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Amsterdam unveils new coalition, with focus on equal opportunities

Rutger Groot Wassink, Reinier van Dantzig and Marjolein Moorman at the presentation. Photo: Dingena Mol ANP

Amsterdam’s new coalition administration was formally unveiled on Wednesday morning, pledging to focus on equal opportunities, a sustainable future and responsible growth.

Three parties – the PvdA, GroenLinks and D66 – have agreed to join forces for a second period in office, with a management board made up of six women and three men.

‘Amsterdam is facing difficult years ahead in terms of society and its finances,’ the three parties said in a joint statement. ‘The room to manoeuvre is very tight and we have to make choices.’

Among the policy measures unveiled on Wednesday morning were a commitment to invest €60m in shoring up disadvantaged parts of Noord, Nieuw-West and Zuidoost,  a decision to build a massive new library complex in Zuidoost rather than in the Zuidas financial district, and a €32 million offensive to improve home insulation.

Prestige projects, such as a cycle bridge over the IJ waterway and expanding the metro system past Zuidas, could be under threat, however. First the city’s new finance chief Hester van Buren will hold talks with national government in an effort to find out what could be centrally funded after 2026, when the swingeing cuts in local authority spending are due.

Taxes

The plans include an increase in property taxes, but as yet it is unclear by how much. ‘Amsterdam’s property taxes are well below the average in the Netherlands and we are bringing them into line with the other big cities,’ PvdA leader and education chief Marjolein Moorman said.

The charge for waste disposal will be reduced slightly and paid parking will be brought in on Saturday in Buitenveldert and 24 hours a day in the city centre.

Tourist taxes will not go up unless the city faces a real shortfall in cash and the administration remains opposed to the mayor’s wish to ban non-residents from the city’s cannabis cafes.

‘It is an illusion to think that we in Amsterdam can deal with international drugs crime alone,’ said GroenLinks leader Rutger Groot Wassink.

Housing

The previous administration’s target of building 7,500 new houses a year remains intact, of which 40% will be reserved for people on the lowest incomes.

Temporary housing and prefab building will form part of the mix and priority will be given to locals in some new development projects.

‘Housing must benefit the entire city,’ said D66 leader Reinier van Dantzig, who will take over the housing portfolio. He hopes that reducing red tape will encourage more developers to invest in new developments.

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