Burgemeester Talent Forum and Chinese Spring Festival Gala
Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen
Vredenburgkade, TivoliVredenburg, 18 januari
Your Excellency Mr. Xu Hong, Mr. Steven Sels, professors Anton Pijpers, Ming Cao and Marijk van der Wende, members of the Chinese Students Asociation in the Netherlands, dear all,
Welcome to the heart of the Netherlands, the very heart of the Netherlands. My name is Jan van Zanen, I am Mayor of the City of Utrecht. Thank you for inviting me. It is an honour to be your guest at the Talent Forum and Chinese Spring Festival Gala, in TivoliVredenburg - the very heart of Utrecht.
This is a place to celebrate Chinese New Year. To celebrate the year of the Rat. The Rat represents spirituality, cleverness and vitality. Virtues I really admire. And … there is something more interesting with rats. Researchers of the Humboldt University in Berlin discovered, some years ago already, that rats are even able to laugh … Quite extraordinary. So, next to a lot of spirituality, cleverness and vitality, I wish you also a very joyful New Year.
I have a question for you: do you have any New Year’s resolutions? Most of these ambitious, personal goals have a relationship with health. Such as: quit smoking, eat more vegetables, exercise regularly … Whatever your New Year’s resolutions may be, you start New Year in the healthiest city in the Netherlands. And is the fastest developing city in the Netherlands. A smart city too, with creative solutions as e-mobility, energy transition and smart housing we build the future of Utrecht.
And at the same time, keeping our city smart and healthy is one of our biggest assignments. An ambitious and yet complex task. Unfortunately, I don't have a crystal ball, so I can’t tell you what the world will look like in the year 2040. Neither you can … But what I do know, is that every new year, every new day actually, is a new step towards the future. Our future … And I know for sure that we need everyone aboard to work together on solutions that ensure that Utrecht, the Netherlands, China, our planet, will - also in the future - be a healthy, safe and pleasant place to live.
For this reason the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015. It provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and in the future. At its heart are the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - including the Netherlands and China - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
So from this year 2020 we still have ten years to come up with smart, social and sustainable solutions. And: we need you, the students. I'm looking forward to use your expertise in finding solutions for a healthy urban environment. Indeed, it is an honourable and at the same time complex task where you sometimes are needing some extra cleverness, vitality and spirituality …
Please allow me to wish you a prosperous New Year. A year that brings you spirituality, cleverness, vitality. And joy … no one can live without it. Wish you all a pleasant stay in Utrecht. And may I suggest you another New Year’s resolution? Please come visit Utrecht again … Xin nian kuai le [happy New Year]!