WORLD MAYOR 2016
The 2016 World Mayor Prize will be awarded to a mayor who has provided immigrants with the facilities to contribute to the city’s society, economy and culture. The City Mayors Foundation is looking for mayors who have recognised that people, whatever their origin, status or background, are the greatest capital the world has to offer. This year’s World Mayor Project will identify mayors whose cities have done the most to welcome immigrants and have used their skills to enrich and diversify society culturally, economically and socially. Mirjam van ‘t Veld, Mayor of Amstelveen, Netherlands, has been shortlisted for the Prize. |||
About World Mayor
City Mayors Foundation
WORLD MAYOR 2016
• Shortlist 2016
• Longlist 2016
• Code of Ethics
• World Mayor Prize
• World Mayor History
• Raison d'être
• Mayor of Aleppo
• Mayor of Amstelveen
• Mayor of Athens
• Mayor of Cologne
• Mayor of Gdansk
• Mayor of Grande-Synthe
• Mayor of Hettstedt
• Mayor of Lahr
• Mayor of Lampedusa
• Mayor of Lesbos
• Mayor of Mechelen
• Mayor of Philadelphia
• Mayor of Schwäbisch Gmünd
• Mayor of Aleppo
• Mayor of Amstelveen
• Mayor of Athens
• Mayor of Gdansk
• Mayor of Lahr
• Mayor of Mechelen
• Mayor of Schwäbisch Gmünd
WORLD MAYOR 2014
WORLD MAYOR 2012
WORLD MAYOR 2010
WORLD MAYOR 2008
WORLD MAYOR 2006
WORLD MAYOR 2005
WORLD MAYOR 2004
The winner of the 2016 World Mayor Prize and other results will be announced on 14 February 2017
Mirjam van ‘t Veld
Mayor of Amstelveen (Netherlands)
Nominated by Michael O’C., London:
I support Mirjam van ‘t Veld for World Mayor 2016. Her commitment to offer care and support to refugees by providing a shelter and a welcome in a country where there is strong political opposition to refugees by the Party for Freedom which has significant public support in Holland is both courageous and heartwarming. It is clear that she is prepared to stand up to the growing hostility to refugees that is prevalent across many parts of in Europe and her own country by helping people who are very vulnerable and have lost everything.
I know from my professional experience in working with refugees and asylum seeking children & young people just how much opposition there can be at local government level to helping refugees from local politicians and local communities. Mirjam van ‘t Veld provides a great example to many leaders of public and local government services who are in a position to help refugees in a real and practical way rather than look away and argue they do not have the resources to help. She has shown through her leadership that she is able to gain support from local communities for her work. She deserves the title of World Mayor.
Nominated by Marjolein B., Amstelveen:
I'd like to support my mayor Miriam van 't Veld as World Mayor candidate. She had a hard act to follow, as the previous mayor was really popular (and got promoted to a much larger city). She's not only filled his shoes well, but has also managed to become a mayor for all people in our city - including refugees adrift from other parts of the world. She's been very brave in the local refugee debate - taking a clear stand for humanity against aggression and fear.
Nominated by Martine V., Amstellveen:
I strongly support Mayor Van ‘t Veld of Amstelveen. She has profound positive impact on the community of Amstelveen. She is always present at the activities of Amstelveen, and alsways present in a very personal, positive and supportive way.
I have seen her lead the Council’s meeting and she does this in a very professional way, both by giving space to emotions and arguments of everybody but also by focussing on the process and endresult. She has supported various difficult issues in our city and was not afraid to get involved personally.
She is an example of modern, professional European mayorship. I wish every European city could have a mayor with her capacities and personality.
Nominated by B & W, Amstelveen:
From the moment the refugee issue surfaced, our Mayor Mirjam van ‚t Veld has pushed for the organisation of a refugee shelter in Amstelveen. She promptly shouldered the responsibility for this shelter and got us, the municipal executive, involved as well. Her immense commitment to all the residents, both in and outside the neighbourhood, facilitated a calm and peaceful process. Despite the odd critical note, the organisation of the emergency shelter received wide acknowledgement. The many conversations with the people concerned have gained her much appreciation, yet not only for herself but also for the city of Amstelveen. We are very proud that our Mayor has been nominated for this prestigious prize.
Nominated by Sandra v E., Amstelveen:
Mirjam van 't Veld has been great when the local counsel suggested to welcome refugees. There was resistance by some groups, e.g Jewish inhabitants of Amstelveen. People were afraid for their children passing by the place where the refugees would live. Afraid that the children would be hurt, threatened and not feeling safe. Also other inhabitants of Amstelveen did not agree. But by arranging information meetings for everybody, including the Jews, Muslim and others, where she and other members of the local counsel spoke to the people, answered their questions, she succeeded in taking away may worries. She took them by the hand in participation to the refugees, started working groups so that by the time everybody felt that the project could not fail. Until now all went well. Mirjam is still visiting the refugees and talks and listen to them. They take care for themselves, cook, do shopping under the sorrow of volunteers.
We are very proud of Mirjam because in May other places there was a lot of unquiety. She herself was an example how to behave, she got many followers!!!
Nominated by V d R., Amstelveen:
Mirjam has been fighting for immigrants, coming to our town, for a human way to give these people shelter. Not only food and bed, but also things to do, even schooling for the kids. She was the mediator between the Jews and others. The shelter was located in the middle of a Jewish district. She even got threatened in a letter, stating that if the immigrants would come, she would be shot.
She also wants these people to stay in the area.
Mirjam is a very social person, she does not discriminate on any level. Her speeches are vivid.
Contributions: We are living in a town of 85.000 people with 180 nationalities. Lots of expats, but also several refugees. I know some of them. An Iraqi woman, very active for immigrant women. Also a Pakistani family, with a very special story. The husband was a judge in Pakistan and got detained. The women fled with her children, and came to Amstelveen. She had been fighting for years, with Amnesty International, to get her husband back. She succeeded. Their children have been studying, and are doing wel. Writing this, I know so many. I will stop here.
Challenges: Recent, the shelter was located in a Jewish district. The mayor resolved that. Also the government wanted very simple shelters, Mirjam choose for the opposite.
Also housing is expensive, and scarce. Status holders do get housing.
In the past we had a real asylum centre in town, very near to my house. Never had problems. It's all in the way how you treat people, give them respect, and you will get it back. Personally, I think refugees should be treated with the most respect. Nobody leaves their homes, to make a trip, killing so many. That attitude I find back in our mayor. Social and respect for all human beings.
Nominated by Jan Peter B., Netherlands:
Amstelveen still has a special place in my heart. I was city councillor for sixteen years. I‚m therefore delighted with the commitment and dedication displayed by the Amstelveen Mayor Mirjam van ‘t Veld in setting up an emergency shelter in Amstelveen. She has accomplished this with vision, passion and huge empathy. This enabled her to keep things under her own control throughout the entire process. That‚s the reason why Amstelveen is one of the few cities where this process ran off so smoothly. She has truly set an example for other Mayors.
Nominated by Dutch government minister, Netherlands:
The motto is used by Mayor Mirjam van 't Veld to organise the emergency shelter was 'A Custom Shelter'. She believes that refugees should retain control of their own lives as much as possible. By helping to prepare meals or participating in volunteer work for example. This will facilitate the integration in their new environment.
Nominated by Sybrand B., Netherlands:
Mirjam van 't Veld has demonstrated ongoing effort to find resolutions in local challenges when it comes to the refugee crisis, and continues to play a vital role in bringing people together.
Nominated by Ryan P., Netherlands:
Mirjam is very conscientious when it comes to immigrants, their problems and their needs. She made a strong case of helping them by talking to her own inhabitants, not on the question and matter of "will we help them" but on "how can we help them". That made a turning point in a complex discussion.
Nominated by Jan van Z., Netherlands:
Mayor van ‘t Veld has worked tirelessly to work together with the local community to welcome asylum seekers and to give them a new home. Balancing the wishes and scale of the local community with the needs of the newcomers is more than bureaucracy and competencies. It requires listening to our citizens and providing dignity and a new home to the newcomers.
Amstelveen houses a large Jewish community and there was apprehension whether the arrival of Syrian migrants would not be a threat to the community. Mayor Van ‘t Veld has worked to instead see it as an opportunity to open dialogue in a different environment. The synagogue has been active and Jewish volunteers have weekly coffee moments with the Syrian refugees discussing their background.
Going against the grain of the national discussion the Mayor sees a groundswell of volunteers willing to help the refugees. The mayor believes that investing in good housing and language lessons will pay off later as the refugees integrate into society.
Contributions: The mayor has made an important intervention by involving the local Jewish community in the process of integration of the Syrian refugees. This has worked both to actively involve the Jewish community which was apprehensive of the Syrian Refugees and to show the refugees the diversity of the Netherlands and the values of our society.
Nominated by Gideon G., Amstelveen:
Mirjam van ‘t Veld is very involved with the community in all possible fields to name a few, Syrian refugees , eco-minded , tries to bring peace in the community, has a good eye for the future and is a good listener to all in the city. She is friendly and helpful.
Nominated by J. W. R., Amstelveen:
From the moment the flood of refugees started to swell towards Europe, Mayor Mirjam van ‘t Veld has made great efforts to set up a refugee shelter in Amstelveen. Her enthusiasm and dedication in respect of all the parties concerned have been relentless. She allowed energy and passion in explaining to anybody why it is essential to have a refugee shelter in Amstelveen.
Nominated by Pascale G., Amstelveen:
Making decisions and showing courage involves reacting to situations as they emerge, be it nearby or far away. You push yourself to the fullest. Sometimes what you can do is a lot and sometimes it‚s only a little, but it‚s about playing your part. Mayor Van t‚ Veld doesn’t shy away from possible problems, when there are steps that need to be taken. She doesn’t take the path of less resistance, but follows her heart; intuition forms the basis of her leadership style. Much has been said about her initiative to welcome refugees in Amstelveen, which she has done with all parties involved, inside as well as outside the municipality, especially the city council. And looking towards the future she keeps searching for solutions to help integrate refugees inside the local community. She shows leadership and compassion in policy and in practice, in difficult and less difficult times. Tireless in front and behind the scenes. For us she already is a world mayor!
Nominated by Andrea B, Amstelveen:
Mirjam is a mayor who has a big heart for all the refuges coming to our city and makes a big effort to welcome them. Participation, dialogue and determination are her keywords. Mirjam speaks openly and with determination with all parties. Those who are against and those who want to help. Always positive!
Challenges: There are a specially people with a Jewish background who have big doubts and fear about the upcoming refugees. There has been a seminar "Home in Amstelveen" that contributed. In Amstelveen there are more volunteers than refugees to come now! Even though she endured death treats, she still publicly tells where she stands for.
Nominated by Joop S., Amstelveen:
De burgemeester heeft een moedige positie gekozen in de discussie rondom de komst van een opvangcentrum voor vluchtelingen. Van het begin af aan is haar positie en standpunt duidelijk geweest en mag als voorbeeld dienen voor alle burgemeesters van Nederland. Ik ben trots op onze Burgemeester.
Nominated by Geert O., Netherlands:
Mayor van ‘t Veld has provided shelter for a big number of refugees in a Jewish part of the town with full cooperation of the people. Many Jewish people volunteers are involved in the process.
Nominated by Dirk L., Amstelveen:
Mirjam is a top mayor. She knows her profession, is interested in people and a nummer one representatieve of Amstelveen. She is doing a super job in providing a true welcome for refugees in our city. Amstelveen made fine provisions for the (temporary) reception and housing of 400 refugees
Nominated by Jaap O., Netherlands:
Mirjam in't Veld heeft een goede visie op de opvang van vluchtelingen. Ze draagt haar mening actief uit en is niet bevreesd voor weerstand. Zij gaat de discussie niet uit de weg en staat voor haar mening. Ze heeft de opvang van 400 vluchtelingen uit Syrie in Amstelveen mogelijk gemaakt. Haar aanpak roept geen weerstand op. Amstelveen heeft een groot Joodse gemeenschap. Men was bang dat de Joodse en Syrische bevolking confrontaties zouden opzoeken.
Nominated by Anne J., Netherlands:
She arranged for welcoming refugees from the Middle East in Amstelveen: housing, food etc. with the help of many volunteers and despite anonymous letters with death threats for doing this good work. Arranging housing for 400 refugees in an empty office building in the city and explaining this to the sometimes worried inhabitants of the city. The city of Amstelveen is a well-to-do suburb of Amsterdam: not many affordable houses and for refugees little possibilities, that are now provided by the new mayor.
Nominated by Frits, Netherlands:
Mirjam has delivered a great effort in integrating a big number of refugees in het city, amidst neighborhoods with various lifestyles and religions she shows how a human and clear attitude can bring people together. She is a firm mayor and a warm personality.
Nominated by Ronny N., Amstelveen:
The mayor overcame objections against hosting the refugees and turned it a policy of welcoming them, involving all sectors of the population in Amstelveen. She succeeded in forming a group of volunteers prepared to help the newcomers outnumbering four times the number of the refugees.
Nominated by G F D., Amstelveen:
Since Mirjam became Major of our city she immediately showed her social skills. Contact with different organisations and societies in our community. In a short time she was really one of us! Mirjam took a strong position in giving help for immigrants. In our town are many immigrants with a healthy income, but she also stands for refugees seeking for a save place. She provides "homes" in an unused office. Without serious problems as we often see in other cities. Open and clear communication contributed to this success!
Nominated by M R., Amstelveen:
Our mayor made it very clear that all citizens and specially refugees are more than welcome in our city.
Nominated by Mike, Amstelveen:
Mayor van ‘t Veld has to deal with a always growing city and does a great job in my opinion very close to the community and meanwhile run one of the leading cities in the Netherlands. She arranged a huge former office building , completely adjusted to shelter over 400 people, arriving next month.
Nominated by M. L. N., Amstelveen:
The Mayor has been successful in convincing an important Jewish community in and near het city that a fairly large group of Muslim refugees can be housed within the city without problematic situations occurring.
Nominated by Avdvet, Amstelveen:
Mrs in t Veld has been welcoming immigrants to Amstelveen, without hesitation and in spite of much criticism. She has united all groups of citizens who were not in favour of welcoming refugees.