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The Dynamics in the Relationships between Government Tiers in The Netherlands.



This seminar focuses on the complex and often very dynamic relationships between the various tiers of government within Dutch public administration. The topics relevant to this theme are explored through weekly discussions and assignments. The course thus provides knowledge about and insight into the structure and functioning of the Dutch administrative system. It goes without saying that the emphasis is on political-administrative relations and the tensions that arise with them.

The structure and functioning of Dutch public administration are central topics. This system is made up of a large number of authorities at different levels of government. In addition to general administrative units such as central government, provinces and municipalities, the Dutch system also has a large number of functional administrative bodies, such as Water Authorities and independent administrative bodies. These will be discussed during the course.

Learning Goals

The following learning objectives have been formulated for this course:
1. Providing knowledge about and insight into the structure and functioning of the Dutch administrative system.
2. Understand, analyze and explain the current organization and dynamics of national government.
3. To strengthen the understanding of the main actors, institutions and discourses within national governance.
4. Critically analyzing underlying rules, processes, and power relations.

Course method

The weekly lectures cover various topics of the Dutch administration. We expect students to study the prescribed teaching material carefully, to be able to criticize it during the lecture, and to be able to answer questions about the interpretation of the theme. In addition to the prescribed compulsory teaching material, which everyone prepares, there is also a list of recommended literature every week. This is primarily intended as a source of inspiration for the two assignments that students carry out within this course.


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There is a compulsory attendance for the lectures. Students are expected to have read the required literature. The texts are discussed during the lectures.

Students work in groups on a (1) case study and write an (2) individual essay.
For the case study, the groups of up to 3 people select a relevant policy issue within the field of national governance. The idea is that the case study constitutes an empirical report that is simultaneously analyzed against the required literature.
Students are free to choose their own topic for the essay. The format students should think about is a long background analysis in the Saturday edition of a newspaper.


Casestudy report - group assignment 35%
Essay - individual 65%
Attendance requirement met.


The language of instruction for this course is English, but do note that most of the assigned literature is only available in Dutch.
Assignments may be written in Dutch or English. In both cases the same requirements apply with regard to correct spelling, grammar and syntax


This course is earmarked for the specialisation 'Nederlandse Politiek

See 'Practical Information'


See 'MyTimetable