Today, September 11, Mayor Femke Halsema met President Chan Santokhi of Suriname at the official residence in Amsterdam. The mayor and the president discussed a renewed cooperation between Amsterdam and Suriname.
A large Surinamese community lives in Amsterdam. The mutual ties go back a long time. President Santokhi’s visit to the capital is the time to re-mark the cooperation. The mayor today the importance of the meeting:
“Amsterdam attaches great importance to the bond with Suriname. We share a history and are connected to each other. Today we mark our friendship and look forward to a new future that is future through kinship, mutual interest and respect. We want to learn from each other again and work together in many areas. We will not forget the past: it must be recognized.”
During the meeting at the official residence, Mayor Halsema and the Surinamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramdin signed a new cooperation agreement in the presence of President Santokhi. The topics of the capital and the republic going to work together are:
- Spatial planning and infrastructure
- Culture and Heritage
- Economic development especially in the field of tourism
- Water Management and Water Supply
- Sports, Youth and Education
- Port development and management
These themes are given concrete application through knowledge exchange and collaboration in the field of infectious diseases, the digitization of archives, museum collaboration, sports (basketball) and entrepreneurship. Reinforcing well-trained staff is an important part of the collaboration. Equality is the important pillar, as the mayor already stated in her speech on July 1 at the commemoration of the abolition of slavery. The Municipality of Amsterdam will cooperate with central government on a number of subjects, but the agreement is not a matter of implementation alone. Companies and social institutions will also be involved in future projects.
President Santokhi’s meeting with the Amsterdam mayor is part of a broader visit by the president to the Netherlands. His program in Amsterdam started on Friday evening with the Anton de Kom lecture at KIT. On Saturday morning he lays a wreath in the Oosterpark at the National Slavery Monument. The president will visit the Southeast district of the city. When he visits OSCAM, he will speak with entrepreneurs and take a tour of the exhibition LOBIcade and Hollandse Meester-zien. Mayor Halsema intends to pay a working visit to Suriname in advance with a delegation in order to further shape the cooperation.