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The Director of the Verification Office with his staff of verifiers. From left to right: J.H. Jansen Jr., J.F. Schroevers, M.Ph. de Koster, D.W. van Ouwerkerk, C.Ch. Geelen, Mr. D. Simons (director), R.W. Wiebenga, P.S. Schwencke, J.W. van Dreven, J.M.A.

Onderzoek naar de geschiedenis van de Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (VNG)

In April 2020, the research project into ‘De VNG en het Nederlandse bestuur gedurende oorlog, crisis en herstel’ (‘The Association of Netherlands Municipalities and the public administration in the Netherlands during war, crisis, and recovery’) was launched. The NIOD Institute for War, Holocaust, and Genocide Studies conducts the research, commissioned by the VNG. The study aims to explore the functioning of the VNG and public administration in the Netherlands in the period of crisis and war between 1933-1946. The study will be published in 2024.

So far, the VNG has been left out of the scholarly debate on the civil service in wartime and on looting and restoration. Frank van Vree (Director of NIOD): "Because very little is known about the history of the VNG during the Second World War, the research has great social and scientific relevance. In essence, this study is about accounting for the impact of war and occupation on public administration in the Netherlands."

The project falls into two parts: the first is a study of the organisation and activities of the VNG shortly before and during the occupation, and the restoration of justice after the war, and the second is a biography of Prof. David Simons. In his work, this Jewish public administration expert was confronted with major professional and personal dilemmas. Together, these two parts will provide a unique and poignant view of what the war and occupation have meant to the VNG and the Dutch administration.

The first part of the research is carried out by Afke Berger in the context of her PhD research. Her thesis will eventually link up with other recent studies on the role of local government in issues of the deprivation of rights, expropriation, looting, and legal redress for Jewish residents. 

Prof. David Simons’ official biography is written by Dr. Hinke Piersma, senior researcher at NIOD, who has published on the Breda Three and the Dutch police force during the German occupation, among other things.

The Association of Netherlands Municipalities VNG

The Vereniging van Nederlandse Gemeenten (‘Association of Netherlands Municipalities’, VNG) is the umbrella organisation that unites municipalities in the Netherlands and overseas. All municipalities in the Netherlands are members of the VNG. In addition, the regions of Aruba and Curaçao and the special municipalities of Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius also belong to the association. The association was founded on 28 February 1912.

The VNG’s aim is to strengthen local government so that municipalities can best serve their citizens. The VNG supports municipalities in translating national policy into municipal policy, by sharing knowledge about implementation practices and by representing the municipalities’ interests to other parties.


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