Burgemeester Welkom 10.000 Expats Utrecht Party

Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, TivoliVredenburg, 12 januari 2018

Thank you, Ms Duggan.

Dear guests, Great to welcome you here in this building. Especially constructed to give all possible musical styles their due. As well as, tonight, the great diversity of origins, colours and cultures, displayed by you.

At least at this moment, it's the colours of the City and Region of Utrecht, red and white, that bring some unity. I suppose, some of you already live and work in Utrecht for a longer time. While others have arrived only recently.

Needless to say that the City and Region of Utrecht feel flattered and honoured by anyone choosing for settling and working with us. And that we hope and trust that you have been feeling welcome from the very beginning.

We also hope that our employees and digital services have been of help. Which brings me to the completely renewed regional website that will be presented to you tonight: regionutrecht.com (in English, German and Chinese). This offers practical information about living, working and studying in the Utrecht region. As well as a choice of interesting cultural and sports events.

But even this brand new website doesn't prevent me from hoping that you, above all, have made or will make contact with your new neighbours and colleagues. They are the most reliable advisers on all matters concerning daily life in our region. And there is one particular reason to believe that these contacts are flourishing, at least in their digital shape.

The Expats Utrecht Facebook Community has welcomed thirteen thousand members. So there are really many people who exactly know what you mean with your questions, because they have had the same experiences, for instance with housing, finding schools, healthcare, sports clubs or just the best local shop or pub.

And now, dear guests, please allow me to say a few words to Ms Duggan, the initiator of the Expats Facebook Community. Please, Ms Duggan, join me for a moment.

When you arrived here in Utrecht, you were eagerly looking for a community to be part of. Trying to achieve that, you had a lot of questions. And you experienced that the official channels do not have answers to all of them. That's why you started a Facebook community, which has, since, has grown to 13 thousand members. We are, Ms Duggan, very grateful for this initiative of yours. It creates a valuable, even indispensable addition to the hospitality Utrecht is proud to display towards newcomers. And the amount of 13 thousand members is a clear proof of its value. Thank you very much for your drive and commitment.

Of course, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht Meetup and the Economic Board Utrecht are happy that not all of the 13 thousand members have showed up tonight. Otherwise, we would have had to rent a whole stadium. Now, I can safely wish all of you a good time. Please enjoy the view and the music, do not miss the information market and, above all, seize the opportunity to get to know each other in person and to share even more Utrecht experiences. Thank you very much.

Uw mening