On 4 December, Jozias van Aartsen will become the new acting mayor of Amsterdam. King’s Commissioner Johan Remkes made the appointment on 2 November in consultation with the city council. As deputy mayor, Alderperson Kajsa Ollongren took over the mayor’s duties after the death of Mayor Eberhard van der Laan on 5 October. At the end of October, Ms Ollongren left for The Hague to take up the post of Minister of the Interior, and Alderperson Eric van der Burg took office as deputy mayor.
“I have total confidence in Jozias van Aartsen as acting mayor,” Mr Van der Burg says. “I know him as a firm decision-maker who listens well. The College of Mayor and Alderpersons very much appreciates that he is prepared to govern our city for the coming period. This is a serious and exceptional responsibility. His wide experience gives me and my colleagues confidence that Van Aartsen is the right person for the job.”
The King’s Commissioner, who heads the provincial government, appoints an acting mayor if it is known in advance that a municipality is to be without a mayor for longer than three months. Johan Remkes, King’s Commissioner for the province of Noord-Holland, has discussed the situation on several occasions with the party leaders in Amsterdam’s city council. Partly with a view to the upcoming municipal elections, they favoured an acting mayor from outside the Amsterdam political arena. They also expressed a preference for a person who has experience in local government in one of the Netherlands’ four largest cities, and who has previously held responsibility for public order and security.
The acting mayor will remain in the post until the new mayor takes office, which is expected to take place before the start of the council’s 2018 summer recess. After the municipal elections, the new council will set out its preferences for the profile of a new mayor of Amsterdam.
Jozias van Aartsen has been the acting King’s Commissioner for the province of Drenthe since April this year. Previously he was mayor of The Hague (2008-2017). He has served as Minister of Foreign Affairs (1998-2002) and Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries (1994-1998). He was a member of parliament (2002-2006 and 1998) and secretary-general of the Ministry of the Interior (1985-1994). Mr Van Aartsen is 69 years old, and a member of the VVD party.