Nothing new was said here about the erotic center, it is the council’s turn

Speaker Theodoor van Boven speaks in the council chamber of the Stopera during the consultation evening about the arrival of an erotic center in Amsterdam South.Image Ramon from Flymen

Nearly a hundred people traveled to the Stopera on Thursday to speak out about the erotic center. Forty did this via microphone, where they told council members that they were not in favor. Another sixty sat in the stands applauding when the counterarguments were mentioned, and earlier thirty people had already written angry letters about ‘the EC’ with their objections.

The consultation evening was requested by Daan Wijnants (VVD), who emphasized in advance that it is a ‘major project’ that has a ‘major impact’ on the city. According to him, residents should be given the opportunity to have their say. Wijnants knew very well in advance that coalition parties cannot refuse such a consultation evening, despite the hassle it means for them: this is democracy, who wants to ignore residents?

Forum for Democracy, Lijst Ahmadi-Veldhuyzen, Denk and the CDA thought differently and did not attend. The other parties listened patiently. It was often about the big absentee: mayor Femke Halsema. She had previously attended similar evenings in the South and North districts, and later again at city hall, but this evening was intended for the council.

The political parties had the opportunity to defend Halsema, but no one did so, even when the discussions became personal. GroenLinks, led by the new faction leader Imane Nadif, also did not contradict speakers. Although she said earlier this week that things do not always have to be ‘nice’ in the council, there was little evidence of this on Thursday.

D66 followed a similar tactic. Elise Moeskops, who was somewhat hesitant in her first interview with AT5 a few months ago, also accepted the personal criticism. There was nothing to be gained here, she must have thought. Daan Wijnants (VVD) was satisfied and asked many questions to the speakers in the first part, but after two hours he seemed to have had enough.

In the meantime, Carla Kabamba (Lijst Kabamba) continued to shower compliments (and sometimes asked inimitable questions), while Juliet Broersen (Volt) dropped out of loyalty to the opposing officials. Broersen called it an ‘incredibly nice, warm and supportive’ speech when someone said that civil servants in charge of the erotic center should be replaced. Uncomfortable, because civil servants cannot talk back and councilors in particular have the task of monitoring the mayor and aldermen.

The SP, represented by Remine Alberts, was also present, but the most experienced councilor (nickname: Reminosaurus) did not ask any questions. Her conclusion almost three and a half hours later was like that of many afterwards: all arguments had already been discussed and who actually benefited from this?

Despite the hope that Wijnants expressed in advance that the evening would have an impact, he also knew all too well that little news could be expected. The consultation evening mainly showed that the time is ripe for the parties to really cross swords with each other, stimulate the debate and ultimately make a well-considered decision: the time is on February 15.

About the author: David Hielkema writes about Amsterdam politics and also specializes in investigative stories. Comment? [email protected].

David Hielkema.Image Artur Krynicki

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The article is in Netherlands

Tags: erotic center councils turn


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