Jan van Zanen tapped to be mayor in The Hague

Jan van Zanen, currently mayor in Utrecht, was nominated to be the new mayor of The Hague. Chris van der Helm, chairman of the confidential committee that led the search for the mayor, called the 58-year-old VVD man an "experienced, powerful director with a lot of mayor experience who can get started right away", NOS reports.

Van Zanen was reappointed in January for a second term as mayor in Utrecht. Who will succeed him in that city, is not yet known. At Utrecht's city council meeting on Thursday evening, he said that he was "very honored" to be nominated in The Hague. "I look forward to the work I have to do there. At the same time, there is another side. I am leaving the city where I lived and worked the longest," Van Zanen said. 

According to Van Zanen, Utrecht is in good shape and will do well without him. "And I will also follow my passion in The Hague: serving the public good." 

D66 chairman in Utrecht, Jony Ferket, said that the city is sad to see Van Zanen go. "Utrecht loses an involved mayor who is close to the people."

The Hague has been looking for a new mayor since October, when Pauline Krikke stepped down. She had come under fire after a critical report from the Dutch Safety Board about a New Year's bonfire in Scheveningen that got out of hand and started dozens of small fires on 1 January 2019. The atmosphere in the city council was already tense because of a corruption case surrounding form city councilors Richard de Mos and Rachid Guernaoui.

Johan Remkes was appointed to be interim mayor in The Hague while a new mayor was sought. He told Omroep West that he is "very happy" with Van Zanen's nomination. "Jan van Zanen is sometimes firm and he is a unifying personality, who also invests in people and has a big heart for public order and security," he said to the broadcaster.

The confidential committee assessed 23 applications for the post of mayor in The Hague and submitted two to the city council. The city council selected Van Zanen and nominated him to the Minister of Home Affairs. This is usually just a formality. Acting mayor Remkes will remain in office until July 1, when Van Zanen will be officially sworn in.