Maastricht: Open Honest Democratic
In the fall of 2017 a small group of people came together to give voice to a broader sentiment of unsteadiness and misrepresentation when living in the city that we call home. Led by the larger question of how Maastricht should move forward and develop in the future, we want to change the political sphere with open and honest leadership, and to represent Maastricht’s social and cultural diversity with a proactive mindset and the necessary moral courage to take action.
M:OED (moed = courage in Dutch) is the collective answer to solve this city’s contemporary problems without fear or exclusion, but through inclusivity and innovation. As a political party, M:OED strives for holistic development; by seeking the vast opportunities Maastricht and its region offers and harnessing them to sustainably drive change.
This manifesto provides a first glance at our vision of change, by depicting the four pillars of M:OED’s mentality:
Maastricht is home and destination to a multitude of people. Combining the best of both, its historic past and international present, this city incorporates the charming warmth and feeling of togetherness of a small town, while offering the cutting-edge of international science and business benchmarks otherwise characteristic of a European metropolis.
With an open European economy, fair partnerships and our personal commitment for a transparent policy-making process, we not only ensure better welfare and equality, but also foster new social and economic development.
M:OED believes that only by means of an inclusive culture and sincere politics, whereby every citizen has access and sufficient support to participate, the city learns to understand itself as a whole organism. Merely through true honesty, Maastricht can define a genuine identity of its own.
M:OED stands for a proactive and pluralistic democracy. We find it crucial to show courage in face of adversity, to take responsibility despite complexity or sacrifice. It takes courage to make everyone’s voice heard, but we can create the right foundation to build our future on. Together in Maastricht.
Our city has a unique position in the broadest sense of the word. With a history as the oldest city in our country you feel the history as you walk through the streets. Maastricht is our common denominator where, according to M:OED, everyone belongs. By mentioning the city so literally in our vision, there can be no doubt about what we are doing, what we want to work for and what we want to commit ourselves to; Maastricht, our city.
A city that must radiate inclusiveness in its actions, our community where everyone should feel at home, whether you are born and raised here, or came to work or study. We see a growing polarization in the city that can only be reduced with mutual understanding. We do this by forming a policy in which no one is excluded or can be treated as a separate group. The role of the Municipality is extremely important in this, as it can facilitate with progressive integration policy.
Maastricht as a border town is by definition an international city where languages and cultures come together. A city where bridges can be built. This must be nurtured and expanded so that Maastricht is an attractive location for people and organizations. By letting people in the city come together, we can learn from the rich history and culture with courage regarding our future. A future formed by the bridge between old and new generations of people in Maastricht.
As a border town, Maastricht is as open as it can be, partly because of the bridges on which our city was built. The strong connection with our neighbours is an asset to the prosperity of the entire region that should not be underestimated. In order to continue to enjoy the benefits that an open European economy has brought us, the city must make it clear that Maastricht is not the end of the Netherlands, but the beginning of Europe. A city where everyone can realize their dreams by facilitating initiatives that contribute to the growth and prosperity of Maastricht.
The policy that must ensure this must also be open and transparent. The people of Maastricht have a limited view on the decision-making processes that everyone is going through. The city must be close to its citizens and give them the space to give a voice to all the issues that are important to the city and us. After all, Maastricht is all of us.
This is not limited to a cultural or social sense. It must also literally offer space to a growing population with very different wishes. In this, the municipality does not have to prescribe the rules, Maastricht must facilitate. The city should provide help to those who need it but leave people free where possible.
Open connections with the surrounding Euregio are of equal importance to enable everyone to benefit from the opportunities that Maastricht and its European neighbours have to offer. Greater mobility creates greater opportunities for the city. The municipality must play a facilitating role in this and dare to invest in the future.
M:OED aspires to an open city, where decisions and policies are both decisive and understandable. We promote this by being open as a party in our own decision-making process.
Maastricht cannot tackle global trends such as globalization, differences between rich and poor and climate change on its own. What we can do is respond smartly to these developments and form policies that benefits everyone.
With inclusive policies, M:OED believes that everyone can seize opportunities that an ever more closely connected world has to offer, especially in an international city like ours. By being honest about the problems our city faces, we do not have to sow fear, but we can reap the benefits of a common goal. As a city we can only excel if everyone can.
In a university city with so much knowledge and with a history in crafts and artisanship, there are opportunities for everyone to develop themselves. The condition for this is that everyone can also benefit. A fair policy in which residents are encouraged to learn from each other, be it from your neighbours or through organizations, is the only way to excel as a community. M:OED believes that by means of an inclusive policy where everyone gets the same opportunities, the city as a whole learns to understand itself better and with that can establish an identity of an open and honest city.
Because M:OED comes to that decision in a transparent way, we hope to serve as an example for an inclusive city where policies and decisions are made in a sincere manner at all levels. Many residents do not feel sufficiently heard by the political system, and that is not fair. M:OED wants to be there for everyone.
Through dialogue, debate and discussion we can achieve coherent and inclusive policy together. Democracy should not mean that the majority rules. The minority must be heard as well, so everyone feels included in Maastricht. The current structure of the municipality encourages an inefficient process. We need to change that by looking critically at responsibilities to create an environment where everyone gets the chance to criticize the city’s policies. Because only when we listen to every citizen that wants to be heard can we accomplish true democratic policies. Only in this way can we ensure that our city offers the soil for the future vision that M:OED has.
M:OED believes that this responsibility starts with the party itself who has to promote a culture of transparency, honesty and democracy. By showing courage when responsibility has to be taken, and sharing success when goals have been achieved, we can create the right foundation in Maastricht to build a future as a city.
A city where bright minds stay
M:OED envisions a Maastricht where bright and creative minds are given opportunities to stay, create and contribute. We want Maastricht to become a city that is a real hub for creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship and new ideas. A city that gives everybody opportunities to live, study and work to his or her full potential. However, we have seen many bright minds leaving Maastricht upon graduation or after trying to set up a business and we see the city struggling with its ability to speak and listen to its citizens. Maastricht could become the knowledge city we envision it to be, if it stimulates and encourages talent to stay and if it makes them feel at home. Therefore, we need a municipal government that supports startups, entrepreneurs and professionals. A municipal government that understands; an open and inclusive community is a precondition to deploying this city’s full creative and cultural potential.
…in a city that everyone calls home
M:OED advocates for smart, sustainable and forward-looking solutions for housing in Maastricht. Namely, the pressing matter of a looming shortage of affordable rooms and/or studios, despite the excess vacancy in Maastricht underlines the discrepancy of the housing market. Maastricht’s city center is attractive due to its combination of old and modern architecture. Unfortunately, this fusion does not always translate into possibilities for affordable housing. We believe that a modernised policy can introduce a new balance to this matter.
A city that thrives on diversity and creativity
Culture and the arts are the essence of interpersonal communication and understanding; they foster personal development and identity formation. Culture helps us to comprehend the ‘new’ and has the potential to build bridges and to bridge gaps between communities. For M:OED diversity is at the core of culture. Maastricht always praises itself for being highly ‘cultural’. However, we only see municipal support for one certain kind of culture. We consider culture to be so much more than ‘sjiek en sjoen’. To make Maastricht a truly creative and innovative city, we need to respect different and alternative kinds of culture. Creativity and new ideas need to be encouraged and supported. It is therefore essential to support and stimulate the creative sector.
We fully acknowledge that health and wellbeing are not just the absence of disease or infirmity. We believe in a more comprehensive definition that is in line with the concept of Positive Health as defined by Huber and colleagues, who define health as “the ability to adapt and self-manage, in light of the physical, emotional and social challenges of life”. M:OED supports this comprehensive definition of health as it stands for self-empowerment and a widening of focus. This definition forces us to look at how our physical and mental health are influenced by our sense of purpose, our quality of life, our daily functioning and our level of involvement with our community. This definition also acknowledges that someone with a physical health issue can still be healthy when being able to manage their condition well, allowing him/her to still participate in society with a sense of purpose and a high quality of life.In order to make Maastricht a positive healthy city, changes are required.
Poverty is a complex problem that goes hand in hand with problems within education and health care. It is therefore crucial that with regards to integration, participation and health care, an integral policy must be established in which all involved parties cooperate. In addition, more freedom of choice is required and less unnecessary pressure on people in the welfare system. In the current welfare system people are obliged to spend a lot of their time on applying for jobs and other reintegration activities in which people often are kept occupied without it actually leading to a (long-term) paid job. The causes of poverty as well as the consequences (e.g. social isolation) of poverty need to be addressed.
A city with power in its own hands
M:OED sees a city that is transitioning. Moving towards an energy neutral and green future from which all inhabitants benefit. A city with power in its own hands. To achieve this goal, Maastricht needs to adopt an energy policy based on new, renewable sources of energy owned by the community.
Sustainability is no longer a choice. Global warming is a problem that affects all, and when it comes to solutions we should take a leading role. That is why we support the goal to make Maastricht energy neutral by 2030, as formulated in the Maastricht Energy Accords. In this context it is paramount that we reduce our carbon footprint to an absolute minimum. Especially with regard to construction and transport in our city, M:OED sees great opportunities for CO2-reduction. Furthermore, we see a growing awareness among citizens, which needs to be encouraged. In schools, businesses, and in the neighbourhoods it should become clear that sustainability is not only necessary, but also potentially rewarding. This process can be spurred on through subsidies for experiments with innovative, sustainable projects that include the local population.
M:OED believes in a city that is accessible to all. Not only to its own residents and businesses, but for commuters and visitors alike. We want better connections to cities surrounding us, on a local and international level, such as Brussels, Cologne, Paris and beyond. No matter if the preferred mode of transport is bus, car, train, bike, plane or tram, in the future traveling in and out of the city should be fast and easy in a sustainable and affordable way.
A city with less 📝 and more 💁
M:OED envisions an empowered society. A society in which corruption and inefficiency are terms of the past; where politics and policies are transparent, innovative and participatory. Therefore, we want to make use of creative digital concepts and state-of-the-art solutions to re-establish trust in the government and empower people consistently. We wish to establish increased means of participatory democracy, as we value our citizens input and want to reward those willing to partake its improvement. We consider ourselves pioneers of innovation and change.
If you like to request more information about the M:OED party, contact us via +31 6 10974681 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
6211 SG Maastricht
President Luca Janssen
Tel. nr. President: +31 6 10974681
6211 SG Maastricht