Commendations for mayors of:
Braga | Bristol | Dover | Graz | Greifswald | Kyiv | Malmö | Oliveri | Quelimane | Tremblay-en-France | Utrecht |

World Mayor essays
Essays by: Mayor of Dover | Mayor of Graz | Bürgermeisterin von Graz | Mayor of Greifswald |Oberbürgermeister von Greifswald | Mayor of Oliveri | Sindaco di Oliveri | Mayor of Quelimane | Mayor of Utrecht | Burgemeester van Utrecht |

ON OTHER PAGES: The 2023 Winners | The 2023 Finalists | About World Mayor 2023 | The 2023 Shortlist | The 2023 Longlist | World Mayor History | World Mayor Sculpture | Code of Ethics | Universal qualities of mayors | Press & Media |

World Mayor
Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht, Netherlands

The 2023 World Mayor Prize and Awards will be conferred on mayors who have demonstrated that by listening to and working closely with the citizens of their own communities as well as by forming partnerships and friendships with towns and cities at home and across borders, cities can succeed where nations struggle. Mayors shortlisted for the World Mayor Prize have been commended for their humanity, local leadership and their ability to bring people together.

Sharon Dijksma, Mayor of Utrecht, Netherlands,
was a finalist for the 2023 World Mayor Prize and Awards

Commendations for
Sharon Dijksma
Mayor of Utrecht, Netherlands

Commended by Okke v. M., Utrecht
Sharon Dijkstra is a major of the people. She's there for all groups living in Utrecht and I really feel represented by her.

Utrecht is a fast growing city with a relative small historic centre. It becomes more and more a friendly city for people who walk and cycle around the city, The local council and the major do major efforts to transfer the city into a lively friendly city for all groups in the society. Utrecht is proud of its major.

Commended by A.-F. F., Utrecht
Sharon Dijksma is a very good mayor of Utrecht and deserves to be given the title of the best of them all. She has endless energy to take on all the challenges that she faces in terms of a pleasant, industrious, safe, just and humane city, where refugees from the Ukraine and across the world are welcomed by housing, support and the chances to belong and participate.

Problems with crime are solved, with strong connections to the national government to tackle the problem of lack of police capacity. She simply won’t stand for letting her inhabitants down because of a lack of police. And she manages to get it done.

She is busy to do up social housing schemes so that people with little income can afford a warm home. She is an extremely skilled politician, who is right in the middle of whatever happens, and in good contact with civilians, farmers, co-workers and companies.

She welcomes minorities and actively protects the LHTBG+ community; Utrecht hosts a canal pride event that is even nicer than the one in Amsterdam, because it comes from the heart of people with a very authentic feel and is less commercial. The city is beautiful and well kempt, with lovely flower decorations and nice parks. The university is treasured, and innovation is key. We are very lucky to have her.  

Commended by Mustafa S., Utrecht
I am a refugee who defected to the Netherlands 2 years ago. I am a robotics engineer, I worked for Boeing, USA and I served as an officer in NATO. But I defected to the Netherlands because of the political structure in Turkey.

I stayed in many cities in the Netherlands, but Utrecht was a city we all loved very much. The days I stayed in this city were very enjoyable. Almost every day we spent time at events financed by the municipality, we ate, socialized, met new people, they organized concerts and walks for us. In this city I received voice and instrument training from professional artists. 
Then I wrote a joint project with an artist. Our project was to create robots from waste materials with 800 students. engineers and artists would support the children in this process.

Utrecht Municipality supported this project and we built hundreds of robots in 14 different locations. We organized events in refugee camps. They opened the laboratories of 3 of the city's biggest libraries where we did free events for the public. Ms. Sharon supported all of this from her social media account. 

Also, during the Syrian-Turkey earthquake, she received us in her office and mobilized the municipality's resources for the earthquake.

Apart from all these, I know dozens of artists and volunteer activists who use these facilities created by the Municipality of Utrecht and offer dozens of activities that are beneficial to the society. If you are one day come to Utrecht:
• Every Thursday Utrecht AZC 
• Every Saturday at Pahootta
• Every Monday at the City Center Lodge at 20:00 
sing with new citizens of the Netherlands at a music event with local artists
• Every Friday you can eat in the canalstraatta
• 3 days a week you can attend art events in Lombok,
• Every Tuesday at Het wilde Westen you can take choir lessons with professional artists and learn how to play the instrument.

All these activities are offered free of charge with the support of volunteers and the support of the City of Utrecht. Most importantly, you will find that people in Utrecht are cheerful and smiling. Ms. Sharon has played an important role in creating these opportunities and bringing the community together.

I am very proud that Ms. Sharon has been nominated for the 2023 World Mayor award and she certainly deserves it. I hope she deservedly wins.

Commended by Aukjen N.,
Ik stem op Dijksma omdat ze helder communiceert. Een verademing vergeleken bij veel andere politici met wollig taalgebruik. En een belangrijke competentie om burgers onderling te verbinden.

Commended by C.R. P., Utrecht
Great mayor, with a strong sense of justice and unity despite differences, and a true leader who dares to speak out ánd áct against regional or national policy the municipality cannot execute in good conscience. Even if that makes her temporarily unpopular with some inhabitants (choice to pause normal government housing proceedings in order to place the entire promised amount of refugees for that whole year in housing in just 6 short weeks). Not afraid of voters, clearly acts from a strong drive to make this city great and better for everyone in it, not to be re-elected. 

Commended by Nikolien van L., Utrecht
Vote for Sharon Dijksma, mayor of Utrecht. She doesn't only talk about what should be done, but lives it. Always present when possible, for example at events for the newcomers (refugees) in our city and country. Definitely deserves the name World Mayor 23! 

Commended by Guus T., Utrecht
Mayor Dijksma, among many great initiatives, really stood tall for the restaurant community after Covid. It was her action, connecting many different entrepreneurs to form a community and organize a series of events, that helped solidify and re-connect the Utrecht restaurant scene. The fact that with so many situations to deal with she chose also to make time and devote attention to this cause, showed me how involved and caring she is in her role as a mayor for everyone.

Commended by Robert W. S., Utrecht
I live in the centre of Utrecht, The Netherlands, a historical medieval town with Roman roots, yet modern and dynamic. 
This is to express my strongest possible support for Ms Sharon Dijksma as the World’s Best Mayor, to whom I ascribe much of the dynamism and positive change found in the city today. Her strategic, inclusive, and ecologically friendly views will help the city to evolve even further, possibly as an example for other cities struggling to match historic roots with today’s requirements of providing a humane, culturally diverse, green, economically attractive, livable, and healthy living environment, and for cities aspiring to be protective towards their most vulnerable citizens and towards the arts and culture that humankind can produce when allowed to live in freedom and in the certainty all basic needs can be provided for. 

Commended by Ad S., Utrecht
I vote for Sharon Dijksma as best mayor of the world,

Commended by Madeleine van der B., Utrecht
Dear reader, I'd like to share with you a story about how Sharon Dijksma supported my community when we needed it the most.

The Netherlands is famous for its inclusivity. The centrally located city of Utrecht has a long history with queers coming to the city to live their live in the best and easiest way possible.

At the time 'the easiest way possible' meant mainly not being killed or exiled. Nowadays it means queers are being celebrated: Since a few years the city has its own canal parade; we were one of the first if not the first to adopt a rainbow colored zebra crossing; and Utrecht hosts the longest rainbow bicycle path in the world!

But of course, not everyone agrees with this widespread acceptation of queer people in Utrecht. Last pride month, some queers had hung flags out of their windows to show their pride. Some of them where stolen, others were bombed with eggs. In response more people hung flags and more eggs were thrown. The streets where divided a bit more in opinion. 

The response of our mayor was as you could hope for from the mother of the city: within days of the first incident, she made a statement on twitter about inclusivity. And after the situation escalated more over the two weeks after, she visited the area to have a conversation with the original victims. 

By now a small organisation has started to boost queer visibility and inclusivity in Utrecht, called Spreadtheflag_Utrecht (you can find it on Instagram). Speaking for the Spreadtheflag organisation, Sharon has our vote for World Mayor.

Commended by Rachel M.Y., Utrecht
I’m a resident of Utrecht, the Netherlands and would like to vote for Sharon Dijksma for World Major. Seeing her standing at the front of city council boat proudly waving the Pride Flag at our Pride Parade in June is just one example of how inclusive she is, valuing all residents of the city! 

Commended by Sandra M., Utrecht
I think Sharon is a great mayor. She has a solid and impressive background in former political functions. Eg in her role as State Secretary involved in Nature. In Utrecht she shows a warm heart, being there when people are in need. But at the same time a good leader of the city council. Supporting a green and social agenda. I fully support her,

Commended by Ben L., Utrecht
Yes, she is steadfast, empathetic and decisive. And she stands for her citizens. There is no better Mayor.

Commended by Rosita B.-B.
Please note that this mayor is tough when needed and soft, loving and caring when and where possible, and she combines these qualities in voice, glance, mentality and attitude: when I would have a problem what so ever, I would consult her, but when I do things that can’t stand the light of day, I would fear her as head of metropolitan police!!

Commended by Hans van K., Utrecht
I vote for Sharon Dijksma. She is much better than expected when she started to be mayor of Utrecht.

Commended by Tamar F., Utrecht
This person is so special! Respectful to everyone and everything. Having great plans that make the city a better place for every inhabitant. She also practices what she preaches. That makes people trust her for real!

Commended by Sandra M., Utrecht
I think Sharon is a great mayor. She has a solid and impressive background in former political functions. Eg in her role as State Secretary involved in Nature. In Utrecht she shows a warm heart, being there when people are in need. But at the same time a good leader of the city council. Supporting a green and social agenda.

Commended by Noortje van R., Utrecht
In a country that is currently so divided and dealing with immense challenges, I feel so grateful to be a citizen of Utrecht, lead by mayor Sharon Dijksma. Utrecht is one of the leading Dutch cities in terms of sustainability and social policy that truly supports their citizens. There are many reorganisations and renovations going on to prepare the city for future climate challenges, where pedestrians and bikers get lots of space.

The way the municipality involves the citizens to make the best choice in terms of sustainability, liveability and safety makes us feel like this is truly our city, that we are shaping together. Also, the social policy is heart-warming. If you need help, because you are struggling to get by, dealing with health problems, or any other issue, Utrecht truly is the best place in the Netherlands to ask for support.

Their policy isn't based on distrust, but on kindness and the idea that everyone deserves a chance at a better life. Utrecht's role in taking up refugees and sending health care professionals to the national refugee centre in the north that is overflowing with new arrivals is also one of the reasons that I feel so proud to live in this city.

I believe many of the recent choices and actions of the city are a direct consequence of Sharon Dijksma taking charge. She isn't afraid of taking a different route than the national one, more progressive and more social. Where the national politics are more and more falling behind and failing to address major challenges, the city of Utrecht is leading the way. 

Commended by Jos S., Utrecht
Sharon Dijksma is a very warm person who finds the connections between multiple challenges.  Always in dialog

Commended by Deirdre B. Utrecht
As an inhabitant of the city of Utrecht / the Netherlands I vote for Sharon Dijksma.

We live in small country with a relatively large population. There is an ongoing worrisome trend of people / politicians to go for economic rewarding short term goals and individual benefits, ignoring difficult issues that have and impact in the whole community and world. In this world where preservation of nature / Environment should be (but rarely is) a number 1 priority that must be considerated as an important factor in every decision on policy, Sharon is an example of how to stand for the queeste for durable solutions for a Greener future proof and welcoming city of Utrecht. For the benefit of the world and climate we need many more  mayors like this. Therefore I thank Sharon, I very much hope she inspires other politicians and I vote for her.

Commended by Mehmet K., Utrecht
Een vriendelijke dame, ondersteunt buitenlandse instellingen en organisaties, het is ook erg gevoelig voor vluchtelingen. Hij werkt hard voor Utrecht. Als buitenlander ben ik tevreden met onze burgemeester. Ik hoop dat onze burgemeester wint.

Commended by Hayrettin A., Utrecht
I got to know our president as a friendly, caring and close person. She keeps her promises and will continue to keep them. I have full faith in her. I think it will get the support of many people

Commended by Anne S. B., Utrecht
How very deserved this nomination is! I, and my family, support her wholeheartedly. we are ‘PROUD of our mayor.

Commended by Helen de B. (Granddaughter of Mr. & Mrs. de B.), Utrecht
In the Netherlands it's 'tradition' that when you've been married for 65 years, the mayor will visit. In 2020, the year that Sharon Dijksma became mayor of Utrecht, my grandparents were married for 65 years.  I didn't know much about Sharon Dijksma, except that she's not part of the political party that I usually vote for. Either way, it was an honour to arrange her visit for my grandparents. My grandparents loved it. 

And although this is an obligation for the mayor, with Sharon Dijksma it really didn't feel that way. When she arrived, at first we were a bit surprised, as she entered the room together with her almost 2 year old daughter. She immediately started apologising and explained that her husband had an emergency and she didn't have a babysitter for her daughter, so she brought her along. This just shows how strong of a woman she is. I feel like most mayors would have cancelled the appointment, and most people would have understood. She just showed that working as a mom sometimes requires flexibility from not only yourself, but also the people around us. Her determination also inspires me, and hopefully others, that also as a mom (of three in her case) you can have a career. 

Her daughter was really sweet and funny and because she brought her with her, it was such an intimate and cosy conversation and didn't feel like an obligation at all. Her daughter was obviously also a good ice breaker and she seemed to enjoy the cookies that we had bought. 

At the moment of her visit, I was pregnant myself and this definitely inspired me.

Commended by Shwan R., Utrecht
As a resident of Utrecht, I wholeheartedly support and endorse Sharon Dijksma as the best mayor in the world! Her remarkable achievements in fostering employment, facilitating the integration of refugees, and addressing numerous social issues are truly commendable. Sharon Dijksma's closeness to the people and her deep involvement make her akin to a nurturing mother for our city.

Her leadership and dedication have undeniably made a significant positive impact on the lives of Utrecht's residents.

Thank you Sharon! With great love and respect.

Commended by Mitzi G., Utrecht
I want to vote for our mayor Sharon because she is an example of how someone should care for her citizens. I feel very protected by her. I was lucky to meet her a few times and was very impressed by how she handles conflicts and interacts with literally everybody. She is both patient and direct and for me (28y old woman) very, very inspiring!!

Thanks for hosting this election, so I show her my support!! Good luck.

Commended by Annette R., Utrecht
A very empathetic and charismatic mayor with a great eye for the inhabitants. A woman with a warm heart.

Commended by Guido D., Utrecht
Yes, I vote for Sharon Dijksma. Because she is a true leader, compassionate but also decisive and visionary. She makes it happen for her city. 

Commended by Wouter, Utrecht
Sharon, the mayor of Utrecht, stands out as a remarkably accessible and open leader. In an era marked by increasing polarization, her approach is a valuable asset that is truly exceptional to witness. As a citizen of Utrecht, I've observed how she is always present where her support is needed most.

From a professional standpoint, as someone working in a law firm with offices in Utrecht, I have experienced first-hand how she actively contributes to fostering strong local relationships and enhancing businesses in the area. Moreover, she plays a crucial role in promoting Utrecht on an international level, making it a more attractive destination for investments. Even amid the fierce economic competition, she ensures that the city remains committed to implementing and integrating ESG regulations.

Politically, Sharon leads a more left-wing government, navigating the challenges posed by citizens who lean towards the right, particularly those above the age of 35. Often, these individuals are wealthier and highly educated. Despite this divide, she skilfully manages to find common ground and work towards the collective betterment of the city.

Commended by Judy O., Utrecht
Hereby is declare my vote for Sharon Dijksma as world mayor of 2023. She is a true people's mayor and while she is calm and warm, she will stand fiercely for those in need.

Commended by Daphne K., Utrecht
When she started, I was very happy to hear Sharon Dijksma would be our mayor. She stands for a fair and equal city to all.  

But lately I am even more convinced this woman is the best leader for our city.
June is international (gay) pride month and so we've had a rainbow flag hanging on our house. Normally this is fine, Utrecht is a very progressive and accepting city already, but this year there have been problems. Groups of (Muslim) youth have made us feel very unsafe at home for weeks - and also some neighbours that had a flag on their house.

We've called the police and they immediately took action. To our surprise they told us this was something the mayor would want to know about. And she did. She did everything in her power to help us, i.e. publicly talking about this, making sure the police had enough resources to work on this.

She even came to our home to show her support to us! When she was here she told us that is it important that anyone can live safely in Utrecht. We should all be respectful to each other. The Muslims should be able have their mosques and should be treated respectfully, and so should we. I think it is only fair. The youth that made us feel unsafe was identified and they were not just given a punishment, they (and their parents) were told why this is harmful to others and why this is not accepted in Holland and Utrecht, that equality is embedded in the law.

I think this is a strong reaction and might learn them more that just punishment. I am proud of our mayor and feel so supported by her. 

Commended by Anja N., Utrecht
We vote for Sharon Dijksma, Utrecht. She really cares for the citizens, and even young people (like my 18-year old daughter) like her!!

Commended by Michiel D., Utrecht
Sharon Dijksma is a go-getter. She is very good at understanding the usefulness and importance of things. In addition, she is approachable and visible, locally, regionally and internationally.

Commended by Annette N. Utrecht
Dear People from the World Mayor Project,

I live in Utrecht for over 50 years and I am proud to have Sharon as my mayor. 

She is a young, strong, wise woman. 
In my opinion, younger people have always new perspectives and they are able to deal with the social media. This is also important, especially to get the youth involved with politics. Mayor Sharon is able to communicate and make it recognisable for them and others.

She is also very kind, carring and always having a lovely smile. A SUNSHINE WELCOME IN CONNECTING! This is the stimulus to contribute in making Utrecht more beautiful to 'mijn mooie stadsie Utreg!' Realy the place where we all live well together!

I am blessed with my mayor Sharon Dijkstra. Dear Mayor stay healthy and enjoy your live as my dearest MAYOR! Thanks

Commended by Frank M., Utrecht
I vote for the fantastic Sharon Dijksma as world mayor. She is a inspiration for many.

Commended by Saskia A, Utrecht
I would like to bring out my vote for best mayor for 2023 and vote for Sharon Dijksma. I live in Utrecht and I totally agree with your arguments for putting her in the top 25. She is doing a great job, in my opinion.

Commended by Richelle B., Utrecht
I would like to vote for Sharon Dijksma, as she and her colleagues transform Utrecht in the green, healthy and happy city that can serve as an inspiration to cities worldwide facing the challenge to become sustainable. Sometimes an actual example has more effect than a thousand plans and good intentions: a green, healthy and happy city is possible!

Commended by Simone S., Utecht
Beste mevrouw Dijksma. Mede door uw steun aan ons adres na de homohaat in de wijk Ondiep en de knuffel met onze lieve Lola, kan ik niet anders zeggen dan dat ik u een geweldige burgemeester vindt. U bent zichtbaar, betrokken en boven alles een warm en oprecht mens. Ga zo door!

Commended by Mireille H., Utrecht
Of course, I will support en and vote for this Mayor. Not only a super Mayor for Utrecht but also a good politian to our Dutch government and a meber to the civil counsel of Amsterdam. And on top of this she runs the council of Communities (VNGgemeenten)
Super woman!

Commended by Maureen W., Utrecht
My vote goes to Sharon Dijksma. A true mayor for all citizens with a hands-on mentality for her city.

Commended by Maarten W., Utrecht
I know Sharon as a highly interested mayor, with an eye and ear for the citizens but also a very interested in the economic part of the City.She is realistic and a great MAYOR!

For your information:
The World Mayor Project, organised by the philanthropic City Mayors Foundation since 2004, has no connection with any city or organisation and is run on strictly non-commercial lines. Sponsorships, advertising, subscriptions, donations or any other kind of revenue are NOT sought and will be rejected, if offered.

All personal information you provide us with will be treated in strict confidence. Your email addresses will NOT be passed on to any third parties. Also, we do NOT collect data by cookies or other hidden means.

Please contact us if you have any further questions. Please insert 'World Mayor 2023' in the subject line of any email.

© Copyright: All content of the City Mayors and World Mayor websites is protected by worldwide copyright. Please contact us if you wish to use any material from the City Mayors, World Mayor or Women Mayors websites.

The City Mayors Foundation
London SW1
Tel: +44 20 8439 7978
The World Mayor Project was conceived in 2004 by the City Mayors Foundation to raise the profile of mayors worldwide and honour those who have contributed exceptionally to local and urban affairs. Mayors must carry out their duties selflessly and beyond reproach. The Project has no association with any city or organisation and is run on philanthropic lines. Any kind of revenue is NOT sought and will be rejected if offered. DETAILS

Winners of the World Mayor Prize since 2004: Edi Rama, Tirana (2004); Dora Bakoyannis, Athens (2005); John So, Melbourne (2006); Helen Zille, Cape Town (2008); Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico City (2010); Iñaki Azkuna, Bilbao (2012); Naheed Nenshi, Calgary (2014); Bart Somers, Mechelen (2016); Valeria Mancinelli, Ancona (2018); Ahmed Aboutaleb, Rotterdam (2021); Philippe Rio, Grigny (2021); Elke Kahr, Graz (2023) DETAILS