Liesbeth Spies, Mayor of Alphen / Rijn, Netherlands, since 2014
WORLD MAYOR 2018
Dedicated to women mayors
The 2018 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be conferred on women mayors who have made outstanding and long-lasting contributions to their communities. The organisers wish to show what outstanding women mayors achieve all over the world. By doing so, they hope to encourage more women to contemplate a career in local government and run for political office. The women, who will be awarded the 2018 World Mayor Prize and other honours, will be role models for young women and, indeed, men everywhere. Qualities sought ||| Liesbeth Spies, Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, has been shortlisted for the 2018 World Mayor Prize. ||| Vote for Mayor Spies ||| Critical comments |||
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Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn (Netherlands)
Nominated by Wim L., Leiderdorp, Netherlands:
Mrs. Liesbeth Spies is an excellent politician and outstanding mayor Alphen a/d Rijn, Netherlands. She has developed her city from a sleepy little rural town to a modern growing city with excellent public institutions and an enlarged territory. She is outgoing, easy to meet by her citizens and gives value to everyone who wants to contribute to the community. Before she became a mayor she was a member of the parliament and minister. Therefore she has excellent contacts in The Hague and Brussels, which she uses when it is necessary. For me it is clear: Liesbeth for world’s best mayor!
Nominated by Bart de B., Alphen:
Mayor Spies is one tough mayor. She runs the council with a firm hand. We like her a lot!
Nominated by Luuk H., Uithoorn, Netherlands:
I know Liesbeth as a woman with a positive strength, always open for the inhabitants to listen. Firm on a government that listens to the people, that is consequent in its actions and open for the wellbeing of everyone. Not afraid to take difficult decisions, but always with an eye on the (wo)man in the street.
Nominated by Bertie W., Alphen:
Onze burgemeester Liesbeth Spies verdient deze titel. Wij zijn pas in Alphen komen wonen en vinden het zeer aangenaam hier.
Nominated by Pauline N., Woubrugge, Netherlands:
I would like to cast a vote for mayor Spies from Alphen aan den Rijn. I work in her office as one of her advisors on public order & safety. I've worked for about ten different mayors in the last fifteen years. I can truly say that she deserves this title.
She has a natural authority one cannot learn, you just have it or you don't. When she speaks, people listen. She knows how to persuade people with solid argumentation without forcing their hand or rely on hierarchy.
Her knowledge is endless and she knows every file by heart. I especially like that she is willing to take a risk for the sake of the community. She is willing to start a procedure even though there might be a chance that the judge will overrule her. She is not afraid to lose face. The interest of the city will always go before her personal interest or career. And Alphen aan den Rijn is the safest big city (in the Netherlands that's 100.000 and higher) for a reason.
She is both kind and strict. Strict when needed, kind whenever possible.
She is a true 'burgermoeder' as we say. And she genuinely loves her city and its inhabitants.
Nominated by Inez R., Alphen:
Ik vind het een uitstekende burgemeester en een bijzondere persoonlijkheid.
Ik heb bij de uitreiking van mijn onderscheiding in 2017 ervaren dat zij voor iedereen een orinigeel persoonlijk woord heeft.
Ik was de zevende op rij en desondanks wist ze met haar speeche het doen voorkomen alsof ik de eerste was en de enige...! Dat vind ik knap en vindingrijk. Zij heeft voor iedere burger oog en belangstelling en toont zich ook één met de inwoners van Alphen. Ze is vrolijk en spontaan, maar ook bloedserieus en oprecht als het om ernstige en verdrietige zaken gaat.
Haar optreden in de Adventskerk in 2017 bij de presentatie van het boek “Heilige strijd” van prof. Beatrice de Graaf, waar Liesbeth Spies namens de Gemeente Alphen sprak in het kader van veiligheid en terreur, heeft diepe indruk op mij gemaakt. Ook dan weet zij zich goed te verplaatsen in de burger, die angstig is of getraumatiseerd door aanslagen (denk aan het drama Ridderhof) en zij kan dat heel goed verwoorden met gevoel en pragmatiek. Ze geeft dan ook een heldere uiteenzetting over de stand van zaken qua veiligheid in Alphen en waar nog verbeteringen vereist zijn.
Dat zijn enkele punten, waarbij ik vind, dat ze de onderscheiding (titel) verdient en als ze hem krijgt, dan hoop ik dat ze net zo typerend en oprecht, maar vooral origineel en humoristisch toegesproken wordt, als dat zij bij zovelen in Alphen doet.
Nominated by Esther van T., Alphen:
I believe Liesbeth Spies does a great job as major of Alphen aan den Rijn. Her daughter has been one of my best friends for years, so I also have the pleasure of knowing her personally. I clearly see how much she does for our city and how much she cares for it. She's very hard-working, intelligent and kind. She's helped our city through some tough times and she's done an incredible job in doing so. I think she's very admirable and definitely worthy of the title World Mayor 2018!
Nominated by A. O., Alphen:
Ze is een warme,oprecht ,geïnteresseerde , vrouw met oprechte interesse voor stad en de mensen die er wonen.Door haar houding roept ze respect af en bereikt ze alle verschillende groepen en individuen.Bij rampen staat een vrouw die haar mannetje staat en dat komt goed over.verbinden is haar sterke punt en ze loopt niet weg,maar gaat in gesprek.Is duidelijk .ook als iets niet kan.doortastend en doorpakken als nodig is.wens dat ze nog lang onze burgemeester mag blijven,dan komt het wel goed.Wij hebben hier in Alphen de beste burgemeester van heel de wereld.geef haar in ieder geval de wereldtitel Die verdiend ze!
Nominated by Hans van der V. and Marieke van der V.-L., Alphen:
A good mayor is concerned about his or her citizens, is professional and shows strike capability in the tasks that he or she has to carry out. These are qualities which Liesbeth Spies certainly posesses. In the circumstances in which we have found ourselves during the past years she showed us her concern various times.
The reason why we find her so special is, because she has been always faithful. A personal conversation with her in which she offered us help and gave us comfort, a letter, a beautiful card, they all came on the right moment.
It has given us very much support. This is why we think that Liesbeth Spies deserves the title of World Mayor 2018.
Nominated by Siegbert, Marian and three other residents, Alphen:
Burgemeester Liesbeth Spies is betrokken, eerlijk, toegankelijk, beweegt zich veel tussen het gewone Alphense volk, heeft Femke Halsema goed advies gegeven (zie artikel in de Trouw) dus ze is ook een voorbeeldvrouw. Een powervrouw die bewijst dat een stad heel goed geleid kan worden door een liefdevolle, daadkrachtige vrouw.
Wij zijn heel blij met Liesbeth als 'Burgerjuf', zoals onze zoontjes zeggen. Liesbeth, ga zo door! Onze zegen heb je!
Ze is verbindend en heeft een langetermijnvisie. heeft het goede met iedereen voor! je merkt duidelijk haar christelijke identiteit. Daar zijn wij heel blij mee!
Nominated by Martin V., Alphen:
I fully support the nomination of Liesbeth Spies for World Mayor. She is very successful in letting the administration of our town run smoothly and efficiently, and at the same time she cares for the well-being of the various groups of citizens. For example, right after a disastrous construction accident in which several houses were shattered by a falling bridge deck, she visited the site and shared her distress with the local people. But she also took effective actions to ensure safety and expedite the long process of clearing and rebuilding the spot.
As another example, when confronted with the national government’s request to temporarily house a large number of immigrants from Syria, she made clear arrangements with the government. These prevented turmoil among the citizens, which unfortunately was so common in many other places, and this made that the refugees were generally well received by the autochthone people. To wrap up, Liesbeth Spies is a devoted mayor, who is very approachable for the people and very skilled in running het town. Therefore she fully deserves the title World Mayor.
Nominated by Bas and Hetty van der W., Alphen:
I would like to vote for Mayor Liesbeth Spies, Mayor Alphen aan den Rijn (Netherlands) She visite dus to honor our 60 year marriage. We already heard nice things about her but she surprised Us completely when she personally visite dus on our wedding day. This Mayor is not a person that stands above the people, But close to us!
Nominated by Bauke de H., Alphen:
I vote for mayor Spies, because she brings the citizen together. She has a lot of experience in public governance. And she is an effective representative of the city of Alphen.
Nominated by Jan V., Alphen:
Onze burgemeester, Liesbeth Spies, weet op charmante, toch zakelijke wijze leiding te geven, en heeft zo in korte tijd de integratie van 5 dorpen tot één stad gerealiseerd.
Nominated by M. H., Alphen:
Liesbeth Spies , Mayor Alphen a.d. Rijn, deserves the title "World Mayor 2028", because she is a concerned and kindly woman. I live 57 Years in Alphen and I think she likes Alphen and the people who live here. She is born here and was here at school.
Nominated by Boukje A., Brattinga, Nehterlands:
Liesbeth is voor mij een voorbeeld van een vrouw die midden in de maatschappij staat. Haar taal is begrijpelijk. Veel oplossingen kent zij uit haar dagelijks leven toen ze nog boerenvrouw was. Ik heb haar al 40 jaar als voorbeeld gevolgd.
Nominated by Patricia de S.-I., Alphen:
Liesbeth Spies is the best mayor i know cause she has a warm heart and listening ear for everyone. She is connecting people and organisations with her warm smile and on the other side she is strict, honest and very clear.
She knows that you can never do a good job all alone and appreciates her employees.
She is a teambuilder and a great example for woman how you can be successful as a real kind person, a businesswife (one of the guys) AND a great mother!
Nominated by A. M. T., Leewarden, Netherlands:
Ik stem op Liesbeth Spies omdat ze een warme persoonlijkheid is en met 2 voeten op de grond staat, oog voor haar burgers.
Nominated by Wies van den N., Alphen:
Our mayor, I live in Alphen aan den Rijn, is the best mayor I ever had to deal with and I’m over seventy years young.
• She is very good when she mets people wit a handicap, friendly and always takes time for a nice conversation.
• She is always there when people need her.
• She is capable to deal with difficult people in our town.
She is friendly, active, intelligent in every way.
She deserves this nomination and should win!
Nominated by Piet B., Alphen:
Our Mayor is the head master of our town and stays usual as the 110.000 inhabitants.
She has character and is friendly. FOR ME THE NUMBER ONE!
Nominated by Fedor M, Alphen:
Mrs. Spies is a great mayor, because she is very accessible for all citizens. She is there in times of crisis, but also does her best in mitigating future crises due to her progressive policies in terms of climate change and energy transition.
Furthermore, she has made significant progress in creating more accessible housing. The city center has significantly improved after years of stagnation. And i think that with the fusion of all the other municipalities, she is really doing her best in bringing all the people together from the different communities.
I live in the Green Heart of Holland for many years now, and i think we are doing well at the moment. And this is for a large part to excellent choices made on municipal level. And who is leading that; yes, our dear mayor Liesbeth Spies. She has earned my vote!
Nominated by Jan en A. E., Alphen:
Bij deze willen wij ons aansluiten bij de goede keuze voor onze Burgemeester Mevr. L.Spies! Wij vinden ook dat Zij de beste Burgemeester is van de Wereld!
Nominated by Manuel M., Alphen:
Hereby I would like to vote for our mayor Liesbeth Spies. She is a great person, she has a kind and warm personality with which she comes close to the people of Alphen aan den Rijn. Especially in situations of crisis she is always ready to take action and she stands by the people in need. And as a city that sound like to grow and be innovative, it needs a mayor with the capabilities of Liesbeth Spies to keep everything under proper management. As a citizen, born and raised here in Alphen, I would like to say that we couldn't have a better mayor than her.
Nominated by Sophie van S., Varsseveld, Netherlands:
The Mayor of Alphen/ Rijn is to me my fedorite women to do the job. I met her several times and she communicates in a pleasant manor. So she is my Mayor to be the best of the world.
Nominated by Paulien van der L.-S., Boskoop:
Our mayor is a woman like all woman with a job.
• She can think in a very logical way.
• She can work hard.
• She is interested in a lot of things and she is prepared when she visits a group of people.
• She can build bridges (except the one we need in our village )
• She knows her people.
• She is like a mother for all of us.
• She is great!
Nominated by R. A., Vorden, Netherlands:
Mrs,Spies is a wonderfull mayor, because she has a good connection with her persons in her city, and she also Is not afraid to make difficult decisions even when they are not always popular.
Nominated by Karin K., Netherlands:
I vote for this mayor, because she is a woman who has come back to her home town after a long political career for her country. She is a woman who listens carefully to everyone and has always eyes for what’s the best for the all.
Nominated by Els and Jacq van N., Alphen:
Wij hebben ervaren, dat mevr. Spies een bijzonder goede burgemeester is. Zij is zeer bekwaam en vooral zeer betrokken bij alles wat ze doet. Het fijne is, dat zij zich zelf gebleven is. Speciaal daarom vinden wij, dat zij de uitverkiezing tot ”BESTE BURGEMEESTER VAN DE WERELD” verdient.
Nominated by M.L.A.A. de B., Netherlands:
Liesbeth heeft het hart op de goed plaats. Zij overziet de situatie en oordeelt niet ongevraagd. Zij zet zich in voor de zwakkeren in onze samenleving. Ennn Ondanks dat Liesbeth Spies een goede en leuke functie heeft... zij is erg benaderbaar. Menselijk.
Nominated by Corrie R., Alphen:
I want to let you know that, in my eyes, our mayor, mrs. Liesbeth Spies,
is the best mayor of the world. When there is something special to do, for elder or young people, she is always there.
Nominated by Paul van der V., Hazerswoude, Netherlands:
Wij vinden onze burgemeester de beste van de wereld ! Betrokken, spontaan en enthousiast, maar bovenal een ‘mensen’ mens!
Nominated by Francien A., Netherlands:
Liesbeth Spies is a mayor, standing above parties. She was born in the city of Alphen aan den Rijn. She went to school and she grew up in the same city. So she knows every street and even every stone. As a former Minister of Interior she has a good network in The Hague. She has a lot of energy, she is bright and she can combine her strategic skills with empathy towards the inhabitants of the city of Alphen aan den Rijn.
Challenges: She is the chairman of the National Organisation for Mayors. There were two big incidents in the city in the past and she had to deal with the investigation, the victims etc. She is responsible for the general services for the inhabitants of Alphen aan den Rijn. Services are at a high level and appreciated bij the inhabitants. She is the chairman for the local triangle for safety
Nominated by H. D., Netherlands:
Liesbeth Spies is the mayor of a very innovative city. She does great jobs and it makes me proud to see a woman accomplish what she has.
Nominated by Frank B., outside The Netherlands:
I consider Mrs. Spies as a woman of great inspiration, leadership and integrity. Not only does Mrs. Spies function impeccably as mayor, she has also succeeded in healing the community of Alphen aan den Rijn after the horrible shootings of 2011 (before her first term as mayor, but while she was a resident of Alphen aan den Rijn).
Further, Mrs. Spies had to deal with the ramifications of a major construction incident in the downtown city area involving a bridge and several construction machines, in which a number of houses were crushed, fortunately without loss of human lives.
Last, Mrs. Spies, as the chairperson of the Netherlands' Safe Traffic Association (VVN), plays a vital role in the Netherlands' ambitious plans to significantly lower the number of traffic-related fatalities and injuries
Nominated by Daphne D., Alphen:
For me is the mayor of Alphen a very worthy mayor. I work for her so I meet her very often in meetings etc.
She knows a lot of different subjects, an if not, she knows who she have to inform her, she has her own vision an knows how to motivate her workers how to subscribe her vision. So within the city of Alphen, their is a safe place to work, you know that whatever you do, write or say, you feel the backup of your mayor.
She has a warm personality, feels what the inhabitants feel. She is on de right place at the right time. Big accidents like a shooting in a shopping mall, a bridge felt down, she is there! She takes the role of mother of the inhabitants. Everybody likes her.
On the other hand, she knows when and how to make difficult decisions, she has the guts to make unpopular decisions. But in the end people understand why she did so…
Nominated by Jet van W., Alphen:
She is a great mayor, she speaks with her heart. She is there for the people. Everyone can just talk with her, she is just like everyone else, human. But she does great things for or city. She is the mother of Alphen aan den Rijn. I am proud to have her as my mayor.
Nominated by Paula S., Alphen:
Liesbeth Spoed is de beste burgemeester die er is ze verdient die titel. Ze zet Alphen op de kaart. Maar houd van de de echte Alphense sfeer. Ze is iemand om trots op te zijn
Nominated by Gerda H., Alphen:
I support the candidacy of Liesbeth Spies as world mayor. Besides the fact that she is highly intelligent and therefore has great knowledge of all topics we deal with in Alphen, she also has a very large network as she is a former minister of Internal Affairs. Her social skills make that people like her very much and never forget her. Furthermore, she is a very good ambassador for Alphen aan den Rijn.
Nominated by Werner T., Alphen:
Liesbeth is a warm professional woman!
Although I never worked with her in person I hear positive stories about her. I feel it is worth to give those sounds back as they came to me in trust and they were sincere.
She always knows ins and outs of cases. She is really well informed. This shows commitment to the work, the people working at the municipality and the people of Alphen aan den Rijn. She rewards good initiative. There is this team which pioneers on how to get more insight in fraude in our municipality. They make good progress. And she was there to let herself be informed.
That gives my colleagues a feeling of being trusted and doing good work. And while she is here in Alphen, although that started a long time before her already, I see that the municipality is changing. More professional and more connected with the people but at the same time have people take responsibility (whether they work at the municipality or are civilians of Alphen aan den Rijn). I don’t know to what degree Liesbeth has influence on all this, but we had quite some mayors in the last decade.
For the first time I have the feeling this mayor will stay here for a longer time! Positive!!
Nominated by Eugenie G., Netherlands:
I vote for Mayor Liesbeth Spies, Alphen aan de Rijn, the Netherlands to be chosen for World Mayor. She is an integer person, someone who places her citizens first. She handles with care, attention, warmth, professionalism and enthusiasm. She connects interests with people (and vice versa) and looks for the best reachable solution for all.
Nominated by Gerline M., Alphen:
We , as a citizen from Alphen aan den Rijn, have the best Mayor of the world. So vote for her
Nominated by Martin de R., Alphen:
Very reassuring mayor, around when you her to be around, and also in the way you would a mayor would be around.
Nominated by Nicole P., Alphen:
I live in Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands. I vote for best Mayor on the world for Liesbeth Spies as she is a mayor that stands for the people in Alphen aan den Rijn. She is friendly, approachable, respectful, making our city a good place to live in and willing to listen to ideas of the people.
Nominated by Irene van der S., Alphen:
I vote for mayor Liesbeth Spies as mayor of the world because she is a great politician with a lot of compassion.
Nominated by Teresa F., Gouda, Netherlands:
I vote for Liesbeth Spies as world mayor. She deserves it because of her achievements and personality.
Nominated by Nel J., Alphen:
Hierbij wil ik mijn stem uitbrengen op de burgemeester van Alphen aan den Rijn, mevrouw Liesbeth Spies. Dit daar zij zich heel betrokken voelt bij de inwoners, zo ook het omvallen van de brug in augustus 2015.
Nominated by Martin de R., Alphen:
She is simply around when you want the mayor to be around, in the way you wish the mayor would be around!
Nominated by Martin van der P., Alphen:
I support Liesbeth Spies, Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn, for World Mayor.
Our World, our Town, our Mayor!
Liesbeth is close to the people, committed and genuine. It's wonderful to see her ride her bicycle through the towns, villages and Dutch 'polders' that are part of her 'realm'
Nominated by Joost B., Alphen:
Mayor Liesbeth Spies from Alphen aan den Rijn is for me the best mayor in the world.
As former Member of Parliament she knows how to represent the people, which is an important task of the mayor. As former Secretary of Internal Affairs she knows perfectly how to act with crises, security issues and how to promote the city.
And she's active in other committees, organizations and for the political party CDA.
Combining these tasks is in the world of today is not easy, but she fulfills her duty in an excellent way. That makes here a great mayor. My vote for best mayor in the world goes definitely to Liesbeth Spies.
Nominated by Orlando S., Alphen:
She is the best Mayer, because she has patience and listen very good to the problems.
She is also very friendly to every body and fix the problems together.
Nominated by Maaike L.-W., Alphen:
I would like to vote for Liesbeth Spies for World Mayor 2018! Simply because I am proud to be Dutch, proud to live in Alphen aan den Rijn and proud that this city is leading by a woman who understands making connecting with people on both macro and micro level. So let’s think big; the only limit is our mind. Liesbeth for World Mayor!
Nominated by Julian H., Alphen:
My vote for world mayor is the mayor of Alphen. While see looks after the local and regional environment and waste recycling, she also pays attention to the economy and local initiatives.
Nominated by Erwin, Alphen:
Liesbeth Spies is a great, approachable mayor. Clearly leading Alphen, but in a very nice and forthcoming manner.
Nominated by Wendy V., Alphen:
Ik vind dat Liesbeth spies de worldmayor heeft verdien omdat zij heel vriendelijk is en goed luistert naar de wensen van de bewoners.
Ze zegt altijd vriendelijk gedag.
Ze staat altijd klaar voor iedereen en neem de tijd om je aan te horen.
Zij is de beste van de wereld
Zij verdient hem.
Nominated by Marry de H., Alphen:
Hierbij stem ik op Liesbeth Spies, die een uitstekende bestuurder is voor Alphen aan den Rijn. En ik hoop dat zij als beste gekozen wordt.
Met vriendelijke groet,
Nominated by Iris van der L., Alphen:
I would love to vote for Liesbeth Spies as World Mayor 2018 because she’s down to earth, concerned and very kind.
Nominated by Jeroen K., Waddinxveen:
I was a citizen of Alphen aan den Rijn (Boskoop) for many years and Liesbeth is a great mayor. She always do things for the community and I appriciete that. She isn't just a mayor but also a role model how kind we should be. I hope for the city of Alphen that she stays a lot of years because she is doing a great job.
Nominated by J. B., Netherlands
Mayor Spies is active. As former secretary of internal affairs, she is able to combine the red lines of council politics with the practice of all day. She is close to the people and active in other organizations like the association of mayors to give the national politicians a good view of what mayors do and what they need.
Nominated by T. de G., Netherlands:
ls burgemeester heeft ze rust en stabiliteit gebracht in de lokale politiek. Daarnaast is ze makkelijk bereikbaar en een sterk boegbeeld voor de organisatie. Ook tijdens crises situaties is ze een uitstekend voorbeeld en de burgermoeder waar veel inwoners behoefte aan hebben.
Challenges for Alphen: Tijdens het vallen van de koningin juliananbrug was ze snel terug van haar vakantie en heeft steun geboden aan diegene die daar behoefte aan hadden. Ook heeft ze addequaat de ambetlijke organisatie de ruimte gegeven om de organisatie van de nasleep van het ongeluk goed op te kunnen pakken.
Nominated by A. H. V., Alphen:
Een goede burgemeester, omdat ze drie gebiedsdelen en hun bestuursbelangen met coordineren en 1 bestuurseenheid van moet maken.
Challenges for Alphen: Kan een goede bemiddelende rol spelen in bestuursprocressen en heeft bestuurs ervaring op regeringsniveau.
Nominated by Jan de F., Alphen
• She is the only women in the city board.
• The inhabitants love her.
• Alphen aan den Rijn is the 2nd most popular city in Holland.
• She is very honest and respectful
• Motivates everybody who is working for the government
Challenges for Alphen: We had several crises. Big accidents of murders, etc. She managed that everybody keeps calm and is working on solutions.
Nominated by Max M., Netherlands:
Liesbeth Spies is a good mayor for her city. Former Minister of the Netherlands
Nominated by Michel R., Netherlands:
Great Mayor who did incredible good things for the city during peaceful events but also in mayor crisis situations in her city.
Nominated by J. M., Netherlands:
Mayor Spies is well informed, has an eye for detail and the social context, is analytic and to the point. She is a professional and a warm person. A gifted speaker and chair(wo)man. Heart for public service, common and civilian interest. It's a joy to work with and for the mayor as a public servant.
Challenges for Alphen: We had an incident with a bridge collapsing during renovations. She consoled civilians, made decisions for public safety. When the public safety board's rapport was published she explained and took responsibility.
Nominated by Germa K., Alphen:
Mrs Spies has all qualities required for the World Mayor Prize. Above that, she is also empathic and down to earth.
Nominated by Kirsten v S., Alphen aan den Rijn:
I nominate Mayor Spies because she is so kind and she is everywhere. She is a figurehead for our city. She is strong and at the same time modest.
Nominated by W. R., Netherlands:
Mayor Spies keeps all the people in the right direction. She is gentle, straightforward and smart. Also she has an open attitude to people. A real mayor, mother of the people.
Nominated by Casper M., Netherlands:
I've met Mayor Spies recently. She is nice, strong and a good leader.
Nominated by Saskia van de K., Alphen:
Liesbeth Spies is a very easy goining but straight forward mayor.
Challenges for Alphen: There are difficult cases with psychiatric patients that she handless well.
Nominated by Helen L., Alphen:
She is a great Mayor!
Nominated by Jeroen J., Netherlands:
A very stable, emphatic and intelligent mayor.
Critical comment by Marjan B., Leiden, Netherlands:
Living in Leiden and working in Alphen a/d Rijn for a few months now, I am unsure why this mayor has been nominated for the award.
Every working day I travel to Alphen by train, the chaos starts at the train station. Just to leave the area of the station I have to go through a labyrinth of incorrectly parked bicycles while dodging cyclists that are not even supposed to cycle where they are cycling at that moment.
To go to work I always had to walk across this roundabout. As a pedestrian it is very important to always look both sides when crossing the road as a lot of traffic travels in the incorrect direction (giving quite some serious accidents from time to time). For a while now this roundabout has been closed down for maintenance. The path for cyclists has been redirected with some barriers to follow a different road. Every time I want to walk here the blockade has been removed and cyclists are racing across the sidewalk to go the train station.
The place where I work lies in a ‘pedestrian-only’, zone, but just like rest of the city this does not seem to matter that much. You can see people crossing this road on bicycles a lot during the day. The worst part is that there are also people speeding through this area on a scooter or even a motorcycle. I have seen pedestrians being hit by entities not belonging in this area many times, with two serious cases which needed assistance from an ambulance. One of these ‘victims’ was a regular customer. After the incident we did not see her for a few weeks.
Me and my co-workers address these terrible situations to the municipality every now and then, but they never seem to be willing to do more than making false promises of trying to stop this nuisance. It amazes me how many times injuries have to occur before the municipality seems to realise that these situations can become dangerous and people could get harmed.
When discussing this with my co-workers who live in Alphen, there seem to be more problems in this city. One of them lives in a residential complex with several aggressive people whom are known to be struggling with substance abuse. He says they were simply placed there by the municipality/corporation. He even claims one of them has recently stabbed a neighbour in the chest, but I’m not sure whether this is true.
I like the job I am doing, but I am very happy that I do not live in Alphen a/d Rijn. It seems a bit odd, but even though I live in a city with a university, several fraternities/sororities and many (intoxicated) students, daily life seems to be much safer and more relaxed.
Critical comment by Johannes V., Alphen:
The nomination of Liesbeth Spies as the best mayor of the world is rather questionable. Since she became mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn the housing market became terrible! All houses designated for social housing are sold to rich people and investors and people with a low income are basically driven out of town!
According to a research (WoonForte, 2017) 1 in every 5 households in a social house is earning too much for the house they occupy, leaving an empty space for people that need those residences. When reading that same report the waiting time for a suitable house for a low renting price is on average 7 years, with a maximum reported waiting time of 21 years (!!!). Social houses which are released (when their former resident moves out) are sold to investors or have their rent multiplied by the housing corporation, basically driving away lower earning residents, which was reported by the local newspaper Alphens.
Also traffic is getting less safe since Mrs. Spies became mayor!
Critical comment by Peter van D., Boskoop, Netherlands:
Gisteren heb ik van mijn goede vriendin Maria mogen vernomen dat burgemeester Spies is genomineerd voor de beste burgemeester ter wereld. Hier schrok ik van! Sinds zij in 2014 de burgemeester is geworden van Boskoop waar ik en mijn familie wonen gaat het dorp achteruit. Naast de punten die Maria al heeft aangekaart gaat ook de samenleving hier achteruit naar mijn mening. Omdat er in Alphen aan den Rijn veel sociale huurwoningen zijn opgekocht door investeerders komen heel veel laaggeschoolde/bijstandsgezinnen naar Boskoop. Nu wil ik niet iedereen over één kam scheren, maar voordat burgemeester Spies de burgemeester van Boskoop was woonde ik hier veel prettiger
Critical comment by Marcel W., Alphen:
I would like to leave you some negative feedback on mayor Spies. This city is growing very rapidly and new buildings are built everywhere around the city center.
However, the infrastructure and the roads does not seem to grow along with it. Traffic is getting very bad now and it gets more worse everyday. Everyday i see more cyclists without proper lightning racing across pedestrian areas with a smartphone in their hand because they are in a hurry.
The board of the city and the mayor know that many good people don't like this but they do not seem to take any action. I see a lot of messages appearing on Facebook from the city board that police will give tickets to bad cyclists, but the police never appears.
Also there were messages on Facebook that the city would finally address people who park their bikes in a bad way around the train station, but this did not do anything good either. To me it would be great if the mayor or the city board would finally seriously address bad people in traffic in and around the city center, that would make me much more happy about her and make me feel much more safe!
Critical comment by Maria S., Boskoop, Netherlands:
I would like to make a comment on why i do not think Mayor Spies should be nominated.
Living in Boskoop almost my entire life i've seen many things change in the past decade. In 2014 this town became part of the municipality of Alphen aan den Rijn and since then me and my household feel that things are going downhill. Several small towns around Alphen that are part of the same municipality now and have to share a fire department, a police squad and the people enforcing the rules of the Dutch law in this entire region.
As the small towns clearly receive less attention than Alphen aan den Rijn itself we notice more pollution on the streets, more cars parked incorrectly and less willingness to respond to simple complaints like neighbours playing their music too loudly for example.
I think Boskoop would be better off being its own municipality with its own mayor again like it always was.
Critical comment by Willem B., Alphen:
I would also like to make a comment on Mayor Spies of Alphen and what she can do to make things better in Alphen ad Rijn. I often go shopping with my daughter in the centre of the town but we don't feel very safe there. The part I am talking about with the shops has a sign that people may only walk in the street. But often there are also people on their bikes and scooters racing through that street. A few times I have stopped some of them and told them that what they were doing was wrong.
Critical comment by A. M., Alphen:
Since me and my family moved to the Netherlands (Alphen aan den Rijn), we all tried our best to adapt to Dutch culture. On some points it is nowhere near what we were used to have in the Middle East. We all tried to pick up the Dutch language as quick as possible, which was not even necessary as almost everyone here is capable of speaking English as well. We all learned to ride bicycles and me and my brother got a low paying job working 50+ hours a week to feed our families.
Especially on the mindset it was quite difficult to adept as there are some strong religious Christians here with whom we collide on some points. Yet we all tried to make the best of it!
My children and cousins are going to a public school in which Islam is not the center of the education. My wife and I have peace with that, as we still take them to the mosque in the weekends. However, sometimes we feel that this city is not ready for letting us completely integrate into the Dutch society.
We still had no chance to introduce ourselves to the neighbour. This older couple are supposedly strictly Christian and refuse to talk to us. Sometimes I feel that the kids are going through the same in school. The other week one of them came home with a few bruises and two flat tires on his bicycle, but he wouldn't say what happened. Also his brother refused to tell us anything.
We live in Alphen aan den Rijn for 6 years already and my brother and his family for 5 years now. A few months ago we finally decided to call to the city council to talk about our feelings of being discriminated. I was redirected to some orginization for the prevention of discrimination, but after three attempts of getting into contact with them and not receiving any reply whatsoever, I stopped trying.
My family and I are grateful to be here in peace, but we really hope that the Mayor will work on preventing the discrimination that we have been going through for the past few years. I hope this way my story will get the attention it needs.
Critical comment by Bastiaan B., Alphen:
Many people complain a lot about many things. We have many drugs on the streets, we have many very unsafe places in traffic because people act like morons and some situations are very unclear, we even had a bridge collapsing on a building because there was a total lack of safety. All these things are known to the mayor, but I don't see any action taken. I see the priorities of being a good city are totally wrong!
Critical comment by K. N., Alphen:
When my boyfriend and I moved into this town, very close to the city center and the train station, we quickly decided to rent a public parking spot for €50 a month before all were gone. The corporation where we rented our apartment hinted that soon all parking spots on the streets would become 'paid parking spots', so you were better off renting one.
But the spots on the street never got that status. Instead most residents from the building chose to park on the streets, as this was still free. Meanwhile we paid €50 a month for a parking spot, that was often unreachable with all cars parking in the middle of the street and even in front of the entrance to the garage.
We notified the municipality pretty often that honest residents were bothered, but instead of taking action one of the municipality employees even tried to intimidate my boyfriend in an attempt to make him stop complaining.
After more than a year the city finally came to the conclusion that it might be better to make the area 'paid parking'. However, there was one little piece of land that was not theirs but which was freely accessible for cars. Cars could park here and the municipality could not fine them for not paying for a parking spot.
At the moment we live 18 months in Alphen aan den Rijn. We paid €900 and counting for a parking spot which was actually unnecessary because the municipality doesn't seem to think things like these through. Terrible city management!
Critical comment by Kelly A., Alphen:
i woud like to make a critical comment about the mayor from my town
We have problems with drugs on the streets and the town is also winner of most problems with drugs in the green hart (the area the town is in)
There are always steel cases on the streets which are for whip cream that people use to get high. The mayor knows this is a problem
Yesterday the town said on Facebook that it become a rainbow city so LBGT and gay people feel comfortable.
Now I think that this is not something that is important when you also have many problems with drugs on the streets. The mayor should think about what is really important (Sorry for bad English, i did not do English at school)
Critical comment by R. J., Alphen:
I do not fully agree that mayor Spies should be nominated for this award.
Alphen aan den Rijn is growing rapidly with big apartment buildings being built in and around the center. I feel that the emphasize of the city is expanding and attracting new residents, while existing sections of the city feel somehow neglected.
For example, i live in one of these new apartment buildings. While the building was finished and all residents moved in, the surrounding infrastructure was not. For over a year we had a lots of trouble with people parking cars everywhere where it was not allowed, mainly because the city had not yet a plan what to do with it. Nowadays (18 months after opening of the building) people can still park for free in some spots, because these areas are not thought through and cannot legally be enforced.
I think especially planning-wise the municipality has some improvements to make.
Critical comment by Peter de S., Netherlands:
Everytime I visit Alphen aan den Rijn it feels very chaotic and not well managed. Bicycles are parked everywhere (even though many signs tell cyclists to not do so), cyclists on pedestrian paths and motorcycles on roads for cyclists.
When I make a report about this silly and unwanted kind of behavior I feel that no action is taken. Most of the times it is not even worth a reply or confirmation.
This shows me that the mayor and the corresponding departments of this city clearly has no idea how to manage nuisance. Doesn't sound like the worlds best mayor to me!