Burgemeester Opening ceremonie Chinees Nieuwjaar

Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, Cinemec, 30 januari 2017

Your Excellency Mr Wu, Mr Alex Shao, ladies and gentlemen,

Welcome in the heart of the Netherlands the very heart of the Netherlands. It is an honour to be your guest at this Chinese New Year's celebration.

Just as it is an honour that you, Utrecht's Chinese community, have chosen to settle in our city and in our region. For example the Chinese school, where not only children but people of all ages have a chance to learn about things you rarely encounter on a daily basis here: Chinese language and culture. A culture as ancient as yours is not something you set aside, not even when you've made your home on the other side of the earth.

As it happens, a hundred years after the first Chinese settled in the Netherlands, our nations' mutual interest is only intensifying. The new generation of Chinese Dutch are a growing presence, and the Dutch are curious about them, too. What particularly strikes us, here in the Netherlands and in Utrecht, is the incredible dedication that the Chinese display in everything they do. You embody this, as entrepreneurs in many sectors of society, and well beyond Chinese gastronomy alone. Utrecht is the healthiest city in the Netherlands and the fast growing city. With creative solutions as e-mobility, energy transition and smart housing we build the future of Utrecht.

Keeping our city smart and healthy is one of our great jobs and challenges in the nearby future. I’m looking forward to use your expertise in finding solutions for a healthy urban environment.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the cusp of the Year of the Rooster. A year characterised by ambition and resilience. These are qualities that I greatly admire and I am glad to see these in the Chinese community. Please allow me to wish you a prosperous New Year and to express the hope that you will continue to invest qualities of ambition and resilience in our city in the year to come. Xin nian kuai le!