Tags: EU | Netherlands | Obit | Amsterdam Mayor

Popular Mayor of Amsterdam Dies after Battling Lung Cancer

Friday, 06 October 2017 06:10 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Eberhaard van der Laan, the popular mayor of Amsterdam who ran the city with both a firm hand and compassionate touch, has died after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 62.

Amsterdam Municipality, which Van der Laan led for seven years before stepping down last month because of his failing health, said early Friday that Van der Laan died Thursday night.

"Amsterdam weeps for its dear mayor and all of the Netherlands mourns" with the city, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a statement.

A lawyer and member of the center-left Labor Party, Van der Laan was a government minister for housing and integration for two years before being appointed mayor in July 2010. He made headlines in April 2013 when he said he was too busy to meet Vladimir Putin during the Russian president's visit to Amsterdam.

The move was widely seen as a snub to Putin because of Russian legislation banning gay "propaganda." Rainbow flags flew at half-staff around the city during Putin's visit.

Soon after taking office, Van der Laan won respect for personally reaching out to parents of children abused by a pedophile in an Amsterdam day care center. He displayed his tough side by cracking down on youth crime and anti-social behavior in neighborhoods.

In September, he wrote an open letter to all Amsterdam residents announcing he was setting aside his work. He closed the letter with a line that underscored his affection for both the city and its residents: "Take good care of our city and of each other. Farewell."

Following the announcement, hundreds of people gathered outside his official residence, a historic canal-side mansion, and applauded the mayor.

Van der Laan is survived by his wife, Femke, and five children. Funeral arrangements weren't immediately announced.

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Eberhaard van der Laan, the popular mayor of Amsterdam who ran the city with both a firm hand and compassionate touch, has died after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 62.Amsterdam Municipality, which Van der Laan led for seven years before stepping down last month...
EU,Netherlands,Obit,Amsterdam Mayor
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2017-10-06
Friday, 06 October 2017 06:10 AM
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