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The future of the Pleasure, Art & Science festival

Written questions

Maastricht University's Pleasure, Art & Science festival recently announced that due to rising costs, the event can only be held once every two years organised . The festival is full of cultural events, free to attend, and aims to "connect the university with the city." A, in our opinion, tremendously wonderful initiative. Last year, the festival was part of Festival Maas of which the Municipality of Maastricht is one of the partners. Taking this into account, we, together with GroenLinks, submitted written questions calling on municipal executives to investigate whether there are possibilities for the PAS festival to still take place annually.


MBO may participate in intro weeks

Response to written questions

Attentive readers will recall that in early February we asked questions to municipal executives about involving the MBO in the introduction week for prospective students (the INKOM). This week we received positive news from Municipal executive Johan Pas: as far as the municipal executives is concerned, the Vista municipal executives will participate in the INKOM next year! A good step towards equal appreciation of every student.


Call to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.


The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management recently decided that the bridge over the Juliana Canal between Itteren and Bunde will not be replaced, but renovated. With this decision, the ministry is withdrawing a promise it made earlier. Very bad in our opinion: the bridge has been in very poor condition for a long time and it is questionable whether a renovation will have the desired effect. For example, the bridge would be raised to accommodate the ever-increasing volume of shipping passing through the Juliana Canal. In addition, the bridge is also used daily by children, and connects the village of Itteren with the rest of Maastricht. Hoping to reverse the ministry's decisions, we, along with 11 other parties, made an appeal to Minister Harbers last week. This letter can be read here.


Call to municipal executives: support for victims in Syria and Turkey

Letter to the municipal executives

Like many others, we were greatly shocked by the disaster in Syria and Turkey. We have seen some incredibly inspiring initiatives emerge in Maastricht to help earthquake victims. We would love it if the city of Maastricht followed the good example of its residents by transferring one euro per resident to Giro555, as many other municipalities have done. Therefore, together with several other parties, we have appealed to the municipal executives of Mayor and Aldermen to donate to Giro555, in order to show solidarity as a city with victims in the disaster area.

‍Here you read the letter to the municipal executives.


Citizen Participation and Resilient Neighborhoods

Activities Municipal executive Anita

Resilient neighborhoods approach is an important theme in our coalition agreement: over the next four years, extra attention will be paid to neighborhood development plans that focus on measures around themes such as living environment, social policy, participation, restructuring, and inclusiveness. The goal is to strengthen the social cohesion and resilience of Maastricht residents, especially in the less affluent neighborhoods. With this goal in mind, Anita, together with, among others, Frans Bastiaens (Municipal executive Urban Development), CircusVis and Albert-Jan Kruiter (the Institute of Public Values) held a theme session on how the concept of Resilient Neighborhoods should take shape in Maastricht. At the forefront was the notion that this theme should not be tackled from a top-down approach but, instead, bottom-up, in which it is of great importance that residents and partner organizations are involved neighborhood development plans.


What is going on with our schools in Maastricht?


The future of the secondary education system in Maastricht is uncertain: there is a debate as to whether Maastricht should have one large school campus for the entire city or offer education on both sides of the Meuse River. To discuss the education system in Maastricht, and to formulate an answer to this issue, Jules and Mart are sitting down with PvdA-Party leader Maren Slangen - a local expert on education. If you also find this topic very interesting, we have good news: you can listen to the whole conversation in episode 10 of our podcast "What's going on with our schools in Maastricht?".


Practical or theoretical education: equal credit for each student

Written questions

Unfortunately, a number of prejudices still exist about MBO or even HBO education. For example, people regularly talk about "higher" or "lower" level of thinking rather than "practical" or "theoretical," with a clear stigma attached to the concept of "lower educated. Completely unjustified, of course. Everyone, whether they have studied practical or theoretical, contributes to our society and is entitled to the same appreciation. Unfortunately, schoolchildren and students are still discouraged from pursuing MBO education, and this while we so desperately need practically educated people. To see how we can reduce the stigma attached to practical studies and the dichotomy between MBO/HBO and university students, we, together with D66 and the PvdA, have submitted a series of written questions to the municipal executives of Mayor and Aldermen. A step in the right direction would be to offer the all students equal discounts at government-subsidized agencies or organizing a common INKOM for all students. Want to know more? Then read the questions here or watch the article by RTV Maastricht.


Anita member of the Temporary Committee on Asylum and Migration VNG


On Jan. 26, Municipal executive Anita Bastiaans was appointed a member of the Temporary Committee on Asylum and Migration of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities. As a member of the Commission, together with 19 Council members; Mayors; and Aldermen from all over the Netherlands, she will deal with national issues in the field of asylum and migration. With a portfolio that includes, among others, Europe and Euregion, and Integration, refugee work and status holders, this of course fits very well with Anita's work as Municipal executive in Maastricht.


Tackling structural racism and discrimination in Maastricht

Written questions

In a diverse city like Maastricht, racism and discrimination unfortunately occur with some regularity. Together with a number of other parties, Volt asked a number of written questions about racism and other forms of discrimination in Maastricht at the beginning of this month. The hope is that by asking these questions we will get a better insight into the approach to discrimination in the city but also that this will allow us to set up a discrimination hotline. This hotline could give us a better insight into how and where discrimination takes place in the city. With this information, we could write policies in the future that counter racism and discrimination.


The Volt counter and the Energy Surcharge flow chart


We know that applying for the energy allowance can be quite complicated and it is unclear who can and cannot claim the scheme. Therefore, starting January 20, we will again open Volts "Breusels Lokètsje" at Brusselsestraat 53B. We will then be open every Friday from 10:00-18:00h to offer support in applying for the energy allowance. If you do not have the opportunity to come by but would still like to know if you can claim the scheme? Then take a look at our flow chart.


Cooperation between the municipality and UNU-MERIT

Working visit Municipal executive Anita

Last week Volt Municipal executive Anita paid a visit to UNU-MERIT, a department of the university born out of cooperation between Maastricht University and the United Nations. During this working visit, an open discussion took place on the benefits that a closer partnership between the municipality and the organization could bring. As a UN agency with an international community of scholars, UNU-MERIT can support the city's efforts by providing policy advice and tailored training programs for city officials. In addition, the Institute confirmed its commitment to support the municipality's quest to achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals.


Energy surcharge: also for international students


We have been working hard in recent months to make an energy surcharge for students a reality. As described earlier, our goal was to make this surcharge as inclusive and fair as possible. We are therefore happy to say that the energy surcharge is finally here, and that a Dutch nationality is not a requirement for claiming the allowance.

There are some other requirements, though. Want to read more or find out if you are eligible? Then read our blog.


Incident at student union Tragos


We, like many other Maastricht people, are appalled by the incident that took place last Friday on the grounds of Tragos. After, due to a campfire getting out of control, the fire department was forced to intervene, it was obstructed by members of the student union while the emergency service tried to extinguish the fire on the grounds. The police had to step in to de-escalate the situation. For Volt and many other parties , meanwhile, the measure is full. Tragos will have to reform itself if it wants to continue to exist as a full member of Maastricht student life.


Tackling (sexual) street harassment in Maastricht

Written questions

Unfortunately, we must conclude that (sexual) harassment still takes place daily in Maastricht. Also just on the street. Because we would like to know what can be done to combat this discrimination, we have asked questions in a broad coalition of parties. We are happy to see that this issue is of interest to many parties and, once we have received an answer, we hope to work with these parties to draw up a concrete plan that addresses street harassment


Energy surcharge also for students: continued

Answer written questions

We recently received answers to our written questions regarding energy compensation for students. From this answer, it appears that the municipality will receive 1.6 million from the state to fund an energy scheme for students. We are pleased that steps have been taken but also have two concerns. For example, it is not clear from the answers to our questions what this energy scheme will look like and whether international students will also be able to claim it. Therefore, in the coming month we will be working hard to ensure that this scheme is implemented fairly and inclusively. We will also investigate whether this 1.6 million is enough to compensate all students for the high energy costs.


A lobbying registry in Maastricht?

Written questions Party leader Jules

We consider administrative and official integrity of the utmost importance. Therefore, together with GroenLinks and M:OED, we have submitted a number of questions to the municipal executives of mayor and aldermen. With these questions we hope to get a better view of the current measures to prevent corruption and excessive influence on politics by lobbyists. In addition, we see this as the first step toward establishing a local lobby register, in which municipal executives is required to indicate with whom lobbyists within the municipal executives, as well as within official support, have contact.


A new (student) campus

Written questions group member Mart

The coalition agreement talks about the realization of a (student) campus. This campus is an important issue for us. Therefore, on November 16, together with D66, GroenLinks and VVD, we submitted a number of questions to the municipal executives of mayor and aldermen. By asking these questions, we hope to get a better view of the current plans regarding the campus in order to make possible proposals for improvement.

The questions asked can be read here.


Limmel aan de Maas residential project

Answers to questions group member Mart

Mart, along with several other parties, has submitted written questions about the development of the large-scale housing project "Limmel aan de Maas. The Council group finds it important that this project takes into account the need for affordable housing. So by asking these questions, we hope to get a better view of the zoning plan for this area. 

We have since received a reply from the responsible Municipal executive. Unfortunately, we have to report that we are not satisfied with this response. We will discuss this with other parties and determine our next steps based on that. In any case, the Council group can assure you that we are keeping a close eye on this project


A daily school breakfast


Rising energy prices make it difficult for some parents to send their children to school adequately fed. As also described in the Limburger, we therefore co-sponsored a motion by the PvdA during the 08-11-22 Council meeting. With the passage of this motion, the municipality will begin a study early next year on the possibility of providing children with a daily school breakfast.


Whose crisis is this?

Article Limburger

In an opinion piece in the Limburger, Jules discusses how it is possible that the Netherlands is still failing to regulate migrant flows and asks the question "whose crisis is this anyway?" The Council group hopes to pass along to readers how politics, due to a lack of long-term vision, stumbles from one crisis to another, and how we all have to choose between a humane society and one that runs on a revenue model. Want to read more? Then click here


Energy surcharge: also for students


A one-time allowance is currently being prepared for all lower-income households, with the exception of students. We find this exception unjustified and discriminatory. Therefore, together with NoVUM, we have started a petition calling on the Dutch government to support students as well.

Update Oct. 16: The petition has been sent to The Hague and is already being discussed in the news.


How does the Mestreechter polity work?


First podcast online: Mart and Jules have recorded the first episode of their podcast and put it on Spotify. Together, they discuss developments every two weeks in the aisles of Mosae Forum - the heart of "Mestreechter politics." The goal of the podcast: to make local politics accessible and understandable.


Written questions to the municipal executives

Written questions on housing fraud

Our council member Mart has posed questions to the municipal executives about dealing with housing fraud and landlord malpractice, especially with international residents. More and more reports are coming in about these practices. We are concerned and would like to know what municipal executives plans to do about this.