In Flanders, nine new merged municipalities are already underway and we hope that all of them will be merged by January 1, 2025. It relates to cities and municipalities in Antwerp, East Flanders, Flanders Brabant, Limburg, and for the first time in West Flanders.

The story behind these mergers

West Flanders

East Flanders

Antwerp (and Flanders Brabant)

Limburg

It may be more than just these merged municipalities, and we will announce that more municipalities will want to merge in the coming weeks, months, or years. For example, Oudenaarde wants to hold a referendum on the possibility of a merger with neighboring municipalities Kluisbergen, Kluisbergen and Waltegem Petegem. In that case, it will be a "perfusion" with a new municipality with nearly 60,000 inhabitants.

debt

An important advantage for voluntarily merging local governments is that Flanders will be financially rewarded by taking over (part of) the debt. Specifically, it is related to these "rates".

  • If the newly merged municipality has 20,000 to 25,000 residents, 200 euros per inhabitant.
  • If the newly merged municipality has 25,000 to 30,000 residents, 300 euros per inhabitant.
  • If the newly merged municipality has 30,000 to 35,000 residents, 400 euros per inhabitant.
  • As a new merged municipality with more than 35,000 inhabitants, 500 euros per inhabitant.

Is it obligatory?

The big question is what the next Flanders government will do. Does it leave the choice of whether the municipality will merge voluntarily? Or will it gradually develop into an obligation? "Denmark once said it needed up to 100 municipalities," said Herwig Reynaert, a political scientist at Ghent University.

"Denmark municipalities were initially allowed to arrange this themselves, otherwise the government would intervene. Landed in 98 municipalities. Flanders people also moved towards that 100. If you want, more municipalities need to merge (counting at the moment, Flanders 300 municipalities), especially if people continue to stick to their spontaneous nature, it will be a tricky job. "

Source: vrt

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