Vaals is the place in the Netherlands with the highest portion of German inhabitants (26%). With the last local elections on 7 March 2006 Georg Goetz, a German citizen with the Burgerbelang party, was elected into the local council (15 seats). A first in the history of the Netherlands. Vaals is governed since then by a coalition from CDA (5), Burgerbelang (4) and PvdA (3).
Tourism is regarded as the main source of income for Vaals. The neighbouring coal industry and textile industry were to a large extent lost starting from the 60's. Most inhabitants commute today to the larger neighbouring cities of Heerlen, Kerkrade and Maastricht as well as to Aachen and surroundings. A sixth of the population is classified as poor in the current national poverty monitor of the Netherlands.