Local elections are taking place this week in 11 municipalities that are being reduced to four under government restructuring.
The biggest merger will take place in north-east Brabant, where five existing municipalities, including Cuijk and Boxmeer, will be replaced by the Land van Cuijk, with a population of 90,000 people.
Thirteen parties are taking part in the election, with Labour (PvdA) and GroenLinks standing on a joint ticket. Voting has been spread over three days to reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
Elsewhere in Brabant, Uden and Landerd are merging into a new municipality, Maashorst. Two new local authorities are also being created in Noord-Holland, where Pumerend is merging with Beemster, and Langendijk and Heerhugowaard will become Dijk and Waard.
Don Bijl, mayor of Purmerend, told NOS: ‘People have more trust in local politics: they are well informed and have views about what’s happening in their own back yard. It’s not surprising that a local party was the largest at the last elections, not a national one.’
The mergers will reduce the total number of municipalities in the Netherlands to 345. The new councils will not take part in next year’s local elections in March, when Amsterdam will expand to take in the commuter town of Weesp.
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