Friday, January 2, 2015 - 09:22
Vandals tag Amsterdam Mayor's house
The official residence of Mayor Eberhard van der Laan in Amsterdam was vandalized during New Year's Eve. The mayor said this last night during the New Year's reception of the municipality in the Stadsschouwburg. "Besides a large capital letter A with a circle around it stood among other things: you're an asshole", said Van der Laan. "I did not know the discontent of the officials on the block calender as Christmas gifts went so deep." This is not the first time that the mayor's official residence on Herengracht is the target of vandalism. In April the windows were painted red. In May windows were smashed. The mayor called the graffiti "a blemish" during the New Year. Which, according to Van der Laan, was more peaceful in the capital than last year, with fewer incidents and arrests. "While there were more, particularly foreign, visitors on the street. The curtailment of lighting times of fireworks to 18:00 seems successful. According to the police, there was markedly less fireworks nuisance." In his speech Van der Laan discussed the solidarity in the city. Last summer the advance of terrorist organization Islamic State (ISIS) and the war in Gaza led to tension. "Therefore it is necessary to connect people in Amsterdam, by listening to each other and talking to each other. But it is also necessary to protect and therefore set limits. Here no swastikas or Hitler greetings." The mayor also discussed the overcrowding. "The overcrowding is really a problem, but it is a luxury problem. Many shrinking municipalities in the Netherlands, no, all municipalities in the Netherlands, would love to have our problem." He offered to "help other municipalities where we can. We want to be a responsible capital city. Think of the 70's and 80's, when the large cities were empty, and the rest of the Netherlands helped them to bounce back. We are 'in debt'."