Jan van Zanen’s role as mayor of Utrecht coming to an end

Jan van Zanen in Utrecht by (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Sebastiaan ter Burg
Jan van Zanen in Utrecht by (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Sebastiaan ter Burg

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Six years down the line, Jan van Zanen has been appointed to start as the mayor of The Hague who will take office as per 1st of July this year. And what a lucky bunch they are beyond the dunes to have such an intelligent and well-bespoken gentleman on their side. Utrecht has surely become a better place since 2014 and the city will remain to carry on the legacy that this most excellent mayor has left behind in his trails.

Who is Jan van Zanen?

Jan Hendrikus Cornelis van Zanen, born in Purmerend on the 4 September 1961, is a Dutch politician who has been mayor of the municipality of Utrecht since 1 January 2014. He was previously mayor of Amstelveen (2005-2013) and party chairman (2003-2008).

Background of Jan van Zanen

Van Zanen grew up in Edam and was national vice-chairman of the Youth Organization for Freedom and Democracy (JOVD). He studied law at VU University Amsterdam and at the Cornell Law School of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. After completing his military service as a reserve officer with the Royal Netherlands Air Force, he was secretary of the national business association VOG from 1991 to 1998. From 1990 to 2002 he sat for the VVD in the city council of Utrecht. From 1998 to 2005 he was an alderman for public space, finance and economic affairs of Utrecht, among others. From 2005 to 2013, he was mayor of Amstelveen.

"Mayor Jan van Zanen at the work railway cathedral" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Sebastiaan ter Burg
“Mayor Jan van Zanen at the work railway cathedral” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Sebastiaan ter Burg

Timeline of notable facts and achievements as mayor in Utrecht

01-01-2014: Jan van Zanen became the 330th mayor of Utrecht.

03-06-2015: Van Zanen is appointed as the new chairman of the VNG by the members of the Association of Dutch Municipalities.

18-06-2015: Van Zanen receives the ‘Prix de la Personnalité de l’Année 2015’ from Marcel Guinchard, President of the French Chamber of Commerce and French Ambassador Laurent Pic.

27-05-2016: Van Zanen receives the imperial award on the order of the Rising Sun, Golden Rays with Cravatte for his ‘exceptional contribution to the promotion of mutual understanding and cultural and economic relations between the Netherlands and Japan’. The award was given by Japanese ambassador Hiroshi Inomata.

15-11-2016: Van Zanen earns the medal representing the French National Order of the Legion of Honor. Van Zanen received the award for his contribution to improving relations between France and the Netherlands. And in particular because of his involvement in the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Utrecht and his role in the launch of the Franco-Dutch economic year in the summer of 2015.

27-10-2017: Van Zanen informs the city council that he is on sick leave because he has to undergo prostate cancer surgery. On 28 December, he announces that he will resume his work.

08-06-2018: Van Zanen receives the Clear Language Prize in the category of most well bespoken mayor of the Netherlands. The prize is an initiative of Taalcentrum-VU and is awarded annually to a well-known Dutchman who excels in language skills.

12-04-2019: Van Zanen is presented with medal belonging to the honorary title Paul Harris Fellow of The Rotary Foundation by Governor Bauke Boersma of Rotary International. The prize is recognized as an appreciation for the actual and meaningful contribution that has been made to promote international understanding and friendship between all peoples of the world.

18-07-2019: Van Zanen is nominated by the city council for reappointment as mayor. The reappointment formally took effect on 7 January 2020. On that occasion he called Utrecht “The city of my dreams”.

01-01-2020: Van Zanen applies for an open position as mayor of The Hague.

28-05-2020: Van Zanen is nominated by the city council of The Hague as successor to the departed Pauline Krikke.

19-06-2020: The municipality of The Hague announces that the Council of Ministers has taken over the nomination and have appointed Jan van Zanen by Royal Decree as of July 1, 2020.

Restoring integrity in The Hague high on the agenda

Former mayor of The Hague Krikke had gradually built up a bad reputation during her time in office. She was accused of enduring a haphazard policy and was known to be a poor communicator.

Leaving all that behind, the city council of The Hague are putting their faith in Van Zanen as a gentleman who values integrity above all. There are a number of ongoing and unsolved cases of corruption surrounding the role of the past mayor and they expect that Van Zanen will be able to tackle and resolve these issues head on.

We at Utrecht Central would like to thank our great mayor for his great endeavors during his time in office as mayor of Utrecht and wish him all the very best in his pursuit of a wonderful and rewarding career as new mayor of The Hague as per 1st of July 2020.

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Michael Darmanin

Michael is founder and managing editor of Utrecht Central. He graduated in Communications and Media at the Hogeschool Utrecht in the summer of 2012. He specializes in Web Development, Content Management and Online Marketing. Interested in co-operation? We are open to all kinds of suggestions. Contact us!

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