The Netherlands consists of twelve provinces, which form the link between municipalities and the State and are therefore referred to as the country's middle level of government. Put simply, the provinces perform tasks that are too big for the municipalities and too small for the State. The provinces work in close co-operation with other governmental entities (the State, municipalities and water boards) as well as with companies and social organisations.
One of a province's most important responsibilities is spatial planning. The province sketches the outlines of potential expansion for cities and towns and determines where industrial zones and office complexes may be developed.
Accessability and interconnectivity
In addition, the province has to ensure that its cities, villages and rural areas are accessible and interconnected, for example by providing public bus service and regional taxis. The province also sees to it that people can break away in their leisure time, by creating nature reserves and bicycle routes and by subsidising cultural activities such as pop festivals and exhibitions.
Safe and clean environment
A safe and clean environment is essential to everyone, which is why the province provides clean swimming water, ensures that buses are fitted with particle filters, imposes emissions-reduction measures on companies and lays out safe routes so that ambulances and trucks carrying dangerous substances can reach their destinations as quickly as possible.