This article provides a description of an administrative decentralization process in the field of adult education in the Netherlands. Decentralization has particular characteristics and is intended to produce particular effects. The effects have been investigated in case studies. From these, it is evident that decentralization has several desired effects. Local authorities are thus equipped with a powerful instrument for the education and development of their local community. However, there is also an undesired effect. It is open to discussion whether this form of decentralizing adult education – i.e. allocating more competences to local authorities – is the most efficient in administrative terms.