You couldn’t have missed it around the Campus. Posters with a simple slogan and a face that screams for attention. Politicians pull out all the stops to stand out. Because next week, some of them will be elected to the municipal and district council. But what are you voting for? And what are the main hot topics in Rotterdam? Because in contrast to the national elections, practical matters are the most important. So without further ado, let’s dig into the problems this beautiful city has.
For a lot of students, it will be the first local elections. It is already hard to remember the participating political parties. Not to mention what they all have in mind for Rotterdam. Fortunately, you can fill in a voting guide. But even then, you still don’t really get a good idea of what they are doing in the council. You might even be asking, Is it even much different from the national politics? That lack of knowledge brought me to the party leaders debate in Erasmus Paviljoen. The conclusion: The preconception that during a debate politicians become screaming toddlers also applies in Rotterdam. But opposed to the debate, I will cover each topic short and sweet.
After one hour of bickering, accusations and screaming, suddenly there was common ground amongst the debaters. Female politicians told about situations in which they felt unsafe, male politicians told about their wifes . So, every political party wants to invest more into safety. Whether they invest in more camera surveillance, enforcers or police agents is up to the voters.
The national housing shortage will also be addressed in Rotterdam. Currently, you can legally rent an apartment to at most three students without a special license. By removing this law, you create more rooms but also more disturbance. Using empty office buildings or having limited international students are other solutions.
This law, initiated in Rotterdam, maybe needs the most explanation. The Rotterdam wet applies on social housing in districts with high unemployment. Because of the law, certain jobs (like nurses or teachers) are favourable to get a social rented house, while people who recently live in Rotterdam, are unemployed or misbehaved can be rejected. Immigrants and single mothers get caught in the middle, but supporters of the law think it improves the neighbourhood.
Rotterdam The Hague airport, formerly known as Zestienhoven, has also been an controversial topic. To become a leader when it comes to sustainability, some parties argue to close the airport. Simultaneously, a lot of space for houses is created. Other parties prioritizes the economic benefits or want to reduce the amount of flights.
Sport and politics must remain separated, right? Not in this case. Feyenoord needs a lot money to either renovate their current stadium or build a new one: Feyenoord City. However, most of the supporters are too attached to the Kuip and therefore hate Feyenoord City. Either way, the council has to spend a lot of money on the football club. So don’t be surprised if you see a former footballer on the voting list.
To conclude, I hope you know enough to wisely fill in the voting guide. I completely ignored the district elections, because there are 39 of them in Rotterdam. If you want more information about the candidates of your neighbourhood, here is the website. And I wish you all the best this Wednesday