The municipalities of Haren and Ten Boer will officially be merging with the city of Groningen, creating the fifth most populous municipality in the Netherlands.
Translation by Traci White
The Groninger Internet Courant reports that the three newly merged municipalities will all become a part of the municipality of Groningen and will have a combined population of 230,000 people.
Despite resistance to give up its status as an autonomous municipality from the residents and representatives of Haren, the Dutch Upper House has now formally agreed that the three municipalities need to merge into one.The Dutch Parliament approved of the merger back in April. The municipality of Ten Boer was primarily in favour of the merger.
On 21 November, municipal elections will be held in the three still separate municipalities. The merger will officially occur on 1 January, 2019, at which point an acting mayor and new municipal council will also be sworn in.
Talks about merging the municipalities have been going on for five years. The residents of Haren wanted the municipality to remain independent, but the province of Groningen argued that the town cannot afford to go it alone. Interior minister Kajsa Ollongren asserted in March that Haren’s debts, low solvency and limited options for raising taxes meant that it was too risky to assume that Haren would be able remain an independent municipality.