On 1 January 2010, the Netherlands comprised 431 municipalities, i.e. 10 fewer than a year ago. The decline is mainly due to 5 municipal redivisions including 15 municipalities in the provinces of Groningen, Limburg and South Holland.
Number of municipalities on 1 January
Number of small municipalities further down
Municipal redivisions are implemented to enhance the administrative power on the municipal level. More and more sparsely populated municipalities are abolished. The number of municipalities with a population below 10 thousand dropped from 165 to 52 in the period 1995–2009. In 2010, the number of small municipalities has dropped further; 7 of the redivisions concerned municipalities with a population below 10 thousand.
The number of municipalities with a population between 20 thousand and 50 thousand is growing rapidly. This year, 4 new municipalities are added in this category.
Number of municipalities by population
Comprehensive redivision in Limburg
Most redivisions are realised in the province of Limburg in 2010. The former municipalities Helden, Kessel, Maasbree and Meijel are merged into the new municipality of Peel en Maas. Arcen en Velden is merged into the municipality of Venlo and the municipality of Sevenum and a large part of Meerlo-Wanssum are now included in Horst aan de Maas. The rest of Meerlo-Wanssum is added to Venray.
In 2007, Limburg was also subject to a comprehensive municipal redivision as 11 municipalities were abolished and 4 new ones created.
Municipal redivisions in Limburg
New municipalities often refer to the region
Names of new municipalities often refer to the region in which they are situated. This also applies to the new municipalities of Oldambt and Zuidplas. Oldambt is situated in the region in Oost-Groningen with the same name; Zuidplas is named after the former lake Zuidplas in the province of South Holland, which was reclaimed from the water in 1840.
More redivision projects pending
Various municipal redivisions are projected for the coming years. The first one will be effectuated on 18 March 2010, when the municipality of Rozenburg will be incorporated in Rotterdam.