Almere Deze Week is a weekly newspaper with local news for the inhabitants of Almere. It is published in Dutch. Below you find a selection of the articles of this week’s edition translated into English for the community of International Almere. Long articles have been summarised. All articles have been translated with the permission of the editors of “Almere Deze Week”. The board of international Almere wishes to thank Courtesie (www.courtesie.nl) for their quick and accurate work to translate the articles into English, so that the international community of Almere can be informed and feel connected with the city they live in.
The original articles in Dutch can be found in the hard copy version of “Almere Deze Week” and online via this link: www.almeredezeweek.nl . The page numbers behind the titles refer to the pages of the newspaper where the articles can be found.
Below you find 10 articles with the following titles:
- Beautiful Regenboogbuurt cherry blossoms attract tourists (page 3)
- Plan to ‘roof’ A6 with solar panels (page 5)
- Another place for LGBT youth in Almere (page 7)
- Oostvaardersplassen sets political market agenda (page 7)
- ‘The sum of minorities is a majority: that is democracy.’ (page 9)
- Electric city buses fit green and healthy city (page 12)
- Help fight giant hogweed (page 23)
- Almere Kaylee (15) in The Voice Kids final (page 27)
- Bright ideas hub’ will generate interest in science and technology. (page 29)
- Aeres University of Applied Sciences signs collaboration with Chinese university (page 33)
Beautiful Regenboogbuurt cherry blossoms attract tourists (page 3)
REGENBOOGBUURT – The blossoming Japanese cherry trees along the Spectrumdreef are proving to be particularly photogenic at the moment. Last week countless (amateur) photographers seized the opportunity to shoot pictures along the seven hundred meter long footpath under the trees.
There were posing photo models, children in tiny bridal dresses and even many horse riders, posing with their horses under the blossoms. According to local residents, the blossom path was used as a location by countless horse photographers last week. A photographer from Delft said that news of the blossom path communicates through the equestrian world like wildfire. Photographers even come to Almere from across the national borders. The cherry blossom path also gains popularity from being so easily visible. Japanese cherry trees are also located elsewhere Almere, such as along the Strawinskypad in Muziekwijk. Those wanting to be immortalized among the cherry trees on film must be quick however, as the blossoms are already starting to fall.
Plan to ‘roof’ A6 with solar panels (page 5)
Double-layer open-grade asphalt coming
By Robert Mienstra
ALMERE – “A plan has been submitted to partially cover the A6 with solar panels”, said Remko Schnieders, Municipal Floriade Program Director, during last Thursday’s Political Market. “There is a limitation – it must not become a tunnel.”
The political parties were considering a proposal from the council to install the double-layer asphalt (ZOAB) on part of the A6 near the Floriade and Filmwijk districts. The ZOAB must be ordered before May 1st, otherwise it will only be laid in 2025.
The ZOAB must be installed, otherwise there will be too much noise from the A6 in the Floriade district and Filmwijk. There are also plans to raise the land along the A6 before the noise barrier is erected. “The market party that will build the district is already in sight’, said Schnieders.
The idea of a soundproofing system using solar panels was well received by the council. Schnieders briefly showed a picture of the project, “But that’s not how it will be, because a tunnel is not an option”. Meanwhile, this newspaper has been able to trace other photos of the project. “There are too many regulations and safety aspects attached to a tunnel”, says Schnieders. D66, the VVD and GroenLinks were charmed by the solar panel plan. “It certainly deserves further investigation.”
It seems that the council will agree to make EUR 3.4 million available from the double-layer ZOAB budget. Consideration is also being given to installing diffractors along the A6 motorway. “They will reflect the sound. This will benefit the Floriade, Filmwijk and Haven districts”, says Schnieders. It is not yet known what the cost of the noise protection measure will be. Here too, market players will have to get financially involved. The council will further discuss noise protection measures for the A6 motorway at the coming Political Market.
Another place for LGBT youth in Almere (page 7)
By Hestia Ruben
ALMERE – The Diversity group for Lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) and ‘open minded’ young people has been open for a month. This weekly, walk-in evening organized by the youth support organization of the De Schoor foundation is for young people aged 12 to 27 who want to talk about their sexual orientation and ‘getting out of the closet’, in a relaxed environment.
In the lead-up to setting up these evenings, youth workers Suleika El Mhassani and Linda de Vries had discussions with many organizations and schools. Is there a need for it? Is there already something similar in Almere for young LGBT people? Suleika: “There wasn’t. We now have a WhatsApp group of about eighteen young people coming to the Diversity Walk-in. We want young people in Almere to develop and thrive, and if we can facilitate that we will do so.”
A safe place
“From our work among the youth , we noticed that young people need a ‘diversity walk-in’ like this. A place where they can be themselves, meet others and exchange experiences. A safe place”, says Suleika. But it’s also a place to do fun things together. Says Linda, “What they want to do on these evenings is something they decide for themselves. Where necessary, we facilitate. In any case, there is always one of us present and we participate in whatever the young people choose to do. We’ve already had a karaoke evening and a dance evening, but also a meeting where we’ve exchanged stories in a circle. Whether the young people want to say something about their feelings or orientation is up to them, it is very open.”
If young people have specific questions about transition Linda and Suleika refer them to a partner organization. “Many organizations in Almere recognize the importance of this and want to work together. They may then visit us, to tell us more about a particular subject. We may also link young people together. Someone who has just started going into transition can benefit a lot from the experiences of someone who has already made more progress in this area. Young people actually work best among each other. If they need other questions or support, we are there for them.”
The walk-in evening for open minded and LGBT youth is every Wednesday from 19:00 to 21:00. The location is only known to youngsters who register in advance with Suleika El Mhassani (firstname.lastname@example.org/06-43106797) or Linda de Vries (email@example.com/06-34213097).
Oostvaardersplassen sets political market agenda (page 7)
By Marcel Beijer
ALMERE – The first real Political Market of the new municipal council was to a large extent dominated by the issue of the Oostvaardersplassen. Plans to transform this nature reserve into the Nieuw Land National Park were discussed, though the issue of malnutrition among the large herbivores was also raised.
Most attention went, indeed, to the agenda item placed by the PVV (freedom) political party. The party wants the municipal council to urge the province and Bosbeheer (national parks) to prevent further animal suffering in the Oostvaardersplassen. Six contributors, also from outside Almere, seized the opportunity to express their dissatisfaction with the situation in the Oostvaardersplassen. Alderman Frits Huis said he was concerned about the suffering of the animals, but could not satisfy the concerns of the PVV or the speakers from the floor. “The responsibility for the Oostvaardersplassen lies with the province and Staatsbosbeheer. Almere has no say in this matter. You might just as well have spoken to the municipalities of Aalsmeer, or Maarssen.
The Partij voor de Dieren (animals), ChristenUnie and PvdA (labor) accused the PVV of wanting to score political points on the issue of Oostvaardersplassen “A few years ago we had the opportunity to connect the area with other nature reserves in the country”, said Leonie Vestering (PvdD) and Leida Höhle (PvdA), but then the PVV voted against that. Is the PVV prepared to remove the fences around the Oostvaardersplassen?
“Those fences can stay”, PVV council member Chris Jansen responded. You can also stabilize the number of large herbivores at 1000 animals, for example. We simply want Almere to give its opinion on this matter. The PVV will put the motion to the vote next week. It does not look like the motion will get a majority. Most parties would like to await the report of the Van Geel Commission. On 25 April this commission will issue an opinion on the future management of the Oostvaardersplassen.
Earlier in the evening there was talk of the transformation of the Oostvaardersplassen into Nieuw Land National Park. The area must be made more attractive so as to attract between 250 000 and 500 000 tourists each year. In Almere an attractive entrance to the area near the Grote Vaartweg, which now has the working name ‘Almeerse Poort’, must then be created. However, this name will probably fall away. Councilor Mark de Kuster (VVD) indicated that it could lead to confusion with the Almere Poort district among tourists. Alderman Frits Huis agreed. “Maybe we should organize a competition for a better name”, he suggested. Most of the parties seemed to agree with the development of the area. Leonie Vestering (Partij voor de Dieren) did, however, express her dissatisfaction with the fact that the nature reserve is being commercialized. “Why is it necessary to make money from vulnerable nature. We should rather focus on the welfare of the animals before we start commercializing the park.”
The municipality will invest 9 million euros in the new access area, with 4.1 million euros coming from Staatsbosbeheer. The municipal council will shortly be discussing this in further detail.
The roughly 200 activists who once again demonstrated on Sunday afternoon against the management of the Oostvaardersplassen remained peaceful. Initially, there was a threat to remove a number of animals from the area with trailers, but that did not happen.
A cross was placed at the provincial council’s offices in Lelystad, in memory of the animals who had died in the area. A number of demonstrators managed to place white crosses and a coffin in the area. These were immediately removed by Staatsbosbeheer (national parks). There was no need for the police to take action. However, motorcycle police did provide assistance when a funeral procession of cars drove slowly along the A6 motorway. Roadblocks had been placed around the area to prevent the demonstrators from actually driving trailers into the area.
Six speakers, some from outside Almere, seized the opportunity to address a meeting on Thursday to express their dissatisfaction with the situation in the Oostvaardersplassen.
Jan Dirk Pruim, Almere Municipal Clerk
‘The sum of minorities is a majority: that is democracy.’ (page 9)
By Robert Mienstra
ALMERE – During council meetings Jan Dirk Pruim always sits next to the chair, mayor Franc Weerwind. This makes him visible. Furthermore, he often acts behind the scenes in the town hall. “I make sure that the ballroom is in order, that the music and the dance cards are arranged, so that the dancing can take place,” says Pruim, explaining the nature of his role. In other words, thanks to his work as the clerk, the board and the municipal council can do a good job.
“Perhaps that’s stating it a bit strongly”, the modest clerk shakes his head. “But it is true that I try to streamline everything for the town council as much as possible.” The members of the Council regard Pruim almost as a confidant. “They do often come to me when they need advice, or someone to talk to. They elaborate on things, want to know if they have written a motion properly. I can see whether everything is according to the rules, but I can also provide them with information they have not yet thought of. I often bring them into contact with civil society organizations, from which they can learn a lot.”
Since taking up his duties in 2002, the Almere town clerk has been able to give his own interpretation of his profession. In other cities, the clerk merely produces meeting minutes. In Almere, the clerk is much more than a secretary to a meeting. He is also mentor and mainstay.
Now that the new municipal council has been installed, a busy time faces the clerk. “New councilors must learn how to write and submit a motion. Which is where I can help them. They need to get to know the road in town hall and then do a good job.” A pitfall for the new councilors is that they sometimes think ‘now we are going to do everything completely differently’. That’s fine”, Plum says, “but it’s indeed a pitfall. Council members do politics alongside their work and family life. There are limits to this. The municipality (politics) is actually a supertanker that you can only turn gradually. You can’t suddenly do a u-turn with a tanker. I point this out to the councilors. And I also remind myself that I work for people who do this part time”.
The clerk believes strongly in democracy. “But democracy is never perfect. It is an organic process. A perfect democracy would be a dictatorship of democracy.” Pruim emphasizes the importance of listening carefully to each other. “The essence is that a majority is always the sum of minorities. This means that we have to govern the city together. You should never be steered by a minority. I cannot emphasize this enough. There must be cooperation between the parties.”
The Dutch word ‘griffier’ (clerk) is derived from the Greek word ‘graphein’ which means ‘writing’. Pruim is also literally a writer. He has published a book titled ‘Hoe en wat voor de raadslid’ (a how-to for councilors). “I wrote this in practice for interested citizens, for starting members of councils, but also for experienced ones. It’s a book to be used in political work, but also a book to be used in discussions about the future of (local) democracy,” says Pruim. In 2010 the first edition appeared, and in 2018 the second, revised, edition.
Pruim is also known in politics in the Netherlands for his blog www.pruimpraat.nl. “I do indeed like to write” says Pruim. “I publish observations and thoughts about the current state of local politics in my blog.”.
Jan Dirk Pruim is also known as the conscience of local democracy. “Well,” he reacts shaking his head, “that’s saying a lot”. After a little thought he adds, “Well, maybe it’s a little bit like that”.
Electric city buses fit green and healthy city (page 12)
ALMERE – The City of Almere has recently taken a trip in allGo’s 100 percent electric city bus. Alderman Tjeerd Herrema: “We are pleased that electric city buses are now also being used here, because it fits in with our ambition to be a green and healthy city. And this special Growing Green Cities bus is a fun element in the run-up to the Floriade in 2022.”
The Growing Green Cities bus is used on line M7. This bus carries a mobile message for Almere and its visitors: the Floriade is coming – and we are going to live increasingly sustainable lives. “This mobile advertising is extremely suitable for reaching people in Almere and helps them think about and work on the development of Almere as a green and healthy city. The bus focuses attention on greener thinking and on the important themes surrounding the coming Floriade”, says allGo.
One of the seven electric buses in Almere looks different. The municipality gave permission for a bus with a different design. The city of Almere took care of the design, while Keolis Nederland implemented it. The idea for a bus with a sustainable theme stems from an offer made by Keolis Nederland (which provides bus transport in Almere under the allGo brand) during the public tender.
Help fight giant hogweed
VROEGE VOGELBOS – Sheep are being used to combat giant hogweed In the Vroege Vogelbos. But where sheep cannot go, help is needed. So volunteers will join the battle on Thursday April 19th, from 6pm to 9pm.
The City & Nature sheep herd loves giant hogweed. If the sheep eat the leaves and stems before the plant has blossomed, this limits the weed’s proliferation.
The objective is to cut down each giant hogweed two to three times throughout the Vroege Vogelbos, to prevent it from blossoming. Here and there the plant is removed with its roots. This requires many helping hands, so your neighbors and family are also welcome!
Volunteers are asked to register via the website of Stad & Natuur, to ensure enough equipment is available. The giant hogweed battle is fought on Thursday evenings, on 19 April, 17 May, 21 June and 19 July, between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. The evenings will be supervised by ‘Landschapsbeheer Flevoland’, commissioned by Stad & Natuur. Guidance, equipment, gloves, coffee and tea will be provided.
To register and for more information: www.stadennatuur.nl.
Almere Kaylee (15) in The Voice Kids final (page 27)
ALMERE – Next Friday Almere’s Kaylee Landegent (15) will be featured in the final of The Voice Kids, the talent contest for children aged 8 to 15 that is held every Friday evening at 8.30 pm on RTL 4.
Kaylee attends the Arte College (class 4, vmbo) and is very interested in news. She regularly helps out this newspaper. But the young Almere girl also has a golden voice – without a doubt! It’s been a process for Kaylee on her way to the final. The show consists of several phases: a production audition and the all-important ‘blind auditions’, where four jury members (Marco Borsato, Ilse deLange, Douwe Bob and Ali B) form teams on the basis of the voices they hear. Kaylee sang Faith Hill’s song ‘There you’ll be’ and won over all the jury members. She chose Douwe Bob’s team.
During the ‘battles’, each coach links three talents who have to battle against each other by singing a song chosen by their coach. Only one talented singer can survive each battle. The coach decides who that will be. In the battle broadcast on 30 March Kaylee won the sing-off, singing Sam Smith’s song, ‘Too good at Goodbyes’.
During the sing off on 13 April, all candidates had to sing a song from the audition. Only one act is chosen, per team, to go to the finals. Kaylee competed against the other three battle winners in Team Douwe Bob and the young Almere girl was again the best. Douwe Bob chose Kaylee to represent his team at The Voice Kids Live Finale next Friday.
In the final the talents sing songs chosen in consultation with their coach. The winner of The Voice Kids 2018 will be elected by the home TV audience, using televoting.
Bright ideas hub’ will generate interest in science and technology. (page 29)
ALMERE – Shell and Stad&Natuur Almere are joining forces to introduce primary school pupils from the region to science and technology in a fun way. The official opening of the ‘bright ideas hub’ took place last Wednesday
From 2020 onwards, science and technology will become compulsory subjects in Dutch primary school education. To support schools in this, Shell and its partners have worked with teachers and students to develop the Bright Ideas Challenge. This will challenge students to find solutions to global challenges in the fields of energy, water and food.
By participating in the challenge, which consists of an online teaching package and a class visit to the hub, young people will come into contact with science and technology in an interactive and investigative way. This will help them discover that they can come up with all kinds of smart ideas themselves – ideas that could make a positive contribution to their own – and everyone’s – future.
Schools from all over the Netherlands can participate until the end of April. Then a jury of experts will select the three best ideas nationally and will award the prize at the Generation Discover Festival in The Hague, in October.
Up to 20 April nearly 700 primary school pupils from the region will visit the hub and Het Klokhuis. Curious about this futuristic dome? During school hours the hub is reserved for school classes, but outside these times all visitors are welcome.
Register via brightideas.generationdiscover.nl.
Aeres University of Applied Sciences signs collaboration with Chinese university (page 33)
CITY CENTER- Aeres University of Applied Sciences will collaborate with the Chinese Zhongkai University in the field of research and education. Both universities have committed to this in a letter of intent, signed in Guangzhou last week. This happened during a trade mission organized by the Dutch government.
Zhongkai University and Aeres University of Applied Sciences are both knowledge institutions with a strong specialization in green education. Both universities also have a wide range of collaborative topics in mind, which they will now explore and further develop. The schools will exchange students and staff and implement joint educational programs.
Note: All of the above articles were originally written in Dutch and published by “Almere Deze Week”, edition April 18, 2018. They were translated for International Almere by Courtesie International Business Affairs www.courtesie.nl