Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands, since 2009
World Mayor Nominations 2021
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Mayor of Rotterdam (Netherlands)
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Nominated by Margje O, Rotterdam:
It is my privilege to put forward our mayor Mr. Aboutaleb as my favorite world mayor.
I never thought that it was possible to have a combination of sincerity, political professionalism, wisdom, and true interest and care for citizens combined.
He dares to speak up when needed. Yet he knows and applies law flawlessly. He is still humble and very approachable. Even in our little (sub) area of Carnisse* (Charlois, one of the poorest in Holland), as he addressed people's video questions in one take personally, without hesitation, on-topic well informed, and caring.
He cannot be fooled nor tricked into idleness. And he is courageous in bringing forward unwanted messages (non populist) such as equal rights, gender issues, extra measurements against Corona, handling hooligans.
Above all you can sense he has a deep knowledge of and respect for the arts and culture. Long term vision (also considering the environmental challenges and education) is portrayed in the way this city keeps renewing and growing.
He makes me proud to be a Rotterdammer, and I feel safe and well heard under his care.
Nominated by Anton N., Netherlands:
Ahmed Aboutaleb (of Moroccan descent) He has the most difficult city in Europe: Rotterdam. People from all over the world come to his city. And now 175 different nationalities already live there. Only half of the population was born in Rotterdam.
Ahmed Aboutaleb is an honest mayor, fair and transparent in all its decision-making, for the rich as well as for the poor. The large port gives him extra money to invest in housing for poor people. And on the other hand in art and architecture.
He is very clear how far external influences can go. Such as, for example
the Turkish president and ministers want to control their own population abroad, but Ahmed Aboutaleb never allowed this and always returned it in the same way as they came. He respects the Dutch constitution and expects the same from all residents and their visitors regardless of their status. And that is why he also deserves our respect, because only then can you connect people positively.
He is the best mayor Rotterdam knows and has ever known. I myself used to live in Rotterdam, but now Arnhem is my home, and we also have a mayor of Moroccan descent there, Ahmed Marcouch, also nominated for 2021 World Mayor. He is certainly good for Arnhem, but in his directness can still learn something from Aboutaleb. They talk a lot about the identical problems of both cities, such as racism, offering the youth in the poor neighborhoods a perspective for the future, and giving them something to do that will give these young people confidence and see that their efforts are appreciated by the neighbors in their neighborhood, and their city.
Nominated by Ineke de J., Rotterdam:
Mayor Aboutaleb has been a great support for us, Rotterdammers, throughout the whole pandemic. He wants to stand up for the middle class and vulnerable groups of people. Cause obviously there are a lot of them in a big city. He takes up the debate with the government to achieve goals. The mayor is not afraid to take on a public debate and to let everyone hear how he thinks about certain events in society. Like how he was sending a message to the parents of the youth that made riots a few weeks ago or how he has spoken in the past to victims of terror in different parts of the world.
His vision is very much based on empowering the youngsters so that they can build the future. He is investing in education and starter jobs. He is representing a wide variety of people that live in our city and therefore he has become an important figure, also outside our beautiful city.
Nominated by Cora van R., Rotterdam:
Mijn wereld burgemeester is Ahmed Aboutaleb van Rotterdam. Hij is het beste wat Rotterdam overkomen is. Hij is er voor iedereen en tijdens covid-19 is hij het gezicht geworden op televisie. Hij is eerlijk en steekt zijn kijk en mening niet onder stoelen of banken. Ik ben zelf Rotterdamse in hart en nieren en toen bekend wer dat hij burgemeester werd was ik fel tegen. Hoezo een Marokkaan uit Amsterdam in mijn Rotterdam? Nu zoveel jaar later ga ik door t vuur voor hem en ben ik de 1ste die zeg.... Wat een geweldige burgemeester ,wat een geweldige Rotterdammer, wat een geweldige leider. Hoe hij Rotterdammers door de corona crisis leid en met de mensen gaat praten en vooral naar de mensen luister. Hij geeft de mensen hoop en staat pal achter de mensen. Hij verdient het om wereld burgemeester te worden, zolang ze hem maar niet uit Rotterdam weg halen..
Nominated by Annette, Netherlands:
Ahmed Aboutaleb is for me the mayor of the world as he is a mayor who is always in contact with the citizens of his city. In good, but also in bad times he is the one who is there; he comforts but he also scolds his citizens for not behaving well.
During the last riots due to the curfew in the corona pandemic he was the one who in public blamed the youngsters for their misbehaviour and he blamed their parents for not having watched their children. He did so in a way that you really felt that he was the father of the city. And he does so already for more than 12 years.
I do not live in the city of Rotterdam but in Groningen, which is about 150 kilometres up north, but I think Aboutaleb is the best mayor of The Netherlands and thus the best mayor of the world.
Nominated by Roger van H., Rotterdam:
As a fan of good mayors we can highly recommend Ahmed Aboutaleb.
He is very personal, open-harted and enthousiastic about how to act, how to arrange long term commitment and how to response to some idiotic bahaviour.
In a video he addresses the people that after the evening clock had plundered shops in Rotterdam, it went viral and it is just one example of the very nice and low profile way of how to address the idiotic behavior that some people have in the current pandemic.
But also his role in the security circle and his enormous energy to keep correcting people, even if he has Corona himself. Always there, always driven, always recpectful and adressen the real point.
I hope you have some duthc people around you, but he is addressing the criminals, the parents and foremost, all the people. I sincerely hope that we have a good chance as a very small country, but this is one of the best!
Nominated by Karin van W., Rotterdam:
No need for an extended supportmail by me, since a lot of people allready explained it very well at your website, why mr. Aboutaleb is a very good mayor (he is part of the community and a leader as well, that unique combination makes him in my opinion very special). So I simply support the other positive comments. Good luck and #staysafe.
Nominated by Irma H., Rotterdam:
My vote goes to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. He is a mayor who listens to the people. On a regular basis he visits a program at the radio station RTV-Rijnmond. Everybody can call the station and talk with the mayor. You also can send him emails.
Also with problems in the city during the start of the curfew (because of corona). He spokes in a video message to the rioters and their parents. A great thing is that his roots are from Morocco. In Rotterdam there are many nationalities and it's great that someone, not with dutch roots, is the mayor. He understands people from other countries better.
In short, he is a people person. I hope he will stay in Rotterdam for a long time.
Nominated by Laura van Z., Rotterdam:
Ahmed Aboutaleb, burgermeester van ons Rotterdam, is een zeer uitzonderlijke man. De man lijkt een geboren Rotterdammer, die met hart en ziel waakt over de stad. Zijn betrokkenheid bij alles wat de stad biedt is zoooooooooooooooo groot, overweldigend. Overal laat hij zich zien, loopt tussen "zijn" mensen, luistert naar ze. Deze man verdient de eretitel van: WORLD MAYOR 2021
Zelf woon ik als geboren Rotterdamse in deze door een geweldige burgemeester geleide stad. Hoop vurig dat mijn wens uit komt!!!!!!
Nominated by René D., Rotterdam:
Mayor Aboutaleb plays an important role in the Rotterdam society. He is building bridges in our city between people, between different interests and values, between cultures and religions and between the more hard skills and the more soft skills. All necessary for the development and well being in this beautiful city.
Needless to say is that mayor Aboutaleb himself consists of all kinds of different backgrounds. He uses that to be a mayor for all Rotterdammers. Therefore I think he should be the next mayor of the world, also because it is Rotterdam where you will meet the world!
Nominated by Toos G., Rotterdam:
Ik stem op onze Rotterdamse burgemeester Ahmed Aboutaleb.
Hij is een met zijn bewoners. Hij staat klaar voor elke bevolkingsgroep, maar laat niet met zich sollen. Na de rellen op onder andere de Beijerlandselaan, gaf hij duidelijk aan daar niet van gediend te zijn. Ook de ouders van deze relschoppers werden via televisie flink toegesproken door onze burgemeester. En bij talkshows is hij terecht een graag geziene gast.
Gelukkig blijft hij nog steeds onze burgemeester. Rotterdam kan niet zonder hem. Daarom stem ik dus op hem.
Nominated by Eric G., Rotterdam:
Rotterdam heeft nog nooit zo’n goede burgermeester gehad. Staat voor de stad, ieder mens die er woont en staat voor verbetering. Tijdens de pandemie heeft hij niet alleen Corona lichamelijk overwonnen maar ook gevochten voor hoe het er landelijk en wereldwijd rondom dit onderwerp aan toe ging. Hij lijkt wel nooit te slapen en weet met de juiste toon zich tot mensen te keren. Ook tijdens de rellen in Rotterdam aan het begin van de avondklok wist hij op een juiste manier de Rotterdammers aan te spreken en duidelijk verandering in de mindset van alle rotterdammers te brengen. Hij vecht voor Rotterdam. En maakt het hier een veel mooiere plek. Veel politici mogen een voorbeeld van hem aannemen.
Nominated by Goan, Rotterdam:
Hereby I'd like to cast my vote for Aboutaleb, the mayor of Rotterdam. I'm Goan, 21 years old and recently started living in Rotterdam. Our mayor really feels like one of us, he remained so normal despite his godlike body. Additionally, we just had a snowstorm and our major sprinkled salt on the roads all by himself, just like the song by Celine Dion suggests. Lastly, he allows us to throw a pan filled with bami out of our windows.
Nominated by Martin O., Netherlands:
Al meer dan 10 jaar burgemeester zijn van de op één na grootste stad/gemeente van Nederland met niet alleen een enorme variatie aan inwoners, maar ook een stad met een buitengewoon belangrijke functie in Nederland, is geen eenvoudige opgave. Deze burgemeester slaagt er echter prima in. Is regelmatig een (school)voorbeeld voor velen. Hij kan goed uitleggen waarom hij welke keus heeft gemaakt en gaat daarover met iedereen het gesprek aan.
Nominated by AML, Rotterdam:
Ahmed Aboutaleb is a fantastic mayor, just elected for his third term! He is as a real father for his citizens. During the pandemic he often addressed the Rotterdam citizens and when there were riots after the lock down he addressed the youth that broke down the shops in a direct video presentation on site. He has a clear vision for Rotterdam as world harbour and represents the city very well all over the world. He also is a role model for people coming from abroad, making very clear that you have to study and work hard for your own good.
Nominated by Martha v. d. M., Rotterdam:
Ik vote for our super Mayor. Ahmed Aboutaleb!
He became one with Rotterdam and his inhabitants. He is! Rotterdam! and works day and night for our Town. He is on the streets and talks with people about everything. Abroad and in the Netherlands he fight for Rotterdam . Harbour, drugs, poor people. Everything you want. He was very ill and within 3 weeks he was working again. He deserves it to be the best Mayor in the world.
Nominated by Julia P., Rotterdam:
My name is Julia Pelealu and I am a true Rotterdammer. Born and raised in Rotterdam! I am of the opinion that Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb, better known as “Aboutaleb”, should be the winner among us because he makes Rotterdam bigger with heart and soul and shows understanding for all the problems that play a role in Rotterdam such as Racism, Poverty in certain neighborhoods. He is called sheriff.
Our Sherrif of Rotterdam and Rotterdam is the municipality with punch checks, boys with expensive cars driving through the street with noise and causing noisance in the city and nuisance students in the Kralingen district! The city that sent out a heavily armed arrest team in 2017 to deport an unwelcome Turkish minister.
The Netherlands is not a country of tough action, while it is sometimes really necessary. I am happy and very proud of our Mayor! He ensures that Covid 19 pandemic RIVM rules are properly implemented and enforced. Aboutaleb has a listening ear for the multicultural crowd that lives and lives in Rotterdam. He respects and brings different cultures and religions together, he makes Rotterdam! Aboutaleb can win this competition, I will always vote for him!
Nominated by J. F. K., Rotterdam:
Our mayor should win!
He is the best, he is strict, but humane and sincere. His Covid handling is correct and after some riots about the evening clock he spoke on television directly to the mostly young offenders and directed his humane words in such a way that he played on their concience and that certainly worked.
We were all thinking of him when he himself was struck by Covid 19 and all inhabitants of Rotterdam were relieved when he recovered. He is very much involved in the harbour of which we are all very proud and we support him where we can.
Nominated by Hans W., Rotterdam:
Hello, I recommend for Best Mayor of the World, Ahmed Aboutaleb, our Mayor in Action of our great city of ROTTERDAM. The city measures over 70 kilometers length on the shores of the River The Maas. Urban and industrial areas, we do have a large harbour and we are sister city's of the greatest harbour s in the world since we helped them out to become this big. We are a kind and helpful country.
He, Ahmed, he is the Mayor of 175 different nationalities, as multi culty we're. There are only little countries not present in our city, a melting pot.
He showed more empathy for his fellow citizens than ever shown before.
For a guy raised in Amsterdam, well, you know what it is to come from Amsterdam in these times? We do not want the let him go, he is the finest we ever had.
He arranged in the middle of the Pandemic more help for the citizens in need. For instance, for years on, Rotterdam is on a daily base working on the housing of the homeless, if you come to our city, there are none homeless.
He also has been infected by the Covid-19 illness. He does not spare himself, last year, and the city all ptayed for his well being.
He is our best Mayor ever since. He is the Mayer who send in the middle of the Covid-19 Pandemic a Christmas card to all citizens of Rotterdam.
HE IS ABSOLUTELY THE BEST, IN THE NETHERLANDS, IN EUROPE AND THE BEST MAYOR OF THE WORLD!!
And I do know, since I knew them all, I 'm born and raised in Rotterdam, he is a fine fine man, a family man.
Nominated by Noëlle van L., Netherlands:
I defenitely vote for the Mayer of Rotterdam to win the 2021 World Mayer Prize. During the COVID pandemic he was one of the Mayers who was honest, straight to the point, fijn but fair. Mayer Aboutaleb came first to talk with the affected hospitality industry and young people. He gives (and respects) everyones voice. He stood up to the rioters of the curfew and spook directly to them and there parents. As a municipality of Rotterdam, he also immediately came up with an emergency package for the affected retailers.
Outside the COVID-19 period Mayer Aboutaleb stands for freedom of expression and equality. He tries to bring cultures together and does everything he can to combat discrimination. That is the city of Rotterdam he believes in: equality in changes and doing it together.
Would love to see this Mayer win!
Nominated by Nina L., Rotterdam:
Herewith I like cast my vote for mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb to be recognized as the best Mayor of the world.
Ahmed Aboutaleb demonstrates every day that he cares about the city of Rotterdam and is the mayor of all its citizens. He is a true leader who clearly sets the standard on transparency and trustworthiness.
During 2020 until today his leadership is even more evident in the way he leads the city through the COVID 19 pandemic, he supports entrepreneurs and shop owners in these difficult times and calls for participation of all citizens of Rotterdam to take responsibility and to look after each other.
But why I find him truly exceptional is because he does not stay in his office in the Town Hall, but regularly walks around in the city. I personally often meet him in a park in the city centre called “Kralingse Bos”. He walks around as Ahmed Aboutaleb, not as Mayor of Rotterdam, he is humble, he does not attract attention to himself, and at the same time he is available for everyone, if you want to talk to him he is there. He is interested to hear what people have to stay and is clearly very proud of the city.
He also demonstrates that he is not afraid to remind people of their responsibility and more than often has made a personal, moral appeal to peoples conscience.
Ahmed Aboutaleb deserves to be recognized for being such an excellent mayor of Rotterdam for already nearly 12 years.
Nominated by Reshma N. B., Rotterdam:
Hi, I would like to vote for mayor Aboutaleb of Rotterdam: he is the best mayor to me!
I’m a coloured woman (of surinamese-indian descent) and born and raised in Rotterdam. I have always loved my city. Even if it wasn’t on the good lists like it is now.
Since Mayor Aboutaleb, with his Moroccan and Muslim background, became our mayor twelve years ago it feels even better to live here. He represents all people in our city, also the people of colour and of foreign background. But he can also be very strict when there are problems. He is a great role model for our youth. And as a policy advisor for public safety for the city of Rotterdam it is also a privilege to work for this mayor.
Nominated by Michael van B., Rotterdam:
Hello World Mayor,
Mayor Aboutaleb is my best Mayor in the World. He is reachable and always visible for the people of Rotterdam.
Honest and not afraid to give is opinion. Down to earth and wakes over Rotterdam and it citizens as he was a father to them. Growth in education, wealth and socially for the people and not solely for the purpose of the economy.
Nominated by Fred M., Rotterdam:
Ahmed Aboutaleb is een burgemeester voor alle Rotterdammers. Dat bewijst hij keer op keer, nu al meer dan twaalf jaar.
Ahmed Aboutaleb bestuurt de stad samen met de wethouders en de gemeenteraad met verve. Hij biedt inwoners perspectief, niet door loze beloftes, maar door hen uit te dagen. Door die uitdaging komen mensen zelf met oplossingen voor hun eigen situatie en zo nodig helpt hij hen daarbij. Soms door te verwijzen naar bestaande instanties, maar ook in rechtstreeks contact. Ook zoekt hij zijn werkplek dichtbij de mensen waar de problemen zijn. Hij werkt nu een dag in de week in de wijk Carnisse om de drempel met de Rotterdammers daar zo laag mogelijk te maken.
Landelijk vertegenwoordigt hij de stad met al zijn inwoners op een uitstekende wijze. Ook internationaal staat hij voor Rotterdam. Niet alleen tijdens handelsmissies, maar ook bij de bestrijding van drugs (via de haven) en terrorisme en ander onrecht. Door zijn bestuursstijl zet Rotterdam elke dag weer een stap in de toekomst, voor een stad waarin het goed leven en werken is.
Met aandacht voor woningbouw, werk en levendige activiteiten voor alle Rotterdammers. Zo wordt Rotterdam niet voor Manhattan aan de Maas genoemd als het gaat om bouwprojecten, wordt een aantrekkelijk vestigingsklimaat gecreëerd en biedt Rotterdam onder leiding van Aboutaleb onderdak aan nationale en internationale evenementen. Een actueel voorbeeld is de Eurovision Songcontest.
Tijdens de pandemie, waarin hij zelf slachtoffer is geweest van het coronavirus, staat Aboutaleb vierkant achter de Rotterdammers, expats en andere inwoners van Rotterdam voor een leefbare en veilige stad. Hij schuwt de discussie met het kabinet niet waar het gaat om de coronamaatregelen. Hij heeft een goed inzicht over de haalbaarheid en noodzakelijkheid van (eventuele) maatregelen. Dat draagt hij ook uit op landelijke podia zoals bijvoorbeeld nationale televisie. Hij gaat experimenten om tot een beter beleid voor de Rotterdammer en het land te komen beslist niet uit de weg. Eenmaal vastgestelde coronamaatregelen voert hij loyaal uit. Handhaving heeft hij hoog in het vaandel staan. Echter niet als doel maar als een middel achter de hand als het met praten echt niet meer lukt. Indien noodzakelijk schuwt hij hard optreden evenmin en hij steunt de politie en stadswachten bij hun optreden. Hij put zijn energie en gevoel vaak uit samenbindende poëzie dat geeft ook rust.
Kortom, Ahmed Aboutaleb is een burgemeester met uitstekende kwaliteiten als bestuurde en innovator, bovendien is hij als leider loyaal aan Rotterdam en de Rotterdammers. Hij weet bij een crisis zoals de Covid- pandemie de kalmte te bewaren en tegelijk adequaat leiding te geven met oog voor de individuele burger en het bedrijfsleven in de stad.
Nominated by Michel R., Rotterdam:
My vote as a born Rotterdammer goes to Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb. Someone described Ahmed Aboutaleb like this, and I couldn't put this better into words! totally agree!
Mayor of Rotterdam the Netherlands Ahmed Aboutaleb has been serving the city since 2009 and partly due to his efforts Rotterdam has increased its national and international profile immensely. I have always admired him as a leader who keeps his cool when things get heated. A mayor who puts people before politics and dares to show his philosophical disposition. A mayor who is confrontational when needed, but inclusive in his decision-making.
Nominated by Nettie van B., Rotterdam:
I vote for mister Ahmed Aboutaleb to be the best mayor of the world.
Recently he started his third term as mayor of Rotterdam. He is the best mayor we ever had. He is a very kind person and he reacts very calm but firm in difficult situations. He knows just to say the right words to people who ignore Covid measures and that’s what many people admire him for.
People listen to him and he listens to them always.
Nominated by Lars C., Rotterdam:
I would like to send my support for mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb as worlds' best Mayor. There are many reasons, but as an entrepreneur in the second largest city of the Netherlands, these stand out for me:
1. Aboutaleb supports and drives a clear strategy on accelerating the transition to a new, green economy.
Over the past 100 years, the port of Rotterdam was the driving force of the old economy and productivity while it is obvious that the future lies in a new economy that is circular, energy neutral and inclusive. From the moment he became our Mayor, Aboutaleb has been driving the larger systemic challenge of transforming the city in to a resilient, carbon neutral, zero waste inclusive and resilient city.
2. Aboutaleb is a true father of the people, capable of uniting a city with 170+ cultures, while decreasing the unemployment rate.
Coming from a Moroccan migration background, he tackles uncomfortable debates on integration head first with zero tolerance for extremism. One of the striking examples of his leadership is staying firm on the decision to bar Turkish Minister, as her visit was part of a political campaign.
3. Aboutaleb shows tangible results and changes in line with the larger transition agenda.
His direct approach to COVID is a bold and forward. He was the first Mayor in the Netherlands to experiment with mouth masks in shopping areas and has supported forward looking experiments that help entrepreneurs and venues learn how to control spreading. Already before COVID, he has been supporting initiatives to create green zones aka "Green Lungs" in the city; opening up the city for experimental zones like a floating farm; being the first city in the Netherlands to ban fireworks and replace it with drones, investing in an energy transition fund etc etc.
4. Aboutaleb is accessible and visible.
His direct and visible influence to the public, using personal and genuine video's. Such as the way he directly addressed criminals (and their parents) after the COVID protests and plundering at a shopping street.
Aboutaleb is the personification of the slogan of our city: Rotterdam. Make It Happen. I wish you all the best in making a decision.
Nominated by S. van der S., Rotterdam:
Beste lezer: Ik vind dat burgemeester Ahmed Aboutaleb de beste burgemeester ter wereld is en die kwalificatie ook wereldwijd moet krijgen.
In lastige tijden met terroristische aanslagen op diverse plekken in de wereld maar ook bij gebeurtenissen in Nederland en in Rotterdam treedt hij adequaat op. Burgemeester Aboutaleb durft burgers met hun gedrag te confronteren en praat gebeurtenissen niet mooi of politiek correct goed. Twaalf jaar geleden had ik als inwoner van Rotterdam twijfels bij zijn benoeming maar ik heb ongelijk gekregen en daar ben ik heel blij mee. Onze ingewikkelde stad verdient burgemeester Aboutaleb en hij verdient de prijs.
Nominated by A. F., Rotterdam:
Ahmed Aboutaleb: Diplomatiek. Goed voorbereid. Bereikbaar. Betrokken. Tomeloze inzet. Hij levert wat hij belooft. Het zijn niet de minste eigenschappen die hem na tien jaar burgemeesterschap toegedicht worden door sleutelfiguren in de stad.
Aboutaleb is verder als 'een burgemeester van de oude stempel'. Het markeert hem dat hij zich sterk bewust is van het ambt van burgemeester en zich daarnaar gedraagt. Als ik hem zie, zie ik altijd een burgemeester. Hij ís de autoriteit, met een tikje gereserveerdheid. Dat straalt hij uit, dat zit in hem.
Een zeer toegankelijk persoon in het openbaar wanneer je hem tegenkomt bij een bijeenkomst of concert oid, altijd tijd voor een praatje.
Kortweg: Burgervader voor alle, maar dan ook alle Rotterdammers ongeacht afkomst, rangen, standen, religie etc. Een krachtige leider voor een stad als Rotterdam met een grote liefde voor de stad en haar geschiedenis (met name het bombardement in WO II) levend houdt voor het nageslacht. Wij boffen als Rotterdammers met een man als Ahmed!
Nominated by Mark P. van V., Rotterdam:
I hereby cast my vote for Ahmed Aboutaleb, the Mayor of Rotterdam for World Mayor 2021.
As a citizen of Rotterdam, I, and many of my co-citizens admire mayor Aboutaleb for his fortitude in not just this, but recent years, and he has just started his third term, because 'his work is not yet done'.
Mayor Aboutaleb came to the Netherlands as a young boy from Morocco, but is a better Dutchman than most of us. He is a member of the Dutch Labour Party (PvDA), but as Mayor has moved beyond party lines, and is a mayor to us all.
He is not afraid to take hard or unpopular decisions in the face of injustice, and has recently called out rioters on National TV by calling them 'scumbags that destroy our city, that we worked so hard to build', to name but one example. He cares about the city and its people, and he is a gifted speaker.
Nominated by Diane D., Rotterdam:
I live in Rotterdam, and in my view Mr Aboutaleb should be nominated Best World Mayor, because:
1. He connects people from all backgrounds and level with his open communication.
2. He is willing to be firm when need be, no matter what, he always has focus for bigger picture in our lovely city of Rotterdam.
3. He combines his hard skills with soft skills, depending on situations.
Thank you for nominating him,
Nominated by Edo, Jesse, Leente and Qin d. R., Rotterdam:
We , the whole family, as local Rotterdamers & Dutch Chinese, we all wholeheartedly vote for mayor Aboutaleb!! As the world best mayor of 2021!
He is kind, integrate, diligent and committed! He is the Father of the city of his people. We love him so much.
Nominated by A. v.d. K., Rotterdam:
I want to vote for our mayor Mr. Aboutaleb of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is a kind man for everybody but especially for his citizens of Rotterdam.
When something happens in our city, I live in Rotterdam, no matter what, the other day he comes to the place where it happened and talks to the victims and say positive things to them, great and small people. People believes what he says to them because he means what he says and what he promise the people he does do it, if you understand what I mean.
He is already 8 years our mayor and a short time ago chosen for another
4 years. So the politics also believes in him. He is the ''father" of the Rotterdam citizens, I often read and hear. I hope he will be chosen as mayor of the world because he deserves it. Thank you for your attention.
Nominated by Jan-Pieter B., Rotterdam:
In Rotterdam we have over 150 nationalities, a true cosmopolitan and vibrant city for everybody. Mister Aboutaleb unites all those differences and - regardless of your own ethnical, religious or political background - he is your mayor. And I know as a 25+ years Rotterdam citizen, because we don’t share ethnical nor religious nor political background. The world would look much better of we would have more ‘Aboutalebs’.
Nominated by Sandra van D., Rotterdam:
Als inwoner van deze stad, als moeder van twee jonge kinderen in Delfshaven, als freelancer in de culturele sector ben ik dol op Aboutaleb. Zijn persoonlijkheid, zijn geweldige toespraken, zijn scherpe blik, en zijn humor in onder meer de raadsvergaderingen maken hem de beste burgemeester van de wereld. Dat weten we hier in Rotterdam natuurlijk al lang. En laten we eens niet bescheiden zijn en dat met de wereld gaan delen!
Nominated by Sam P., Netherlands:
Mr. Ahmed Aboutaleb is just a fantastic guy, and more!
Worked himself up as son of a Moroccan immigrant to this position. During this Covid pandemic he was the first one to close down streets where it became too busy to keep social distancing. This was after the first lockdown in the Netherlands, when the rules were a bit stretched. He is an important member of the so-called safety council, in which mainly mayors are representing their respective regions.
When, after our first curfew which started a few weeks ago, during two following nights there were hundreds of rioters (no protesters, just people who wanted looting, destruction of shops and fight with the police), he spoke directly to them and their parents in a television message. Mainly talking into their conscience, pride on themselves, etc. etc. This video went viral in the Netherlands. And..... after this message the rioting stopped immediately.
As a mayor he often goes, unplanned, into the quarters, to talk directly with the people who actually live there. Rotterdam counts 175 different nationalities so this variety is a challenging environment.
Furthermore he is a big fan of the energy transmission we have to go thru. No gas, no coal, but yes solar, yes wind turbines, yes earth warmth.
Some of his major points for the benefit of Rotterdam, but also beyond the borders of the city and the borders of the Netherlands. Plus also his vision of seven more years as mayor:
Last January he was officially pointed to his third and last period of mayor for Rotterdam. If he will serve this full third period, he will be, in 2027, the longest sitting mayor in the history of Rotterdam. Total period will then be from 2009 untill 2027. Trusting to have been of service for you.
Nominated by A. M. Rotterdam:
Kort gezegd: zijn toespraken zijn inspirerend, helder, met een boodschap en raakt je . Zie de toespraken ten tijde van Charlie Hebdo en nu weer na de rellen op de Beijerlandselaan in Rotterdam Zuid. Als trotse Rotterdammer, ben ik blij dat hij nog steeds, nu voor een derde periode, de functie van burgemeester mag en kan vervullen. En dan voor iemand die zijn roots niet in Nederland heeft liggen. De verbinder!! Een voorbeeld. Ga zo door en sterkte burgemeester.
Nominated by Jur van d. W., Netherlands:
Through this email I would like to endorse Ahmed Aboutaleb (“Abou”) as the winner of the World Mayor Prize 2021.
He has just started his third term as mayor of the largest port city in Europe: Rotterdam, which is very special.
Due to his leadership during the pandemic, the economic and social importance of the city has been maintained by being very transparent with its policies. The problems that COVID-19 posed, in the poor areas of the city, he visited these areas every week, despite growing problems on the agenda.
He supports the city as "No. 1 sports city" in the Netherlands.
The Eurovision Vision Song Contest will be held in Rotterdam in 2021, under his support.
Not only does he show up in good times. Even this year, when riots were being held (over the implementation of a curfew) by the very young, he took to the streets and video-confronted the riots with the damage they caused. He is very capable of inspiring people to continue in this long-lasting pandemic (now more than 1 year). Rotterdam is his city, but he would like to share it. Please reward him!!
Nominated by Sonja W., Rotterdam:
He is a very committed mayor.
Low threshold, easy to access
Very involved with the city
The interests of the city always come first.
He knows very well how to set his priorities.
A real leader and a real mayor for everyone
Is not afraid to give his unvarnished opinion. In case of problems, he always knows how to approach and treat people in such a way that everyone understands, regardless of origin or religion. It is so far the best mayor the city of Rotterdam has ever had. He always thinks and acts with a resolving ability.
During the Covid pandemic he played an important role in introducing and applying the imposed rules. He was also involved in the consultations of all mayors and our government.
Nominated by Marry V. F., Netherlands:
Ik ben een inwoner van Capelle a/d IJssel maar in hart en nieren en oprechte Rotterdamse. Geboren in de oorlog (1941 dus) toen nog IJsselmonde even later Rotterdam.
Ik stem op Burgemeester Aboutaleb want de toespraak die hij hield n.a.v. de vernielingen van de Beijerlandselaan en nog veel meer. Fantastisch hoe hij dat deed. Ik denk dat diegene die hij aansprak heel klein werden toen hij hen aansprak en daarna ook nog de ouders...... Geweldig. Ik stem van ganser harte op deze burgemeester en hoop dat hij nog lang mijn burgemeester zal
Nominated by Erna B., Rotterdam:
I would like to vote for mayor Aboutaleb because seversl reasens .
During the pandemic he has shown himself and his visionair to the people of Rotterdam but also to the government. He has the perfect balance between what we call the Mayor father and the mayor boss of rottetdam. He is clear in his oppinion that we have to bring offers to control the virus but he also shows that he is human en listens to the voice of his citizens.
During the January riots because of the evening clock he came on television and spoke directly to the rioters and their patents. He invites them to come to him en to talk with him.
Aboutaleb tries to be a mayor for all citizins, young, old , with or without work ed . He is active in the pandemic but also busy for the time after the pandemic so that his town Rotterdam can heal en make een future again. He speaks with shop owners and catering industry to understand what the need. He talks also with the government about how to heal our economy en how to help people with their personal losses. To me Aboutaleb is the world best mayor.
Nominated by Arianne v. d. W., Rotterdam
Mayor Aboutaleb stands among the people. And is the mayor of all ethnic groups in our beautiful city. I think a lot of people can identify with him. He is always visible when it is needed, in good times and in bad. He commands respect in a friendly manner in the way he speaks.
Nominated by Marie-Claire van D., Netherlands:
vote for Aboutaleb, because he is great! During crisis like Corona and many more situations (reminder when he said to All: je suis Charley Hebdo). He always comes close to the people, he meets them on the streets of Rotterdam. As he did the morning after the riots at the first evening of curfew because of Corona. He speaks the language of ordinary people, he speaks as a father to his children in a respectful way as he tells them ‘it is not okay’. He explains them and he give them a reason and a way to do it different, to do it better.
I have met Ahmed Aboutaleb during my work as he visited a metal company in Rotterdam, when he spoke to the director of the company and he spoke to the people who work there. It was beautiful to see that he spoke to everybody in a very respectful ‘Aboutaleb’ way. He gave extra attention to a young student who was working there. He asked him about his ambitions and explained that he also was technician when he was young.
Aboutaleb’ vision for Rotterdam is that it is a city of us all, for each of us. We need to invest in the city and in each of the resident and everybody who comes to Rotterdam to work there. Rich and poor. We built the city together and we will not accept that some people have the idea to destroy our city. We stand side by side and Aboutaleb stands next to us
Nominated by Jeroen, outside The Netherlands:
Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has been on the frontline fighting the virus in the city, he even contracted it himself. Rotterdam has a high rate of infected people because it is the main working city in the country and a city with a lot of high buildings forcing people in elevators, however as the second biggest city compaired with others Rotterdam is doing quite well.
Since Aboutaleb has become the mayor Rotterdam has seen a lot of new construction like the Markthal puting the city on the map in the country itself and beond. He managed to make the city safer and strongen and with the new construction also kept an eye on keeping the city green and where possible making it greener.
Ahmed Aboutaleb is on his way to a record. The longest-serving mayor of Rotterdam. He wants it, the city council wants it too. Undisputed, incorruptible, tireless, with a heart for the city and with a clear vision. Under his care, Rotterdam has flourished, crime has fallen and self-confidence has grown. He stood upright in all administrative storms. A great achievement in one of the toughest cities in the Netherlands. Should he say goodbye now, he will receive a statue. But he continues.
Only once before did a mayor in Rotterdam start a third term; Bram Peper. He soon exchanged the chain of office for a ministerial post and the rest is history. Ultimately, the man was rehabilitated for the receipt affair, but the fact remains that the once celebrated Peper made few friends in his last years as mayor and a culture had emerged in the town hall where critical questions were not appreciated.
Ahmed Aboutaleb is also a person who cannot tolerate criticism. He has trouble with views other than his. A conversation with him usually results in a lecture. Whether it concerns crime, the energy transition, urban development, water management, poetry or honey, the mayor understands it and likes to teach about it.
Left and right
In the council chamber he navigates with ease between left and right politicians. He is completely in his element between entrepreneurs, people who know how to tackle things. If he listens, it is to them. He visits employer breakfasts and multinational drinks so often and he likes to lead trade missions so much. His links with fossil multinationals such as Shell and oil states in the Middle East may be very warm for someone determined to bring Rotterdam into the next century.
Aboutaleb is fast becoming a legend, and the only one who can prevent that is Aboutaleb.
Residents are hardly working on it, while the city council has ambitious and expensive plans for the energy transition of Rotterdam. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb: "If we want to win economically, we have to lead the way."
The jacket is off and he immediately starts talking about his working visit to the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia last month. In the city of Bottrop, people from the municipality go from door to door to explain how residents can provide their homes with solar panels and a heat pump and for what price, including subsidy schemes and payback time. Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has allocated an hour to present his vision on the green future of Rotterdam. As it goes in Bottrop, he also wants to approach it in Rotterdam. "We really need to win the hearts and minds of our citizens." Because, he realizes, the man in the street is hardly involved with the energy transition.
That is a problem, because the consequences for the inhabitants are major. The ambitious plans of the city council hit everyone in the wallet, if politicians and the business community do not help. And everyone has to participate. Aboutaleb himself, an electrical engineer by nature, therefore leaves no opportunity to preach the green future of the city. With the appointment of Arno Bonte, Rotterdam even has an alderman for energy transition since Thursday.
But what exactly does this billion dollar operation mean for the man in the street? Work, says Aboutaleb. "It's about jobs," the mayor summarizes his own argument about what he calls "the most important development for the Rotterdam region in the coming years". Installing solar panels on a massive scale, insulating houses, installing water pumps and installing heat networks "requires a lot of hands". He goes even further. The application of new energy sources attracts new, innovative companies to the city and thus even more employment. "A city with clean air is also the place where people want to live."
A city with clean air is also the place where people want to live
The sooner Rotterdam switches to green energy and embraces the new economy ('telecommunications, internet of things, 3D printing'), the more the city benefits from it, he says. He draws a comparison with another, major economic development: globalization. „Much of the world has benefited from this. On average, this has yielded people 2000 euros. Average! There are also losers. They live in the countries that did not participate. We must participate and lead the way. We have to sit with the winners. ''
At Aboutaleb, the energy transition is about economics. He is emphatically not talking about the climate and the environment. "Of course, energy transition is also about the environment." But the environmental argument, he says, "is not always well understood." The Paris Climate Agreement, which stipulates that emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 must be halved in twelve years and even reduced by 2050, is 'certainly necessary', he says. „But the whole discussion about CO2 has turned into a matter of faith. Well, of course everyone can think their own way. But if we link the energy transition to the new labor market, we will have a completely different conversation. For a working city like Rotterdam, the energy transition is an enormous source of employment. And all that installation and insulation is not high-tech work, is it? It is just technology, level mbo-3 and mbo-4. I think it was the big boss of the American tech company General Electric, who was here about seven year!
s ago, who said, "Mayor, this is the way. Don't hesitate. Otherwise you will lose the game '. I have remembered his words. ''
And now the man in the street must have solar panels on his roof, purchase a solar water heater and a connection to the industrial heating network. Otherwise he will be one of the losers. "Everyone has to participate."
He knows what he is asking. „After I bought my house in Rotterdam, I had to insulate the roof, insulate the floor, adjust the windows, et cetera. I noticed that immediately in my utility bill. ‰„ He's easy to talk to about his mayor's salary, he says. „The energy transition is also a social issue because of the costs it entails. One person is willing to pay 11,000 euros, which is generally the cost of making a house energy neutral. Others will say 'I just don't have it'. We will have to make agreements about this. Energy transition should not only depend on those who can afford it.
His solution: "Equalization mechanisms." Anyone who cannot bear the costs should get help. „That can be done with taxes or subsidies, of course, as we now know them. I give up for every better idea. In any case, the bill for the energy transition may not be deposited with the Rotterdammer. ''
The largest home owners are the housing corporations in the city. They want to convert their stock, but will have to borrow a lot of money to do so, which means that rents have to be increased considerably. Aboutaleb does not want that, because 'for many Rotterdam residents a ten euro rent increase is already too much'. "I can imagine that we will meet with corporations, looking for ways of financing so that rents do not rise."
I can imagine that we, with corporations, are looking for ways of financing so that rents do not rise
He draws a comparison with the large construction projects in Rotterdam in times of crisis. These were only possible because the municipality helped financially. „The city council was critical, but all those houses have been sold. Nieuw-Crooswijk and the Calypso building. Together with the LSI plan at Central Station, these were the three major projects that the then alderman Hamit Karakus put his shoulders under. Nieuw-Crooswijk turned out well, Calypso too. LSI not. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. I think it is very good to consider on a case-by-case basis what is sensible to do. With today's knowledge, a lot more should have been built. ''
The government must take a leading role in the energy transition, he says. „You can expect that with such a large and complicated issue. But 'leading' does not mean 'acting alone'. That's what I like about the approach in Bottrop, where the people of the municipality go from door to door. They tell you that if you participate, what the costs are, the benefits and how quickly the investment is recouped. In addition to their own money and subsidies, the banks can also play a role, for example by co-financing in the mortgage construction. Maybe even with a discount on the mortgage interest. ''
According to studies by the DRIFT institute affiliated with Erasmus University, the conversion of Rotterdam will cost around 11 billion euros until 2050. A lot is already happening, says Aboutaleb. Besides the massive installation of solar panels and the further insulation of houses, he mentions disconnecting the gas connections and smarter use of water. „Everything is bubbling on many fronts. More permits are being issued for locations in the North Sea to generate wind energy. '' The Rotterdam dredging company Van Oord is now not only working on the deepening of waterways, but also on installing those windmills. It is not without merit. ''
The port city of Rotterdam as an environmental oasis, which is driving along the Botlek and Europoort, but difficult to imagine. What about industry, the port of Rotterdam with its five oil refineries and dozens of chemical factories? "If the coal-fired power stations on the Maasvlakte close in twelve years, as the cabinet has decided, there must be another power cable in front of them with alternative energy."
The Rotterdam mayor does not see heavy industry in his city as a problem in the transition plans, but rather as 'part of the solution'. The enormous amount of heat that the factories produce, together with geothermal energy, is, according to him, the alternative to gas from Groningen. Houses whose heating currently runs on Groningen gas will soon be just as comfortable thanks to industrial heat from Rotterdam. "The construction of a heat pipeline from the port into the country is a matter of national importance." He is lobbying Minister Eric Wiebes for it. „He now has his hands full with the handling of Groningen, but I may hope that in The Hague, at the level of the civil service, this heat story will be drawn a little more, so that the minister will work with us and with the energy companies and the port make a decision about the construction.
But in the meantime, large companies such as the Shell and ExxonMobil refineries in the port of Rotterdam continue to run on fossil fuels. Will they ever go along with the new, green economy? „I can only answer that question for Shell, because I have a lot of conversations with Shell. I think Shell is making good steps, but there is still much, much better. The mindset is good. Shell is willing to supply heat to the network for heating residential areas, and is willing to cooperate in the plans to capture CO2. It's not that the heels go in the sand, certainly not. But in the end, the end result counts. And yes, we are not that far yet. Ideally, but that is not tomorrow, the company will derive its income from renewable energy. The question is how long will it take to get there? 40, 50 years. China is still building coal-fired power plants, and the world's largest refineries are now being built in Asia. If you look at the level of the world, there are different relationships !
than if you look at Western Europe. Well, of course we want to be the frontrunner and Shell has explicitly indicated in the last conversation with me that the focus is on Rotterdam to transform the refinery here into a green factory. If an important player like Shell takes that step, it will be the first sheep to cross the dam. Then more will follow.
Challenges: I think a great way to make cities greener is by planting parks on rooftops
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