A four-person delegation of the Public Entity Saba paid a visit to the Municipality Alkmaar on Monday, March 21. Saba and Alkmaar already have a good working relationship and this visit served to further strengthen these ties.
Focal areas during the one-day visit were organizational development and several projects in execution, but there was also time for an introductory meeting with Alkmaar Mayor Anja Schouten. The visit was hosted by Secretary of the Municipality Alkmaar Wim van Twuijver, who has worked on Saba for a year in 2014/2015 as interim Island Secretary until the appointment of current Island Secretary Tim Muller.
The Saba delegation, consisting of Commissioner Bruce Zagers, Island Secretary Muller, Head of Finance Maureen Hassell and Senior Policy Advisor Nicole Johnson, was welcomed at the City Hall by Van Twuijver and Unit Manager Human Resources of the Municipality Alkmaar Sonja Moolenaar.
Moolenaar gave a presentation on the municipality’s organizational development, after which Mayor Schouten joined the group. Schouten spoke about Alkmaar’s rich history as one of the eldest cities in the Netherlands and showed great interest in Saba, its history, culture, people and life on a small island. Besides giving general information about Saba, Commissioner Zagers explained the challenges that Saba faces such as the high cost of living/doing business, the limited connectivity and the government’s financial struggles. He also touched on the COVID-19 pandemic and the balance between growth and sustainability.
The group visited the “Alkmaars Kanaal” project where in the area along the channel the municipality will construct 15,000 homes. A meeting was also held with the project team that is supervising the phased construction of the new hospital in Alkmaar of the North West Hospital Group.
Alkmaar and Saba have had a working relationship since 2016 which started after Van Twuijver worked on the island. The two governments want to use their network, experience and know-how to further strengthen each other, to learn from each other and to connect people. As part of this collaboration, Head of Finance Hassell is participating in an orientation program this week in Koggenland, a small municipality nearby Alkmaar.