In the Netherlands, the term public body (a literal translation from the Dutch term openbaar lichaam) is the general denomination for administrative divisions within the Dutch state, such as the central government, a province, a municipality or a water board. These types of political entities are defined by the Dutch constitution.
In addition, Article 134 of the constitution provides for the definition of other public bodies by law. Such bodies can be professionally oriented, like the Dutch Order of Advocates (Dutch: Nederlandse Orde van Advocaten), or be constituted to perform functions in a specific region. This means that the term public body is sometimes used to indicate a special or irregular type of public body (without a specifically defined name), which can also be an administrative division or a certain other type of governmental organisation.
The three islands Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba became public bodies parts of the Netherlands proper on October 10, 2010, but are not part of any province. Collectively they are officially known as Caribbean Netherlands (Dutch: Caribisch Nederland). Although part of the Netherlands, these special municipalities (as they are also called) remained overseas territories of the European Union until 2015.
In the absence of a King's Commissioner the Islands have a joint "Kingdom Representative" and so the official Dutch translation for the Rijksvertegenwoordiger voor de openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba, who has an office on each of the Islands. In 2011, Wilbert Stolte, a member of the conservative CDA party and former municipal politician in The Hague, was appointed to hold this office for six years.
|Flag||Arms||Special municipality||Capital||Lieutenant Governor||Area(km²)||Population||Density (per km²)|
|Bonaire (Papiamento: Boneiru)||Kralendijk||Edison Rijna||294||15,414||52|
|Sint Eustatius||Oranjestad||Gerald Berkel||21||3,300||157|
|Saba||The Bottom||Jonathan Johnson||13||2,000||154|
It is proposed to give Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba another status, the status of Caribbean public bodies. This proposal is not finalized, at it is not in parliament yet.
On a regional level, municipalities, provinces, water boards and the Caribbean public bodies can constitute internal or umbrella public bodies, as defined by the law on common arrangements (Dutch: wet gemeenschappelijke regelingen). Examples of such bodies include:
De openbare lichamen vallen rechtstreeks onder het Rijk omdat zij geen deel uitmaken van een provincie. (The public bodies (...), because they are not part of a Province).