city council.
The borough council of Amsterdam-Noord
Once every four years, the inhabitants of a borough elect the members of the borough council. The borough council represents the inhabitants, decides on policy, and checks whether the policy is implemented satisfactorily. The number of members in the borough council is dependent on the number of inhabitants. With a surface area of 5,500 hectare and around 88,000 inhabitants, Amsterdam-Noord is the largest borough of Amsterdam and has the most borough council members. Currently the borough council of Amsterdam-Noord has 29 council members, jointly representing 8 political parties.
The executive board
At the start of a new administrative period, the political parties in the borough council decide in broad outlines on the policy for the coming period. Then the borough council appoints an executive board, which is responsible for the preparation and day-to-day execution of borough policy. The board members translate the policy programme into practical proposals which are presented to the council and carried out after approval.
The chairman of the executive board is comparable to a mayor, with a few major differences. First of all, the borough chairman is elected by the council whereas a city mayor is appointed by the Queen. The chairman only presides over the executive board, not the borough council; the mayor does preside over the city council. Furthermore, the mayor has more authority than the borough chairman, for instance over the police force.
The proposals of the executive board are usually discussed in detail in one of the council committees before being presented to the borough council. The meetings of every committee are intended to allow council members, residents, and other involved parties to participate in and talk about a proposal before the council decides on it in the council meeting. The monthly meetings of the council and the council committees are open to the public.