New mayor takes office in The Hague

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The new mayor aims to work towards more international organisations in the city.

31 March 2008

“I’m standing here with a head full of ideas and a heart full of emotions. The office of mayor is not straightforward, but it is also an adventure. Whoever knows me a bit knows that this is what I find fascinating.” These were the words spoken by Jozias van Aartsen in his first speech as mayor of The Hague.

Acting mayor Jetta Klijnsma handed over the chain of office to Van Aartsen on Thursday during an assembly of the municipal council in The Hague city hall. He was then handed the chairman’s gavel by Koen Baart, chairman of the presidium of the municipal council. Some 30 active residents from different parts of The Hague were invited to attend the ceremony.

Innovative power of the city
In his speech after his installation, Van Aartsen said he believed in the innovative power of municipalities. “We have to get rid of the implicit understanding that the national government is the primary government. The municipality is the primary government because it’s closest to the citizens.”

He continued: “The Hague presents itself as the city of “peace and justice”. However, the peace and justice should be insured first and foremost for the city’s own residents.”

He named conditions that needed to be created for the city including a healthy economy with excellent employment opportunities. In this respect he said the city should continue to cherish the big multinationals like Shell, Siemens, KPN, Aegon and ING as well as the small- and medium-sized companies in The Hague.

“We are grateful for the employment opportunities in The Hague and very happy with our international organisations. They dovetail well with our identity, for already more than 100 years. And the more organisations in The Hague, the better. I will continue to work towards this goal,” he assured his audience.

[Copyright 2008]

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