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11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

8/2 Mayor’s portrait

8/2 Websites for social cohesion

7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

7/2 GroenLinks on districts: Be a man

6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

2/2 Johnnie Walker avoids taxes in Amsterdam

1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

31/1 ZeeburgTV launched

27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

27/1 Chrisis in de Baarsjes

26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

23/1 District office not squatted

21/1 Merge districts

20/1 Closing squat bar Vrankrijk not necessary

20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘Citizens do not understand Top City’

28 November 2006 – Businesses in Amsterdam support Alderman Lodewijk Asscher’s ambition to turn Amsterdam into a ‘Top City’. This became clear yesterday night, at the Fall Congress of the Amsterdam Medium to Small Business Organisation (MKB Amsterdam). However, citizens must be told about the plan.

The fact that Amsterdam is now governed by Social-Democrats and the Green Party has not harmed the city’s relationship with the business community, MKB director Kees Verhoeven indicated. Asscher wants to develop Amsterdam as a creative knowledge city that can compete with successful cities such as Barcelona and Stockholm.

Pieter Tordoir, Professor of Regional Economics and director of the Chamber of Commerce, argued to include the region in Amsterdam’s development. The city should become a metropolis with 2 million inhabitants, which according to him is an optimal size for a world city.

Tordoir sees Amsterdam, Haarlemmermeer and Almere - the most dynamic area in terms of economic growth and construction - as the engine that should spur the development of this metropolis. Eventually, the entire northern part of the Randstad area should become part of the new metropolis.

According to Tordoir, there is broad consensus among decision makers and experts on this vision of how Amsterdam should develop. Only the citizens ‘in fact know nothing about it yet’. That is why citizens protested against the construction of a new motorway between Almere and Amsterdam, through a nature reserve.

Citizens are not aware of the broader significance of this connection for Amsterdam’s development as a metropolis, Tordoir said. “They only think of nature, because they do not get the broader context”.

MKB Amsterdam’s chair, Ferry Houterman, is also concerned about citizens who fail to see the broader picture. As an example, he cited the Rai Convention Centre. It is understandable that neighbourhood residents are concerned about its impact on their living environment, he said, but the Rai’s economic benefits for the entire city should not be overlooked.

There is a risk that citizens’ concerns overshadow business interests, Houterman said. This danger is specifically present at the district level, with its politicians who are close to the citizens and who have to be re-elected every four years.

Alderman Achmed Baadoud of the Osdorp District responded by saying that districts are very well capable of contributing to the entire city’s development. As an example, he cited Osdorp’s active involvement in the cargo tram pilot.

Houterman said that he does not want the districts to be abolished. He finds that administrators such as Elvira Sweet (Zuidoost) and Anne Lize van der Stoel (Centrum) are very collaborative when it regards issues such as crime prevention. However, the number of districts should be reduced to ten, and they should become less powerful.


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