During the first day of the VNG Annual Congress, The Association of Dutch Municipalities and the Dutch national government signed a declaration of intent to intensify cooperation between Dutch municipalities and the six Dutch Caribbean islands.  Raymond Knops, State Secretary of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations, confirmed this inten­tion in a letter sent to the Dutch Parliament’s Sec­ond Chamber.

The aim of the cooperation is to make knowledge of municipalities in The Netherlands accessible to the Dutch municipalities in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Agreements will be made about the mutual temporary transfer of civil servants for a more effective knowledge and experience transfer, to reinforce the government apparatus of the islands.

“We work in a network of municipalities that are will­ing to detach civil servants to the islands and to welcome employees of the Dutch Car­ibbean governments, to learn from each other and to spe­cifically increase administra­tive capacity” said Knops.

During the upcoming months, the national government and the VNG will work in developing a formal coopera­tion structure, including agreements on financing and other criteria. Mayors of different municipalities in the Netherlands expressed their support to the agreement. Edo Haan, Mayor of Maassluis, pointed out the importance of exchange and offered internships in Maasluis for civil servants from the Caribbean. Jan van Zanen, Mayor of Utrecht, highlighted the importance of Dutch municipalities and Caribbean municipalities of the kingdom to help each other.