Steun ons en help Nederland vooruit
Dear residents of Amsterdam,
Our city is doing well, but our work is not yet finished. Over the past four years, we have built a record number of houses. We have ensured that there is more middle-rent housing, more employment, more greenery and we have tripled the number of solar panels on the roofs of Amsterdam. Investment in education in the city has never been higher, investments that are also going towards the heroes of the classroom: our teachers. We have also invested in good childcare, to ensure all Amsterdam toddlers have an equal start and play with each other. Our city is doing well, but our work is not yet finished. We see a huge challenge ahead: the middle class is under pressure. Amsterdam runs the risk of becoming a city for the rich or for the poor, with nothing else in between.
‘A city for poor and rich, with nothing in between? That’s not what I want.”
Our teachers, nurses, freelancers and policemen – your average citizen with a middle income – are almost being forced to leave the city, or don’t even have a chance to move here to begin with because of the shortage of affordable housing. Families in particular are stuck. The happy news that you are expecting for many people also means they will have to search for a house outside of Amsterdam. We must substantially increase the supply of affordable housing for the middle-income segment because without families, the quality of life in our city will diminish. The middle class is the backbone of the city and without it we cannot bridge the gap between the rich and poor.
‘Good education remains our highest priority’
The place where the gap between rich and poor is most visible, is also the most poignant: at school. Some children are practicing for the CITO tests with the help of expensive homework classes and are taken to museums on Sundays. Others are faced with a double language deficit, both in Dutch and in the language of their parents.
Our investments in good education, the engine that drives equal opportunity, are needed more than ever in our growing city. Equal opportunities and good education cost a lot of money, but they also deliver strong returns. They give us a city where you can grow up to be who you want to be, regardless of the income of your parents. High quality education remains our highest priority. We want an Amsterdam where we have the best teachers in the most difficult schools. Where young people don’t miss out on an internship simply because they never learnt that they should take their hat of when applying.
‘Lifelong learning, means a life of opportunities in Amsterdam.’
D66 wants an Amsterdam where lifelong learning means life-long opportunities. We don’t give up on people over 50 who aren’t working. Instead we do everything we can to help them with extra schooling and by matching them with employers who are searching for new employees. D66 believes in equal opportunities through good education. Look at the Calvin College in New West and you will see what this means. There you will meet Amsterdammers, young and old, who are proud of their neighbourhood and school. Amsterdammers from all backgrounds who learn and work together in a beautiful place. An example of what Amsterdam can be.
‘Turning the popularity of the city into opportunities for everyone.’
Our city is more popular than ever before and that’s something to be proud of. The number of inhabitants is growing and companies, from start-ups and SMEs to large internationals, are all settling in Amsterdam. After years of vacancies, offices are being occupied again, and where other cities struggle, we are increasingly successful in finding jobs for our younger and older unemployed citizens. The attraction of Amsterdam, the Mokum Magnet, creates opportunities and it is up to us all, and certainly the city’s administrators, to ensure that everyone can seize them. We continue to invite companies to Amsterdam, but always ask the crucial question ‘How many jobs will you bring with you?’ Amsterdam has nothing to gain from letterbox companies. In our city you are welcomed with open arms, but only if you provide opportunities for its citizens and help them make a living.
‘Prevent disturbance and spare busy places’
Amsterdam’s popularity also causes problems, especially in the city centre. With more and more inhabitants and seventeen million visitors a year, we have to manage its crowds.
The city also attracts the wrong kind of business in some places and we have to solve this. But at the same time, its popularity creates jobs, lends a dynamism to the city and provides growth. Our city is developing, and that’s a good thing as it brings new opportunities.
I have been fortunate enough to always see the city in constant development and since I was born here 31 years ago, Amsterdam has grown. It has become bigger and it has changed. In the past, Amsterdam North was often mockingly referred to as ‘the other side’ by the residents of the city centre. But growth has led to the bridge over the IJ and this beautiful part of Amsterdam is now physically connected to the rest of the city.
It is of great importance that we develop a healthy housing market. I see a future in which all residents of Amsterdam have a fair chance of getting a home in any neighbourhood, regardless of their income. By making Amsterdam a true city for all, neighbourhoods will continue to improve as people from diverse backgrounds and income brackets live together as a community. They don’t improve because the mixing of neighbourhoods ensures that the people with a lower income automatically become richer, but rather because citizens with differing incomes and backgrounds will meet each other time and again at school, at the bakery or on the playground. That fits with the Amsterdam character in which everybody is equal.
To really change Amsterdam into a metropolis, we need to invest in good and fast public transport to connect its different neighbourhoods to the city centre and to connect the homes of its citizens to where they work. This will not only unburden the crowded streets, but also ensure that it no longer matters where in the city you live. After all, it will be easy to get to the other side of town whenever you want to work, play, work out or go out and enjoy the city. It will enhance the opportunity to discover more areas of the city and allow its undiscovered pearls to grow and flourish.
‘Experimental freedom is still anchored in the DNA of our city’
I believe that fast public transport can help to ‘expand’ the city and will include Amsterdam’s beloved ruffled edges that are currently under pressure. A free zone, or a 24-hour area, in the centre of Amsterdam is no longer viable because of the increased crowds. There are too many people living in the city centre to make this work. However, this kind of experimental freedom is still anchored in the DNA of our city; we have to make sure that we make room for it outside of the centre. Imagine what possibilities there are for artists in the business and office districts of Amsterdam Southeast. I envision an area where the night culture, with all its creativity, can exist without causing any inconvenience. And I can picture us always reserving spaces for creativity and studios for artists in new neighbourhoods too. And not just temporarily, until the neighbourhood is popular enough, but as permanent additions to the locale.
‘Our children deserve a green, healthy, liveable city’
We can become a metropolis on our own, Amsterdam, terms. One aspect of this development is clear: whatever we do, it must be done sustainably. The earth has been telling us for years to stop exhausting it. Our children deserve a green, healthy and liveable city, which can function in a sustainable way. We want a city where you don’t have to worry about your children biking behind a dirty moped. Where you don’t have to fear breathing in the toxins from a soot-spewing van whilst walking with your buggy. We want a city where the houses are so well insulated that you don’t have to turn on the heating just to chase the mould out of the children’s bedroom. We want a city that can handle a downpour because we have kept enough parks and greenery. Our children are entitled to a city where the air is clean, the parks green, and the play areas smoke-free and safe.
This is what the Amsterdam citizens of the future deserve. We can no longer settle for the vague promises coming from The Hague. Measures need to be implemented as climate change doesn’t wait for anybody.
‘A city where it doesn’t matter who you are in love with or which country your grandfather was from.’
The people of Amsterdam are what makes our city beautiful. A free city where everyone – regardless of their pay check – lives alongside one another. A city where it doesn’t matter who you are in love with or from which country your grandfather came. A city where we are all citizens of Amsterdam first and foremost and where we all live in harmony with each other. A melting pot of 180 nationalities that all live together. A city where every Amsterdam citizen is free to be themselves.
Unfortunately, tensions are mounting worldwide. But as the space for tolerance is restricted throughout the world, Amsterdam is and will remain a tolerant city. That requires work, so we must dare to stand firm against the current stream of polarisation and let Amsterdam be a place where you can be who you are, even more so than it already is today. Sometimes we can enforce tolerance and the freedom to be oneself with rules and laws, but it is important for us to set a good example with our actions too. D66 stands for an Amsterdam where Ajax participates in the Gay Pride, people from the LGBTQ community can walk safely hand in hand and where we always fight discrimination, hard and consistently. Discrimination, whether on the street or on the labour market, is unacceptable. Equal opportunities and freedom for every Amsterdam citizen: that’s what D66 Amsterdam stands for.
‘A kiss while walking the streets, walking hand in hand, or remaining single. Everyone in Amsterdam has the freedom to be themselves. ‘
To achieve this requires well-functioning police officers and municipal enforcers, who know how to distinguish a bullying adolescent from a violent vandal. A police force that reflects the neighbourhood in all parts of the city, and has good relationships and contacts within those communities. When this is functioning well, proper actions can be taken if citizens are threatened in their freedom to be who they are.
Everyone should feel safe and protected. Whether it is two men walking hand in hand on the street, someone skating along the canals in a thong, a girl wearing a skirt that is slightly shorter than the one her mother is wearing, a woman with a headscarf or men with a kippah.
But at the same time there are some limitations, and the freedom of one person can end where that of another begins. You can believe whatever and love whomever you want. Believe what you want and in who you want, but don’t impose your ideas upon others. Dress however you want, but don’t force others to do the same. Say what you think, but don’t discriminate. Kiss on the street, walk hand in hand, or stay single. In Amsterdam everyone has the freedom to be themselves.
Equal opportunities and freedom for every citizen: that is what D66 Amsterdam stands for’
The municipal elections of 2018 are important. I am proud of what D66 has achieved: We have worked hard to create an Amsterdam where everyone can feel at home. But our work is not yet finished. In this English summary of our manifesto, we explain how we want to make sure that our beautiful city remains a place where all residents of Amsterdam feel at home. A city where there is room for the poor, the rich and everyone in between. A city where we fight the disturbances that come with growth and turn the popularity of the city into new opportunities for every citizen. A city where you can achieve anything regardless of who you love or where your grandfather and grandmother were born. Let’s show the rest of the world that it is possible.
Equal opportunities for all residents of Amsterdam. That is what D66 Amsterdam stands for. On 21 March, the choice is yours.
Reinier van Dantzig
Party leader D66 Amsterdam
D66 Amsterdam proudly presents the 2018 election manifesto (click to download)