Juul Baelen wins Guido Decoster prize for his Master's thesis on municipal mergers


After the recent municipal mergers of 2019, the Flemish government wants even more municipalities to merge in the near future, albeit on a voluntary basis for the time being. In the long run, however, the Flemish government would like to see the number of Flemish municipalities halved, and mandatory mergers are therefore coming into view. In his Master's thesis, Juul Baelen investigated how the municipal map of Flanders might look like in the future. Based on an iterative analysis of municipal capacity and service provision on the one hand and existing patterns of inter-municipal cooperation on the other, he investigated the most obvious scenarios for future mergers. The Master's thesis was awarded the Guido Decoster Thesis Prize for the Best Master's thesis on domestic governance or local democracy.