2017-05-01Souper #84

Souper #84

For interesting guests we like to travel to another city. For Roel Vos (former municipal official and politician) and philosopher/ journalist Annemarie Kok we moved our souper from Rotterdam to Groningen. Inspiring city. Nice people.

The way in which Groningen worked for the last fifty years seems to be exceptional and consistent. That did not happen without a fight. In the late sixties and the early seventies there was a big and radical change of perspective. The city and city renewal was looked at in a different way. Urban development was then used in a new way. Roel worked with the municipality and together with Max van de Berg he shaped this dynamic development of Groningen. Later he was a deputy at the province and director of the Blauwe Stad.

Annemarie has recently written an interesting essay about the role of politics and politicians in the city. Shortly, without relying on her nuanced essay, she advocates a proactive attitude of politicians. This means absolutely not a municipality that facilitate. This fashionable jargon means in practice a government that does not want to take responsibility, is not caring about their inhabitants and has no vision at all. A politic movement that puts politicians out of the way and connects citizens against their sense does not strengthen civilisation. It just affects society.

With Roel as a practitioner and Annemarie as a scientist we spoke about the past and discussed about the city of Groningen today. In restaurant De Pijp it became evident that the specific lessons from Groningen are particularly valuable for thinking about and making the future city in general.