Amsterdam is run by the city council and a 'college' of aldermen.
The council is the highest authority in the city of Amsterdam and is
responsible for all important decisions. Amongst other things, the
council sets the city's annual budget (amounting to about 7.5
There are 45 seats on the council, which are contested by the
various political parties. Council members are elected every 4 years
by residents of the city of Amsterdam.
In the current council
term of 1998-2002, the following political parties are represented
on the council: Labour Party (15 seats), Liberals (9 seats), Green
Left (7 seats), Democrats 66 (4 seats), Christian Democrats (3
seats), Socialist Party (3 seats), A Different Amsterdam/Greens (3
seats) and Mobile Amsterdam 99 (1 seat).
The proportion of women and resident aliens rose sharply in the
council term of 1998-2002, so that the government of Amsterdam
better reflects the community at large. In 1998 the council received
23 new members, raising the number of women on the council from 14
to 18 and the number of resident aliens from 6 to 11.
Besides their council work, most councillors also have an actual
job. This is because council membership is voluntary work, for which
councillors merely receive an allowance. Amsterdam councillors
devote on average about 30 hours per week to council work.
The council meets every second Wednesday at 1 pm and, if
necessary, again at 7.30 pm the same day. These meetings are open to
the public and are held in the council chamber at City Hall. The
meetings begin with a 'question-time' session during which
councillors can ask questions about matters of current