As we’re writing this, it’s Wednesday the 22nd of November, and it’s our 12th week at Gemeente Amstelveen. We’ve already come a long way, and are now working on finalizing our project. Our assignment was to come up with new ideas to promote ecological viability in the municipality, for the municipality council to choose from. Normally, the council primarily has a framework-setting role, but these ideas highlight their role in also paying attention to sustainability and putting an extra focus on what they deem important.

Two years ago the first group of trainees started at Amstelveen and they created a three year program for the municipality council to follow to focus on specific elements of the Sustainable Development Goals that are relevant for Amstelveen. They created three year themes, which are participation (2023), viability (2024), and inclusivity (2025). We are thus preparing the theme for next year, viability.

We are working on around seven ideas which contribute to improving the ecological livability of Amstelveen. The municipality is already doing a lot in this field, so at the start of the traineeship we spent quite some time on familiarizing ourselves with the dynamics and ongoing projects within the municipality. We had meetings with civil servants in different fields to get an overview and to see whether they had suggestions regarding gaps we could jump into, or how we could create ideas that contribute to existing projects. Based on those meetings, knowledge we found about sustainable initiatives on the internet from for example other municipalities, and our own creativity, we are currently developing seven ideas.

The elaboration of the ideas include an explanation of the initiative, what role the council will have in executing the idea, what the costs are, what choices can be made within the general idea, and what to consider when picking this idea in regards to the benefits and limitations. We also address to what Sustainable Development Goals the initiatives contribute, and this will be presented on posters at the kick-off event on January 24th, 2024.

The kick-off is the other part of the assignment by Gemeente Amstelveen we have been working on. We will host an evening at the Bosbaan in Amstelveen, where the council members, civil servants, and citizens will come together. The evening will start of with a moment to symbolically close off the year of participation and ringing in the new year of viability. After this we will ask someone who works at the municipality to hold a lecture about the relevance of sustainability and what is being done by Amstelveen already, after which we will shortly present our ideas. Afterwards, there is the possibility to have drinks and walk through the room for our visitors to see our ideas presented on posters. They will be able to react to the ideas, ask questions, and do some suggestions. With that, our work will be handed over to the ambassadors on viability from the municipality and we will finish our work at the municipality! We are working hard towards the final event and we are happy to say that we seem to be on track with our planning. The five of us have a very pleasant way of working together and we are also very lucky with our supervisor Maikel from Gemeente Amstelveen, who is very committed and helpful. It has been and is a very enjoyable and educational process, giving us some experience to take with us to our next occupations