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Sustainable recovery & more binding cooperation

State of the Region 2020

The ambition is clear: the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area must become a high-class region. How? ‘Only together’, with a more professional organization and by making use of the thinking and innovation power that is already available in the region. Welcome to State of the Region 2020.

During the first online edition of this annual event, viewers are given a quick glimpse of regional cooperation, special regional innovations and initiatives. Marijke Roskam presents, with VU professor Henri de Groot next to her as table host.

Last week, De Groot presented the “Economische Verkenningen MRA” with the main conclusion that the region is experiencing a significant decline, but at the same time has a strong starting position for recovery. “We now have the unique opportunity to flesh out that agenda.”

Strength and support

This requires, among other things, a stronger MRA. In the past year, Ben Verwaayen, top executive from the business community, researched on the basis of discussions with administrators how the region can gain more clout and support, or – as he puts it himself – “how the caterpillar can become a butterfly”.

Focus is the starting point. Based on the group discussions with the MRA directors, he suggests three top priorities. Verwaayen’s advice is to set up a new governance model for this, with its own management, board and general meeting. The new board then formulates clear and measurable objectives.

If it is up to Verwaayen, that new board will be there within two months. “When this runs away in time, the passion is gone. It’s not that difficult, but it does require a lot of collaboration. And then there is ultimately a big prize on the horizon. ”

Optimism and confidence

Femke Halsema is not only mayor of Amsterdam, but also chairman of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area and of the Amsterdam Economic Board. She starts her State of the Region with a word of thanks to Ben Verwaayen. “Now is the right time for this advice. There is momentum. Because look where we are. ”

Halsema mentions the challenges facing the region, but fortunately also sees ample reasons for optimism and confidence. This is all about perspective and action, says Halsema. “Now is the time to invest. To force breakthroughs in sustainability and for a smart international breakthrough. ”

And for that, the more professional and intensive collaboration that Verwaayen advocates is needed. “I also sincerely hope for a breakthrough in our mutual cooperation. Let’s take advantage of Ben Verwaayen’s advice and build that strong, dynamic, international metropolis where the human dimension is the norm. Now is the moment: alone together! ”

Read the full State of the Region by Femke Halsema here. (in Dutch)

Corona innovations

In the meantime, three guests have joined Marijke Roskam’s table. Each of them shares a great initiative that emerged from the crisis. So tells intensivist Paul Elbers of the Amsterdam UMC about the acceleration that corona has brought in the smart and responsible sharing of data.

Abdelhamid Iddrisi talks about itBoeren voor Buren , a start-up that links farmers who cannot get rid of their harvest with families with a city pass. And also Talitha van der Elst, director of the ROC Nova College , sees that big steps are being taken thanks to corona. “We can now offer accelerated programs for retraining, retraining and retraining and have been able to develop new training courses relatively quickly, for example for smart maintenance and sustainability. Which government being more flexible also helps with that. ”

Green Deals Sustainable from the crisis

Everywhere in the Amsterdam region a lot of work is being done on Sustainable Economic Recovery, including the ambitious steps towards Green Deals . There are, for example, great ambitions for the area around the RAI, including a tunnel for supplies. “Every year 33,000 trucks drive to that area for corona, so we have to do something with that,” explains RAI director Paul Riemens. The redeveloped area will soon also have room for housing, food, drinks and sports. In addition, there’s a “Meerjarenplan Congressen”, which focuses on events that attract the top of the world and that benefit the entire city. Riemens: “To get this done, cooperation is needed with all parties involved and fortunately it is already going very well.”

Marcel van Beek is an innovator at Schiphol and a cycling strategist. He thinks now is the time to fully focus on the Amsterdam Bicycle Metropolis. “The bicycle is one of our major export products and we have a good physical infrastructure ourselves. The future is the smart bike, so we also have to provide a good digital infrastructure and ship it as a concept. ”

Building in wood can also make an important contribution to sustainability ambitions. The goal: 20 percent by 2025. This saves CO2, does not cause problems with nitrogen and can generate thousands of extra jobs. But a lot more steps need to be taken to achieve that, says Desirée Uitzetter, strategy director at BPD construction company and chairman of NEPROM, the interest group for project developers. “The chain is not yet functioning optimally, not everything can be built in wood from a technical point of view and regulations still need to be improved. The point is that we just go ahead and do it: pilots will only get off the ground if the municipalities also actively commit to making it possible. ”

read here more about the steps taken towards Green Deals for 4 themes.

Investing out of the crisis

Amsterdam alderman Victor Everhardt and Cora Smelik, deputy in the province of Flevoland, appear at the table. Both are actively involved in the Green Deals Sustainable from the Crisis. Smelik: “What we have to do now is all the energy and enthusiasm that we see going smoothly and coming to concrete investment agreements. That is complicated, so we should have started yesterday. But if we bundle the diversity of our region, from the polders to the RAI, we will be fine. ”

“We have to invest ourselves out of the crisis,” adds Everhardt. “As municipalities, we already invest a lot, for example in the Invest MRA fund. You also have Invest NL and the Wopke-Wiebesfonds that the MRA also wants to call upon. We are the economic engine of the Netherlands. If there is energy somewhere, it is here. ”

Great class

Table gentleman and economist Henri de Groot is enthusiastic about all the conversations during this special edition of State of the Region. “This makes it clear what this region is: a breeding ground. We saw that at this table today. We must cleverly combine that creativity with the local. Then we will also become an inclusive region. ” Mayor Halsema is also hopeful. “There is a need to make this region a region of great class. Ben Verwaayen’s call therefore feels extremely obligatory. We must trust each other to remove administrative obstacles. In any case, I will work hard on that. ”

Pass on a future to each other …

We concluded with a spoken word from Justin Samgar. You will find his text here (in Dutch).

The broadcast was interspersed with 2 films:

State of the Region 2020