Civic Summit Amsterdam on June 6, 2015

In the beginning of June many Amsterdammers came together during the Civic Summit Amsterdam (Burgertop Amsterdam). On this day, participants discussed topics and drafted an agenda for the city. The Civic Summit took place on Saturday June 6 2015 and was organized by a group of independent volunteers.

Democratic tradition
We care about Amsterdam. It is a beautiful city where we enjoy living, working and relaxing. For centuries people have come to Amsterdam, in search of freedom and happiness. True to its motto ‘heroic, determined, merciful’ the city provides room for people from many different cultural backgrounds. And during all that time Amsterdam has been governed by its residents. But is that tradition still strong?

Building a bridge
Traditional democracy is eroding bit by bit: the councils in the city’s districts have been disbanded and only half of Amsterdammers vote at election time. On the other hand we have never been so active in the city: it’s ever easier to find each other and commit ourselves to better our lives and the city. Therefore, it is important to build a bridge between the old traditions and the new reality. That’s why an independent group of residents is organizing a Civic Summit with many Amsterdammers from all walks of life.

Amsterdammers: your turn
The city, that’s us. We believe that the city should be well governed. But we believe there’s room for improvement. Political parties no longer have the broad support they used to have. And voting only once every four years, is that enough for a meaningful discussion about the future of our city? City residents hold an enormous reservoir of knowledge and experience. Numerous important issues from our daily lives deserve a good discussion: healthcare, unemployment, housing, accessibility, community, the economy. We want to give Amsterdammers the opportunity to exert influence in a contemporary and experimental manner via this Civic Summit.

Everybody participates
The many Civic Summit participants will be a representative sampling of all Amsterdammers. But such a diverse group of city residents will not magically come together. That’s why we started a broad publicity campaign in the months before the Summit. In the streets and via the internet. On the Dam Square and in care facilities. And we asked organizations, companies and the city government to help us reach everybody.

Saturday Jun 6
The Civic Summit started on the morning of Saturday June 6.  That day many Amsterdammers came together for in-depth discussions about topics they choose themselves and made an agenda for the city, by working out ideas and plans on 35 topics. And at the end of the day the results were presented to all the participants. The next day everybody in the city could learn about them via our website.

Follow-up
On the 26th of September we held a follow-up day to discuss the progress of all the plans and ideas. In the months after we made a tour along all the boards of the seven city districts to present the results and discuss the state of the local democracy. On the 23th of November we presented our final report to the leaders of the political parties in the general city board, and to the aldermen responsible for the system of governance and democracy.

The Civic Summit Amsterdam is an initiative for an independent Civic Summit with many Amsterdammers from all walks of life. Democratic renewal in practice. Want to know more? Contact us know via www.burgertop-amsterdam.nl/contact

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