Burgemeester Welkom congres Geïntegreerde zorg

Toespraak burgemeester Jan van Zanen

Utrecht, Museum Speelklok, 23 mei 2018

Dear all, participants of the congress organized by the International Foundation of Integrated Care,

Welcome to Utrecht, welcome to the heart, the very heart of the Netherlands. Geographically and historically spoken. Because the city of Utrecht is the oldest one north of the river Rhine, celebrating its 900th birthday as a city within a few years.

With the presence of an archbishop, Utrecht is also the centre of our country's religious life. Originally, this very building served as a parish church for the Utrecht citizens, while the large Dom Church was only used by the bishop and his distinguished guests. Since the 19th and 20th century, our city is also the heart of national road, railways and water infrastructure.

And there is another aspect with regard to which our city is standing out. An aspect that is related to the profession, or rather: the vocation you share. One of our city's distinctive features is the prominence of health care in its broadest sense.

To begin: about one fourth of our city's employment, about 55 thousand jobs, can be related to cure, care, research, advisory services and medical industries. Including prominent organizations like the Utrecht University and University of Applied Sciences, the Academic Hospital and several research institutes like the Hubrecht Institute, NIVEL, Vilans and RIVM, both co-hosts of this congress. And, of course, I have to mention the national Princess Máxima Centre for pediatric oncology, that opened its doors just five days ago and will be opened officially by the queen on next coming June the fifth.

In the meanwhile, please allow me to admit that I was really impressed browsing the programme of your congress. So vast are its extension and its scope.

I was happy to see that in the area of integrated care Utrecht scientists do their share. But above all, I was happy because, in addition to valuable projects in other cities, you chose the Utrecht district of Overvecht as an example of integrated care in the neighbourhood.

Our city government firmly believes in this co-operation between doctors, health centres, physiotherapists, pharmacists, mental healthcare, neighbourhood care teams, welfare workers, district nurses, debt counselors and many others. With the aim of improving the care for, for instance, families with multiple problems, that are not only medical, but also social, financial or related to work.

We are convinced that this way of rethinking care is one of the ways to give an impulse to healthy urban living: an in every way healthier life for the increasing amount of people in the world that live in cities.

That is one of the reasons why, already before the large-scale reorganisation of Dutch care in 2015, our city chose to introduce so-called neighbourhood care teams in each of our districts. Teams that carefully match our citizens with the different types of help and care that are available.

Overseeing the programme of your congress, I hazard the assumption that the potentialities of integrated care are far from exhausted. And if your congress can make a substantial contribution to further developments, I can only express my admiration and gratefulness on behalf of my fellow citizens. I wish you a most inspiring continuation of your congress.