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Public body (Netherlands)

For the Caribbean public bodies, see Caribbean Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, the term public body (a literal translation from the Dutch term openbaar lichaam) is the general denomination for administrative divisions within the Dutch state, such as the central government, a province, a municipality or a water board. These types of political entities are defined by the Dutch constitution.[1]

In addition, Article 134 of the constitution provides for the definition of other public bodies by law.[1] Such bodies can be professionally oriented, like the Dutch Order of Advocates (Dutch: Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten), or be constituted to perform functions in a specific region. This means that the term public body is sometimes used to indicate a special or irregular type of public body (without a specifically defined name), which can also be an administrative division or a certain other type of governmental organisation.

Caribbean Netherlands

The three islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba became public bodies parts of the Netherlands proper on October 10, 2010, but are not part of any province. Collectively they are officially known as Caribbean Netherlands (Caribisch Nederland).[2] Although part of the Netherlands, these special municipalities will remain overseas territories[3] of the European Union until 2015.[4]

In the absence of a King's Commissioner the Islands have a joint "Kingdom Representative," so the official Dutch translation for the Rijksvertegenwoordiger voor de openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba, who has an office on each of the Islands. In 2011 Wilbert Stolte, a member of the conservative CDA party and former municipal politician in The Hague, has been appointed to hold this office for six years.

Flag Arms Special municipality Capital Lieutenant Governor Area(km²)[5] Population[6] Density (per km²)
30px Bonaire (Papiamento: Boneiru) Kralendijk Lydia Emerencia 294 15,414 52
30px Sint Eustatius Oranjestad Gerald Berkel 21 3,300 157
30px Saba The Bottom Jonathan Johnson 13 2,000 154

It is proposed to give Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba another status, the status of Caribbean public bodies. This proposal is not finalized, at it is not in parliament yet.

Other examples

Another notable example of an administrative division merely denoted as "public bodies" is Rijnmond (Dutch: openbaar lichaam Rijnmond) (1964–1986).

On a regional level, municipalities, provinces, water boards and the Caribbean public bodies can constitute internal or umbrella public bodies, as defined by the law on common arrangements (Dutch: wet gemeenschappelijke regelingen). Examples of such bodies include:

See also


  1. ^ a b "Grondwet (Constitution)". Dutch Government. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "31.954, Wet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba" (in Dutch). Eerste kamer der Staten-Generaal. Retrieved 2010-10-15. De openbare lichamen vallen rechtstreeks onder het Rijk omdat zij geen deel uitmaken van een provincie. (The public bodies (...), because they are not part of a Province). 
  3. ^ "Official Journal of the European Union – C 83". EUR-Lex. 30 March 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  4. ^ "Regels met betrekking tot de openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (Wet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba); Verslag" (in Dutch). 12 October 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  5. ^ "Regionale Kerncijfers Nederland" (in Dutch). Statistics Netherlands. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-13. 
  6. ^ "Bevolking per regio naar leeftijd, geslacht en burgerlijke staat" (in Dutch). Statistics Netherlands. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-13.