Officials from Alkmaar Council visited Bath

 

In late November 2022, three officials from Alkmaar Council visited Bath to meet their counterparts in Bath and North East Somerset Council working in the field of sustainability.  The teams exchanged information, shared challenges, and explored opportunities for joint projects that could benefit both cities.

This was the first time Alkmaar and BathNES council officials had met independently of civic visits which take place from time to time.

 

Below is a summary report on their visit which the Alkmaar officials Simone Stam, Susanne Nieuwenhuijs, and Dennis Nanne – seen here with then Deputy Mayor of Bath, Cllr Michelle O’Doherty – prepared for our counterparts in Alkmaar, the AUC:

“Last November (2022) a two-day meeting took place between officials from the City of Bath and three representatives from the Alkmaar Municipality Sustainability department. This visit aligns perfectly with the objectives of the EU project POCITYF, to exchange knowledge about making a cultural-historical city more sustainable, and to strengthen mutual cooperation.  And what better way to do that than together with your sister municipality – Bath?

The first day mainly focused on energy, heat transition and the circular economy. The topics of the environment, biodiversity, climate adaptation and sustainable transport were on the agenda on the second day. We quickly discovered that there are many common challenges. Other officials from both cities were involved in person (from Bath) and digitally (from both Alkmaar and Bath), and this contributed to some productive and high quality discussions. 

Future contact will now be much easier because we have met and spoken in person. The first agreements about future collaborations have already been made, and we look forward to continuing our knowledge exchange. 

We were very well hosted by the Bath Alkmaar Twinning Committee (BATA), with special thanks to Liz Mills for her help.  We were honored to have a reception organised for us by Bath’s Deputy Mayor, and the following day we enjoyed lunch with the Mayor of Bath. Both are very involved in twinning projects, and made clear the pride they have in the connection with the city of Alkmaar, and the link’s long history.”

The visit has already borne fruit, with the two Councils successfully collaborating in a bid for funding from the European programme Driving Urban Transitions, part of Horizon Europe. Led by the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 10 academic, city and business partners from the Netherlands, Portugal and the UK will work on aspects of the ’15-minute city’ for 36 months starting in January 2024. And, as a result of information sharing on city greening projects, new links are also being forged between community organisations involved with nature conservation, tree planting, gardening and food growing.

Sustainability and climate change are key topics of interest in both our cities. We will look out for further opportunities to link groups and organisations who may wish to tackle them together.