WUR students (back) on the council

WUR students will sit on the municipal council for GroenLinks, PvdA and Connect.
Left to right: Dirk Wevers (VVD), Sarah Alen (Connect) and Melissa van der Lingen (PvdA) in front of the city hall in Wageningen. Photo: Guy Ackermans

GroenLinks and PvdA each gained two seats, making them the big winners of the Wageningen municipal elections. Connect failed to gain a third seat despite hundreds of additional votes, the preliminary results (in Dutch) show.

Master’s student Food Technology Rosanne Groot (25) featured second on the GroenLinks list of candidates. GroenLinks increased its number of seats from six to eight. ‘We are delighted’, Groot, who is a little hoarse from all the cheering, says. ‘We watched the results come in with the group at the city hall. When the final results came in at around a quarter to twelve, the party started. We didn’t really expect this result, but it greatly acknowledges our work over the past few years. We are delighted with the support of Wageningen, which enables us to continue our work in the coming weeks.’

Groot was elected through preferential votes four years ago but relinquished her seat because she was also a candidate for DWARS, the GroenLinks youth association. ‘That is not something you can combine due to independence.’ Two years later, the seat became vacant, and Groot took a seat on the council, ‘I have been doing this with much enthusiasm for two years now.’ Groot intends to continue her work for the housing dossier. ‘Over the past few years, many additional houses were constructed, making the waiting time in Wageningen shorter than in any other student city. That was not the case four years ago. In the coming years, we want to construct more affordable housing.’

From two to four

Melissa van der Lingen (23, bachelor student Business and Consumer Sciences and Economics and Governance) featured fourth of the PvdA list of candidates. This party doubled its seats from two to four. ‘We had a great campaign with some fifty volunteers’, Van der Lingen states. ‘We were aiming for three seats but got four, so I made it to the council, which is, of course, great. It was quite exciting, and we partied afterwards.’ Van der Lingen previously held a council seat for Connect Wageningen, with mental health as one of her focal points.

Fireworks may fly in debates

Dirk Wevers, master’s student Molecular Life Sciences

Bachelor student Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning Sarah Alen (20) is the top candidate for the youth party Connect Wageningen. Her party got two seats, the same number as in the last election. ‘But we are super satisfied that we got a much higher number of votes. It was great to discuss with people in the streets and on the market.’ It was, however, quite busy in combination with her studies. ‘I had a few field trips and an exam week. So, I do need some rest now. We planned a spa-day with the group.’ And then, to work? ‘The first meetings are already scheduled for this weekend. We’ll see. I look forward to it.’

Fireworks in the debate

Dirk Wevers (23, master’s student of Molecular Life Sciences) was number four on the VVD list of candidates. The party got two seats, the same number as during the previous elections, which means he will not take a seat on the council right now. ‘Everyone prefers to gain seats, but I think we can look back on a successful campaign. In surrounding municipalities, VVD lost or remained stable. We remained stable, which I believe compliments our campaign and the work we have done in the opposition these last four years. I will remain a supporting member with the same dedication as before, and I see this result as an incentive to present our story even more clearly.’

Wevers feels good about the campaign. ‘Fireworks may fly during the debates. But afterwards, you can still have a beer together. That is something I like about the Wageningen municipal council.’

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