Sterre a Star in Utrecht

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Sterre was born and raised in Utrecht.

She wants to make the world a better place. she has a Chihuahua called Vos who goes with her to work. Her favourite food is Spicy Falafel. Her favourite shows are First Dates and Downton Abbey. Sterre lives near Ledig Erf together with her boyfriend.

Where is your favourite place in Utrecht?

My favourite place in Utrecht is the Sonnenborch/Sterrenwacht. I love how this place brought us so much knowledge and also was the start of the KNMI in Utrecht and the geography department at the university.

 Does Utrecht inspire you?

Yes, because you can see the history of the city all throughout. All the way back from when the Romans were settled here, to the trade that went on through its canals and the appearance of the settlement of Utrecht because of its wisdom, but what kept me here was it’s beautiful inner city. The tiny forts that surround it. And also just the people here.

What would be a perfect day in Utrecht for you?

A day in spring with all flowers in full bloom. Then in the afternoon having lunch at a small cafe somewhere at the waterside of the canals of Utrecht. And later that day enjoying the blooming ancient trees on the historical graveyard near the Gansstraat. In the evening I love to dine for hours at one of the amazing restaurants like Simple, Urban Watertowerkitchen & Broei.

Sterre is a Buurtconciërge. I had never heard of this, so asked Sterre to explain.

It is a first in the Netherlands. It’s a role that requires me to be involved with my neighbourhood at many different levels. I am on the street daily, driving around on my branded cargo bike. When I spot potential problems in the public area I notify the responsible organizations. Additionally I also have two hours of weekly consultation, where people can visit me and discuss their findings. Those are very well visited. Another way in which I help the community is by connecting local entrepreneurs and their findings to actionable parties like police and the municipality. Sometimes I get to help with local initiatives, the recent ‘lichtjestocht’ is a good example of that. When I’m not helping existing projects I work on projects of my own, like the installation of AED’s around key landmark area’s, setting up a program together with the hospital to provide first aid training for people or creating a neighborhood WhatsApp group, where people can notify each other and local police of suspect behavior.

Is this an important role in the community?

As you can see it is an important role, because the police have less and less time to address hidden issues like loneliness. Without an active community and/or someone in my position there’s nobody who’s aware of these things. Although there are many instances that are actively working to improve the area, they’re not always working together as one. That is a role that I excel at.

Although the fund that pays me is affected by politics, my job remains more of a social service than a political one. Some of the projects I get to do are of course influenced by local politics. One such thing is where the municipality decided people are to drive more electric cars, then that led to where I had to talk to local parties about parking space for electric cars.

Do you try to make a difference for your community?

I always try to make a difference for my community. One small project I did was for a man who swept the sidewalks in his street regularly but his broom was worn out. I talked to the municipality to see if I could have one of their brooms. When I got him a new broom that felt great, he was happy and could keep his sidewalk clean again. It’s little things like that can make a difference for someone.

Sterre started in October 2018 as the very first Buurtconciërge in Utrecht.

As a Neighborhood Concierge it is her job to ensure that, in addition to the tasks of the municipality, this neighbourhood remains a neighbourhood where it is pleasant to live; to work, shop and find recreational activities.

Sterre works in and around the Jan van Scorelstraat, Adriaan van Ostadelaan, Prins Hendriklaan, Rembrandtkade, Vossegatselaan and Bosboomstraat.

The Neighborhood building De Wilg on the Mecklenburglaan is her base. From there she goes out on a daily basis with her cargo bike. She speaks with entrepreneurs about the improvement they can bring to the shopping street and sometimes she’s mowing the grass, because she also partly maintains the green. ISterre also has a first aid kit and can help with cardiac arrest (AED)

You can call or email Sterre to pass on things, for example a broken lamppost or a confused person in the neighborhood, but also for help with filing a complaint or with questions about facilities.Sterre wants to help. Take a look at her website here.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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