Government presses ahead with merging provinces

The cabinet has agreed to press ahead with plans to merge Noord-Holland, Utrecht and Flevoland into a single entity and draft legislation is expected to be completed by the end of next year, Nos television reports.

Home affairs minister Ronald Plasterk hopes the merger process will be completed in time for the 2015 provincial government elections.
The merger is included in the coalition government agreement. Ultimately, ministers hope the 12 provinces which make up the Netherlands will be reduced to five.