With Jeroen Dijsselbloem (56), Eindhoven seems to have got the Mayor it was looking for. A political heavyweight with an Eindhoven profile, who knows The Hague and Brussels like the back of his hand.
The profile drawn up earlier this year revealed the city’s high ambitions. The new Mayor had to be known in the international circuit, have a good reputation in The Hague, have an Eindhoven profile and, as a bridge builder, be able to bring the various population groups in the city closer together.
The only thing that Dijsselbloem did not satisfy was the desire to secure a female Mayor for the first time in Eindhoven’s history.
Dijsselbloem served as Finance Minister of Cabinet Rutte II from 2012 to 2017. In that capacity he also served as president of the Eurogroup from 2013 to 2018. With Dijsselbloem, Eindhoven thus brings in a political heavyweight who knows his way around not only The Hague but also Brussels.
Moreover, as a social democrat, Dijsselbloem has a political profile that fits with the college that, with GroenLinks (green left party) as its largest party, also has a progressive face with the CDA (christian democrats), the PvdA (labour party) and D66 (democrats).
Whether Dijsselbloem can profile himself in Eindhoven as a bridge-builder and a man who stands among the people is something that will have to be seen. As president of the Eurogroup he had to negotiate with Greece about the Greek national debts. In doing so, he compared Greece with someone who spends his life squandering money on “drink and women”, only to hold his hand up. The statement was not taken kindly.
At the moment Dijsselbloem is chairman of the Dutch Safety Board and chairman of the National Growth Fund. The trust committee that prepared the nomination for the board describes Dijsselbloem as an experienced manager.
“He made a firm impression on the committee on many aspects of the profile. As a Minister, he has filled the presidency of the Eurogroup with authority. He understands the unique character of the triple helix in Eindhoven and its further development. He can give direction in such a way that all Eindhoven residents will benefit from the economic progress of Eindhoven and Brainport,” according to the committee.
In Eindhoven, Dijsselbloem is facing the necessary challenges. With the renovation of Fellenoord, there’s an enormous file waiting to be dealt with. Moreover, the city and the region are under the spell of a housing crisis and a gigantic personnel shortage, while the mobility issue is also waiting to be solved.
In all these and other cases, Dijsselbloem and the board will have to take important steps in the years ahead, while at the same time overcoming the division in the city between those who benefit from the success of Brainport, and those who are left behind.
Translated by: Bob