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  • Writer's pictureChuka Nwanazia

Mayor of Amsterdam Dies at 62

One of Amsterdam's favourite sons has passed on.

Mayor van der Laan via Flickr

In the early hours of Friday, 6th of October, the Amsterdam City Hall released the news that the Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan has died from lung cancer at the age of 62.

Mayor van der Laan had been the Mayor of Amsterdam since 2010 and had to step down last month due to his failing health. Firm, straight to the point, no-nonsense and a natural born leader, Mayor van der Laan will always be remembered as one of Amsterdam's favourite sons.

In September, he wrote an open letter to Amsterdam's residents announcing he was leaving office and asking the residents to; "Take good care of our city and of each other." Hundreds of residents and well-wishers gathered outside his residence to thank and applaud him for years of service to the city.

Known for his no-nonsense approach to politics and sometimes having a short temper, mayor van der Laan quickly built up a fanbase of ardent followers and admirers in Amsterdam and in other parts of the Netherlands. He spoke the language of the ordinary people and always had the best interests of the city at heart. He truly loved Amsterdam and 'Amsterdammers' loved him.

While on an interview sometime this year, a TV presenter asked him what he hoped would be his legacy in Amsterdam. With tears in his eyes, he replied; "I would love that it remains the same city it is today." A tolerant city accepting everyone with open arms.

There will be a public gathering of well-wishers to bid him farewell on Friday, the 13th of October. The venue for this gathering is said be released in the coming days. Flowers can be sent to and laid in front of his official residence at Herengracht 502 in Amsterdam.

Flags will continue to fly at half-staff till the day of the funeral.

Farewell Mayor Eberhard van der Laan. You will always be remembered as a true son of Amsterdam.

May your gentle soul rest in perfect peace.

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