January 29, 2019

Amsterdam ferry named after mayor, a first

Filed under: Dutch first by Orangemaster @ 3:19 pm


Yesterday, Femke van der Laan, widow of deceased Amsterdam mayor Eberhard van der Laan, was present at an unveiling of a wall of Amsterdam’s new IJ river ferry number 63, showing that the ferry was renamed after Eberhard van der Laan. This is the first time that Amsterdam’s transport company GVB has named any kind of transport after a person.

“Eberhard van der Laan was a mayor who poured his heart and soul into the city, a leader that built bridges and looked for connections between Amsterdam residents.” Since the picture of him about was shot at a meet and greet he did in my neighbourhood addressing people’s problems, I tend to agree with the image people have of him. Although different, much of the same has also been said of former Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen who is still living. Van der Laan died of lung cancer in 2017.

As well, the new ferry is one of four bigger, quieter and cleaner ferries that go across the IJ river and is part of the road infrastructure, which means it is free of charge. The new ferries are 33,60 metres long and 9 meters wide, able to transport 310 people. Although not emissions-free, the GVB says it will equip its fleet with fully electric motors when the time comes.

(Link: gvb.nl)

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November 19, 2016

Meeting the Mayor of Amsterdam: what that’s like

Filed under: General by Orangemaster @ 12:43 pm


A local elementary school filled with local residents of all kinds had a friendly, tea-drinking, homemade baklava-eating hour to ask Eberhard van der Laan, the Mayor of Amsterdam, their pressing questions. Right before, the mayor walked around the recently renovated playground across the street to talk to all ages of youngsters and take part in a mannequin challenge that I joined in on if anybody finds it online.

The questions that were raised, were classics: dust particles emanating from the motorway nearby, promises of building new houses that never materialise, cheaper sports hall for getting unhealthy youngsters to move and a few others that hit home with everyone.

Van der Laan used to be a lawyer as well as the minister for housing and immigration, so his answers mostly pleased the crowd. Some things he had an aide write down as matters he could do something about like not getting any answers from city bureaucrats, other things he explained had so many parties involved that he couldn’t exert much influence on as one person, which is a good thing he said because that would be dictatorial.

I found out he’s well-versed in the art of pull-out quotes. Asked about what will happen to people with polluting vintage cars being banned from the city centre Van der Laan said “old things don’t have a future”. He admitted that lack of housing is one of the biggest problem in our country, as well as in Amsterdam. He also believed that it was good policy to build the nice schools in the poorer neighbourhoods, as we were standing in a newly renovated school, and admitted to those complaining about lack of funding for many things that “when money is taken away, good things are always lost”, which he said is often a national decision he can’t do much about.

In true Dutch straight talk fashion he did tell the crowd that “Amsterdam wasn’t an ATM”, and explained to a nine-year-old girl that, “yes there’s graffiti you want removed near your house, but let me teach you a big word first: ‘nannyism’. That means we can’t tell people what not do to all the time, but give me an email address and I will look into it”.

My only complaint is that he was talking about schools and mentioned “white and dark parents”, alluding to what is still referred to as ‘white schools’, (Dutch, with some money and assumed to have more of a future) and ‘black schools’ (anything that looks foreign although Dutch, is usually poorer and assumed to have less of a future). I hope we stop using those terms very soon because “old things don’t have a future”.

All in all Ebehard van der Laan is a great communicator who made all the attendees, especially the children, feel like they had been heard. He’s the father of five children himself and his interest in what they had to say was genuine. He’s also going to be around for quite a few more years, so it’s good to have met him in person.


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April 28, 2013

Amsterdam keeps track of ‘lonely loonies’ for inauguration

Filed under: Health by Branko Collin @ 5:23 pm

The police of Amsterdam has made a list of all the ‘crazies’ it suspects might disrupt the inauguration of King Willem Alexander next Tuesday, nu.nl reports.

The news site quotes TV news show Eva Jinek op Zondag which interviewed Mayor Eberhard van der Laan. The mayor said that there are people roaming the city with psychological problems: “They are all right most of the time, but sometimes have psychotic episodes and then blame the royal house for everything. A day like next Tuesday is like a magnet for them.”

“There are not that many of them. The police has plans for help and supervision for every one of them.” The mayor is not considering preventative detainment. “But if any of these people still have prison time left from previous convictions, it would be useful if they could serve a day on 30 April.”

On Tuesday 30 April, Queen Beatrix will abdicate and her oldest son Willem Alexander will ascend the throne. The inauguration ceremony will take place in Amsterdam.

(Photo of the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, by the Dutch government, via Wikimedia Commons. Yes, I know what you were thinking. No, he is not one of the crazies. At least, not officially.)

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