The Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (local government association) is a shrinking organisation. At the beginning of 2015, the Netherlands had 393 local authorities, down 10 on 2014 as a result of mergers and new boundaries.
The government is busy decentralising various services to local councils – including youth care, home care and long-term residential care. Ministers say the shift will boost efficiency and performance. Critics say it is a clever way of cutting official government spending.