Selection, appointment, dismissal and resignation

Mayors are appointed by the monarch, following nomination by the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK), based on a recommendation by the municipal council. Mayors are appointed for 6 years, but there is no limit to how many terms they can serve. 

The appointment procedure is set out in the Constitution and the Municipalities Act. Every municipality has a mayor, or an acting mayor if the post is vacant.

Appointment

Selecting and appointing a new mayor takes around 4 months. The procedure is as follows:

  1. The King’s Commissioner consults with the leaders of the political groups on the municipal council.
  2. The council draws up a profile for the new mayor.
  3. The council discusses the profile with the King’s Commissioner.
  4. The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations then opens the position to applicants.
  5. The applicants submit letters of application.
  6. The King’s Commissioner draws up a shortlist of candidates.
  7. The King’s Commissioner meets with a municipal council committee that will review the candidates.
  8. The municipal council recommends candidates.
  9. The preferred candidate meets with the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and is then appointed by the King.
  10. The King’s Commissioner swears in the mayor in the municipality. 

When a municipality needs a mayor

Many people are involved in appointing a new mayor. The council members, review committee members, the King’s Commissioner, the interior minister and the King all have a specific role to play.
Municipalities try to find the mayor who best fits their needs. Mayors need to have expertise in many different areas. They need many qualities (administrative competences) in order to do a good job. Most mayors are members of a political party, but this is not a requirement. 
The guide to the mayoral appointment process (in Dutch) tells municipalities what they can do to find their ideal mayor. It also gives practical advice for each phase of the appointment process. The guide is aimed at professionals involved in the process.
To help municipal councils draw up a profile for their new mayor, a leadership style tool has been created. This is a questionnaire that can determine the style of leadership a council prefers in a new mayor.

Reappointment

Mayors are appointed for 6 years. There is no limit on the number of terms they can serve. The reappointment procedure is as follows:

  1. Eight months before the mayor’s term finishes, the mayor meets with the King’s Commissioner.
  2. The municipal council establishes a review committee. The review committee meets with the mayor and draws up a report.
  3. The municipal council discusses the review committee’s report with the mayor.
  4. The council sends a recommendation to the King’s Commissioner.
  5. The King’s Commissioner advises the Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations on the recommendation.
  6. The minister makes a decision and, if positive, recommends the mayor to the King for reappointment.

Resignation and dismissal

Only the Crown (the monarch and ministers) may dismiss a mayor. Mayors can also resign. Former mayors receive a benefit under the General Pensions (Holders of Political Office) Act, regardless of the reason for their leaving office. Once a mayor turns 70, their term in office ends automatically.

Resignation

Mayors can resign by asking the Crown to relieve them of their office. If a mayor is not reappointed, they are considered to have resigned.
Mayors can also resign if they wish to take early retirement. More information on early retirement can be found in the Flexible Pension and Retirement Scheme (FPU). More information on resigning can be found in the Legal Status (Mayors) Decree.

Dismissal

The Crown can also dismiss mayors. This may be due to the municipality being merged with another or a breakdown in relations with the municipal council. The procedure followed depends on the reason for dismissal. More information can be found in the Municipalities Act and the Legal Status (Mayors) Decree.